Not a fan of spending the Christmas season looking for presents and dining with your family? Take some time off on one of these retreats.
Summer vacations are always a hit – and always will be –, but winter getaways are becoming more and more people's favourite trips. They're a great way to escape for a few days from the hectic December schedule, family gatherings and people everywhere. There’s not a better sensation that changing the shopping bags for a carry on and a plane ticket.
Winter vacations: more than snow
A cozy wooden cabin with a snow-covered roof, logs crackling in the fireplace, hot tea and thick wool jerseys. Sounds like an ideal description of a winter getaway. But it doesn't have to be that way. Not everywhere in the world it snows and, in fact, during the months of December, January and February it's summer in the southern hemisphere – and it's hot.
So whether you're an expert skier who enjoys the mountains or if you're into the beach whatever the season, there's an ideal destination for every winter getaway. You decide if you want to wait for Christmas presents under a fir tree or under a palm tree.
Best places to travel in winter
Have you ever heard of Neuschwanstein? Behind this hard-to-pronounce name is the castle that inspired Walt Disney to design his famous one. But this is just one of the many medieval fortresses you can visit in this region of southern Germany, a snow-covered mountain place that looks like it was taken directly from a fairy tale. You can settle in the city of Munich and start exploring the area from there, as well as enjoy its exquisite Christmas decorations and its popular Christmas market, a set of small street stalls where you can taste glühwein, the hot wine with spices typical of the area.
With a temperature close to 30 degrees during December, this island of French Polynesia in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is very much like a paradise. Here you can forget about window shopping while hiking trails in its lush jungles, or exchange long days of cooking for surf lessons in its crystal-clear waters. It's a popular destination for honeymooners in summer, so couples in winter are also welcome. It's also one of the places that the new year gets before: imagine doing it in a bungalow on the water.
Only for true cold lovers – this region of northern Sweden and Finland is very close to the North Pole. Although it is covered with snow most of the year, it is in winter that the true spirit of Christmas blossoms, for there is the very house of Santa Claus – which you can visit. If you prefer alternative plans, take a husky sleigh tour or sleep in a glass igloo to contemplate the majesty of the Northern Lights, as this is the best time to see them. But don’t you forget to pack clothes specially designed for extreme weather.
The Winter Party Festival, the Winter Music Conference or the Miami Boat Show are just some of the events that make this city of Florida live even in low season. Its tropical climate keeps temperatures mild in the winter months, and its transformation into a city of art – thanks to Art Basel Miami Beach and the Institute of Contemporary Art – nourishes a cultural offer at the forefront. Its culinary scene, influenced by the Latino population, is one of the best in the USA.
Rio de Janeiro
If the winter is over and you still have strength for more partying, then this Brazilian city is your ideal destination. Every year, when February ends, it celebrates its famous Carnival, an explosion of color, music and dance that floods its streets and infects the surprised visitors. After a good samba dancing, a caipirinha on Copacabana beach or a visit to Christ the Redeemer complete a perfect trip to extend your vacation.
Sand or snow? Warm or cold? What do you prefer for your next winter getaways? Wherever you go, do not forget to bring your travel pillow!
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