Best Places to Visit in the World in Winter
With the turn of the globe away from the sun, most of the habitable world is plunged into the season of winter. While it is a harsh season to bear for those that live in extreme conditions and places, those that reside by the sea or in the tropics consider winter a soothing relief from all the heat and humidity that trails them year round. Therefore winter months from October-November to February make for a great escape opportunity for a vacation. From skiing trips up into remote mountains to Christmas night markets in some of the most fairy-tale cities of the world, beach holidays in island countries of the Indian Ocean to European coasts that offer great sun, sand and culture; winter time is great to globe-trot. Here’s a list of our personal favourites this winter.
Winter in Spain is not at all too cold for anybody. It is in fact quite pleasant and welcoming, especially the grand Christmas celebrations. The preparations for the same begin way ahead in early November, lights stringing from door to door and markets decorated in streamers and holiday regalia. The country is one of the warmest winter destinations in all of Europe, with special winter tours pointing towards places like Gran Via and Mercado de San Antón in Madrid, La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Canary Islands and Seville.
One of North Africa’s hottest desert countries is just a nice balmy chill place during winters. While the sun is still high and mighty in the sky, the cold weather and winds ensure you have a great time, travelling in caravans and exploring mummies in pyramids, or just walking through the souks and open markets of the cities. Aswan is Egypt’s priced secret for winter vacations. A town on the banks of River Nile, Aswan is all traditional beauty, soft breezes and pale yellow and white coloured buildings. Scuba diving in Red Sea and experiencing the legend of Cairo are other things that must be on your agenda.
Of Machu Picchu and Inca Valley trails, evergreen rainforests and the mighty sight of the Andes; Peru is a dream destination for adventure lovers. And what’s more is that it is best visited in winter months from November to February, when the wet season befalls the lands, bringing in gushing rains and lush greenery in turn. Hikes and treks up Machu Picchu become coveted and the peaks all become verdant. Visit Cusco, Lake Titicaca, Lima, and of course, the Sacred Valley for all your adventure holiday goals.
Located in South East Asia, Laos is a beautiful canvas of mother nature’s masterpiece. With its dreamy temples, huge engraved caves, waterfalls and step terraces planted with paddy, you can only imagine the imagery that this country would make in reality. The winter time here is the best, weather wise. December is the best month to visit. You can go for lots of outdoorsy activities like camping, overnighters by the lake or up in the hills, treks etc. Vientiane and Luang Prabang are other great haunts for history and cultural buffs and those who are fond of temples.
The Thai winters make for heavenly vacations for beach babies. With a temperature average of 30°C during these months and long daylight hours with diffused sunlight, you are in for some good relaxation opportunities and photos too! Go to Bangkok for a mad shopping spree, chill on the beaches of Ko Samui, do some scuba diving, snorkelling and adventuring in Phuket and get massages in Pattaya. What’s not to love here anyway? If you are into all-nighters and parties then Ko Phangan’s full moon and nightlong parties are just the best.
Cambodia is another South East Asian paradise that is home to some of the most beautiful Hindu temples, Buddhist monasteries and natural beauty. If you are a sucker for heavenly sunrises, temple complexes and rice fields that stretch endlessly into the horizon then Cambodia is THE place of your dreams. While the winter months persist, the weather here is cool and windy with very low humidity. The temperature averages at 25°C and you can do everything, from trekking to sightseeing to praying without breaking a sweat. Visit Angkor Vat, go fishing in Kampot, beach-partying out in Sihanoukville, check out the caves in Battambang and eat the most delicious bowls of pho noddles on narrow fishing boats.
The United Arab Emirates is developed in a desert land, hence you’d think it’s always hot and dry. That is however not true. December to March in UAE and by default Dubai, is heavenly. The temperature is averaging at about 26°C and you get to go for all those desert safaris, mall explorations, marine world fun and Burj Khalifa expeditions without much thought about the weather. Christmas makes everything around too special to resist and great discounts come up at most International brands, plunging you into a never-ending shopping spree. You must also explore Old Dubai or Bastakia for its ancient architecture that keeps the houses warm in winter and cool in summer.
Cigars, beaches, vintage cars and pastel coloured houses - Cuba is a lot more than these cliches. However, these cliches do create a tantalising imagery, don’t they?
This collection of islands off the American coast makes for a great winter destination for lovers of art, history, architecture and culture. The days are bright, sunny and cool, imparting the perfect weather for your outdoorsy expeditions. You can go to Havana for its old buildings, upbeat music and heavenly beaches, explore the beach resort of Varadero, Check out the pastel coloured neighbourhoods of Old Havana and unleash all your love on the sweet sugarcane plantations of Trinidad.
