Although most people prefer to travel in the summer, winter isn’t a bad time of year either. Sometimes traveling in winter means less crowds, scenic landscapes and a more unique experience. I asked a bunch of bloggers what they thought the best winter destination around the world was and they sent me their answers. Here they are, grouped by region!
1. Aspen, Colorado, USA
Powder is flying, families are laughing and a festive like cheer is in the air. Aspen, Colorado is one of the most beautiful and scenic places along the Rocky Mountain Coast of the United States. With a population of only 7,500 people, this small town vibe is perfect for anyone looking to get away for a ski holiday. Not much into shredding down the slopes? No worries as Aspen has a great night life, plenty of festivals and even hosts the annual Winter X Games!
Ron is a world traveler, writer, and amateur photographer. He enjoys writing about different foods, cultures & experiences in hope of inspiring others to do travel the world. It’s all about stepping out of your comfort zone & living life to the fullest! Visit his blog:http://ActivePlanetTravels.com
2. Door County, Wisconsin, USA
Door County is located on a peninsula of land which juts out into Lake Michigan. It gets very cold weather off the lake and always has a lot of snow in the winter. This transforms what is normally an idyllic scene of villages with interesting shops and beautiful resorts into a winter wonderland where snowshoes, skis and snowmobiles became the modes of transportation. This makes it a paradise for snow shoeing, cross country skiing, and just hiking and enjoying the incredible beauty of the country and the frozen lake. The Ridges Sanctuary in Door County was a great place to learn to snowshoe for the very first time and it was just absolutely beautiful.
This area is also justifiably famous for their tart cherries, which are fabulous. When your trip is over, take home chocolate-covered cherries, cherry jam and cherry pie filling.
Jan Ross has traveled the world since she was an infant as her father was a career Marine Corps officer. When she retired after twenty years as an elementary school librarian, she decided it was finally time to see the whole world and write about her experiences. Luckily, her husband is an excellent photographer who supplements her stories with wonderful travel photography. In between travels, they return to their home and family in Lexington, Kentucky. They write about their travels on their blog wanderlustwonder.com as well as in a variety of other venues, both print and online.
3.Yosemite, California, USA
Yosemite Valley is the centerpiece of Yosemite National Park in California with grand waterfalls, flowing creeks, picturesque hiking and monumental granite cliffs. During the winter months it is a pure white wonderland for travelers who want to snowshoe, cross-country ski, make snowmen or simply sit in a lodge by a cozy fireplace.
Annette is a passionate restaurateur, dedicated blogger, fearless nibbler and new experience collector who travels the world in search of bucket list worthy experiences. Her popular blog, Bucket List Journey, is a compilation of stories from these memorable adventures.
4. Banff, Alberta, Canada
For me, Banff is the ultimate winter destination, so much so that I decided to live here specifically for the winter season. Which means it must be good, right? Right! Banff is the perfect winter destination and there here are a few reasons why that’s so.
It’s a skier’s/snowboarder’s paradise and with three major ski resorts to choose from, it’s no wonder skiing and snowboarding are the most popular activities in Banff. If skiing or snowboarding aren’t your thing, Banff boasts a huge range of other winter activities including snowshoeing, dog sledding, ice climbing, hiking, and snow tubing.
If you’d rather take it easy you can visit Banff’s hot springs, which was the reason why tourists came to Banff in the first place. Just imagine relaxing in the warm outdoor springs, surrounded by snow capped mountains.
My last, but certainly not least, reason to visit Banff during winter is to experience its magnificent scenery. With huge mountains as far as the eye can see, Banff’s natural beauty was the main reason why I came to live here in the first place.
Banff boasts a wide range of winter activities to keep you busy, spas to keep you relaxed and views that will take your breath away every time; it’s the perfect winter destination.
Lilian blogs about her travels and expat life over at Travel Armadillo. She tends to toe the line between being an expat, a traveller and most definitely a mis-adventurer. She’s currently in Canada dabbling in writing, living in and seeing as much of this huge nation as she can. What’s next after Canada? More travelling (probably in Asia) and more expat-ing (hopefully in New Zealand.)
