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Where to go when - Winter

21 May 2020

Discover the world in winter and step into a snow-globe world of seasonal beauty. Join Scandinavian reindeer herders during their annual migration, take a sleigh ride through the snow and marvel at frozen waterfalls. Or perhaps you're a snowbird, wanting to migrate south for the winter and soak up some unseasonal sunshine.

 

December

Ho Ho Ho, 'tis the season to eat, drink and be merry, and what better way to get the well-earned rest and relaxation that Christmas and New Year call for than celebrating away from home? If you fancy spending the big day abroad, then you could do a lot worse than Switzerland. Home of the original winter wonderland, Switzerland is big on warm welcomes, plenty of snow and beautiful Apline skylines. And with excellent public transport links, it's easy to visit the chic winter resorts and ascend mighty mountains.

Perhaps the buzz and bustle of the city that never sleeps tempts you instead. Renowned for its Christmas decorations, extravagant New Years' celebrations and outdoor ice-skating rinks, the big apple is just delicious at this time of year. And what could be more iconic than a horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park in gently falling snow?

If you're feeling chilly just thinking about those destinations, don't worry, there's no shortage of sun in December, you might just have to travel a little further to find it. A less conventional Christmas escape spot is Sri Lanka, which means a bit of quiet time. Go against the grain and spend your days tracking sleek leopards through the rainforest, visiting aromatic tea plantations and exploring age-old Buddhist temples.

January

In the deep mid-winter is one of the best times to journey beyond the Arctic Circle if you're searching for one of nature's most impressive performances. Many of us would love to see the Northern Lights in real life, and if you visit Norway in January, you'll find the odds are in your favour. When conditions are right, the long polar nights give you more viewing hours, and if you put your trust in the local guides, they'll pull out all the stops to try and get you that once-in-a-lifetime experience. Try not to worry if you don't see them though; there's still so much to do in Norway in winter. Go husky sledging through the snow, feed a herd of reindeer and listen to Sami folk tales around the campfire.

Another spectacular winter destination is Canada. Also known for its glorious Aurora displays, Canada calls to nature lovers through its incredible national parks. Take the train through the Rocky Mountains and keep your eyes peeled for wolves, lynx and moose, or make a visit to Niagara Falls which may well be frozen solid - an utterly unique sight. In Vancouver or Toronto, try some of the local cuisines and warm up with a helping of poutine before immersing yourself in the big city's laid-back atmosphere.

February

China is known for its world wonders, yet one of its less famous attractions is arguably amongst its most unique spectacles. The annual Harbin Ice Festival is a stunning celebration of all things snow that takes place in China's most northerly province, Heilongjiang. Each year master sculptors compete to create record-breaking structures of ice and snow, which last for approximately three months and attract an estimated 10 to 15 million visitors.

Cambodia, in South East Asia, is a country of exceptional beauty. Golden beaches line its southern coastline while the mountains to the north are home to spectacular lakes and waterfalls. The areas in between are dedicated to wild jungle and rice paddies, with the country's capital, Phnom Penh, relishing in a kind of chaotic charm. But it is often the city of Siem Reap to which visitors flock, given the fact that it is the gateway to the largest temple on Earth, Angkor Wat, and February is a top time to do so. Mild, dry and sunny, expect highs of 28 degrees and lows of just 20.

February is the month of love, with Valentine's Day on the 14th. If you're looking to push the boat out next year, why not consider South Africa? One of the most remarkable countries for wildlife viewing, this is the land of the 'big five' - lions, leopards, rhinoceroses, elephants and cape buffalo. On the southernmost tip is Kruger National Park, and if you continue southwest towards cosmopolitan Cape Town, nearby Boulders Beach will reward you with its colony of charming African penguins.