As temperatures plummet at this time of year, a lot of us are probably dreaming about escaping to catch some winter sun on a beach somewhere. Me? I say why not embrace the cold and travel somewhere even colder! Maybe somewhere with some real thick snow instead of the slushy stuff some of us have to make to do with, or just a winter wonderland of tranquillity where you can get some peace and quiet.
1.Yosemite, California, US
Yosemite National Park is known for its incredible waterfalls and amazing hiking trails. You might be more used to seeing it in the spring/summer months covered in lush greenery, but in the colder season, it magically transforms into a winter wonderland! Dubbed the “season of snow and solitude”, you can get some precious “me time” hiking in the quiet Yosemite Valley and Wawona area – or bring some friends and build some snowmen.
2. Morzine, France
There’s nowhere like the Alps for winter beauty! Morzine is a gorgeous little town bordering Switzerland (only an about hour away from Geneva airport) but it’s still got loads of rustic French charm that I love. Even though it’s quite popular with skiers and holiday-makers, it still doesn’t feel too much like a resort, and if you’re not up for being active you can curl up in front of the fire in a Freedom Ski in Morzine chalet and gaze at the snow-capped mountains out of your window with a mug of hot chocolate. (Take me there now…)
3. Lapland, Scandinavia
It doesn’t get more wintery than the home of Santa Claus, does it? As well as Santa’s workshop, Lapland is known for being “close with nature” with a mixture of frozen lakes, tundras, icy rivers, reindeer and huski safaris (OMG!) and – best of all – the stunning Northern Lights! You can really immerse yourself into the winter spirit here.
4. Fairbanks, Alaska
Of course, if you want to see the Northern Lights a little closer to home, Fairbanks in Alaska is the place to go. From the Arctic Circle to the Denali National Park, you get totally lost in the “land of the midnight sun”. There’s also lots of rich heritage here – Fairbanks has lots of Native culture and used to be a popular spot during the gold rush. You can even still go gold panning if you want!
5. Onsen, Tokyo, Japan
Onsen (meaning “hot springs”) are the hot spring resorts just outside of Tokyo and are home to some of the most beautiful and relaxing open-air baths in the world. Though they look absolutely luscious in the summer, they’re even more tranquil in the dead of winter when everything is still and snowy. The Manza Onsen resort is probably the best one to go to for the full winter wonderland experience as snow is guaranteed (yes, that’s right – guaranteed!) in the winter months.