Cold temperatures do not mean no vacation

Our 9 winter travel ideas to warm your long days

It’s that time of year again in the Northern Hemisphere, time to start thinking about winter.  Yes, I know it feels too soon, but really it’s just around the corner.  I cheer myself up though, by thinking about winter vacation getaways.

Nobody really likes winter that much, do they? other than Christmas and all that fun and festivity malarkey; instead, most people prefer the sunshine, and the laid-back, beach fun that summer brings. Despite that, there are plenty of things you can see and do when temperatures are lower, in fact, there are plenty of things which are much more enjoyable, or can only be done, when it’s cooler – allowing you to get out and really explore, without needing to sit down every five minutes due to heat exhaustion.

I was only really converted to the fun of winter travel a few years ago, but now I’m hooked. I don’t deal well with not having something planned, and I’m not the most patient of people, so I like to know that I’m heading somewhere at least once every couple of months. I am a little travel addicted, but personally I think there are much worse things to be addicted to.

If you’re looking out of the window this winter, thinking there has to be much more to life than grey dullness, then you’re in luck. Check out these few ideas for winter fun and travel, and see if any float your boat.

Winter Vacation Getaways 1 – City breaks

Cities are no fun when temperatures are higher, this I know from experience. I remember visiting Istanbul in July a few years ago and thinking it was probably the worst idea I have ever had in my life. Crowds, high temperatures, sweaty metro carriages – it’s all rather unpleasant. Now, winter is a totally different kettle of fish.

winter vacation getaways
Image by Fabio / Flickr

Cooler temperatures mean you can explore in much more comfortable circumstances, and you may even find that crowds are less. I went back to Istanbul in January, and yes, it was cold, in fact it was freezing, but I enjoyed it so much more, and got to see a lot more than I did the previous July.

winter vacation getaways
Image by Anthony Quintano / Flickr

Cities are year-round affairs, they don’t stop just because the sun has gone in, and this also goes for cheap flights. A city break is the ideal winter getaway, and probably won’t break the bank either, if you’re a little careful.

winter vacation getaways
Image by Sam valadi / Flickr
winter vacation getaways
Image by Andy Atzert / Flickr

Winter Vacation Getaways 2 – Visit a tourist destination out of season

Before I moved to Marmaris in Turkey, I always used to visit during the summer season. Of course, this is normal, Marmaris is a seasonal kind of place, and practically shuts down from October to April. However, as much as I loved the place, I wanted to see the ‘real’ Marmaris, so I went for New Year. Now, I saw a totally different view of the place I’d visited so much before, something more authentic and cultural, and this lead me to see it through totally different eyes when I visited again the following summer – and eventually moved!

You do have to appreciate that most of the resort is going to be closed, but people do live in these places all year around, so it isn’t going to be a ghost town on the whole. You never know, you might appreciate the place more if you do this.

Winter Vacation Getaways 3 – Skiing/snowboarding

Of course, winter means snow and snow means skiing and snowboarding. The ski season is massively popular for experienced skiers, but if you’re a newbie, why not give it a go? Most resorts have a part which is ideal for first-timers, and you’ll no doubt find a ski school.

winter vacation getaways
Image by Travis Rouseau / Flickr

Of course, the scenery is also breath-taking, there’s no denying it, so you’ll get some amazing photos, a real cosy kind of break, and enjoy learning a new skill at the same time.

winter vacation getaways
Image by hugo nanni / Flickr

Of course, remember your insurance because returning home with your leg in plaster is not really the sign of a successful winter vacation!

Winter Vacation Getaways 4 – A romantic log cabin

I might have said you should go skiing, but I daren’t try it, simply because I’m very clumsy and it’s a very high probability that I will end up with one leg or both in some sort of plaster cast. Now, the one thing I have always fancied trying is a vacation in a cosy log cabin.

winter vacation getaways
Image by Wonderlane / Flickr

These don’t come cheap, do remember that, but how romantic! The snow is falling outside, you’re snuggled up inside with your loved one, nursing a hot chocolate, in front of a roaring fire – it’s the stuff of Mills and Boon books!

winter vacation getaways
Image by Martin / Flickr

Winter Vacation Getaways 5 – Cruise the seas

Cruising is massively popular these days, and whilst winter probably isn’t the best time to be heading off on a Med cruise, unless you want quite unpredictable weather, it is the perfect time to visit the Caribbean, the Norwegian fjords, or even the Antarctic.

winter vacation getaways
Antarctic image by David Stanley / Flickr

You will see some amazing scenery, and enjoy some winter sun if you head off on the Caribbean option. You can cruise and stay, twin centre it up, or basically design the whole thing yourself, but sailing during winter is definitely to be recommended.