Sitting just three hours from Barcelona, the principality of Andorra is a small land area that’s wedged between Spain and France in the Pyrenees mountains. Though Andorra hosts cultural activities and tourism year-round, the majority of its activities are winter-based.
Snow activities abound in the cold season, particularly skiing. Vallnord and Grandvalira boast over 300 kilometers of trails, and Naturlandia has other outdoor activities, like tubing and snowshoeing. Spas and shopping also characterize the snowy principality, whose capital city, Andorra la Vella, is the highest in Europe.
An added bonus? Their sales on tax-free goods begins on December 26th.
Cat Gaa left the skyscrapers of Chicago for the olive groves of Southern Spain in 2007. Based in Seville, she writes about Andalusian culture, travel and food, as well as expat life as a guiri in Spain. You can read more at http://SunshineandSiestas.com
If you’re lucky with the weather, Ireland is just stunning in the winter. Rolling hills in every shade of green, clear blue skies, snow-capped mountains and frozen lakes — and sometimes you wouldn’t see or hear another soul for miles. This photo was taken on a crisp, calm morning in Killarney National Park.
Edna, of ExpatEdna, is American writer who moved abroad at 18 and just kept moving. A serial expat previously based in China, Singapore, France and Italy; she now travels the world covering sports events from London to Azerbaijan. She is usually found with a camera in one hand and a pint in the other.
7. Berlin, Germany
Germany gets a bad reputation for its northern European location. Summers are short and winters are long. With the Alps in the south and the North Sea the country’s only access to open water, the country isn’t exactly situated in a warm & sunny climate. There’s no better way to kick of a cold and dark winter than with a mug of glühwein and some hearty sausage from a Christmas Market (Weihnachtsmarkt) and Berlin has some of the country’s best!
Adam Groffman is a travel blogger based in Berlin, Germany. In 2010 he quit his job as a graphic designer and traveled around the world. Today his blog, Travels of Adam, features stories about city destinations, gay travel, cool things to do and unique tours around the world. His work has been featured in DETAILS, ELLE, Vogue, Vanity Fair, USA Today and AFAR.
8. Cologne, Germany
My favorite winter destination is Germany- specifically, Germany’s Christmas markets. The best one I’ve visited was the Markt der Engel, Cologne’s oldest Christmas market. Everything about the ambiance is simply magical, from the stars twinkling in the trees to the bundled up children riding the carousel. It’s a market frequented by young people and families alike (with very few tourists!), where you can sip piping hot gluhwein (mulled wine) and nosh on Kartoffelpuffer, fried potato cakes.
Ashley Fleckenstein is a baguette-partial freelance writer currently traveling Asia. She’s a self-proclaimed language nerd, ski bum and lover of long, pinot-fueled dinners. To read more about her adventures in Asia and beyond, check out her blog, ashleyabroad.com, or connect with her on Twitter, at @ashleyhfleck.
9. Munich, Germany
Munich is fun to visit all year round but the city definitely comes alive in December with the countless Christmas markets, the Tollwood Winter Festival and everyone partying away the festive season. The Tollwood Festival is particularly interesting as it has its own Christmas market but also, shops, circus events and stands where you can meet local artisans. It’s a mix of events and is known to be Munich’s main alternative festival. Winter is a great time to visit Munich as there is little chance you’ll be bored and you can avoid the cooler weather by heading indoors to the city’s fine museums, art galleries and cafes.
Andrea Anastasakis is an Aussie food and travel blogger currently driving around Europe in her Fiat 500. You can find her blog at http://www.rearviewmirror.tv.
10. Budapest, Hungary
Most people wouldn’t think of Budapest when searching for a destination for the winter. Yes, it can be really cold, and rather gray, but without the influx of tourists, you’ll have the city just for yourself and the locals. Budapest is famous for its thermal baths, and there is no better time to go than in the middle of winter. Imagine soaking in a hot pool of water, steam rising and watching the snow fall. Or if you prefer to do something that’ll get your heart racing, you can go skating in Városliget on an outdoor pond, Europe’s largest! In the weeks leading up to the holidays you’ll find the city full of Christmas markets and festive lights to get you into the holiday spirit. When it snows, there is nothing better than watching the city turn white while sipping on a hot cup of mulled wine.
