All too often the focus of a winter break is to head off somewhere hot and sunny and tropical, leaving the cold far behind. However, Winter can be a magical season, all frosted trees, cozy drinks in warm bars and twinkling lights. This year, instead of escaping the cold, embrace it in one of these enchanting destinations:
A cosmopolitan metropolis in Canada’s Quebec province, Montreal is a buzzy, creative melting pot where the wine is always flowing and the bars are always rocking, even as temperatures plummet to Arctic depths. Canada’s cultural capital has a cutting edge art scene, great live music and delicious food: be sure to try the Poutine: a thoroughly comforting concoction of French fries, gravy and cheese. To experience Montreal spirit in all its glory, head to Igloofest which takes place over nine nights towards the end of January. It may be -35C but this music festival keeps the heat up with performances from new and established electronic music acts plus ice sculptures, caribou (a heady Québécois drink) and fancy dress contests. If raving is not your thing try the, more February’s, more sophisticated, High Lights festival which features food, wine, performing arts and all night bar crawls!
New York owns Christmas and, though it may be a cliché, as a festive winter getaway it cannot be beaten. From the gigantic ice rink by the Rockefeller to the tinsel strewn decorations that bedeck the windows of Macy’s and Saks, New York is winter is its entire commercial, fairy-lighted, Christmas carols on a loud speaker, glory.
If you head out after Christmas day you’re in for a treat: Christmas sales galore and an epic New Year’s Eve.
Whistler is the winter sports capital of the world and, as such, was the venue for the 2010 Winter Olympics. As well as first class skiing and snowboarding facilities for all levels, Whistler excels in alternative winter sports such as the adrenaline boosting heli-skiing (not for the faint hearted!), ziplining and snow tubing. The nightlife is also unparalleled as far as ski resorts go making it the best place in the world for a sporty getaway.
St Petersburg in winter may be bitterly cold, but it is also pure fairytale. More Westernised than Moscow, whilst still retaining that quintessential ‘Russian-ness’, St Petersburg is one of the most evocative cities in the world and a great place to get in touch with the labyrinthine history of Russia. From baroque palaces to frosted squares and canals; the ‘Venice of the North’ is elegant, exotic and the perfect place to get in touch with your inner Anna Karenina.
Ok so Miami is far from cold, however it does provide the opportunity to wander the snow covered streets of one of the most famous, and most magical, villages in the world. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter boasts a life sized replica of the legendary Hogsmeade village, complete with a Three Broomsticks pub in which to sample the, much-lauded, Butterbeer. Perfect if you’d like a little bit of frosty enchantment without having to sacrifice sun and sand.
This is a guest post written by Helen Cross who works for travel site Simonseeks; where you can find holiday inspiration and expert rated London hotels.