Summer may be the peak time of the year to go away, but taking a winter break means you get to experience a whole new world of travel.
Exploring in the deep winter can create some magical experiences and allow you to visit places that you may have never considered.
There are plenty of breathtakingly beautiful, winter destinations to explore around the globe. To help inspire you, travel experts at Iglu Cruise have revealed five of the best destinations to visit that should be added to your bucket list this winter, plus some of the best attractions to visit in the region.
- Prague, Czech Republic
The capital of the Czech Republic, Prague is an affordable city break destination to add to your bucket list this winter. The famous market in the Old Town Square is one of the biggest in Europe, where you can find everything from handmade crafts to delicious food and drink.
The city is decorated with twinkling Christmas lights from the end of November and throughout December. With the breathtaking castle in the background, you will feel as though you are in a fairytale.
Not only is there Christmas decorations and lights galore, but the city also transforms into a winter wonderland with snow falling from the end of November into March. Temperatures from 2°C or lower can usually be expected during the winter, so make sure to bring a thick coat and some gloves.
You can also take a river cruise along the Vltava River which runs through the city, where you can see some of the most iconic landmarks in the city, including the Charles Bridge, Prague Castle and the famous Dancing House. River boats are fully enclosed and heated. Dinner cruises are also an option which usually contains some live entertainment and food and drinks.
- Basel, Switzerland
The Christmas markets in Basel are some of the best in the world and were voted the best Christmas market in Europe in 2021. You can find fine jewellery, Christmas decorations, food and drink, along with fairground rides, live music and entertainment.
With ski slopes, snow-covered mountains and frozen lakes, Switzerland is one of the most beautiful countries to visit in the winter. Charming villages surrounding the Alps make you feel like you live inside a snow globe.
Even for those who don’t wish to ski, there’s plenty to do in Basel and around Switzerland in the winter. Train journeys across the Swiss countryside will leave you speechless. You could also book a fondue experience train journey where you can sample delicious Swiss cheeses all whilst enjoying Switzerland in its natural beauty.
If you’re looking to relax, visit a thermal spa during your trip. One of the most famous thermal baths in Switzerland is the Mineralbad and Spa Rigi Kaltbad, which overlooks Lake Lucerne and is over 600 years old. The beautiful centre includes indoor and outdoor pools, herbal steam baths and an outdoor lounging area.
- Lapland, Finland
The home of Santa Claus, Lapland may be one of the first places you think of when you imagine a Winter Wonderland. If you’re looking for the ultimate Arctic break, northern Finland could be the answer.
Thousands of Brits visit Lapland every year around Christmas. And one of the most popular things to do is visit the town of Rovaniemi, home of Santa Claus. Here, guests can see the famous figure and also take a tour of his workshop and meet the reindeer.
Guests visiting Lapland also have the opportunity to take a husky safari through the thick snow and beautiful landscapes in the region. Cruising through the frozen wilderness on a reindeer sleigh ride is also popular for tourists visiting the region. If you’re looking for more excitement, you can even try a snowmobile.
For a truly unique experience, if you’re lucky, you can even stay at an ice hotel or in an igloo, spending the night under the stars and even witnessing the northern lights.
- New York City, USA
If you have the budget, Christmas is one of the best times to visit New York as the city is world-famous for being full of festive fun.
Ice skating at Central Park feels as though you have stepped into a cinematic universe, while window shopping down 5th Avenue will definitely get you into the Christmas spirit. The iconic Rockefeller Christmas tree can also be seen, which stands at an impressive 30 m tall.
The city also becomes a haven of Christmas lights everywhere you look. The Dyker Heights neighbourhood in Brooklyn has become famous for the extravagant Christmas decorations found outside the houses of its residents. Some houses even play Christmas carols from loudspeakers.
Some of the biggest and most famous Christmas markets in the US are also found in NYC. Grand Central Holiday Fair and Bryant Park’s Winter Village are brimming with unique handmade gifts, Christmas tree decorations, winter accessories, and gourmet food and drink.
If you’re looking for a show, the legendary Christmas Spectacular by the Rockettes can be seen at Radio City Music Hall in Midtown Manhattan.
- Edinburgh, UK
If you’re looking for a winter wonderland escape a little closer to home, try visiting the Scottish capital, Edinburgh.
There are amazing illuminations all around the city, with George Street having some of the most eye-catching lights. The Royal Botanic Garden transforms into a winter wonderland too, with sparking tunnels of lights and projections transforming the historical Inverleith House.
East Princes Street Gardens also hosts the traditional Christmas Market with around 70 stalls featuring some of the best local and international traders selling everything from handmade gifts and bespoke products, to delicious treats and drinks. There is also a big wheel and helter-skelter that you can’t miss.
At Waverley Station, you will also find the Polar Express. Guests can enjoy an immersive theatre performance with actors bringing to life the characters from the iconic film. There will also be singing and dancing along with hot chocolate and cookies and even a visit from Santa Claus himself