10 Breathtaking Winter Vacation Destinations Around the World

Whether you want to stay in a winter wonderland or prefer escaping the cold, these breathtaking vacation destinations should go straight to your bucket list.

Nov 23, 2018

When the nights get longer and the frost settles in, the beauty of winter comes out. The holiday season gives ample opportunity to visit stunning winter vacation destinations. Whether you want to stay in a winter wonderland or prefer escaping the cold, these breathtaking vacation destinations should go straight to your bucket list.

1. Go See Santa in Lapland

Welcome to the ultimate winter wonderland! A trip to Lapland of Norway, Sweden, or Finland will get you about as close to the real Santa Claus as you can. Rovaniemi, Finland has become the official hometown of Old St. Nick and the village looks like something out of a fairytale. Top of your adventure by staying in an igloo ice hotel, watching the Northern Lights, going on a snowmobile safari, or feasting on freshly caught 15kg king crabs.

2. Take a Ride on the Glacier Express

Enjoy scenic splendor riding the Oberalp Pass, a train that takes you from Zermatt to St. Moritz, Switzerland. At its highest point, the pass reaches 2.044m (6,706ft) above sea level. Take a ride on the railway to enjoy the picturesque landscape with an impressive mountain backdrop.

3. Ski on the Swiss Alps

If you hop on the Glacier Express, you might as well hit the slopes at the two towns connected by the railway. The small town of Zermatt looks like a Christmas postcard. Take cable cars to the top of the Alps and ski and snowboard down for an unforgettable winter holiday. The larger, St. Moritz, hosted two winter Olympics and is a playground for enjoying winter sports.

4. Sip Mulled Wine at a German Christmas Market

Experience Christmas like never before at the famous Nuremberg Christmas market in Germany. Sip mulled wine and rum punch while snacking on roasted almonds, bratwurst, and gingerbread. The market has over 180 stands selling ornaments, gold-foil angel, toys, and all sorts of delicious delectables. The world-famous Christmas market in the “little town of wood and cloth” will surely warm your heart during the chilly winter months.

5. Go Skating in Scotland

During a visit to Scotland, you can now go ice skating in Edinburgh’s St. Andrew Square. The adjacent Cider Lodge serves up cider cocktails and snack on Swedish food. Spend the rest of the vacation exploring this charming, historic city. Christmas markets pop up all over town selling crafts, gifts, and warm drinks. Ring in the New Year with the annual Hogmanay celebration filled with fireworks, food, and festivities.

6. Soak in Costa Rica’s Natural Hot Springs

Who said Christmas has to be cold? Thaw out during the winter months in Costa Rica. This tropical paradise has lush rainforests and world-class beaches. Make sure to head inland to soak up in natural hot springs warmed by a live volcano. The surrounding jungle is home to an abundance of wildlife like macaw parrots, crocodiles, howler monkeys, and an abundance of butterflies.

7. Throw a Beach BBQ on Boxing Day in Australia

Looking for a winter escape? Down under, the summer months start in December. The day after Christmas, the Aussies celebrate Boxing Day, a holiday that takes place the day after Christmas. Spend Boxing Day on Garie Royal National Park just south of Sydney for an afternoon of barbecuing on the beach.

8. Watch the Northern Lights in Iceland

Take a trip to Iceland in the winter to watch colors dance across the sky in shades of green, purple, blue, and red. Winter marks the best time to see the aurora borealis, the visual result of solar particles entering the earth’s atmosphere. In Iceland, they are visible for eight months a year, from early September to the end of April.

9. Visit the World’s Largest Waterfall Chain in Brazil

Looking for an awe-inspiring sight? Visit Iguazú Falls, the world’s largest chain of waterfalls. Hundreds of waterfalls extend 3km (almost 2 miles) in this national park that lies between Argentina and Brazil. Walkways give access to extraordinary views. The incredible clouds of spray help flora and fauna flourish in the surrounding rainforest. Located on the southern hemisphere, this part of the world enjoys warm weather during the winter months so pack your shorts and a bathing suit!

10. Soak up the Sun in Phuket, Thailand

Escape the cold weather by jetting over to Thailand for the winter. Situated in the Andaman Sea, the island of Phuket has lush rainforests and breathtaking beaches made of fine white sand. Enjoy local cuisine or party the night away this winter in Thailand.

ALLISON MICHELLE DIENSTMAN, CONTRIBUTOR
Working from her laptop as a freelance writer, Allison lives as a digital nomad, exploring the world while sharing positivity and laughter. She is a lover of language, travel, music, and creativity with a degree in Chinese language and literature.

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