Adelina Wong is a storyteller and a curious globetrotter. She enjoys writing and taking photos. When she is not out exploring the world, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, participating in pub quizzes and reading. Connect with her on Twitter, or follow along on her travels.
11. Krakow, Poland
As an Australian, I’m not a winter person. As such, when my Polish-Australian friend asked me to visit her in Krakow in December, I winced. I doubted I had enough layers to survive such a weekend. I need not have worried; sure Krakow was cold, but it was utterly magical. Fog engulfed the city for the duration of my stay, and when coupled with the omnipresent pigeons and the warm light from the street lamps, it all made Krakow feel mysterious and medieval. We would warm ourselves up the old fashioned way – by downing gluhwein on the Market Square, holding our hands over the oscypek grills and even discovering hot cocktails. I returned home with pink cheeks.
Caitlyn is a twenty-something Australian living in the Netherlands, obsessed with travel, sport and food. She works as a tour guide all around Europe, and blogs abut what she sees from her office window, which changes daily. You can read about her adventures here: http://OlympicWanderings.com
12. Zakopane, Poland
Zakopane is, not without reason, called the Winter Capital of Poland. During the winter season, the city offers a great number of attractions and, in my opinion, this is one of the best places for snowboarding and skiing in Poland – not only affordable, but also extremely beautiful. Most people visit Zakopane in the winter to take advantage of the snow-covered slopes for skiing and other winter sports, so you should do it as well! Every winter, the city organizes the Ski Jumping World Cup which makes Zakopane one of the busiest cities in Europe. There is a great atmosphere during the competition with people cheering and making you feel like home. Moreover, it is full of tourist attractions so everyone will find something for themselves. Lovers of skiing or snowboarding will find many beautiful slopes to explore. If you want to have more fun, you can try snowmobile driving or scuba diving under the ice whereas kids can go dog sledding. At the end of the day you can treat yourself with a plate of Polish dumplings (called pierogi) accompanied by a glass of mulled wine to warm you up!
Agness is a Polish travel blogger who has been traveling and living in different Asian countries since 2011. She is well-known for traveling the world for less than $25 per day and she shares her tricks and tips with the readers of her blog called eTramping.com. Moreover, she is a food lover obsessed with Chinese cuisine, yoga passionate, life enthusiast and photography freak.
Norway has everything what it takes to be the best winter destination. Cool, trendy and very chic cities and spectacular skiing conditions! I’m sold because I have visited Norway many times, but believe me you will be in love from the very first day. No matter what you like Norway has it for you. You are an art lover, you are a foodie, you love music? Bergen and Oslo will make you happy. You love winter sports, serious adventure, little villages and fairy tail views go for Flam and Hemsedal!
Marysia Maciocha is a Girl behind My Travel Affairs Blog and an author of Tel Aviv Guide. She dedicates her time and energy to unconventional exploring the world in search of amazing people, unique places and immersing stories. She travelled to 50 countries: Benin, Kazakhstan, Iran, Azerbaijan, Jordan, Oman, Korea, Chile and Armenia to mention a few.
14. Beijing, China
Beijing is a fantastic winter destination; trust me, as I’ve been there three times in the winter! The best part about going in the winter is that it’s generally quieter, as being in the north of China, it can get pretty cold and snowy. This also means that the lakes freeze up and you can go ice skating or ice scooting, (how I like to call it!) on them.
Also, in the winter time Beijing suffers much less from smog. Having visited three times, I only ever had 1 day of smog, the rest of the time being clear blue skies, presenting great photo opportunities at all of the attractions such as the Temple of Heaven and Forbidden City. The Great Wall is also stunning in winter!
Finally, there are many places to go to warm up, including (and I know it sounds geeky but trust me!) the Planning Exhibition just off Tiananmen Square, with a scale model of Beijing on the top floor!
Bennett from The Further Adventures of Bennett planned to spend 6 months teaching English in China and left 2 years later. She can currently be found residing in New Zealand, having swapped teaching children English for babysitting dogs and cats. http://thefurtheradventuresofbennett.com Twitter:@penguinbennett
Do you agree with these? What is your favorite winter destination?