winter destinations for snow lovers
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11 Amazing winter destinations for snow lovers

There are two kinds of people out there – those that love winter and those that don’t. Depending on where you live in the world, winter might look different to you than it does to someone else. But one thing is sure. If you love snow and you’re looking for some winter destinations, there are many great places to explore.

Winter tends to be the coldest season of the year, so understandably not everyone is a fan. As a Canadian born in winter, I subscribe to the notion that there is no bad weather, just wrong clothes. Winter can be a fantastic time to travel and explore destinations covered by a blanket of snow. It gives many places that magical feel you only get in winter.

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winter destinations for snow lovers

Looking for some winter vacation ideas? I’ve got you covered. Check out these winter vacation destinations and add them to your list.

Canada

The Great White North doesn’t come by its name by accident. When it comes to winter destinations, Canada has something for everyone. Whether your idea of a perfect vacation is sliding down an icy mountain, skiing across a frozen lake, or simply drinking hot chocolate by the fire, you’ll find it all in the wintery wonderland that is Canada.

Enjoy the natural wonders of the Northern Lights in the Yukon, hit the slopes for some skiing and snowboarding in Whistler or Mont Tremblant, soak in the hot springs in Banff and explore winter hiking in every part of the country. When you get tired of winter sports, there are many picturesque cities to enchant you. Skate on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, stroll the charming streets of Quebec City, or visit Niagara Falls for a unique view of the falls in winter.

USA

When it comes to dreamy winter destinations, the USA has it all. You can hit the slopes in Colorado, marvel at the beauty of nature in the Yosemite National Park, relax in Lake Tahoe, snowmobile in Montana or chase the Northern Lights in Alaska. There are many great ideas for snow vacations here to keep you busy all winter.

If outdoor activities are not your thing, there are many other great winter activities to enjoy. Explore museums in Washington DC, take a stroll through Central Park and grab a hot chocolate at a coffee shop in New York City, or spend a day at the historic Biltmore Estate modelled after a French Renaissance château. Whatever winter attractions you’re after, you’ll find them in the USA.

Japan

Japan is a great winter destination for snow lovers. A series of mountain ranges (the Hida Mountains, the Kiso Mountains and the Akaishi Mountains) known as the Japanese Alps offer numerous opportunities for winter sports. With over 500 ski resorts, Olympic quality runs and supporting infrastructure, Japan is an excellent alternative for a winter vacation.

Winter in Japan is also a great time for winter festivals, illuminations and light shows in major cities across the country and relaxing in hot springs, known as onsen. You can even visit the famous snow monkeys at the Jigokudani Yaen-Koen (Snow Monkey Park) as they soak in their own onsen. Enjoy the country’s beauty as it’s covered by a blanket of snow that adds to the experience.  

Iceland

Iceland is one of the most unique destinations, and during winter, it transforms into a magical winter wonderland. As with most winter destinations, you can hit the slopes for skiing and snowboarding, go snowmobiling, or do glacier hiking. Winter is also a great time to explore the island’s natural wonders.

Iceland is an excellent place for outdoor lovers. Snow and ice add a special touch to the landscapes that transform under a blanket of snow. The Seljalandsfoss waterfall, the Þingvellir National Park, Kerid volcanic crater, Mývatn Lake and Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon are just some of the places to explore. Here you can experience the Northern Lights, thermal baths, winter hikes and picturesque walks. When you’re ready to get inside, there are many fantastic cafes and restaurants to keep you warm.

Iceland kerid volcanic crater in winter
Great winter destinations: Iceland

Scandinavian gems: Norway, Finland, Sweden

It wouldn’t be a list of winter destinations without at least one Scandinavian gem. Norway, Finland and Sweden offer beautiful snow-covered landscapes, picturesque villages, and numerous winter activities. Whetheyou’rere want to see the Northern Lights, check out Santa’s Village or stay at an igloo hotel while exploring the Arctic Circle, this winter vacation is for you.

Igloo hotel with green Northern Lights in the sky
Photo by Arctic Guesthouse & Igloos on Unsplash

You can enjoy many outdoor sports or spend some time focusing on your wellbeing. Scandinavian countries are also great wellness destinations where you can relax by the fire in a cozy cabin, soak in a hot tub or a sauna and enjoy the beauty around you. With winter festivals aplenty, there is plenty of food and drink to keep you warm and fed.

Aurora Borealis lighting up the skies in Sweden
Photo by Dylan Shaw on Unsplash

Explore the Lofoten Islands (Norway) and the charming fishing villages covered under a blanket of snow,  chase the Aurora Borealis in Abisko (Sweden) or stay at the heated glass-domed hotel room in Lapland (Finland) and wait for the sky to light up as you stay warm under a blanket.

