Whether you’re after some winter sun, or want a family festive break, winter is a popular time for people to head off on their travels.
Winter in the UK can be bitterly cold and just a little bit miserable in general, so if you feel you need a little bit of vitamin D to get you through the latter end of the year, then check out our list of some of the best winter holiday destinations.
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Where should you holiday this winter?
For those who want a quick getaway during the festive period, Europe has plenty of lively cities that host some of the best Christmas festivities in the world, so a long weekend at the German markets is perfect if you’re short on time before the Christmas holidays really kick in.
The rest of Europe is also great for those who prefer adventure holidays. We recommend heading to the slopes for some of the best winter holiday ski destinations such as Austria or Switzerland and staying in a traditional chalet with log fire to really make the most of the winter weather!
If it’s summer you’re longing for, then you’ve got a little bit further to travel at this time of year, but Australia’s scorching temperatures are totally worth it. Think Christmas BBQs on the beach and beating those January blues with some great sun and surf.
For a truly festive getaway, German Christmas markets are a great place to visit during winter. Just a short hop from the UK, Berlin is a city rife with culture, history and festivity.
Weather will be cool and crisp, so you can wrap up warm and enjoy exploring this wonderful capital with some of the free walking tours on offer. You’ll get to cover everything from the Berlin Wall which divided the city during the Cold War, to significant landmarks such as the Brandenburg Gate and the Holocaust Memorial.
Want to really beat those winter blues? Then head to the Caribbean island of Barbados. Whether you fly or stop off on a cruise into Bridgetown (the capital), it’s easy to get around the island. With some gorgeous beaches and tranquil botanical gardens, this island really is the epitome of luxury.
Catch some rays along Carlisle Bay or explore the stunning limestone stalagmites in Harrison’s Cave, and experiment with some delicious fusion food and fresh seafood dishes. It’s an extremely long flight, at around 12 hours, but December through to April sees dry and sunny weather that makes this one of the best winter holiday destinations for some much-needed vitamin D.
Go down under where our winter is their summer and soak up the sun in Sydney! As one of Australia’s largest cities, there’s so much to do and see here. If you’re into surfing, then head to Bondi Beach to catch some waves, or adrenaline junkies should hike up the Sydney Harbour Bridge to watch the sunset over the harbour.
There’s nothing better than beers and BBQs on the beach to relax in true Aussie style, and you can almost guarantee scorching weather which makes this one of the most popular winter holiday destinations for Brits.
If you like the cold, then why not hit the slopes in the European country of Austria? There are plenty of ski resorts to cater for all skill levels and the rugged Alpine terrain is simply stunning, even if you’re not the active type. Instead, chill out in traditional chalets and drink hot cider in the ski bars while you soak up the beautiful snowy surroundings.
Sölden is the best place to go for both slopes and scenic glacier walks, whereas St Anton am Arlberg is known as one of the most popular ski resorts which is ideal for both experienced and novice skiers. If you want more than just snowy mountains, then Kitzbuhel is a traditional alpine town full of little cafes and medieval streets for the non-skiers to explore.
Those not bothered about escaping the cold weather may want to experience a real winter. Towards the end of winter, around February and March, this is a great place to catch sight of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). Not only that, but this is a Nordic paradise with vast volcanic terrain, hot springs, clear waters and majestic mountainscapes.
Reykjavik is the capital city and most popular for those chasing the natural wonder of the Northern Lights. Here, you can stay in the Ice Hotel or a cosy glass igloo beneath the stars. For more active adventures, you can try glacier hiking in Solheimajokull, which is just a few hours’ drive from the capital. Whether you go for short city break or hop around, there’s plenty of winter wonders to find!
City breaks are great for when you’re limited on time, and Prague is one of the best winter holiday destinations for those who love exploring a cultural town. With some gorgeous Gothic Architecture and some traditional Christmas markets in the square of the Old Town, this quaint city is full of culture and history.
Walking tours allow you to explore every inch of the city on foot, taking you to both the New and the Old Town, and visiting significant landmarks such as Prague Castle and the astronomical clock. It’s chilly in winter, but the bustling cafe culture is perfect for relaxing after a long day of walking.
Heading to the Canary Islands is your best bet for some winter sun without having to fly too far, with a flight time of around four hours. Tenerife is the biggest of the islands, and home to Mount Teide, which is Spain’s tallest dormant volcano. You can take the cable car up to the peak and visit the surrounding National Park which is home to some stunning scenery.
There’s plenty to explore, but also plenty of beaches if you’re looking for a getaway full of sun and relaxation. Siam Park is also one to visit if you’re looking to keep the kids busy one day!
Looking for inspiration on where to go? Check out our hotel guides: