There’s a special luxury traveler for whom snow flurries, frosty temperatures and wintry landscapes are the makings of the perfect winter getaway. It can be as easy as booking the right luxury resort, where you can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, a horse-drawn sleigh ride or just spend some downtime in front of a toasty log-fed fire.
And fortunately, if you’re a globetrotter that enjoys all things winter, there are several cities in the U.S. and abroad that will satisfy your winter wanderlust. Take a look at our list of 10 destinations that offer a multitude of activities for winter-weather lovers. Consult an expert travel agent to plan your honeymoon, destination wedding or wintry getaway!
1. Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
Just 75 miles north of Vancouver, Whistler encompasses everything a winter vacation should be – snow-capped peaks, slopes for novice, intermediate and skilled skiers, challenging hiking trails, and of course, luxury resorts such as the Fairmont Chateau Whistler Resort and Four Season Resort Whistler. It’s also home to Whistler Blackcomb, the largest ski resorts in North America. Skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, tobogganing and ski jumping are just a few seasonal activities to keep vacationers active during this winter bliss getaway. The town has museums, art galleries, ice skating and other family-friendly fun to keep lowkey travelers preoccupied. Or sit by a cozy fireplace while sipping a cup of hot chocolate, or something a little stronger for adults, like a cup of Scrooge McHooch, which includes a mix of rum, green chartreuse, steamed milk, chocolate bitters.
And if you’re looking for alternative winter destinations to visit in Canada, consider Mount Frontenac, Quebec City and Montreal. A Vacation travel agent can customize a dream itinerary to one or more of these winter wonderland destinations.
2. Lake Tahoe, California
A journey to Lake Tahoe offers a winter experience filled with incredible skiing and hiking opportunities in the shadow of imposing mountains. Choose from more than a dozen luxury ski resorts, from Diamond Peak – with panoramic mountain views – to adventure-themed Alpine Meadows. For a tranquil day on the slopes, check out the Sierra at Tahoe Resort, where you’ll find more than 2,000 skiable acres, serviced by 10 chairlifts including three express lifts.
3. Bergen, Norway
The mountains surrounding Bergen offer a multitude of skiing, sledging and hiking opportunities. For example, visitors can take the Fløibanen funicular from the city center to the top of Mount Fløyen for panoramic city views and several snowshoe hiking trails. The Cable Car Ulriken 643 takes you up to the summit of Mount Ulriken, the tallest of Bergen’s famous Seven Mountains. From here, you can ski to Mount Fløyen and then re-board the funicular to return to Bergen’s city center.
4. Yosemite, California
Wintertime transforms California’s Yosemite National Park into the ultimate winter wonderland, complete with icy waterfalls, snowy peaks and towering waterfalls framed by giant sequoia trees. Take a snowshoe hike along the less-crowded Lembert Dome & Dog Lake Trail, where you can view some of the park’s’ highest peaks. Visitors who want to go tubing, snowboarding, skiing can head to the Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area. Consult an expert travel agent to help you customize the ultimate package that allows you to enjoy Yosemite’s winter activities and marvel at its dramatic, snow-capped landscape.
5. Warren, Vermont
Heading to Warren, Vermont? Consider staying at the Sugarbush Resort, where in addition to skiing and snowshoeing, this outdoor retreat also includes an opportunity for guests to sample the region’s famous maple syrup! Warren features ski resorts with access to popular ski runs like Castlerock Run, and forested areas to explore local wildlife such as Slide Brook Basin. Snowboarders will love the Okemo Mountain Resort, which offers the East Coast's longest superpipe. And about an hour-drive south of Sugarbush, Killington Ski Area is known for its expert-rated terrain with more than 150 skiing and snowboarding trails.
6. Saariselka, Finland
The northern Finland hamlet of Saariselka features the celebrated Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, where you can stay in one of dozens of glass igloos that offer unrivalled views of the Northern Lights. Looking for a cozier winter experience? Kakslauttanen guests can opt for luxury log cabin accommodations, while visitors at the Snow Castle of Kemi can spend a night in the hotel located within in the world’s largest snow fort, rebuilt each year by the Gulf of Bothnia. And you can’t leave Saariselka without a fun reindeer-drawn sleigh ride through the snowy forest.
7. Nagano, Japan
Surrounded by nearly two miles of mountains and plateaus, Nagano features numerous wonderful winter activities, including the colorful light shows of the annual Nagano Lantern Festival – held since 2004 in commemoration of the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. The festival includes the colorful illumination of the Zenkoji Temple, while the main road to the temple complex is decorated with colorful lanterns. In addition to family-friendly skiing, Cortina Hotel and Ski Resort – located in the Hakuba Valley – also features higher snowfalls than any other mountain in Japan, which is perfect for experienced skiers. Head to the village of Nozawaonsen known for its famous healing hot springs and spectacular skiing. Other popular hot springs include the Shimosuwa Hot Springs - blessed by the gods according to Japanese mythology.
8. Salzburg, Austria
This city offers an impressive menu of cold-weather activities, including an excursion on a horse-drawn carriage through Salzburg’s snow-covered forests and meadows. Of course, skiing is the number one winter activity here, and an expert travel agent can arrange alpine skiing, snowboarding or cross-country skiing excursions in the Alps, located south of the Salzburg Province. And you can’t leave Salzburg without enjoying a cup of mulled wine and a little wiener schnitzel.
9. Prague, Czech Republic
Grab your ice skates because it’s a really popular winter activity in Prague, and it’s also a great time to mix and mingle with the locals. One of our skilled travel agents can direct you to the several skating rinks that pop up around Prague during the winter months, including the large rink at Na Františku near the Convent of St. Agnes. And while you’re visiting Prague’s Old Town, we recommend allotting some time to see the 14th-century City Hall and nearby Prague Orloj, a medieval astronomical clock whose intricate mechanism has fascinated residents and visitors alike for generations.
10. Val Thorens, France
Almost 3-hours from Lyon, Val Thorens is located 7,500 feet above sea level, making it Europe’s highest ski resort. As the world’s largest ski area, Val Thorens has more than 370 miles of ski-in, ski-out trails and panoramic views that include Les Trois Vallee’s six glaciers. In addition to freeride skiing and snowboarding, this ski resort has an ice diving school for adventurous guests, who want to embark on a unique ice-diving excursion.
Inspired by this article and want to speak with an expert travel agent about how you can plan an unforgettable luxury winter vacation in the U.S. or to an amazing international destination? Let one of Vacation’s on-call travel experts match you with an expert travel agent, who can customize the dream trip you deserve.