Feeling uninspired by the usual winter holiday itineraries? Spice up your vacation this season when you venture off-the-beaten-path and opt for these unique winter activities instead; a one-of-a-kind adventure awaits to end or start your year with a bang.
5 family-friendly resorts for ski holidays in Japan
Brighten up your winter with these top light-up events
Beginner’s guide to chasing the Northern Lights
Of course, these alternative experiences aren’t the only reason why you should visit these destinations. Whether it’s the yummy food, rich culture or awesome scenery, there are plenty of reasons for you to discover these places this winter. Plus, you’ll even get the bragging rights from taking the road less travelled!
Experience an aurora holiday the Russian way.
Russia for the Northern Lights chasers
If feasting your eyes on the aurora borealis is still on your bucket list but you’re not keen on embarking on your expedition in typical spots such as Scandinavia or Iceland, Russia might be a great choice for you. Although this may come as a surprise, your chances of catching the Northern Lights in Russia are actually equally high – there are even Aurora Cabins you can stay in that are not unlike the famous glass igloos in Finland.
Besides chasing the Northern Lights, you can also indulge in highlights such as interacting with huskies and reindeer, going on a king crab safari and meeting the Snow Maiden and Father Frost, the local version of Santa Claus.
Seek out a herd of reindeers as they roam freely around the mountains. Photo by Cairngorm Reindeer.
Scotland for the wildlife enthusiasts
If you have a penchant for wildlife, getting to mingle with arctic animals such as huskies and reindeer are surely one of your top experiences on a winter holiday. Instead of hopping on a sled with these animals and only getting to spend a short time with them, why not opt for a more authentic interactive experience in Scotland instead?
Choose to go on a guided hike with an approximately 150-strong free-range reindeer herd in the mountains and rejoice when you get to hand-feed, stroke and snap endless photos with the friendly creatures; these adorable reindeer are Santa’s favourite animals for good reason.
Admire the multicoloured Niagara Falls. Image by John Piercy / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Canada for those in a celebratory mood
When it comes to a winter vacation, many of us have Christmas on our minds. It makes sense then for us to immediately think of visiting one of Europe’s enchanting markets for some festive cheer and merriment. But if you’re game for new experiences, look to Canada for a whole different celebration.
The annual Winter Festival of Lights simply dazzles visitors with its intricate light installations created with more than 2 million lights that bathe the landscape in a magical glow. Make it a point to visit the iconic Niagara Falls for the Fallsview Sound & Light Show, held each night from 16th November 2019 to 12th January 2020, that will simply astound you.
At the Deck the Falls pop-up, you’ll even get to listen to soothing carol performances and satisfy your stomachs with gourmet food and holiday beverages too!
Find out what it’s like to sleep in a real igloo. Image by jechstra / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Norway for those who want an interesting stay
We have to admit that Sweden‘s ICEHOTEL is plenty impressive with its intricate ice sculptures and stunning rooms that are crafted from scratch every year but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other cool properties around.
At Norway‘s Igloo Hotel, you get to stay in a real igloo made from snow; the property is also furnished with ice furniture and sculptures. If you also happen to be looking for a unique destination to wed in, the romantic ice chapel here is a top pick. As a bonus, the hotel is also situated in a prime location for you to view the Northern Lights, which you may even spot whilst soaking in a hot tub!
Skip the queues when you ski at a private mountain. Image by Niseko Weiss Powder CATS.
The exclusive side of Niseko for winter sports lovers
Tired of jostling with the crowds at popular hotspots such as Japan‘s Niseko Ski Resort? Have a mountain all to yourself when you opt to play in the snow at Mount Weisshorn instead.
Also conveniently located in Niseko, this private mountain admits just 12 guests each day so you can skip the queuing and create your own fresh tracks on each run. With terrain that’s suitable for beginner to advanced skiers and boarders, and professional guides to lead you on your expedition, you’ll be in safe hands. A photographer will even accompany you on your trip to snap photos that you can take home as souvenirs!