Some people limit themselves to travelling during the summers, but they truly are missing out on some of the most unique experiences the world has to offer. There is such a variety of places to visit during the winter, it was hard to pin down just ten, but I did my best to choose a wide variety of destinations that are particularly awesome during the winter.
This city is a year round destination that is popular every month of the year, but things slow down as the temperature drops. Not everyone is prepared to face an Eastern European winter for their vacation, but it isn’t anything a heavy winter coat, boots and gloves can’t handle. If you don’t mind the cold, Prague is quite festive on the off season. Between the Christmas markets, The Devil’s Sack and New Year’s Celebrations there are a wide variety of cultural experiences to explore. There is also nothing quite like walking the deserted streets of Prague at dawn when everything is covered in a thick layer of snow.
Taos, New Mexico
holiday season take on a unique cultural twist with Hispanic and Native American influences. Everything down to the Christmas tree has a touch of something just a tad bit different from what many of us are used to seeing for the traditional commercial Christmas decor. After you explore Taos, you can hit one of nearby Taos Ski Valley for some of the best skiing in the country.
No one does the holidays like Las Vegas, who glitz up the holiday just like they glitz everything else up. The Holiday shows and Christmas décor take on an extra blingy twist in this famous city. Go explore outside of the city with just a short 30 minute drive into the desert for refreshing warm and sunny air. There are also bus tours available to take you to the nearby parks. Vegas can be a bit quiet at this time of year, but during New Year’s Eve hotels fill up. Make sure to plan your trip accordingly to your crowd tolerance!
Palm Springs, California
The sun shines 350 days a year in Palm Springs, so it is perfect for people who live in a dreary climate during the winter. Palm Springs daytime highs average in the 80s during the day. An interesting place year round, but during the winter Palm Springs truly shines, and it offers a little something for everyone. Joshua Tree National Park or the San Andreas Fault are perfect for outdoorsy folks. For those who like interesting architecture, the city offers the largest collection of Modern Style buildings in the world. The golfer of the family will be amazed by the world class Palm Springs golf course that has the perfect weather for golfing during the winter.
Before you call me crazy for suggesting actually going to Canada during the winter as a vacation, let me tell you one thing about Montreal: they know how to stay warm. Montreal is set up for cold weather, so once you are indoors it is actually warm. There are coat checks everywhere the heat is turned up, and it actually is quite comfortable. Also, the prices during the winter are a lot more affordable, so you can get some really great deals on some fine digs for your stay. This is a great choice for snow lovers, even the ones who, like me, prefer admiring it from indoors with a delicious micro-brew from Montreal.
A spooky mask of fog falls over the city during the off season to give everything a gray and haunted feel. To experience Venice at its best during the winter, I recommend going to one of the city’s famous winter festivals like Venice’s Carnevale or the Venetian Winter Festival. Make sure while you are there to try the decadent Venetian-style hot chocolate, but just as a warning, every other hot chocolate experience might seem a disappointment for you after you experience Venetian hot chocolate.
Who says you can’t ski in Dubai? The Mall of the Emirates opened up an indoor ski resort, so you can actually ski in the Middle East. This is really a unique experience folks! When you hit the outdoors you can enjoy the average of 70 that we all love. Enjoy the local festivals, The Mall of Emirates, The Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world), the beaches, the people and the cuisine this winter in Dubai!
Everyone has read about the recent economic struggle in Greece that has been hard on the locals. Fortunately for travelers, it has lowered the prices of this once expensive destination. It does get cold and rainy through December through March, but that makes the temperature perfect for exploring on foot. Great for people who don’t mind dreary days, and love the idea of travelling on shoulder season.
How do you like the idea of celebrating the holidays in the rainforest full of exotic creatures and plants? How about a stop by the ancient Mayan cities to honor the cultures that came before ours. I’m of the humble opinion that there is no wrong time to go to Guatemala, so just add winter to the list. It doesn’t help the warm temperatures during the summer can be quite refreshing if you live in a chilly climate.
Yellow Stone National Park
Choose between snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or snow mobiling across this world famous national park. The winter is actually the best time to spot the wolves in the park, so canine lovers you’ll love it here during the winter. With the small crowds it can almost feel like you have the whole 3,468 sq miles of national park to yourself. Yes, old faithful still goes off during the winter months!
Holly Williford is a freelance writer and lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. In her free time she plays with her cats, plans her next trips and reads too many books. Currently she is planning another trip to Montreal for this December.
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