There’s no avoiding it: winter is coming. Soon it will be time for scarves and gloves, snow shovels and ice scrapers, snow tires and school delays. Maybe you’re looking to escape the winter weather and trade it in for a warmer climate. Or maybe you’re thinking “Bring it on!” and can’t wait for the cold temps and snowy days to arrive. Either way, when you’re ready to plan your vacation, we’ve got just the destination for you.
Love waking up to a fresh coat of snow? Check out these cold weather retreats.
Montreal is a great option. Here you’ll find a plethora of awesome restaurants and museums, not to mention winter festivals like Montreal en Lumiere, a city-wide event filled with music, food and art that runs from Feb. 20 through March 1 next year. There’s also plenty of ice skating to be found.
Additionally, Quebec City, with its old-world European stylings, offers plenty of chilly charm in the winter months. Be sure not to miss the city’s famous toboggan run!
What could possibly be cooler (pun intended) than staying overnight in a hotel made completely from ice? Check out Quebec City’s Hotel de Glace, where guests can cozy up in sleeping bags in themed suites; some even have fireplaces! There’s a spa and outdoor sauna for when you’re ready to warm up after a chilly night.
Those looking for a European option should head to Icehotel in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden, where guests can book individually unique suites highlighting artist-carved ice sculptures and enjoy activities like snowmobiling and dog sled tours.
European Christmas Markets
Markets throughout Europe have perfected the magic of Christmas and there’s no better way to explore them than through a river cruise. AmaWaterways has a variety of tours, including visits to Budapest’s market, where all items are handcrafted. Or head to Vienna’s Christkindlmarkt, where shopping is supplemented by sparkling decorations and choir singers. U River Cruises also offers great options, including a “Dashing Through the Danube” tour that stops off at multiple markets along the river.
Alternatively, if you’re dying to escape the cold and snow, there are plenty of warm destinations just begging to be visited.
There’s no better place to soak up the sun and escape the cold than on a soft sand beach in the Caribbean islands. Cruises are a great option; check out Princess Cruises for a variety of destinations and ships, including the brand-spanking-new Sky Princess, which sets sail this winter to destinations in the eastern Caribbean including Antigua, Turks and Caicos and Puerto Rico.
Looking to stay in the North Atlantic for a shorter trip? Celebrity Cruises offers quick jaunts to the Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale throughout the winter.
Want to get as far away from the cold of the Northeast as possible, yet still stay in the U.S.? Head to Hawaii, where you can relax on sandy beaches or enjoy activities like surfing and hiking. Hit multiple islands with Norwegian Cruise Line while enjoying roomy suites with balconies.
Africa beckons with not only warmer weather, but also with promises of adventure, culture and nature. Check out Club Adventures for small group tours to many of the continent’s desired destinations. You might find yourself on safari in Kenya, learning about ancient history in Egypt or exploring spice markets and traveling via camel in Morocco.
Chart your own (temperate) course at AAA.com/Travel.