There used to be a time when taking a holiday abroad in wintertime was something that only the very rich would do – naturally, to go skiing. Nowadays snow sports are a lot cheaper to practice and there are many more winter holiday hotel options out there to ensure that everyone can travel and enjoy their holidays in the winter. The problem now is deciding where to go. We will not be covering destinations where it’s hot in winter – the so called “winter sun” destinations. Instead, we’re focusing exclusively on cold, snowy winter destinations where you can make the most of the cold season.
Our first impulse was to talk about the whole of Scandinavia, but Sweden really seems to be head and shoulders above all other Scandinavian countries. It’s not that its resorts are better or that the snow is magically more skiable in Sweden, it’s because of its diversity. Sweden is a large country, which means that its southern end is down south enough to have a somewhat mild temperature – which can get pretty hot in Summer, by the way – and it’s northern regions are so close to the North Pole that you can witness the Aurora Borealis. In contrast, Denmark never gets as cold and Finland cannot offer much in terms of beaches, for example. In fact, Denmark cannot even offer much in the way of mountains, since it’s a very flat country. There’s also the advantage that Sweden is a relatively cheap country to stay in, especially compared to other northern European places, so it seems to be a perfect winter destination.
2. The Alps
The reason why the Alps made number 2 on the list is that they are becoming a bit too crowded. We complained when they were too exclusive, of course, but now we keep on complaining. And this is mostly because the parts of the Alps belonging to Italy and France are really letting their quality go down in favor of mass tourism, which we’re sure gives them a lot more money, but it makes us less inclined to want to visit since even when it comes to winter sports holidays ,we still like to feel in peace and to be able to relax.
3. The Pyrenees
The Pyrenees have always been left to play second fiddle to the Alps, but the truth is there is nothing that you can do in the Alps that you can’t do in the Pyrenees. A natural border between France and Spain, it’s a region that seems to unite the two peoples more than it separates them. It’s a matter of pride for locals of both countries to have this range of mountains literally in their backyard and it shows in the way that they keep it. And that means that what was once a great alternative to the Alps now takes precedent to them in the hearts of many people, and not just locals. The close proximity to Portugal and England definitely helps increase the flow of tourists to the area, and that has helped it expand greatly.
Holly Adams writes for Coupon Croc, where you can get Thomson discounts for your next holidays.