Whether looking for a beach vacation to escape the cold or a ski vacation to make the most of the snow, winter is a great time of year to travel. Need a little travel inspiration to plan your next trip? Here are eight incredible places to travel this winter, with ideas for both warm and cold weather destinations to satisfy any wanderlust!
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Eight Incredible Places to Travel This Winter
Banff/Lake Louise, Alberta
Banff & Lake Louise, Alberta, located in Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies, is known for its breathtaking mountain, glacier, and lake views. A popular year-round destination, the mountains are especially popular in the winter months for its many indoor and outdoor activities. Skiers can enjoy a day on the slopes at three area ski resorts, Mt. Norquay, Sunshine Village, or Lake Louise. Other outdoor winter activities include snowshoeing, ice skating, horse-drawn sled rides, dog sledding, and snowmobiling. Those who prefer the comfort of indoors can still enjoy gorgeous mountain views while snuggling by a roaring fire at the five-star Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel or enjoy afternoon tea at the enormous windows overlooking the lake at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
You can’t go wrong with travel to any one of the Hawaiian Islands, but Kauai, known for its lush natural beauty, exotic coastline, stunning waterfalls, scenic canyons, and sublime sugar-white beaches add to the untamed wild of the island, making Kauai an experience of a lifetime. Kauai enjoys a temperate winter climate in the 70s, but don’t let the forecast of rain hinder a visit, as showers are brief and lend a richness to the verdant landscape. For luxury accommodations, check out the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort known for its tranquil south shore beaches and world-class golfing, or the Princeville Resort with stunning north shore views and luxury amenities.
Although most of Costa Rica is a rainforest, winter is the dry season, marked by lower humidity and warm sunny days, making it a great time to explore this tropical Central American paradise. Rich in biodiversity, Costa Rica takes ecotourism to a whole new level with its many national parks, wildlife refuges, and protected beach areas where visitors can enjoy the natural jungle, mountains, and beaches that are home to an abundance of wildlife, including sloth, lizards, capuchin monkeys, macaws, and tree frogs. Popular activities include hiking, surfing, sailing, snorkeling, and horseback riding. A relaxed “Pure Vida” attitude rules the country so be prepared to slow down and enjoy life to its fullest in the mountains or at the beach. Enjoy magnificent views at the award-winning Nayada Gardens Retreat in the midst of Arenal Volcano National Park, or beautiful sand beaches and stunning sunset views at the luxurious Nantipa Hotel.
Each year, Venice hosts a party to end all parties with Carnevale di Venezia, an annual two-week festival to mark the beginning of the Christian holiday of Lent, leading up to Easter. More elegant than New Orleans Mardi Gras, Carnivale is known for its exotic white and gold-adorned masks, sophisticated masquerade balls, public parades, and delicious carnival food dishes. While in Venice, be sure to visit the many historical landmarks, such as St Marks Basilica, Doge’s Palace, or the Bridge of Sighs, or take a romantic gondola ride on the grand canal. For luxury lodging, stay at the magnificent Gritti Palace Hotel, overlooking the Grand Canal, or the elegant Hotel Cipriani, located on Giudecca Island.
If the natural phenomena known as the Northern Lights are at the top of your travel wish list, Iceland is the place to be. Pingvellir National Park, located east of Reykjavik, outside the glare of city lights is one of the best places to best catch the swirling magical dancing lights in the night sky. While in Iceland, be sure to visit other iconic Iceland destinations, such as the glaciers of Snæfellsjökull National Park, Puffin Island, Skaftafall Park with its stunning waterfalls, or swim in The Blue Lagoon. The Ion Adventure Hotel, set in Iceland’s otherworldly volcanic landscape, offers the best views of the Northern Lights in a luxury setting.
While North America shivers in the cold of winter, New Zealand, located in the southern hemisphere, is in the midst of a temperate summer. Weather in New Zealand this time of year averages between about degrees, making it ideal for outdoor adventure activities such as kayaking in Milford Sound to see its famous waterfalls, hiking north and south Island on the Te Araroa Trail, spelunking in Waitomo Caves to see the glowworms, or a hike to see Franz Joseph Glacier. Stay at the rustic yet sophisticated The Farm at Cape Kidnappers for its understated luxury; at Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses guests can indulge in fine dining and magnificent mountain and ocean views while staying in romantic luxury treetop suites.
Winter is the perfect time to visit The Bahamas. Sunny sand beaches, tropical ocean breezes, and sultry water temps lure travelers ready to shake off the bitter cold. Although winter is high season for The Bahamas, there is little danger of hurricanes this time of year, plus humidity is low. Stay at the Cove of Atlantis in Nassau for ultimate family fun, or the SLS Baha Mar for the ultimate luxury experience.
Quebec City, Quebec
The oldest city in North America, Quebec City is a mix of old-world charm and contemporary recreation. Visit old Quebec City with its picturesque cobblestone streets and European style buildings, or ride the Le Funiculaire streetcar from Dufferin Terrace down to the lower town area of Quartier Petit-Champlain along the St. Lawrence River. Quebec City is also famous for its winter carnival in early February, with ice castles, nighttime parades, and steaming mugs of Caribou (an alcoholic drink with red wine, whiskey, and maple syrup). Stay at the iconic Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac on the banks of the St Lawrence River to be in the center of all the fun!
If you would like more information and travel ideas about any of these destinations, please contact me at Luxe Journeys Travel.