Let’s face it – winter in the UK can be a rather drab affair. With seemingly endless rain, the colder months can be filled less with majesty and grandeur, and more with soggy afternoons spent indoors. Be honest, can you bear another game of Scrabble? Is Monopoly threatening to tear the family apart?
We thought as much. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the most magical places you can jet away to this winter. Make this year one to remember with a wonderful winter holiday!
Oh, Vienna! Ultravox were bewitched by this city, and so will you be. The Christmas markets are particularly delightful – the baked goods and hot punch will warm you as much as the festive atmosphere. Be sure to make time to visit the Museum Quartier, where streets artists will transform the six ice pavillions into works of art, and the curling lane is lots of fun!
All Viennese food is delightful, but they really know how to do breakfast. Enjoy a meal of simple freshly baked rolls, soft boiled eggs and ham, or opt for something more opulent like a champagne breakfast with oysters.
If you’re looking for snow, Finland has it in bucket loads. There are plenty of fun ways to see the majesty that is the Finnish winter; a hot air balloon ride will allow for a spectacular view of reindeer, or if you’d rather stay closer to the ground a dogsled is a thrilling form of transport.
Make sure you take the time to go ice skating and ice fishing, and head to the north to experience the polar night – which plunges the place into total darkness bar a few hours of twilight around noon – and view the incredible Northern Lights.
It might seem an unusual choice, but if ancient Egyptian mythology isn’t magical, we don’t know what is. A cruise up the Nile with an onboard Egyptolygist is an unforgettable experience, with the chance to see the pyramids, the Valley of the Kings and the temples of Abu Simbel. Egyptian hospitality is second to none, and, of course, the weather is glorious!
The big apple is a wonderful place to visit at any time of year, but during the winter months the city takes on an especially magical charm. Broadway is host to plenty of spectacular shows, which take on a festive feel around Christmas that’s sure to get you in the spirit.
Shopaholics will certainly not be disappointed, but aside from the fantastic department stores and tourist attractions (Statue of Liberty, we’re looking at you) New York has an underbelly of culture and entertainment that is not to be missed. Head off Broadway for a more intimate feel. Be sure, also, to head to the Rockefeller Centre ice rink for a magical skating experience.
Despite its beleaguered past, St Petersburg is a wonderful place to visit in winter, not least because of the incredible ice sculptures. Artists have transformed blocks of ice into things of beauty since 1740, when Empress Anna’s birthday was celebrated with an entire palace carved out of ice.
That isn’t the only icy wonder to make St Petersburg such a magical place to visit, however. The Neva River freezes solid in the winter, except for a hole in front of the Peter Paul Fortress. It is here that the Walrus Club, a group of hardy swimmers, take a dip. If you aren’t brave enough to join them, enjoy vodka – in an ice glass, of course, at the ice bar, and watch instead.
Wherever you plan to visit this winter, have fun!