12 Epic Winter Destinations
I’m pretty much always dreaming of snow and roasted almonds. My brain is in a constant state of wandering around Christmas markets while sipping on some mulled wine. But it’s not all about Europe on my Winter Destinations list! There might be a location or two at the end that surprises you because sometimes a “white Christmas” doesn’t mean white snow – it means white sandy beaches. What’s at the top of your winter bucket list this year? Read on to find out my top 12 Winter Destinations for this year!
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Iceland – Winter Destination #1
Iceland is number one on my winter destinations checklist because it ticks all the boxes for winter extraordinaire adventures. The number one reason? Northern lights. Seriously, the northern lights are every bit as magical in person as you would imagine they are.
Reason number two Iceland is one of my top choices for a winter destination is because of its proximity to the US. As opposed to other countries in Europe with similar climates and adventures (Finland, Sweden, Norway) – Iceland is a much shorter flight! Plus, Icelandic horses are probably the cutest thing to have ever existed.
Is Iceland one of your top Winter Destinations?! You can check out all my Iceland Archives here, or you can read some of my faves that I’ve written on Iceland below!
If you’re traveling to Iceland you might as well tack on a wee trip to Scotland right afterward as well.I never thought I would love Scotland as much as I did – especially considering I experienced it with a blanket of snow, but here I am two years later trying to convince my (very English) boyfriend we need to buy a cottage there and live in the wilderness. (He can thank Outlander for that.)
Most people may not think of Scotland as a traditional winter destination – they want to visit England’s northern neighbor for the greenery and cooler summer weather. But there’s nothing better than popping into a roadside pub in the highlands after walking around all day and sitting down for a hot soup and a frothy beer. Maybe my inner 18th-century peddler is showing here – but that’s the life I always want to live.
Jokes aside, Scotland has wonderful Christmas markets, and making it a winter destination as opposed to a summer one gives you way fewer crowds and a lot more room for exploring.
Castles, Christmas markets, and all the comfort food you could want – I’m dreaming of the day I will bundle up and head to Nuremberg or Heidleburg to experience winter & Christmas. From some of the most INCREDIBLE Christmas markets in the world to the beautiful snow-covered Neuschwanstein Castle – there is no better place to feel like you are in a complete winter wonderland than Germany.
You might be dreaming of a White Christmas, but that may mean white sand beaches – not snow! The Caribbean is full of epic winter destinations. Antigua, Barbuda, St. Lucia, Curaçao, BVIs and so many more. Escape the cold and chill out in the warm winter sun. The Caribbean is a classic destination for your winter holiday – and what better way to socially distance than in your own private cabana on the beach in the sun. Come back to the office after the new year with a tan and feeling utterly relaxed.
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Maybe I am biased because it’s my home state, but Florida is a great winter destination for 2021 if you aren’t looking to leave the country. Yes, it may be filled with crazy people, and yes, there is always the threat of slinking alligators and of course the less elusive Florida Man – but the Sunshine State really does have a lot to offer for those seeking to escape winter’s chill.
From St. Augustine with its incredible Nights of Lights all the way down to Key West, Florida has a little something for everyone this winter.
The mountains of Switzerland are calling, and his name is Grindelwald! Back to snow-filled winter destinations, Switzerland is a photographer’s dream come true, while still being super accessible to the rest of Europe. Only a short drive to France, Germany, Austria, and Northern Italy, Switzerland is a treasure trove for winter.
A good starting point is Interlaken. There are lots of hikes in the area, as well as Lake Brienz. Travel to Bern, sip on mulled wine or a hot chocolate and enjoy the Swizz Alps at their finest.
Another favorite state of mine, and another one of the great winter destinations of the United States! Whether you want to head to Denver to catch a football game and hang out in the city and its many surrounding ski resorts, or head to the Southwest and visit fabulous cowboy town Durango, Colorado – The Rocky Mountain state is a wonderful winter destination undoubtedly.
Skiing, dogsledding, ice-climbing, sleigh rides, and all the other winter activities you could think of await you in Colorado.
So much snow you could drown in it – Finland is probably the most winter place you could go without venturing into full arctic mode. I have not traveled to this destination myself, but its been at the top of my list for a while, and the next time I feel like braving chest-deep snow in Europe, you can bet your bottom dollar that’s where I am heading.
Winter in the Northern Hemisphere means Summer in the Southern Hemisphere! Make a unique holiday and travel to South Africa to go on Safari, cage dive with great whites, and enjoy the stunning coastline this amazing country has to offer.
To change things up a bit I have listed NYC as one of my top winter destinations. Mostly because even though I love New York in the summer, it stinks. Literally, the trash in the street smells horrific and it’s really put me off from visiting New York in the summer.
However, winter in the Big Apple is magical. I can remember my eyes going as wide as saucers the first time I saw the side of Macy’s lit up at Christmas. The ice rink in central park, the Radio City Rockette’s Christmas Spectacular – there is so much going on in NYC during the holidays it’s amazing. And you can’t forget the Macy’s Day Parade! New York City is truly a special place, and it is best experienced between Thanksgiving and New Year.
A completely different side to Italy than what you might expect, the Dolomites have been on my bucket list for YEARS as a winter destination, but I haven’t quite had the chance to get there yet. The traveling isn’t quite as easier as some of the other winter destinations on my list, but if you can scrape up the time, you will not be disappointed.
You might be noticing a trend here – all of my winter destinations are either full white snowy adventures or chill out and hang on the beach. The thing about Hawaii that is so amazing is it’s a beachy spot with island vibes and loads of nature, but also tons of adventure, history, and culture. Hawaii is a really special spot and if you can get there in the winter, it’s sure to be one of your favorite winter holidays you have ever taken.
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