Depending on whether or not you are trying to escape or embrace the colder temperatures, deciding where to travel during the winter months can be a tricky task. While the majority of vacationers seek warmer climates this time of year, visiting countries with equally winteresque landscapes can be an experience unlike most. Below are just a few countries to consider for those wanting to bask in the warm sun, and for those seeking a winter wonderland.
This one is for the snowmen (and women). Lithuania averages 23-35 degrees fahrenheit from the months of November to February, giving way for plenty of snow. The city of Vilnius, the country’s capital, is well known for its baroque architecture and cobblestone streets. Top this stunning scenery with a light dusting of snow, and Lithuania becomes what feels like the inside of a giant snow globe. One of the country’s many seasonal events, “Christmas in the Capital” hosts holiday performances at the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre, as well as the Three Kings Procession, a miniature parade comprised of biblical characters who provide well wishes to the country.
Both for the sunbathers and lovers of wildlife, South Africa averages a mid-80 degrees fahrenheit in the winter months, as well as the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife organization; a conservative effort for the country’s biodiversity. Here, visitors can stay at the company’s resorts and campsites to see Africa’s native animals like lions, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, and much more, making this a great vacation for families.
Another warmer destination for those that want to fly south for winter, Puerto Rico hosts one of Central America’s largest winter events known as the San Sebastian Street Fest in San Juan. Parades, food vendors, and a plethora of music combine to create a lively environment that goes well into the night. Not only is this party free, but the gathering of both locals and tourists allows all visitors to experience true Puerto Rican culture. Even the late, great Hunter S. Thompson remarked his experiences here in his famous piece The Rum Diary.
A true winter experience wouldn’t be complete without staying in a hotel made entirely of ice, would it? Just outside the city of Kiruna lies Sweden’s world famous Ice Hotel. This art exhibition is also a fully functional inn, but is only open during the winter months, as it is rebuilt every year after melting in the Spring. Sweden is also home to some of the best ski slopes in the world, with beautiful hotels to match. The Åre resort has 91 kilometers of slopes, with 32 chair lifts to navigate the enormous hills.
When consider South America for a winter vacation, one would assume heat is the primary objective. However, in Patagonia, Argentina, there is a different story. The Andes Mountains, one of the largest mountain ranges in the world, are truly a sight to be seen for lovers of snow and ice. The Los Glaciares National Park is home to even more icy giants, and the Llao Llao Hotel provides luxury lodging for those who wish to stay in this surprisingly chilly city.