Between the gorgeous snow and the abundance of outdoor activities, winter might just be Ivana's favorite season.
Top 10 Luxury Winter Destinations
December is finally here! Some might argue that it's the most magical month of the year. There is something rather intoxicating about living to see another year, questioning your decisions, and setting new goals for the year to come.
With frosty air blowing all around me, and with travel limitations due to the infamous pandemic, something inspired me to write an article about some of my favorite winter resorts in the world. We may not able to travel to such destinations at the moment, but we can at least admire them from a safe distance through the screen while we plan our next adventures.
“Yet my heart loves December's smile as much as July's golden beam; then let us sit and watch the while the blue ice curdling on the stream.”
— Emily Jane Brontë
1. Lech-Zürs am Arlberg, Austria
The birthplace of Alpine skiing, where the first guests learned to ski a long time ago, Lech-Zürs offers the winter magic in its greatest form.
The place is rich with lodgings suitable for everyone. It’s one of the favorite resorts for many celebrities, whose privacy is protected by the small size and remote setting of Lech-Zürs. With that being said, there’s also an abundance of low-budget lodging suitable for everyone. It’s ideal for a family vacation too!
Once you’ve reached the destination, you can engage in countless activities.
You can learn how to ski, or if you’re experienced in that, you can go on a unique skiing adventure. There are several affordable packages one can choose from depending on experience, age, and the time one wants to dedicate to this activity. Both amateur and professionals can engage in an annual ski race called The White Ring, should they choose to.
If you don't particularly enjoy skiing, you can try out one of the hiking trails. Lech-Zürs offers countless trails that stretch across the area of 40 kilometers. It's a perfect way to go sight-seeing and experience the winter magic Austria takes pride in. If you dislike long walks, you can always try out one of the horse-drawn sleigh rides instead. A winter holiday is rarely perfect without some ice-skating, and this resort offers the opportunity to enjoy this activity as well.
Of course, after a long day filled with winter activities, it's essential to treat yourself to a trip to the spa, which is open every day except Saturday!
“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
— John Steinbeck
2. Baqueira-Beret, Spain
This vacation destination is essentially a ski resort of the Pyrenees and one of the most well-known resorts in Spain. Baqueira-Beret is located in Catalonia and offers around 160 kilometers of slopes and five kilometers of ski routes for everyone to enjoy. It has long and wide ski runs, some through trees. Baqueira-Beret possesses around 20 chair lifts, one gondola lift, and seven ski lifts.
The resort is mostly suitable for skiing and snowboarding, but visitors can also enjoy many other activities, such as taking a swim in a heated swimming pool, shopping, ice-skating, walking, hiking, kayaking, or exploring the local cuisine in numerous restaurants. Spain is also big on nightlife, so if that's something you enjoy, you most definitely won't be disappointed!
3. Eldora Ski Resort, Colorado, USA
The resort is a winter playground suitable for cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. It's located 46 miles from Denver in the southwest corner of Boulder County, and it takes pride in being the perfect destination for families seeking a skiing adventure.
Eldora Ski Resort is the best place to learn the basics of skiing. It offers amazing learning programs for all its visitors—kids and adults equally.
This resort offers exceptional runs and possesses 680 acres of skiable terrain. It is, of course, amazing for beginners, but more experienced visitors can challenge themselves on the Corona lift; it's the most difficult trail in the area, with its cornices, cliffs, and gullies!
Eldora boasts Colorado’s best snowmaking system, with the coverage of 100% of groomed terrain!
“If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”
— Percy Bysshe Shelley
4. Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
Sapporo is located on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, and it is the fifth-largest city in Japan. Every year in February, the city hosts the world’s most popular snow festival—Sapporo Yuki Matsui. The capital city of Hokkaido is certainly one of the coolest winter destinations in Japan.
Visitors can engage in many different snow activities, here, including skiing, of course. Sapporo has an abundance of great ski resorts suitable for everyone's tastes. But once you're in Sapporo, you should do more than just ski. Don't miss the hot springs, ice fishing, shopping, trying out the local cuisine, and sightseeing.
If you're interested to see an amazing view of the city of Sapporo, make a trip to Mount Moiwa, a small, forested mountain on the southwest of the city!
5. Lake Bled, Slovenia
In Central Europe lies Slovenia, and in it, the unforgettable lake Bled. It can be visited at any time of the year, but it's surely most romantic during the winter months. When the snow falls, the lake freezes and the whole area offers countless outdoor and indoor activities for the travelers.
It's especially breathtaking for photographers and people who enjoy sight-seeing.
Like any other winter resort, Bled offers typical winter activities for its visitors such as ice-skating, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and sledding. You can also visit the Church of the Assumption of Mary, go on a tour of the Bled Castle built in the 12th century, visit museums or enjoy the landscape.
