A dozen beautiful holiday ideas for this winter, beyond the ski slopes. From winter sun to snowmobiles and spas, jungle ecolodges to ice hotels and Antarctica.
1. Experience Venice Carnival
Venice loves masks, palaces and opulent parties. The 2023 Venice Carnival is from 11th to 21st February, with street parties, masked balls, cheering crowds and colourful costumes.
2. Go Green in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is the UN Champion of the Earth and a very accessible destination for the whole family. The best time to visit is December to April.
Jungle clad volcanoes. Remote Pacific beaches. Mystical cloud forests. World-leading sustainability. Believe the hype. Costa Rica is a magnificent destination.
We love Costa Rica’s lodges. They balance sustainability with luxury, making beautifully wild places comfortable, whatever your expectations. Places like Lapa Rios and Nayara Tented Camp have inspired many of the world’s leading ecolodges.
3. Witness the Aurora in Finland
Winter brings a white wilderness to Finland, brightened by the shimmering colours of the Aurora Borealis. You don’t need to stand out in the cold to witness the nighttime show. Experience the Northern Lights directly from an Arctic-style suite at Arctic TreeHouse Hotel or Octola Lodge.
4. See the Great Wildebeest Migration in Tanzania
Over a million wildebeest gather in the Southern Serengeti from January to March, in Tanzania. They give birth to their calves and fatten up for their long annual migration north. All the young and defenceless wildebeest are a paradise for big cats, so this is the best time and place to experience wild predatory scenes on an African safari.
5. Explore the Arctic Circle on a Snowmobile or Husky-Pulled Sled
Frozen lakes and snowy forests set the scene for adventure in the Arctic Circle.
No roads, no other people, just a white wonderland that will disconnect you from everyday life.
Travel by snowmobile beneath the Northern Lights, or choose the more sedate base of a husky-pulled sled.
6. Get Spa Crazy in Iceland
Yes, winter is cold in Iceland. But the island is dominated by geothermal activity. Geysers explode and outdoor spas are heated by volcanic activity. Start with a suite at The Retreat at Blue Lagoon, with your own volcanic bath. Then soak in Iceland’s hidden hot pools, surrounded by snow and ice. How about dining in an ice cave as well?
7. Have a Mexican Beach Holiday
You know when it’s cold and wet and there are so many months to go before summer? Well, don’t despair, because Mexico is warm, sunny and full of tropical vibes. The only question is whether you go a beach holiday on the Caribbean side, or on the Pacific Ocean coastline.
8. Rediscover Vienna & the Christmas Markets
Okay, so you’ve visited Vienna and Austria about a hundred times. You’re probably wondering, what is left for me to see. Of course there are the Christmas markets. New for this year is Rosewood Vienna.
Finally there’s a hotel offering contemporary luxury in the Austrian capital. It’s worth crossing the border just to experience the hotel.
What's Your Dream Winter Holiday?
9. Visit Antarctica
The only time to visit Antarctica is during the European winter. Sure, you’re swapping the cold for the cold, but you’ll have an entire continent to discover, with 24 hours of daylight.
Don’t worry about getting seasick. We recommend White Desert, the only company operating on Antarctica’s interior. Less than a thousand people a year travel to Antarctica’s mainland! But it’s extremely comfortable to spend a week at White Desert’s new Echo Base and experience the seventh continent.
10. Sleep in an Icehotel in Sweden
The world’s original Icehotel is still the best.
Every December it opens with an ephemeral exhibition of ice sculpting, with every room individually designed. Go before Christmas and you’ll be among the first to experience the new collection.
Combine a night in the ice with a few days at Arctic Bath, an overwater spa hotel that becomes an over the ice spa hotel in winter.
11. Take the Glacier Express across Switzerland
Cross the Swiss Alps in style, in the Excellence Class of the Glacier Express. It takes eight hours to travel from Zermatt to St Moritz, with 291 bridges, 91 tunnels and a multi-course meal with wine.
12. Find Your Miavana
A mysterious Indian Ocean island formerly the home of pirates, now one of the world’s most exclusive private island retreats. Miavana is off the coast of Madagascar and it’s magnificent, with the smallest villas measuring 450 square metres. Fly from Rome or Milan to Nosy Be then hop across to Miavana by helicopter.
What’s Your Winter Discovery?
So where will you holiday this winter? What will you experience? Whether it’s a sunny holiday on the other side of the world, or exploring Europe’s white wonderlands, we’ll give you individualised recommendations.
Summer is coming to an end. And there’s a whole winter of discoveries waiting for you.