Our Favourite Winter Destinations
As the colder weather and darker mornings (and nights) roll around, many of us long for a getaway. Whether that's to end the year on a high, making memories, or to have something to look forward to - by beginning the next on a sojourn. You could be going in search of winter sun, as the summer feels like a long and distant memory, or perhaps, you're planning a snow-filled escapade. Whatever your preferences, we have a trip for you.
You could make the most of the good parts of winter - think cosy nights in front of a log fire, spiced mulled wine in a pretty German market, and Christmas shopping along quaint cobbled streets illuminated by fairy lights. Go in search of the Northern Lights or even stay at an iconic Ice Hotel.
We know that traditional wintry holidays aren't for everyone. If you're someone who'd rather escape the cold during the winter, then going on holiday in search of winter sun for a couple of weeks can be a great way to do this - it'll just involve flying a little further afield. From the Middle East and Asia to Central America, seek adventure, culture, and history along the way.
If you're looking for travel inspiration, you've come to the right place - we've highlighted our favourite winter destination with tour recommendations to help you out.
Made up of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden; as well as the Faroe Islands and Greenland, a winter holiday in the Nordics epitomises the magic of the season. Whether you're interested in outdoor pursuits, such as dog sledding, ice skating, skiing, or snowmobiling, or would much rather hop in a hot tub or sauna in a cosy wooden lodge, there's something beautiful about this part of the world in the colder months.
Of course, winter is the best time to see the Northern Lights - the fantastic spectacle in the sky, where greens, blues and pinks dance around before your eyes - but most travellers come to visit Lapland. Everything is prettier when covered in snow - a Norwegian fjords cruise may be an ideal way to take in the landscapes, but even city breaks during the winter months can be special. Take in Christmas markets and discover the true meaning of 'Hygge'. Take a look at our Nordic hotels for some inspiration for your winter city break.
Switzerland is a fantastic destination to visit all year round, but it's during the winter months, that it becomes a fairytale wonderland. A combination of exciting cities, charming villages and stunning natural landscapes make it ideal for those looking to explore while taking in a real winter destination. With the snowy peaks of the Swiss Alps dominating, a train ride through these majestic mountains is a must for many travellers - with winter pursuits such as skiing also proving popular. The Jungfrau region is one of the best places to stay, with towns like Interlaken ideal for dipping into fondues, visiting Christmas markets and taking in other seasonal events.
If you're planning on travelling to the Swiss Alps in wintertime, it provides the perfect opportunity to cross the border to Italy. Another year-round destination, the lakes of Northern Italy are much quieter during the colder months, but nevertheless, are still beautiful. Lakes Lugano and Maggiore cover both Switzerland and Italy, while Lake Como is set against the foothills of the Alps.
As snow falls and an eerie mist engulfs like a dark cloak, the winter months provide the perfect atmosphere to take in the culture, architecture, and landscapes of Romania. It may not be known as a winter destination, or be one of the first that you choose, but exploring in winter is like being in your own fairytale - it's a magical experience. Best known for its medieval castles, including the legendary Bran Castle (made famous by Bram Stoker's Dracula), you've got fantastic mountainscapes, the Danube and fascinating cities to explore.
Capital Bucharest is an ideal location to visit to soak up all that Romania has to offer - particularly at this time of year. With numerous architectural landmarks, cultural highlights and tourist attractions, a walking tour is one of the best ways to take it all in - and the Old Town is a must-visit. During winter, expect an epic Viennese-style Christmas market with the scents of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts filling the air, and plenty to do and see.
- Discover Transylvania and stay at the Ice Hotel
If you're looking to cross Antarctica off your bucket list, there's no better time. This once-in-a-lifetime destination is longed to be visited by many, but few get to grace its ice-capped waters in search of snow and wonderous wildlife. A cruise is the best way to get around - you can expect to be joined by like-minded expeditionists, and an expert team as you go on ice cruises and landings. The White Continent really does have to be seen to be believed.
While during our winter, it's summer in Antarctica, temperatures rarely get above 0C, with highs of -10C more likely. Luckily, you'll be well equipped for your travels. Mid to late summer cruising is the best time to go, where you could encounter various species of whale (humpback, minke and killer) as well as penguins who are almost ready to fledge the nest. Whether you're a keen photographer, an adventurist or have a passion for science or astrology, a trip to Antarctica will prove an unworldly experience.
- Discover the pristine ice-capped landscapes and wonderful wildlife of Antarctica on this cruise
Travelling to Jordan in winter provides a unique experience - the temperatures are colder, you experience rain or snow, but as it's considered the off-season, busy tourist attractions and sites are free from the extensive crowds. This means you can explore the likes of Petra, Wadi Rum, and the Dead Sea a lot more freely. If it's warmth you're after, the Red Sea or one of the many hot springs will be the perfect place to relax and take in the mineral-rich waters.
Of course, one of the best ways to explore the country is on an escorted tour! From a 4x4 ride or camel safari through the desert, to riding along the King's Highway, a pre-planned itinerary is ideal for cramming in the sights and culture of Jordan. You can experience floating on the Dead Sea (the lowest point on earth), discover Petra by candlelight, and best of all, immerse yourself in the culture and people of the country - learning more about the fascinating region.
- Our popular all-female tour of Jordan will be an eye-opening experience
If you're after a winter retreat, there are so many destinations you could opt for - and each offer something very different during the season. If you're seeking outdoor exploration, Thailand could be a great idea, as its temperatures are more favourable - and Vietnam is much the same, with December also being the time of the Lantern Festival in Hoi An. For culture-rich experiences, you simply cannot look beyond India, or Cambodia - where ancient ruins collide with bustling cities. Japan featured in our favourite spring and autumn destinations, but it's one of those places that can be appreciated all year round.
If you're looking to tick off multiple destinations in one trip, cruise along the Mekong. Winter is a great time to journey along the Delta, with excellent weather meaning manageable waterways and lush landscapes that pass you by. Most journeys will traverse between Siem Riep in Cambodia and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, both upstream and downstream, with plenty of sights to take in along the way.
- Visit the major sights of Vietnam and Cambodia on a land tour and cruise package
The winter months (December-March) are the best time to travel to Central America, as it's their dry season. Whenever you choose to visit, expect there to be carnivals and festivals, as well as the opportunity to spot the region's wonderful wildlife. With its two distinct coastlines, you can spend time on the beaches, or head inland for jungle adventures. It all depends on what you're looking for from your experience.
One destination that has it all in abundance is Costa Rica - and it's no surprise it's one of the most popular. A nature lover's playground, expect biodiversity, action, and adventure. If you crave city life, Panama may be the place for you. Best known for its hats as well as the engineering marvel that is the Panama Canal, you'll cities collide with beaches to give travellers the best of both worlds.
- Cruise the coast of Costa Rica & Panama by tall ship
View all of our tours online or call our friendly reservations team for more travel advice or inspiration.