Thinking about a winter vacation? Where do you go? Somewhere the snow is deep and crisp and even or somewhere the sun beats down and the palm trees gently sway on the beach? One of these trips may just be right up your street.
1. Dog Sledding at the Arctic Circle
This is one of those amazing winter trips you never thought possible, but Fred Holidays offers this once-in-a-lifetime experience out of Kiruna, Sweden. No experience is necessary, because you’ll be taught the basics of dog sledding at the lodge before you take off over the icy terrain on your 5-day adventure with your guide. You’ll even get to sleep in a native Sami tent one night, much like the nomads did and sometimes still do. If conditions permit, you might even visit the famed Ice Hotel.
2. Scuba Dive Japan’s Own Atlantis
This 14-night diving tour, offered by Inside Japan, takes you to the coral reefs of the Okinawa Islands for unmatched scuba adventures, plus you’ll get to take in Tokyo on a guided tour. Not only will you get to see exotic wildlife like manta rays, hammerheads and sea turtles, but you’ll have the rare opportunity of seeing Japan’s own Atlantis. The mysterious Iseki stones are believed by some to be the remains of an ancient city, sunk by an earthquake more than 2000 years ago.
3. Go Whale Watching with Mark Carwardine
Travel to Norway and get on the M/S Reine, a fully refurbished wooden boat equipped with whale locating technology. Your host is famed wildlife writer and photographer Mark Carwardine, who will take you on 3 fjords outings to observe orcas, humpback, fin and sperm whales during their migration north to feed. The long dark winter month of the north also make it a great place to spot auroras, this outing offers two days on land to observe this amazing phenomenon of light with astrophysicist Jose Perez.
4. Go Biking in Burma
Get up close and personal with Burma while enjoying it on two wheels! Mountain Kingdoms offers a Cultural Cycling Tour of Burma, which leads you to remote temples, pagodas, and British hill stations. Then visit the Shan village of Hsipaw, where few tourists visit. A central marketplace caters to local and neighboring villages. Also included is a train ride along the Gokteik Viaduct, a 320’ trestle that offers an amazing view of the river below.
5. Spend Christmas in Antarctica
Not big on the holiday hoopla? Do something different and spend the holidays in Antarctica, about as far away from Santa Claus as a person can be. Aurora Expeditions offers a once-in-a-lifetime view of one of the most severe environments in the world, where you’re pretty much guaranteed a white Christmas. This tour takes place during penguin breeding season, and if you desire, you can kayak among them and even camp on the ice. auroraexpeditions.com.au
6. Take the Snow Train to Ice City
Siberia in the wintertime might not sound like an ideal vacation, but it’s got so much to offer. Russian Experience offers the Classic Snow Train: Moscow to Beijing tour, a trip through the Siberian wilderness which includes a stop at Harbin, home of the famed Ice Festival. If you visit the ice sculptures after dark, you’ll be treated to a wonderland of light as the sculptures are lit up with a rainbow of colors. You’ll have plenty of time to tour around Moscow, Harbin and Beijing, as well.
7. Visit Yellowstone in Winter
If you think you’ve seen everything when you visited Yellowstone in the summer, think again. Wildlife Worldwide offers the Wild West Winter Wonderland Tour, lead by award-winning photographer Nick Garbutt. Not only will you get to see the colorful and steamy pools amid the snow, but you’ll take in frozen waterfalls and breathtaking gorges. Your guide will give you his tips of snapping the best wildlife pics, how to get a great photo of a geyser, and how to get the most gorgeous landscape shots.
8. Take a Ski Tour along Sweden’s King’s Trail
KE Adventure offers the Inside the Arctic Circle – Skiing the King’s Trail package for those who want to tour, ski, dogsled or snowmobile across Sweden’s northern royal route. The tour offers 2 nights of gazing at the magical auroras, then you’ll get instruction on basic Nordic skiing before taking off into the majestic wilderness. While enjoying a day filled with mountain peaks and frozen waterfalls, cozy up in a remote alpine cabin, some even come equipped with saunas!
9. Take a Walking Tour of Gran Canaria Island
Go here in winter to escape the summer crowds, it’s still gorgeous! Headwater’s Walking on Gran Canaria tour will mostly guide you along the well-marked and ancient Camino Real route, with its varied terrain and breathtaking scenery. Walk along village streets, farms, country lanes, and rural paths that lead you to the deep blue lakes, volcanic rocks, cave villages and white villages nestled on the island. Top it off with a walk around Las Palmas and visit interesting museums and the historic city center, listed as a UNESCO historic site.
Have you got a winter trip planned? Where are you going?