In many parts of the world north of the equator, winter weather generally means it’s time to hunker down. But it can also be a great time to leave town and go on an epic vacation, whether you live in a cold region or not. While it might still be warm or tropical where you are, try something different and escape to the colder regions of the world.
From the unique events that only take place in wintertime to the epic outside activities that are made better by the cold temperatures, we highly suggest that you step away from the classic beach vacation this year, and opt for a winter experience instead. Here are a few of our favorite activities to stir up your wanderlust for the winter season:
Take in the New Year’s Festival in Dublin, Ireland
From December 30th until January 1st, Dublin is the place to be these days, as it hosts its New Year’s Festival for tourists and locals alike. During the three-day festival, the city comes alive with art, music, and cultural celebrations that bring people together from all over the world to kick off the next year in a particularly exciting fashion. These celebrations include 3-D light projections and massive outdoor concerts – and they’re all free. If you’re thinking about planning a trip to Ireland this winter, we highly recommend you build this festival into your winter vacation itinerary. Need an itinerary? We’ve created a checklist of things you must see while in Dublin.
Trek in the Ice in Baikal, Russia
Say what you want about winter weather – most of us can agree that, even if it’s not our favorite, the ice and snow are incredibly beautiful. And nowhere is that truer than in the icy region of Baikal, Russia, where travelers can enjoy some of the most unique and beautiful winter activities in the world. These consist of exploring spectacular caves made entirely of ice, rafting in the breathtaking mountains, and even ice hiking for the particularly adventurous at heart. One of the most unique excursions we’ve heard about is a five-day trek across Lake Baikal, in which you’ll hike, eat and sleep atop the lake’s black ice surface. We promise the cold temperatures will be well worth it for this trip. Just make sure you purchase travel insurance to cover your medical bills if you were to get injured on your hike or if your trip gets delayed due to bad weather.
Explore Christmas Markets All Over Germany
When it comes to Christmas shopping, Germany really takes it to the next level with their annual Christmas markets. Held all over the region, these markets take place from late November through Christmas, and they are truly amazing, whether or not you’re celebrating the holiday. Though the scale of each market varies based on the city it’s held in – Berlin’s is relatively grand in scale and Rothenburg’s is quainter, for example – they all encompass many of the same traditional elements. These incorporate delicious food like gingerbread, bratwurst and potato pancakes, as well as cider and Glühwein, which is mulled red wine, and booths where German artisans and crafters sell their wares. While these markets might be a little less adventurous than camping on frozen lakes, they are definitely epic and not to be missed.
Skiing in the Alps of Switzerland, Austria or France
For some, the beginning of winter means one thing and one thing only…that it’s time for skiing (or snowboarding) season to commence. And there is perhaps nowhere more epic for this group of people than the Alps, one of the greatest mountain ranges in Europe. Stretching from Austria to the East to France in the West, they are known for their unbeatable terrain – more varied and natural than most skiing in the United States. While skiing the Alps would be an epic experience no matter which destination you choose to visit on your vacation, we’ve heard that the slopes in Switzerland, Austria and France are particularly stunning. If you’re into skiing, this is vacation for your winter bucket list.
Hot Springs in Iceland
Among other things, Iceland is known for its breathtaking hot springs, which are perfect places to visit the cold winter season. Because this destination is located on a “hot spot” on the earth’s surface, there is a great deal of geothermal activity throughout the area. Its many hot springs are a result of a combination of this geothermal activity and the ice and glaciers that cover Iceland’s surface. While some of the springs are boiling, others are the perfect temperature for swimming. Perhaps their most famous option is the Blue Lagoon, which is located on the Reykjanes peninsula, close to Reykjavík. The Blue Lagoon is more than just a classic natural hot spring – it’s a “Geothermal Spa” where many go to receive relaxing treatments in addition to bathing in the spring. If you’re looking for something more low-key, a simple search will show you that equally beautiful but less well known hot springs are open to the public all over the destination. If you’re looking to warm up this winter, try hot springs instead of the beach this year!
As you dream about your winter travels, don’t forget to insure your trip investment with travel insurance! As winter brings it’s own travel challenges, events like blizzards and delayed sporting equipment you had packed might happen unexpectedly.
Instead of losing out on precious time on the slopes or enjoying winter festivals, travel insurance offers protection and reimbursement if you needed to rent additional equipment or needed to purchase some essentials to get by. And of course, if weather has its way in delaying your flights or other transportation, travel insurance could cover that too!
Not quite sure where to start in finding the best insurance plan for your trip? We’ve created a free quote tool for this exact purpose! Still not sure? Ask one of our friendly humans for some help –they’ll be sure to find you the best comprehensive plan at the most affordable price.
As you can imagine, these are just a few of the many unique and epic travel destinations that are perfect for the winter season. Have you been to others? Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, or tag us on Instagram (@insureyonder).