The Alps

If skiing in the Alps is on your bucket list, then you have plenty of choices to fulfill that dream. Europe’s highest and most extensive mountain range stretches across eight countries: Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Slovenia and Switzerland. All these countries offer superb winter experiences and scenery to match. The only catch is that it will cost you more.

The beauty of a winter vacation in the Alps is that you have many options to choose from. No matter which country you go with, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the mountains, lakes and small villages tucked into valleys and littered across hills. Here you’ll find centuries-old traditions, a wide range of culinary offerings and abundant relaxation options. All you have to do is decide where to go.

The Baltics: Estonia, Lativa and Lithuania

The Baltic countries make for picturesque winter destinations that offer visitors the best of winter at more affordable prices. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania offer attractions for outdoor lovers and culture enthusiasts. Your winter vacation to the Baltics can easily combine winter sports, relaxing saunas, cultural attractions and culinary delights.

While each Baltic country is unique, they all share their love for nature and the outdoors. Snow-covered old towns of Riga, Vilnius and Tallinn offer great photo opportunities while the forests beckon cross-country skiers and hikers. The Baltic Sea coast, frozen lakes and waterfall, like the 8-meter-tall Jägala waterfall in Estonia, are great for outdoor exploration. You won’t go wrong with winter vacations in the Baltics.

Dolomites, Italy

While Italy is one of the most popular destinations in the world, most people think of it as a summer or fall destination. It’s also an excellent spot for winter vacations. Here, the Dolomites call to those that crave winter sports and stunning scenery. Located in the northeast part of the country, ski resorts with powdery slopes and charming villages offer postcard-perfect vacation spots for winter lovers.

The small town of Cortina d’Ampezzo, home to the 1956 Olympics, is a great starting point to winter in Italy. The Dolomites are a great choice whether you want to hit the slopes of the best ski resorts in Italy or prefer to try your hand at winter hiking, ice-skating or snowshoeing. Who knows, maybe you’ll even bump into a James Bond-type at the près ski party.

11 Amazing winter destinations for snow lovers | kasiawrites
Photo by v2osk on Unsplash

Cappadocia, Turkey

If winter sports are not your thing, but you still want to experience the magic of winter, then Cappadocia in Turkey is an excellent choice for a winter vacation. This historical region in central Anatolia transforms into a surreal landscape as snow blankest the honeycomb hills and fairy chimneys. The snow adds another layer of mystery to this area, giving it an out-of-this-world feel.

Go for a hot air balloon ride for a bird’s eye view of the area or watch the balloons rise from the snow-covered ground against the pink skies from a vantage point. Cappadocia offers several great hiking trails like the Rose Valley or the Pigeon Valley Trail if you’re looking for more activity. Fewer crowds will also make this a great reason to visit in winter.

Tatra Mountains

The Tatra Mountains are part of the Carpathian mountain chain and form a natural border between Slovakia and Poland. This area is designated as a national parkland on both sides of the border, and the Tatras are popular winter destinations for outdoor enthusiasts. This means an abundance of outdoor activities, from snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding and hiking. A true winter wonderland that’s not going to break the bank.

Zakopane Poland in winter
Zakopane, Poland | Photo by Radek Skrzypczak on Unsplash

If you choose to visit Tatras in Poland, head to the mountain resort town of Zakopane. Nicknamed the winter capital of Poland, this small, vibrant town is an excellent spot for exploring the trails, mountains and lakes. Make sure to visit Morskie Oko, a beautiful mountain lake with stunning views and relax in the natural thermal pools at Terma Bukovina, Terms Chocholowskie or Goracy Potok.

best winter destination - Tatra Mountains in Slovakia
Slovakia | Photo by Katarzyna Pe on Unsplash

Slovakia’s towns of Ždiar, Poprad and Štrbské Pleso are great starting points for your winter vacation to the Tatra Mountains. Visit the thermal baths at AquaCity Poprad, Aquapark Tatralandia or Beše?ová AquaPark for some wellness therapy and relaxation. But if the outdoors are calling you, there are numerous trails, mountains, lakes and viewpoints to explore.

Bulgaria

If you haven’t considered Bulgaria for your winter vacation, you absolutely should. Bulgaria is an excellent choice for snow lovers with numerous ski resorts that offer sloped for beginners and pros, thermal hot springs, and loads of charm. Add in historical towns, monasteries and museums, and you have yourself a perfect winter vacation.

Combine your love of the outdoors with relaxation as you enjoy the moment. The Rila and Vitosha mountains offer stunning views of mountains and lakes and plentiful options for outdoor activities. If you’re looking for something more, there is the famous Kukeri festival of monsters, and the Trifon Zarezan, dedicated to wine and wine-makers, celebrated on February 14.

Which winter vacation is right for you?

