Whenever the cold weather swings around, our travel daydreams tend to fluctuate between 2 different types of vacations: Winter wonderlands and tropical beaches.
If you experience bipolar pangs of wanderlust, then you are in luck, as we have rounded up some of the best Winter vacations to take this season, divided equally between cold- and warm-weather destinations.
Here are our Top 10, as follows:
The Tokyo Olympics might not be until the Summer of Y 2020, but this Winter is prime time to beat the crowds and head to Japan for a ski adventure in Nagano instead. Hakuba, just outside of the city in the northern alps, is one of the country’s best all-round ski destinations. Then ease any aches and pains after a day on the slopes with a visit to 1 of the region’s onsens—start at Shirahone Onsen, with its milky white water loaded with magnesium and calcium, and refuel with bowls of the buckwheat soba noodles famous in this part of Japan.
Few places on earth fit the phrase “storybook setting” better than Hallstätt, which sits pretty on the shores of Austria’s Hallstätter See (about an hour’s drive east of Salzburg). The town’s 12th Century churches, candlelit restaurants, and market square only become more charming during the Winter months, especially when the already-scenic Dachstein Mountains are capped with snow.
The Dolomites are the cozy cousin to the Alps’ glitzy ski towns. The area’s powdery slopes can be accessed via the 86-mile Great Dolomites Road, 1 of the world’s most beautiful alpine drives, and a perfect day trip from Venice.
Canada is terrific when it comes to celebrating Christmas, but there is no reason to stop traveling there when Y 2020 rolls around. Head to Banff National Park for its mountain peaks and top-notch ski runs, as well as impressive lakeside retreats like the Moraine Lake Lodge.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Pick a month, and you’re guaranteed to hit Cariocas in a partying mood. On New Year’s Eve, more than 2 million people descend on Copacabana Beach for the “Reveillon” party, which peaks at midnight but goes on for hours afterward. Expect live rock music, samba bands, and fresh coconuts to sip (and to spike with a little rum, if you like).
If you want a Winter escape that’s on the colder side, head to the ICEHOTEL in remote Jukkasjärvi, Sweden for a frozen guest room. As if that is not tempting enough, the polar Sun keeps the Sun below the horizon for 100 days running, keeping the nights ultra-dark and making it possible to catch a glimpse of the mystical Northern Lights from September until late March
This tiny slice of France in the Caribbean brings a distinctive European spirit to island life. While it may be most famous for glamorous celebrity-filled parties, St. Barts has quality restaurants, beautiful tropical hikes, sublime beaches, and great hotels to back up the hype.
It will not be quite be beach weather here, but the fewer crowds, impressive views, and off-season prices on this cluster of volcanic isles, think beautiful black-sand beaches more than make up for it. The island of Gran Canaria, just off northwestern Africa, is said to have the best climate in the world.
Baja Sur, Mexico
The Baja California Sur peninsula in Mexico is home to Cabo San Lucas. It is home to diverse marine life, from whale sharks to blue-footed boobies, beautiful new luxury resorts including a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, and food prepared by Thomas Keller-trained chefs. Take a 5-day road trip from San Diego CA along the coast to really experience the region and its transformation.
St. Kitts & Nevis
This twin-island nation is bursting with charm. St. Kitts, the larger of the 2, is best 1st explored on a open-air train along the south coast. Nevis is almost perfectly round with gentle slopes rising to the peak of its dormant volcano.
Enjoy your travels.