When it comes to ice-skating, take special care—every year the authorities examine the lake and decide if it's frozen enough to be safe for skating!
"Winter is not a season, it's a celebration."
— Anamika Mishra
6. Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
Whistler, just under 80 miles north of Vancouver, is one of Canada's favorite all-year destinations and one of the largest winter resorts in the region. It's home to deep snow, exquisite trails, and the world's highest gondola.
With its combination of thrilling descents and exquisite scenery, Whistler offers quite an enjoyable vacation during the cold months. This destination is known for skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, amazing spas, dog sledding tours, and snowshoeing, as well as helicopter sightseeing tours.
If you're more adventurous, you shouldn't miss the zipline tours, which involve moving from treetop to treetop while attached to a cable via a full-body harness!
7. Lake Tahoe, Sierra Nevada Mountains, USA
Between California and Nevada is the famous Lake Tahoe, a dream getaway for many travelers during every season. But winter is especially magical there. Lake Tahoe offers plenty of family-friendly winter activities, as well as a few more adventurous ones.
Around two and a half hours from Yosemite National Park, this destination has someting to satisfy everyone's tastes.
During the colder months, Lake Tahoe offers, naturally, the opportunity for cross-country skiing, sleigh rides, snowshoeing, and snowmobile tours. Other than that, visitors can engage in hiking, visiting museums, restaurants, and breweries, ice-skating, visiting the spa, checking out the outdoor hot tub, or simply relaxing by a fireplace.
If you're interested in testing your luck, you can also visit one of the area's many casinos!
"The color of springtime is flowers; the color of winter is in our imagination."
— Prince of Scots
8. Interlaken, Switzerland
Surrounded by the three mighty mountains: Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, the town of Interlaken is an incredible place for a winter getaway. The region owns over 45 mountain railways, cable cars, alpine meadows and glaciers, skiing, and hiking trails.
Interlaken offers all classic winter activities. One can also engage in skydiving, hiking, boat cruising, train riding, night sledding, etc. Other than that, its visitors are usually enchanted with sightseeing, and especially with the beautiful Interlaken lakes, which are astounding. Moreover, no one should miss playing on the Vertical Rush—a forest adventure of wooden bridges, Tarzan swings and zip lines of varying difficulty and height.
Switzerland is known for numerous great things: snow, skiing, cheese, and chocolate. Interlaken is no exception, and those are a few things you shouldn't miss if you visit!
9. Bansko Ski Resort, Bulgaria
Located in the Balkan Peninsula, Bulgaria offers an abundance of locations for winter lovers. One of them is the Bansko Ski Resort, which is probably the best winter resort in Bulgaria, with the longest ski runs and the richest cultural history. The town of Bansko is situated at the foot of the Pirin mountains in south-western Bulgaria.
The resort offers 48.2 km of slopes, 8.1 km of ski routes, and 14 lifts. Visitors can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice-skating, paragliding, and mountain biking.
If you're in the area, you should book yourself a spot on the Bansko Safari; you will be picked up at the hotel and driven around to take in cultural sites, a secret lake, and all views along the way!
"Winter is a season of recovery and preparation."
— Paul Theroux
10. The Lofoten Islands, Norway
The Lofoten Islands jut out of the turbulent waters of the Norwegian Sea, far above the Arctic Circle. They offer countless deep fjords, squawking seabird colonies, and long, surf-swept beaches.
If you are seeking unforgettable natural experiences, Lofoten definitely won't let you down! While visiting The Lofoten Islands, you can go hiking, skiing, fishing, ocean rafting or scuba diving, and engage in guided snowshoeing trips or sea eagle safaris. There are also museums to visit.
Between late May and mid-July, you can experience the midnight sun, but the winter months are the best if you want to see the breathtaking Northern Lights.
© 2020 Ivana Divac
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on December 05, 2020:
These would all be lovely places to visit.
Ivana Divac (author) from Serbia on December 05, 2020:
Thank you very much for taking the time to read!
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on December 05, 2020:
This is a great article about winter resorts. I you like to ski, then any one of these places would be great, Ivana.
Ivana Divac (author) from Serbia on December 05, 2020:
Thanks for reading and leaving a review!
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on December 04, 2020:
Well written and informative article about the winter resorts, around the World. We usually travel during this time of the year, but not this time. I have been to Switzerland and USA. The rest are on my list. Let’s see, when.
Thank you for the wonderful article with relevant information.
Liz Westwood from UK on December 04, 2020:
This is a well-structured and well-illustrated article. I really appreciate the global spread of your locations. I have previously visited Austria and Switzerland, but only in the summer months, when the scenery is very different, but still very good.
Ivana Divac (author) from Serbia on December 04, 2020:
And thank you for reading it and taking the time to leave a review!
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on December 04, 2020:
Beautiful compilation. Thanks.