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Travel Deals Mapped Bucket List

8 winter wonderlands across the world that are bursting with holiday cheer

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Sophie Kelk Dec 24, 2018 7:55 am

Winter is upon us, and unlike GOT, we’re stoked for snow days out and cosy evenings curled up by the fire with a warming mulled wine. There are so many places around the world where you can embrace the winter weather, and they don’t have to be all about skiing or boarding either.

Here are some snowy destinations – near and far – to give you all the festive feels this winter.

Banff & Lake Louise

 

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It’s not surprising the Canadian Rockies are so popular, with the world-class ski runs, feather-light powder and epic backdrops, not to mention the Instagram-worthy glacial lake action. Far from civilization, the stargazing is out of this world, and if you’re lucky, you might even get a glimpse of the Northern Lights. For that alone, it’s worth it.

Iceland

Iceland in Winter (Instagram @oscarkes_Photo)

Iceland’s dramatic frozen landscapes, icy waterfalls, glaciers, stormy skies and hot springs have made it a world-famous winter destination, not to mention the super cute wild horses that roam freely. Once you’ve had your fix of the Northern Lights, we’d recommend jumping on a snowmobile to explore the blue-tinged magical ice caves and tunnels – it’s literally like something out of Frozen. (Starts humming ‘Let It Go’…🎶)

Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia in Winter (Instagram @GirlGoneAbroad )

This region in central Turkey is known for its towering (and let’s be honest, phallic-like) rock structures, which jut from the ground, and the warren of caves and tunnels beneath them. Throw in some snow, and the scenes become even more special, especially when enjoyed from the air in a hot air balloon. All the ‘gram goals.

Aspen, Colorado

 

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The tiny, picture-perfect village of Aspen is the perfect base for a group of skiers with different levels. It’s surrounded by four different ski mountains: Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk (a favorite among beginners) and Snowmass Ski Resort. There is literally so much choice you’ll struggle to decide where to go each day, especially when you add in the options of ice skating, cross country skiing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, fly fishing or hot air ballooning, too. We’re heading there for the cute dog factor alone.

Lapland, Finland

 

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If you really want to up the ante when it comes to festive spirit, Lapland is the place for you. Lapland’s capital of Rovaniemi in Finland is the “Official Hometown of Santa Claus”. Visit the quaint Santa Claus village, meet the big man himself, stay in an igloo hotel, and take a husky or reindeer ride. Just make sure you go in a year when you’ve been well behaved…

Scotland’s Highlands

 

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Snowfall may not be as predictable in Scotland but the landscapes alone (and lack of tourists) are well worth the trip. If you’re into hiking, this is the one for you, although we’d recommend booking in for a whisky distillery tour whilst your there. It would be rude not to!

Japan

Japanese Onsen ( Instagram @voyapon)

Japan is over 70% mountainous, boasts over 500 ski resorts and receives some of the world’s most reliable snowfall so if you’re a ski bunny, it’s worth checking it out. Finish of the day with a warm sake (or rice wine) before heading to a traditional Japanese Onsen (essentially hotsprings). Beware, etiquette here is strict and you are often expected to be fully naked. Get involved; as they say, when in Rome…

The French Alps

Chamonix in winter ( Instagram @chamonixmontblanc)

It would be hard to think of a more iconic snowy destination than the French Alps, and Chamonix is an excellent base for skiing, boarding or simply taking in the mountain air, all in the shadow of Mont Blanc. The Haute-Savoie region is also famed for fondues; and what better way to spend an evening than gorging on melted cheese with cured meats, washed down with a glass or three of Burgundy?

 

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Sophie Kelk
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