Think Merlion and Universal Studios, Marina Bay Sands and Night Safari Park… think Sentoza Island and the beautiful Clark Quay for shopping. Think Singapore and its dryish weather of cool winds and 26°C average temperature. If that’s not a perfect holiday deal then what is? You will especially enjoy spending your days outdoors as the afternoon rains would be minimal and the dry cool weather would benefit your explorations. Most people like to pair Singapore with Thailand or Malaysia, so that’s an idea for you!
Tasmania is a charming little country off the Australian coast, an island that is renowned for its amazing food, wildlife that is best seen through safaris, mountains that are best conquered by leisure hikes and beaches that should be relaxed on to really enjoy them. Since this region lies in the Southern Hemisphere, December and the months around it are not winter but summer, making for the warmest time of the year and the best for a vacation. So if you wish to escape the cold of your homeland then here’s an idea; Tasmania with its lavender fields and white sands and green waters.
Greece is a semi-temperate coastal country, the legitimate beginning of the continent of Europe. With its olive grooves and fruit orchards, white washed islands and ruins of Roman and Greek monuments; Greece is a beautiful holiday destination. What’s also in Greece’s favour is the fact that it is an almost all year round destination with winters being especially great because of the cool dry weather. You can enjoy yourself in Thessaloniki’s towers, farmers markets, pubs and Turkish baths, visit Athens for the brilliant monuments and Plaka neighbourhood, check out the beautiful Meteora or just sail for the Santorini Islands.
December in Italy is the most festive of all, because come on, Christmas! But the months leading up to it and the time after too is great for an Italian holiday. You get to wear all that gorgeous fashion of coats and sweaters and mufflers, enjoy lattes on Rome’s rooftops, go shopping through Milan without breaking a sweat and check out all the galleries and architectural wonders of Florence. December being the coldest and most festive month here has its pros and cons, but you must be in the Vatican for Christmas Eve to really feel the vibe of faith. Another great place to be in during winter is Venice. Its warm canals are cool now and the sun is slanted, but you can still enjoy gondola rides.
Croatia is a country in the south of Europe, recently becoming a coveted travel destination for its Game of Thrones shooting locations. But other than that, this is a beautiful place to visit; with its walled cities and waterfalls in mountains that freeze in winter. Croatia will beckon you in winter for Dubrovnik’s magical vibe, the still free-floating Adriatic Sea and its walled ramparts. However, the most beautiful, most enchanting in Croatia is the area of Plitvice Lakes. 16 interconnecting lakes that meander into one another with waterfalls and streams… frozen to crystal ice during the thick of winter. Winter wonderland goals, isn’t it?
Portugal is a European country but sees relatively warmer winters than its counterparts, owing mainly to its lower latitude and the influence of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean over its landmass. So the temperature here during December oscillates between 8-14°C, which is also the coldest time. You have all the cool winds and sunshine in the world to visit Braga, check out the legendary pilgrimage site of Bom Jesus do Monte, flock down at Tavira’s beach resort or just be in Lisbon and enjoy its charming trams, cobblestone streets, red-roofed coastal houses and seagulls.
Now, Switzerland is cold during winters, very cold, bone-chillingly cold. But it is also wonderful and lively with the perfectly powdered snow on the most perfectly aligned slopes that make for amazing skiing tracks. So for those skiing enthusiasts, you are getting a holiday of the sport you love with an added serving of piping hot cheese fondues and raclettes, chocolate fondues and creamy soups - all done the Swiss way. Some of the most popular skiing resorts right in the middle of the Alps include Zermatt, Saint Moritz, Davos and Verbier. This alpine nation must be on your list of winter holidays for this and only this.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is beautiful through summer, agreed. But it is no less charming in the winters. The gothic city architecture and the hauntingly stunning bridges and statues take on a new and different shade of beautiful as the city is lined with snow. As it snows outside, you can drink copious amounts of coffee, gorge on heavy yummy pastries with lots of sugar and cream, closet yourself in one or the other ballet or musical or theatrical performances or just bundle up in your fashionable coats and gloves and roam around the ancient streets. Between November and January, the city is ripe with Christmas night markets, some of the most stunning in the area, so there you are with a horde of Christmas goodies, cookies, toys, ales and everything pretty at your disposal.
We saved the best for the last, of course. So Lapland. The home of Santa Claus. Wouldn’t you want to visit Mr. Claus and deliver your Christmas wish list by hand? Here’s your chance, presented to you with a bonus of Northern Lights. Because this is Finland and the thick of winter, there are more than a hundred percent chances of sighting the stunning visual orchestra of nature that is the Northern Lights. You can camp out to see them in the night sky, rent a glass igloo, or go sleigh riding pulled by lapdogs or even reindeer. The Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi of the Lapland region is where you will find his home, his office and a post office, along with other fabled places. What else will you find in Lapland? Aside from the wonderful subarctic wilderness there are also amazing ski resorts, so you should be all set for a nice cute adventure of your own!