Winter Vacation Getaways 6 – Train Trips

And why stop at cruises, there are also winter train trips you can do.

winter vacation getaways
Image by PROBruce Fingerhood / Flickr

Winter Vacation Getaways 7 – Winter sun

It’s not cold everywhere in the world from November to March! If you’re craving sun, head off to a destination which promises beach time away from what you consider to be the norm.

winter vacation getaways
Image by Pedro Fernandes / Flickr

You could head off on safari in Kenya, with a beach break at the beginning or end, or you could head to Egypt for fun in the sun; equally, the Gambia is a sunshine mecca, or even the Canary Islands – the list goes on.

winter vacation getaways
Image by David Berkowitz / Flickr

Winter Vacation Getaways 8 – Activity breaks

Lower temperatures means you can concentrate better on the task at hand, and it’s during these times that you will find activity holidays popular. This can be anything from photography, cookery, learning a new language, learning a dance, to cultural breaks, volunteering, or even walking and hiking. Whatever you choose, winter is the ideal time to do it.

winter vacation getaways
Image by Douglas Scortegagna / Flickr

Winter Vacation Getaways 9 – Northern Lights

Who doesn’t want to see the Aurora Borealis, but you can only see them at night, which means heading up north in winter.

winter vacation getaways
Image by Roderick Eime / Flickr

There are even cruise companies who offer off season rates in winter to places like Norway in winter, which to me sounds a perfect way to get in a cheap cruise and finally see the Northern Lights.   Who knows what else you might see along the way.

winter vacation getaways
humpback solitude

As you can see, you don’t have to sit at home looking meaningfully outside the window during the winter months, you can simply turn it into an excuse to get out and do something a little different, or visit somewhere totally new!

winter vacation getaways
Image by LadyDragonflyCC – >;< / Flickr
winter vacation getaways
Image by Thunderchild7 / Flickr

9 Winter Vacation Getaways – by Nicola Curtis

Featured image ‘Northern Lights‘ byRoderick Eime and all Flickr images are licensed under CC BY 2.0

This concludes our 9 Winter Vacation Getaways. We hope you find this information useful.  If you are looking for a specific piece of information, please do comment below as we may have just forgotten to mention it.

winter vacation getaways
Image by Nick Page / Flickr

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  1. travel Makayla
    September 16, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    The Northern Lights have been on my list since I was 10. Norway is a bit expensive compared to other countries – and from what I’ve read this goes for all countries from the Scandinavian Peninsula – but it’s well worth it.

    I recently discovered Bergen, a small and breathtaking Norwegian town that looks out of this world during wintertime.

    On another note, awesome site, guys! I don’t know how much time you invest in it but you always find the coolest pictures!

    • September 18, 2015 at 8:59 am

      Hi Makayla,

      Thanks for your comment. Glad you like the site 🙂

      Yes, all the Scandinavian countries are expensive 🙁 I don’t let it stop me from going though, just not as often as I’d like.

      Bergen is breathtaking and although not that far north, apparently a great place to see the Northern lights. I’d love to spend a Christmas in Bergen enjoying the snow, it’s harbour and famous markets. I’m sure it would be a very memorable festive experience. I’d then have to head back in summer, just to experience the contrast with winter 🙂

  2. travel Britanica B.
    September 19, 2015 at 5:56 am

    If anyone has the chance to go see the Northern Lights… GO! I still talk about it till this day and I went nearly 10 years ago. It is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. My husband and I plan on taking our son for his 10th birthday to see it. He is only 3 now but I think at age 10 he will truly be able to appreciate it.

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