The Best Places to Visit This Winter

When the winter season hits, some people dream of fresh powder and cozy fireside evenings. Others want to forget the cold and escape to warmer places. Whichever you prefer, we've got the perfect list of places to visit this winter.
Prepared By:

Shannon Lowery

Writer & Traveler

Winter is one of the best times to travel! Experience new activities and dream-like scenes of snowy wonder. Not one for the cold weather? Snowbirds can jump ahead to our warm-weather places to visit in winter.

For the purposes of this article, we’ll be focusing on the winter season in the Northern hemisphere, which occurs roughly from November to March.

Best Winter Destinations in Europe

Picturesque European towns take on an even dreamier quality in the winter. Mulled wine, cozy pubs and romantic streets hushed with falling snow are just part of what you’ll experience in Europe’s best winter destinations.

Krakow, Poland

First stop on our list of places to visit in Europe this winter is Krakow, Poland. Known for its annual Christmas Market, Krakow can be crowded but still well-worth a visit during the holiday season. Plan your trip after the New Year for quieter city streets and cellar pubs. With history, architecture, and plenty of hearty Polish food, you’ll easily forget the chill in the air as you explore the streets of Krakow.

Krakow is One of the Best Winter Destinations in Europe Photo by Jacek Dylag via Unsplash

Ghent, Belgium

The next European winter getaway is Ghent, a port city found in Belgium’s Flanders region. The pedestrianized city center is ideal for strolling under the snow flurries, and there are plenty of museums for warming up. Moreover, the wondrous architecture and medieval structures across the city are strategically lit by ambient lighting year-round, so you can enjoy beautiful winter scenes day or night in Ghent.

Ghent, Belgium is one of the best winter destinations in Europe Photo by Azamat Esmurziyev via Unsplash


Aberdeen, Scotland

Hop on a train from just about anywhere in the United Kingdom and have your very own Polar Express experience as you journey north towards Aberdeen, Scotland. Once you arrive, spend time appreciating the city’s impressive architecture. Get close to nature in nearby Cairngorms National Park, where you can take in unforgettable views on a winter hike, or hit the slopes. At the end of the day, warm up from the inside out with a healthy pour of local whisky.

The Scottish Highlands are one of the best winter destinations in Europe Photo by Daniël Hartog via Unsplash

Bayeux, France

Famous for the Bayeux Tapestry, Bayeux, France, is another one of the best places to visit in winter. Brimming with European village charm, Bayeux makes an excellent basecamp for exploring the Normandy region of France. Don’t miss the local cideries, even in winter, and be sure to eat every crêpe in sight! In all seasons, this is also a popular area for exploring by bike.

Bayeux France is one of the best places to visit in Europe in winter


Being so small, the entire country of Liechtenstein doesn’t take up too much room on the list of best winter destinations in Europe. In fact, many of Liechtenstein’s charming mountain villages are connected by a series of hiking trails which see heavy use in summer. In the colder months, this network of trails becomes a snowy playground for nordic skiers, snowshoers, and winter sports enthusiasts. No matter the season, the trails are an eco-friendly and affordable way to get from place to place and experience Liechtenstein’s incredible scenery.

Fall and Winter in Lichtenstein, Europe

Alta, Norway

Reading the next winter getaway destination, you might be thinking, “No way I’m going to Norway in winter, that is TOO cold.” Hear us out, though. In Alta, tolerable winter temperatures are thanks to effects of the Gulf Stream. Actually, conditions are primed for Alta to be one of the best places to see the Northern Lights in the world. If nothing else, stop by Alta’s ice hotel to marvel at the frozen architectural wonder.

Alta, Norway is one of Europe's best winter destinations

The Dolomites, Italy

The Dolomites of northern Italy are spectacular no matter when you visit. If you’re looking for world-class ski resorts, forgo the overcrowded slopes in Switzerland and head straight for the frozen Italian peaks. Because the Dolomites are located close to Austria and Germany, you’ll hear a multitude of languages and experience a mix of cultures in this eclectic mountain region.

The Dolomites in Italy are one of the best winter destinations in Europe Photo by Daniel Seßler via Unsplash


Best Winter Vacations in the US & North America

Winter wonderlands can be found across the United States and North America. The best winter vacations include exhilarating snow sports, crackling fires and plenty of warm layers.

Nuuk, Greenland

Greenland’s largest city of Nuuk boasts a staggering 18,000 residents, which means fewer crowds, less pollution and an intimate network of friendly locals. Nuuk is the gateway to one of the largest fjord systems in the world and Greenland’s undisturbed backcountry. In winter, Nuuk’s blend of cute colorful buildings and modern architecture peek out from a blanket of snow. No matter when you visit, your trip to Greenland is sure to be full of education and appreciation for Earth’s natural wonders and the importance of preserving them.

