Where to Go this Winter

Published 28 October 2016

Angela Griffin

Angela Griffin

It’s 3pm and it’s dark outside. The sun hasn’t been seen for weeks and whole country has ground to a halt over less than a centimetre of snow. Yes, it’s winter; the time of year when our minds inevitably turn to escaping the dark and foggy British mornings with a holiday somewhere far-flung and exotic. But where? Whether you’re embracing the ice and snow with a full-on winter adventure or trying to get as far from it as possible on a blissful beach somewhere, we’ve got some suggestions for you:

Sunbathers on Bondi Beach

Winter sun

Feel the heat in Australia

In the southern hemisphere, the seasons are reversed. So in the depths of the British winter it’s the height of summer Down Under, making Australia the perfect winter sun destination. If it’s beaches you’re after there’s certainly no shortage of them here. The further north you go the hotter it will be – try the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland, where temperatures often surpass 30°C, or stick to the cooler(!) temperatures around Sydney, where Bondi Beach hovers at around 26°C. If you like to sizzle try Exmouth in Western Australia, gateway to the Ningaloo Reef, where temperatures hit a scorching 47°C in February 2016.

Read more about Australia’s climate and the best time to go here.

Lazing on a Mexican beach

Laze on a beach in Mexico

The whales have got the right idea. Between December and March, thousands of them migrate from the icy Alaskan waters to the balmy waters of Baja California on Mexico’s Pacific coast. This is Mexico’s dry season, meaning there’s very little rain and it’s hot hot hot down on the beaches, with temperatures well above 30°C. So find a shady palm tree, grab a frozen margarita and soak up the sun, keeping an eye out for the passing grey, blue and humpback whales too of course.

Read more about Mexico’s climate and the best time to go here.

Angkor Thom’s faces

Admire Angkor Wat in Cambodia

The British winter is the perfect time to head to Cambodia; the dry season has hit and the country is in its element. Take advantage of the sunny days and tour Angkor Archaeological Park, home to the world-famous temple of Angkor Wat, as well as the face towers of Angkor Thom and the mysterious Ta Prohm, which is being slowly swallowed by the jungle. Be warned though: this is peak Angkor visiting time, so don’t expect to have the place to yourself.

Visit Angkor Wat with Round the World Expert’s tailor-made Cambodia Explorer holiday.

Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Island hop around Thailand

Thailand’s beaches are in their prime at this time of year. The weather is glorious, with warm days filled with sunshine, no rain, and the humidity at the lowest it’s been for months. Christmas is the peak island-hopping and beaching period, but the lovely weather continues right through to February, so you can come at any time. There’s more to Thailand than just its beaches though, so be sure to detour to the inland jungles and temples, which are far more manageable in the mild weather.

Explore Thailand’s islands and beaches on Round the World Experts’ tailor-made Island Explorer holiday.

Horseriding in winter

Winter wonderlands

Stay on a ranch, USA

“A ranch? In winter?” I hear you cry. Why yes! You might not immediately think of snow when you picture yourself as a cowboy, but think about it: wide-open landscapes sprinkled with snow, crackling campfires, perfect for toasting your marshmallows and warming up on a chilly evening, and cosy wood-panelled bedrooms complete with home-cooked evening meals; it’s winter in a nutshell. There are plenty of activities too: go horse riding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or ice skating in the frozen wilderness. Finish the day in a steaming hot tub or by the fire with a cup of hot cocoa. Bliss.

If you fancy living the cowboy lifestyle, check out Round the World Experts’ Cajun Cowboys and Texas In-Depth Journeys, which include stays on Texas’ Wildcatter Ranch in Graham and the Dixie Dude Ranch in Bandera respectively.

Skiing in Whistler

Go skiing in the USA or Canada

With the onset of winter, the snow begins to fall across the Rocky Mountains and the ski season kicks off. Whistler in Canada is one of the world’s most famous resorts, but you can also choose from Aspen in Colorado or Jackson Hole in Wyoming among numerous others. Depending on the snow levels, the ski season is usually in full swing by December and lasts right through to the end of April, so there’s plenty of time to get your skis on. And if skiing doesn’t float your boat, what about snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or snowmobiling?

Spend four nights in Whistler on Round the World Experts’ Winter, Whistler & the Northern Lights holiday, which can be tailor made to suit you.

Fox in Yellowstone National Park

Tour the USA’s national parks

The USA boasts some of the most spectacular national parks in the world, but while some become inaccessible in winter, many come into their own. Think of Yosemite: in summer it’s an outdoor playground of towering mountains and twinkling streams, and in winter these don’t go away. In fact, with the water frozen and the mountains sprinkled in snow, the landscapes become even more beautiful, and it’s possible to snowboard and ski. In Yellowstone’s winter, the coyotes and foxes jump to catch the rodents scurrying about deep beneath the snow, fun to watch if you’re lucky enough to witness it.

Round the World Experts’ tailor-made America’s National Parks holiday can be done in summer or winter. Speak to your Expert for further information.

Northern Lights, Canada

Chase the northern lights

The Northern Lights, or aurora borealis, are one of the world’s most spectacular natural phenomena, and winter is the ideal time to see them. For a dazzling light display you need total darkness, so you’ll have to go remote. From October onwards, Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories, Whitehorse in the Yukon, or Fairbanks in Alaska all put on impressive displays, as well as various spots in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland or even northern Scotland if you’re very lucky.

Chase the northern lights in Whitehorse on Round the World Experts’ tailor-made Winter, Whistler & the Northern Lights holiday.

Lazing by the fire

Hibernate in Quebec, Canada

Finally, if you can’t be bothered to go out into the cold at all, head to Quebec, a snow and ice-dusted wonderland in winter. Looking like something straight off a Christmas card, it’s the perfect choice for a get-away-from-it-all winter break. Check into a cosy hotel, such as the castle-like Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, reserve your spot by the log fire and spend the whole day sipping hot chocolate and reading a good book. Alternatively, hibernate in a huge squishy bed wrapped in a thick blanket and make the most of the room service. If you do ever decide to emerge from your cocoon you’ll find a twinkling, bright city outside, filled with winter cheer.

Head to Quebec City with Round the World Experts’ Quebec Cities & Scenery holiday.

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