While most of us are bundled up and counting down the days til warmer weather, there are some places that were meant to be enjoyed in the winter, with their snowcapped mountain vistas, cozy settings, fun winter attractions and more.
Vail, Colorado, is a ski resort town in the Rocky Mountains. It is known for amazing skiing, great dining, fancy hotels and a cozy, romantic atmosphere.
Established after a nearby ski lift opened in the 1960s, the town has a carefully crafted reputation as a great getaway during the winter for snow activities such as skiing, snowboarding and snow shoeing. It also has a reputation for year round hiking, dining, outdoor activities and memorable getaways.
Could anything feel more right in winter than spending time in the Swiss Alps? Zermatt is a small Swiss town located near the majestic Matterhorn, one of the tallest and most famous peaks in Europe.
The town has put an emphasis on limiting pollution to ensure good views of the Matterhorn, so nearly all local transportation is by electric shuttles and trains. Most visitors arrive by train and can be shuttled around by hotel-managed vehicles, or make their way around on foot.
Zermatt has year-round skiing, and is known especially for its moguls. So if you’re in the mood for winter in June, come to Zermatt!
Iceland is fast becoming a global tourist destination. Even in the winter, when there are only four or five hours of direct sunlight each day, the island country is a great place to visit. The capital, Reykjavik, is a dynamic city that tourists can enjoy day or night, light or dark.
Iceland has an untamed, almost wild, spirit. The countless thermal hot springs, geysers, volcanoes, hiking trails and outdoor activities unique to Iceland should not be missed. Bring good winter gear and hiking shoes, and you can enjoy the unique landscapes of this northern land.
Chena Hot Springs, Alaska
If hot springs in cold weather is your thing, then you’ll love Chena Hot Springs in Alaska. The resort location is north of Fairbanks in the interior of Alaska.
The remote hotel has both regular and rugged accommodations. Daring guests can rent cabins complete with “outdoor” bathrooms, aka outhouses, just like “the old days”.
Don’t forget your snow gear, swim suit, and everything else you might need, since this place is remote and sparsely settled, you can’t just pop down to a convenience store if you forget your toothbrush.
Quebec City in Montreal, Canada, has a well-deserved reputation as a great winter destination. If you want more than skiing, mountain vistas and quiet cabin stays, Quebec is a great place for you.
One of the oldest cities in North America, there is so much history and culture to experience, you should plan at least a few days here.
Maple syrup pie, poutine, the food will keep you warm and happy as you walk through Old Quebec, a UNESCO heritage site. The downtown area decorates to the nines for Christmas and the holidays, making it a magical winter wonderland for tourists and explorers.
Stay in the Fairmont Château Frontenac Hotel for a home base in the Old City that has as much atmosphere and charm as anything else you’ll see.
Located in northern China near the Russian border, Harbin is a large city, with more than 5 million residents, many of them Russian immigrants. The city has bitterly cold winters, but has developed a reputation as the “Ice City”. It is home to many winter activities, including a winter and ice sculpture festival. The month-long event starts in early January and hosts up to 18 million visitors! It is centered around Sun Island and has almost 200 acres of massive sculptures.
The famous Saint Sophia Cathedral of the Russian Orthodox faith is nearby, a unique site in China, but important to the significant Russian immigrant population.
Be sure to pack extra wool underwear and a good winter coat, because the average high temperature in Harbin in January is about 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
If reading about these winter destinations is making you cold and grumpy, you should consider a vacation in Tahiti, the picture-perfect island in the Pacific with pleasant tropical temperatures year-round. The black sand beaches are globally famous, as are the blue waters and amazing mountains of the island that reach over 7,000 feet above sea level.
Whether you visit in the winter to get away from the cold, dreary scenery of your hometown or you come in spring or summer, you’ll be swept away from all the cares and worries, and transported to a place where relaxing, laying in the sun and swimming in pristine waters are the only thing on your mind.
Adventurous, looking for a romantic getaway or craving some outdoor activities, these places are perfect for you, especially in the winter. So get a travel buddy, start making plans, and don’t forget to pack your coat!