The days are getting shorter and the temperatures are dropping. Let’s face it, the Starks were right: winter is coming. But that doesn’t have to mean being stuck on the couch in a Netflix fog. We’ve put together 10 must-do activities that’ll help you have fun this winter.
1. Hit the snow in Zurich
As a classic winter sport, skiing is always a popular choice for anyone looking to enjoy the cold weather. However, peak season can mean that resorts are crowded and sometimes not so budget-friendly. Our tip? Head out for a day trip and enjoy a full day on the mountain without an overnight stay. Journey up Mt. Titlis in an aerial cable car before whizzing to the bottom of the mountain on skis or in a snow tube.
2. Swing past Santa’s Village
December is the perfect time to visit the man of the moment, Santa. In Finland’s Lapland region, you can spend the perfect family day surrounded by all of the best seasonal characters: reindeers, huskies and — of course — a trip to Santa’s village. What better way to get in the holiday spirit than to spend some quality time with Kris Kringle (and say thanks in advance for all those presents coming your way).
3. Cruise through Iceland’s caves
Escape the bracing winds of the arctic desert and uncover the quiet mystery of Iceland’s glacial caves. Learn the difference between stalagmites and stalactites (insider tip: the “g” in stalagmites equals ground and the “c” in stalactites is for ceiling) and explore some truly other-worldly environments. Your Instagram followers won’t know what hit them!
4. Have a tubular time in Quebec
More than just a fun way to spend the day on a river, tubing is versatile enough to be a winter sport too. Grabbing a tube and hitting the slopes at a fun park like Quebec’s Village Vacances Valcartier is a great idea for the whole family — no Olympic-level skills required! After a big afternoon of going up and down the hill, warm up with a hot chocolate and spot next to the fire.
5. Sleigh all day
What can be more wintery than a sleigh ride through a snowy landscape? Enjoy a scenic cruise featuring the warmth of a blanketed bench and a glass of mulled wine. Discovering the surrounding countryside of cities like Salzburg or St Petersburg is pure magic in an open-air sleigh.
6. Grab some glühwein in Germany
If you’re looking for a winter break straight out of a Disney movie, look no further than Germany’s Christmas markets. With a mix of traditional options and more modernized fare, there is literally a market for everybody. The kids can enjoy rides and games, while adults can indulge in a glühwein (mulled wine) or two.
7. Rock with the Rockettes
Each year Radio City Music Hall is host to the Rockettes’ 90-minute Christmas spectacular. With singing, dancing, and a generous attitude to glitter, this is the perfect way to get festive in New York. Take a break from the snowy streets and bask in the warmth of unadulterated Christmas fervor!
8. Next stop: the Nordics
For those travelers happy to persevere through challenging temperatures, Nordic skiing might be perfect for you. Discover the winter wonderland scenes around Stockholm might require some layers, but the wardrobe is definitely worth it. The snowy landscape is dotted with trees, curious wildlife and incredible views — perfect for a wintertime excursion!
9. Ice, ice fishing
In contrast to Nordic skiing adventures, a more relaxed way of enjoying the snow is ice-fishing. Snowshoeing is an acquired skill, so the hike through Rovaniemi’s arctic forest over might be a workout. However, sitting around a hole in the ice and waiting for the fish to come to you is a surprisingly peaceful way to pass the time and enjoy the surrounding winter landscapes.
10. Welcome some much-needed warmth
After a long day outside in extreme temperatures, a hot spring can be just what the doctor ordered. Really, hot springs are recognized for medicinal benefits! What more of an excuse to jump into an oversized bath could you need? Try out some of the lesser-known hot spots (pun intended) like Poland’s Tatra mountains, where you can ski, snowboard, and finish the day in one of the many steaming natural springs.