Who loves winter? WE DO! WE DO! It’s a magical time- the snow lights up the city, the fireplaces roar and nature transforms into your very own playground. But we get it, maybe where you are it just gets cold, dark and rainy. Maybe the only fireplace you’ll see is the image on a screen at the local department store. If that sounds familiar then our winter winners hotlist is for you!
Get the hot cocoa on and check out our favorite winter hangouts (in no particular order)…
Surprised? Come on. Of course we were going to say Oslo. It’s the winter capital of the Nordics (perhaps even the world..). With renowned cross country tracks and downhill slopes just a couple of stops away from the city centre, Oslo provides urban adventures without the seclusion and exhaustion of carpooling your way up a mountain (unless you want to, that is). It’s the perfect mix of ‘woah’ landscapes and a pumping nightlife. And while you’re here, we suggest you test out ice fishing on the Oslo fjord, it’s an extraordinary experience that you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere. Also- have a sip of that world famous coffee. It takes better when it’s below zero.
2. Reykjavik, Iceland
The Icelandic capital is cold, sure, but with access to more warm ‘volcanically heated’ baths then you can shake your mulled wine at, and of course the Blue Lagoon, it’s hard to beat. This vibrant city is the perfect launchpad to explore the beautiful and thrillingly wild Icelandic nature from. Start the day by a geysir (that’s a natural fountain of water to you and me..) and end it at one of many cutting-edge dining spots in the city. Extra points for snapping up a group photo in an iconic Icelandic design jumper with your mates!
3. Vancouver & Whistler
We are cheating a little by adding two cities as one entry. Vancouver is the big city, with a buzzing international life, and a dynamic and evolving cultural scene. And if you like exploring a city by foot then you’ll be blown away by the ‘seawall’ which is exactly what it sounds like- a paved 28km pathway around the seafront. Get those cameras out, the views are unsurprisingly incredible. Also- did someone say ‘christmas market’? Vancouver makes a sport out of this annual event, with over 75 huts full of goodies. If you don’t like all those lights harshing your outdoorsy buzz then a short drive north of the city you’ll hit Whistler, with access to every winter activity under that sub-zero sun. You’re pleasing everyone with this combo- something for the thinkers, the thrill seekers and city lovers too.
4. Bavaria, Germany
If you’re a sucker for classic gothic fairytales then go to see the Neuschwanstein Castle in the winter. It’s a medieval romance to rival anything you’ve seen in a disney film. We’re not kidding- Disney modelled the castle in Sleeping beauty on Neuschwanstein…And Bavaria has more to offer than just the gorgeous views and jaw-droppingly intricate interiors of its famous castle. Also- you’re in Germany, the unofficial home of the christmas market (they invented this game), which comes with all the associated bratwurst sausages, warming spiked tipple and gingerbread you can get into your mittens. This is all home grown festive fun, and you didn’t hear it from us, but a pretty great proposal location..
Prague (former capital of Bohemia) is a pretty magical place all year round, but has a special charm in the winter months. Imprinted with it’s stark historical pasts, you’ll wander into old pubs, basement restaurants and unlikely little cafes in the most industrial looking of shells. Winter is low season (apart from right around christmas time), so you’ll have the luxury of sliding in and out of the best spots without being disturbed. You’ll be able to reflect on the lit up Tyn Church and take your photos of the astronomical clock wearing a cloud of fog without the stag parties knocking you over. Win-Win. Walking the narrow and winding streets of the old town in the snow will throw you right back in time. Also, beer. Prague has great beer and you’ll want to feel cultured while drinking it. There’s no better time to eat rich food and starchy sides. We suggest you fill up on soup served in a breaded shell, wash it down with a delicious beer and then take a nap and think about Kafka. We love you Prague. We love you beer.