The type of winter vacation that’s best for you will depend mostly on your budget, time and interests. If you’re a skier or a snowboarder, you’ll have to decide whether you want to travel with your equipment or rent it. There could be cost advantages to both options, depending on your circumstances.

Your starting point might also dictate your choices. Going for a weekend ski trip to Switzerland might be more doable for some, while it might be significantly cost-prohibitive to others. The same applied to activities. Winter offers numerous outdoor activities that don’t involve skiing or snowboarding. You can still enjoy the season and everything that comes with it without hitting the slopes.

Winter is also a more affordable season for travel, and you’ll find lower prices and fewer crowds. That’s a great reason to get out there and make the best of it. Who doesn’t enjoy a deal?

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    Peggy Zipperer
    18 Jan 2022
    9:44pm

    These are all snowy beauties!! I am not a cold-weather girl (even though I live in Colorado) and you made me want to visit ALL of them. Cappadocia was so unexpected, it really surprised me!

      kasiawrites
      19 Jan 2022
      10:56am

      I’m happy to hear that! Snow makes everything look magical. I’ve been to Colorado and it’s beautiful there.

    kmf
    18 Jan 2022
    10:56pm

    This is a fabulous list of the best winter destinations for snow lovers. All are winter wonderlands!

      kasiawrites
      19 Jan 2022
      10:58am

      Thank you! They really are fabulous!

    Shannon
    19 Jan 2022
    1:47pm

    This is such a great list of fabulous destinations to visit during Winter! I know I grew up in Winter season as well in North Dakota (close to Canada), but I have become a wimp and venture to the warmer season states now. Which is where I call home – warmer weather state!

      kasiawrites
      20 Jan 2022
      10:25am

      Nothing wrong with that! Winter + snow is amazing. Winter, no snow and bitter cold not so much. It’s good to have an option to travel to a winter destination when you want to without living in it all the time. 🙂

    Chalk and cheese travels
    20 Jan 2022
    6:05am

    I need to try more winter destinations I just love the sun to much. I would love to try Scandinavia though and the Alps. Thanks for the great insight

      kasiawrites
      20 Jan 2022
      10:27am

      You’re welcome! I hope you get to try a winter destination soon! Both the Alps and Scandinavian countries offer lots of great options.

    Lisa at Following the Rivera
    20 Jan 2022
    6:52am

    Anywhere in Canada would be on my list for getting plenty of snow. I never thought of Turkey for snow, but it’s now on my radar!

      kasiawrites
      20 Jan 2022
      10:29am

      Canada is great, but Turkey in the snow has a great appeal too! Hopefully, you get to check both out soon!

    Paul (Paul Passing Through)
    20 Jan 2022
    3:55pm

    Wonderful list with some truly great destinations. I just read another post about the Dolomites; they look and sound beautiful.

      kasiawrites
      20 Jan 2022
      10:38pm

      I’m glad you enjoyedit. The Dolomites are simply stunning, all year round!

    Jen Nilsson
    22 Jan 2022
    2:52pm

    No bad weather just bad clothes. Love this. Like grab a coat and get out there! Thank you for these ideas.

      kasiawrites
      23 Jan 2022
      2:52pm

      You’re welcome! Clothing is key for any winter activity 🙂

    Mitch - Very Tasty World
    24 Jan 2022
    12:03pm

    What a lovely post! We adore winter and don’t mind the cold. We have visited some of these destinations (some during winter, some at other times of the year) but it is clear that there are many, many more snowy places to explore. Cappadocia was a complete surprise!

      kasiawrites
      24 Jan 2022
      12:26pm

      Thank you! I think many people don’t consider Turkey as a winter destination, but it’s gorgeous with the snow!

    Francesca
    24 Jan 2022
    3:51pm

    So many amazing destinations and another eleven destinations added to my bucket list haha. Not much of a winter sports person but can’t beat gorgeous snowy walks and cosy chalets.

      kasiawrites
      24 Jan 2022
      3:58pm

      Winter walks are some of my faves! Snow just adds such a nice touch to everything, especially nature!

    Carina | bucketlist2life
    24 Jan 2022
    5:42pm

    I am the exact opposite of a snow lover but beautiful places like Iceland might just convince me otherwise…

      kasiawrites
      25 Jan 2022
      11:39am

      Fair enough! Iceland is a great destination year-round and one of my favourites!

    Vanessa Shields
    26 Jan 2022
    11:58am

    So many beautiful winter destinations and several I need to visit! I tend to gravitate to sun and warmer destinations yet seeing places like Iceland, Scandinavia, or Canada covered in snow would be incredible. I agree, if I have the proper clothes it isn’t too bad!

      kasiawrites
      26 Jan 2022
      12:29pm

      I love sunny and hot destinations too! Sometimes it’s a nice way to break up the winter. It’s definitely all about the clothes when it comes to winter! 🙂