You don’t have to be a skiing pro if you want to make the most of the winter weather in time for your end-of-year, or family vacation. In fact, there are plenty of winter travel options out there that allow you to explore new and interesting hobbies, from delving into cave-based hotels in Turkey, to tracking wolves across Romania, or enjoying a quick bout of bobsleighing in Norway
In an effort to help the travelers of today rediscover the joy that comes with exploring the world outside of the Summer months, we at Venture 4th have put together a list of our favorite suggestions for the best winter vacations found all across the web. That means that all you need to do is find a cozy pair of socks, fix your TSA lock to your suitcase, and get ready for a truly unforgettable adventure.
1. Snow Shoes in Slovenia
Ask your grandmother for a pair of the thickest socks she can find this festive season, and use them with a pair of professional snowshoes to explore the landscape of the iconic Lake Bled, in Slovenia. Found within a section of the Julian Alps, it features some of the most stunning terrain in all of Europe, with limestone peaks outlining the majesty and power of Mount Triglav.
There are plenty of trips out there that include a guide who will take you through the snow-dusted forests of a winter wonderland, from deeply cut gorges of ice, to glacial lakes and meadows as far as the eye can see. Breathtaking barely begins to cover it.
2. Cave Hotels in Turkey
Far beyond the Mediterranean, where the sun continues to shine even in our coldest months, Turkey feels the chill of the festive season. The ancient rock formations of Cappadocia are dusted with sugary snow, presenting the perfect opportunity for tourists to wander through the magical twists and bends.
In the Cappadocia caves themselves, you can find some truly beautiful hotels, that make use of the natural beauty of the landscape, combined with rustic lighting and plenty of standard home comforts. Inside, you can chase away the chill with a heated pool, or a couple of luxurious spa treatments.
3. Greenland Glaciers
If you want to explore the wild side of the best winter vacations, head to Greenland for an adventure unlike anything you’ve attempted before. Here, you can enroll in a glaciers tour that includes nights of wonder within the town of “Kangerlussuaq“, or travel through camps outside the community, where temperatures drop as low as minus ninety degrees Fahrenheit.
If you’d like to see more of the frozen landscape, or take some pretty amazing birds-eye pictures, there’s also places in Ilulissat where you can grab a helicopter ride to the unbelievably huge Greenland ice sheet.
4. Ice Fishing in Lithuania
The hip-flask of vodka designed to keep you warm is optional on a Lithuania ice-fishing trip, but most experts will recommend it. Partially, the vodka is a necessity because the fish freeze within ten seconds of leaving the water they’re pulled from, and partially, you’re going to need it because you have to be just a bit drunk to want to experience those incredibly low temperatures in the first place.
Perhaps one of the most unique experiences you’re ever likely to have, it’s worth checking out Lithuania ice fishing spots at least once in your lifetime – if only so that you can tell people you’ve done it.
5. Scotland Snow beds
How about a white Christmas in the mountains of Scotland? The snow beds on the Cairngorms mountain range provide the perfect habitat for mountain hares and snowy owls – making this one of the best winter vacation choices for those who love the draw of natural wildlife.
For a touch of extra excitement, why not go on a snow hole adventure, where you’ll be taught to construct and design an efficient snow hole, before bedding down for the evening in the wall of an incredible mountain. Don’t worry, you won’t see any bears – but you might spot a herd of wild reindeer if you’re lucky enough.
6. Bobsleigh in Norway
A trip to Norway will bring you face to face with the former Olympic venue for bobsleigh in Lillehammer. This incredible, and historical location offers adult sleigh-rides that will take you across the snow and ice at no less than 60 miles per hour. Under instruction from the Great Britain team, you can also learn how to ride a skeleton head-first, stomach-down on a tiny sledge, your heart racing as your chin hovers inches from the ice.
If the idea of the skeleton is enough to send you running in the opposite direction, there’s always other options for entertainment. For instance, you can try a four-man Olympic style bobsled ride complete with an authorized pilot.
7. Ice Climbing in France
If hurtling downhill across ice and snow has lost its appeal in recent years, why not try going up the ice instead, by putting yourself to the test against some of the most extreme ice walls in the world. One of the best winter vacations around, a trip to the French Alps with a professional climbing team should hoist you straight into the summits of frozen waterfalls, where you can enjoy the views for miles around in chilling winter beauty.
After you’re done climbing, you can unwind with some fantastic bouts of dog-sledding, torch-lit mountain descents, and hot chocolate. Just make sure you wrap up warm!
8. The Estonia Baltic Freeze
Finally, one of the best winter vacations will be one that you’re never going to forget. In Estonia, visit Tallinn for all the makings of a winter city-break within chilly medieval walls. To stave off the cold, you can enjoy a range of home-made beers and delicious hearty stews, before crossing the frozen sea to watch the blood-orange sunsets over the snowscapes of Muhu Island.
To make the experience even more incredible, make sure you take along plenty of gingerbread and hot coffee to enjoy while you soak up the sights.