Missing your year-end wintry travels? From glorious glaciers in Argentina to an ice hotel in Canada, feast your eyes on these stunning winter wonders from around the world
There’s a lot more to do during the winter season aside from the same old skiing and snowboarding. If you prefer to take things slow without missing out on snow-white landscapes, winter walks and hikes are a fulfilling activity that allows you to drink in the scenery and icy formations, whilst keeping your blood pumping and body warm. Experience an unforgettably authentic winter with the family, exploring magical offerings of the season from different parts of the world. Be sure to kit out in your warmest gear and you’re ready to explore!
Hôtel de Glace, Canada
Canada’s Quebec City is famous for its chilly, below-zero winter temperatures, which also makes it the perfect place for an ice hotel. Each year from 4 January to 28 March, Hôtel de Glace, a 32,000-square-foot, ice ‘palace’ is erected and installed with massive snow vaults, ice sculptures, and 44 rooms and suites, including igloo-style rooms, an ice chapel, a bar and even a spa. Take the plunge with a stay in the hotel’s frigid rooms, or simply soak in the icy magnificence visually.
Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland
At 5,000 square miles, the Vatnajökull, located in the vicinity of its namesake national park, is Europe’s largest glacier. Enter the ice caves, and you’ll be at a loss for words with a kaleidoscope of colours generated by the changing light and weather conditions, from luminous blue to warm reds and oranges during sunrise or sunset. Sign up for an ice cave tour ranging from hiking to photography, to witness ice erosions and tunnels formed by years of erosion.
Tadami River, Aizu, Japan
If you’re a fan of powdery snowfall and cinematographic landscapes, head for Tadami in the region of Aizu, which boasts one of the heaviest snowfalls in Japan. Aizu is renowned for its thick blanket of snow, lush forests and striking slopes, but most of all, for the scenic Tadami train line that goes over a picturesque railway bridge. Shutterbugs and nature devotees, cameras at the ready for some of the most surreal photos ever taken!
Jackson Hole, USA
It can be a challenge to please everyone when traveling in a large group, but at Jackson Hole, there are diverse activities for everyone. This destination of parks is home to geological wonders and wildlife, dog sledding tours, tram and gondola rides, cross country skiing, snow tubing, and much more, including winter fly fishing at the Snake River. The winding river is also famous for a snake-like appearance from an aerial perspective, but just as scenic observed from different locations of the park.
The Blue Pond, Biei, Japan
This luminous blue pond in the town of Biei, Hokkaido, owes its fame to Apple, which featured the striking pond as wallpaper when they released the OS X Mountain Lion model. The Blue Pond is conveniently located 2.5km northwest from the Platinum hot springs, at the foot of Mt. Tokachi, and is actually an artificial pond created for a dam. While the ethereal colour is still a mystery, the pond and the surrounding facilities has attracted tourists year-round, but winter is the most magical time to catch this stunning sight.
St. Joseph North Pier, USA
No winter exploring is complete without a Narnia-like locale such as the St. Joseph North Pier on the coast of Lake Michigan. Brave the chilly winds and be rewarded by the sight of two ice-covered lighthouses engulfed in frozen icicles, sprayed by the winter winds and waves and solidified by frigid temperatures. Make the most out of the visit by starting with a walk from Tiscornia Park.
Perito Moreno, Argentina
Considered the eighth wonder of the world, Perito Moreno Glacier is an imposing, spectacular glacial formation draped over the Patagonian Andes in the vicinity of Los Glaciares National Park. The dramatic glacier is surrounded by a fetching wilderness of forests and snow-capped peaks, which tourists get to enjoy through a variety of tours and excursions available during the year.
Blue River, Greenland
For the outdoor enthusiasts, wintertime poses the best opportunity for thrilling sports. Greenland’s Blue River is not only an Arctic voyage to take; it also sets a picturesque backdrop for kayaking. The dramatic glaciers frame a shapely strip of clear blue river created by the melting, lower areas of the Petermann Glaciers. While you’re at it, did you know that kayaking originated from the Artic region and is widely embraced by Greenland’s community of hunters?
Photo credits: Hôtel de Glace, Vatnajökull National Park, Tadami River, Jackson Hole, The Blue Pond, St. Joseph North Pier, Perito Moreno, Blue River