October 30, 2009

Top Winter Destination





Despite only just waving goodbye to winter, now is as good a time as any to start planning where you might like to go this year. Winter is the perfect time to experience something a bit more unusual, be that a new snow sport or a funky ice hotel. Here are a few different ideas to check out before you decide where to go.

Lapland

While it’s famous for being Santa’s unofficial place of residence, Lapland breaks have a lot to offer any winter traveller looking to get away from it all. Literally! This region of northern Finland covers just over 98,000km and has a population of around 183,000; that’s just about two people per square kilometre! So if you’re looking for a ski trip without the mammoth queues of the more popular resorts in mainland Europe, Lapland is certainly worth thinking about.

You’ll also have the chance to witness the Northern Lights, which is a fantastic, ethereal spectacle that keeps visitors coming back year after year. Here, you can stay in a unique glass igloo and fall asleep under the swirling glow of the lights before heading out for a fun-filled day of ice fishing and dog sleigh racing; a perfect winter escape!

Iceland

Anyone keen on diving might have thought about making an escape to a tropical paradise to explore the coral reefs as the weather turns colder, but have you ever considered a wintery dive over in Iceland? The Thingvellir National Park offers divers the chance to swim between tectonic plates in the Silfra Rift. What could be more thrilling than swimming the gap between the continents of America and Eurasia? Make sure you pack your dry suit though; water temperatures are usually between -2°C and 4°C. The visibility is unsurpassable, even at 100km depths and the National Park has been declared as a world heritage site, so definitely worth a visit.  



Bulgaria

If skiing and snowboarding aren’t for you, why not give snowshoeing a try? For keen hikers, Bulgaria’s Rila mountain range is the perfect place to trek if you’re hoping to get away from it all. You can take in the stunning mountain vistas first hand, allowing you a great sense of freedom, though it’s best to go with a guide so you can avoid any danger areas. It’s probably best to have a little walking experience before you go and a decent level of fitness so you’re able to keep up. Whether it’s the magic of Lapland, the thrill of swimming in a rift or trek through stunning forests and mountains, a winter break can be every bit as inspiring as a summer one.

 Andy King is a travel writer who specialises in European travel and has a passion for winter sports Pic credits Northern Lights by Deirdre and Tristan used under creative commons licence Snowshoeing in Bulgaria by John Spooner used under creative commons licence

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