With winter starting right around the corner, travelers who are planning a vacation are either heading to somewhere tropical to get away from the cold and snow or are doing just the opposite—planning a trip to a winter wonderland destination. Whether it’s the Swiss Alps or Ginzan Onsen in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan, the world is abundant with places to plan a getaway during the colder season—but you have to love the snow! If you’re preparing on being in a place where you have to bundle up, we recommend these following international hot spots.
Japan is one of the most touristy destinations in Asia, with Tokyo being the busiest in the country. Travelers flock to see some of the oldest traditions and cultures in the world, unique in its own way. Aside from Tokyo, there’s Kyoto, Osaka, Himeji, and Fukuoka to name a few, which are great to see during the warmer season, but if you’ve got a love for snow, then those cities are some of the best winter destinations in Japan. If you’re one for the slopes, Japan offers some amazing mountains to go skiing or snowboarding, including Niseko, Furano, Hakuba (which is where some events of the 1998 Winter Olympics were held), or Myoko Kogen. Japan is also known for other winter activities such as bathing in an onsen (natural hot springs)—Hakone Onsen or Yufuin Onsen—or heading to Sapporo to experience the winter festival, which runs from the last week of January to the second week of February.
Rated the safest, happiest and wealthiest country in the world, Norway is a true winter wonderland destination for those who love the outdoors. Known for having some of the most interesting sites like the Northern Lights, and bucket list stays such as the igloo hotels, Norway is a remarkable place to get away to this cold season. Of course, there are also great places to ski and snowboard, but there are also other exciting activities like dog sledding and hanging out with reindeer. Oslo is beautiful, but there are other cities and towns to go to, such as Svalbard (for the Aurora Borealis), Tromso (for the dancing and partying), or Karasjok (where indigenous live and reindeer are everywhere).
Another European winter destination that’s very popular during the cold months is Switzerland. There you’ll find the Swiss Alps, but there’s so much more to this nation that is worth exploring. One way to see beautiful snow, glaciers and overall spectacular views is by taking a ride on the St. Bernina Express train. Or, you can head to Zermatt for a quieter skiing or snowboarding experience, St. Moritz for a fun nightlife (another place to indulge in winter sports), or St. Gallen to see the largest Christmas tree in all of Switzerland, and where 100 plus-year-old houses still stand along car-free streets.
Antarctica may not be on everyone’s list of winter destinations, but it’s definitely the coldest and to some, the most beautiful. Although much of this lonely continent is uninhabited, that purity is what makes it so memorable. From glorious glaciers and snow so white it sparkles to whales swimming and polar bears roaming freely, Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that every lover of the outdoors needs to see. The top three places to visit with a guide is South Georgia, home to over three million fur seals, many birds and king penguins; South Shetland Islands, made up of three islands—King George (most inhabited), Livingstone Island and Elephant Island; and Antarctic Peninsula, the northernmost tip of the mainland. If you want to go somewhere where most never step foot, Antarctica is the perfect winter destination.
If these or any other destinations speak to you, we’d love to help you get there in comfort and save you up to 70% off. Submit a flight request or contact your agent and we’ll find the best dates to travel there!