Greenland is one of the best places to visit in winter

Missoula, Montana

Winters are no joke in the American West, especially in Montana. Luckily, the college town of Missoula has plenty of cultural attractions to thaw out in between outdoor adventures. The area is known for some of the most staggeringly beautiful landscape in America, if not the world. Winter experiences range from snowmobiling to sleigh rides plus distillery tasting rooms and live theater performances, making Missoula one of the best winter getaways in the US. 

Missoula, Montana is one of the best places to visit in winter in the US

Snowshoe, West Virginia

Snowshoe, West Virginia, has long been a popular ski resort town in the mid-Atlantic region thanks to its proximity to major cities like Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. Other than hitting the slopes, there are plenty of unique seasonal activities like winter off-roading and fat tire biking. The shortened winter days don’t stop the fun. Snowshoe even has night-time skiing, tubing, terrain parks and secluded glades.

Snowshoe, West Virginia is one of the best winter getaways in the US Photo by Wes Hicks via Unsplash


Fairbanks, Alaska

If you’re looking to see the Northern Lights in the US this winter, head straight for Fairbanks, Alaska. Catch the Aurora Borealis just about anywhere in the region, or head to nearby Denali National Park which is also an official Dark-Sky Park. Winter vacations in Fairbanks include but are not limited to: ice sculptures, dog sledding, glaciers, ice fishing, and rich Native Alaskan culture and history. While winter in Alaska isn’t for the faint of heart, a little planning and smart packing goes a long way.

Fairbanks, Alaska is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights in the US

Portland, Maine

Another one of the best winter vacations in the US in undoubtedly Portland, Maine. To start, the city is full of history, colonial architecture and quintessential New England vibes. There is also a thriving fine arts scene, complete with a ballet company and a symphony. Don’t forget to stop by one of the local breweries!

Portland Maine is one of the best winter getaways in the US Photo by Ryan Tingle

Syracuse, New York

Syracuse is located in upstate New York’s idyllic Finger Lakes region. Imagine calm lake water, colorful seasonal changes, and miles of lush forests. There are also quaint towns and cities full of culture and seasonal events. The region is one of the best places to visit in winter if you dream of a cozy cabin in the woods that’s never too far from the creature comforts of civilization.

Syracuse, New York's Christmas Market

Jasper National Park, Canada

We can’t leave Canada off the list of best places to visit in winter! While the country is filled with winter-friendly destinations, Jasper National Park in Alberta’s Canadian Rockies is a must-stop for winter wilderness junkies. Test your wits on a frozen waterfall ice climb and keep an eye out for winter wildlife. The weather is as extreme as the terrain on Jasper’s far-flung mountain ranges.

Canada is one of the best places to visit in winter Photo by Ivars Krutainis via Unsplash


Best Warm Weather Places to Visit in Winter

Looking to escape winter’s chill? Head to these warm-weather places during the winter months for a break from freezing temperatures.


Belize has no shortage of epic outdoor activities to be enjoyed year round, even in winter. Birding, caving and snorkeling are just a few things to do during your winter getaway to this beautiful destination. Ziplining, horseback riding and hiking are also fantastic ways to experience Belize in winter, or any season for that matter.

Belize is one of the best warm weather destinations in winter


In recent years, trekkers have flocked to Vietnam to explore its lush jungles and energetic cities. The history, culture and cuisine is both compelling and complex. Luckily, the winter weather in Vietnam tends to be drier than the summer season. However, mountainous areas and high-elevation villages can occasionally experience cooler temperatures.

Vietnam is one of the best warm weather winter getaways


Straddling the equator, Kenya is an African nation that remains warm all year. During the winter, you’ll dodge the “long rain” season as well as the summertime visitors who come to see the annual Great Migration. Don’t worry—you’ll still have plenty of chances to observe incredible wildlife in Kenya in the winter, too.

Kenya is one of the best warm places to visit in winter

The Galapagos Islands

Another fantastic place to visit for warm winter weather in the Galapagos Islands. Though its located in the Northern Hemisphere, the Galapagos experiences its warm season from December to March. A well-known spot for divers, this archipelago found off the coast of Ecuador is known for its unique climate and unparalleled wildlife.

The Galapagos Islands are a warm weather destination for winter

The Azores

Another island destination that is one of the best places for warm weather in  winter is the Azores off the coast of Portugal. Though the weather can be a bit dreary compared to summer, it’s still warmer than most other places in Europe. Plus, because winter is the off-peak season, you’ll have more hiking trails and vineyards all to yourself.

The Azores in Portugal are one of the best places to visit in winter for warm weather


If you’re seeking relief from the cold season in North America, Bermuda is one of the best places to visit in winter. Catch a quick flight from the East Coast of the United States and trade cold snow for warm sand. A 21-mile British island territory, Bermuda blends several cultures and is a hot spot for maritime history. While surrounded by sparkling waters and beautiful beaches, the island itself is packed with lush vegetation, hidden grottos and vibrant people.

Bermuda is one of the best warm weather getaways for winter

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