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Blue Lagoon Iceland
18 Jan

Top Winter Destinations To Light Your Fire

Not all of us want to escape the cold, now do we? Wicked Good Travel Tips has already touched on Quebec City, but for those who are looking to linger in the winter, here are a few can’t miss travel suggestions :

Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland is one of those countries that (even though there are only a few hours of daylight) comes alive in the winter. I can’t say that I know what Iceland is like in January…because I traveled there in March, but I can tell you that traveling to Reykjavik during the winter months was an experience I will never forget.

Iceland LandscapePerhaps the most striking thing about Iceland during the winter is the landscape itself. When I traveled there, we took a day and rented a car, and just traveled around the Icelandic countryside, visiting various landmarks and just having our own mini-road trip experience. The landscape was quite stark, but very beautiful – the black volcanic rock against the white snow and ice is made for taking photographs.

Blue Lagoon IcelandIf you’re someone looking for an escape in the more traditional sense of pampering and relaxation, the Blue Lagoon was probably made just for you. One of Iceland’s more popular geothermal pools, the water is usually between 95 and 100 degrees F, with eddies of warmer and cooler water. The contrast of the hot water and the cool air is a sensation that makes the outdoor geothermal pool that much more gratifying…and amazing.

I’m not usually a pampering person, but I think we stayed in the lagoon a good 5 hours. Our wrinkles had wrinkles, but it was well worth it.

If you are someone who prefers “party” to “pamper” Reykjavik could be your perfect spot as well – but make sure that you have a Friday and Saturday in your travel plans! Because alcohol is relatively expensive in Iceland, many choose not to imbibe during the week and instead splurge on the weekends. There is even a name for the drink-till-the-sun-rises experience in the city – runtur. Why not try your luck and see if you can keep up with the hardy Icelanders?

Aside from the landscape, the pampering and the parties, the most compelling reason to go to Iceland in the winter is another one of nature’s landscapes – that is, the Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis. Check the weather forecast before you go, though, I was unfortunately unable to see this show because of a few clouds in the night sky when I went!

That didn’t stop me from fully enjoying my winter experience in Iceland, though, and I suggest that everyone look beyond the expected and find the extraordinary in your winter travels.

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest Thermal BathsImagine your favorite fairytale; that is Budapest in winter. Hungary has a people and a culture that are no stranger to harsh winter, but you wouldn’t know that walking around the city in January or February with snow falling softly on medieval buildings or the banks of the Danube.

Winter is typically the off-season for Europe, so if you go in the winter you will enjoy a bit more quiet and serenity – plus you’ll get to take advantage of the city’s famous hot baths or indulge in tea and a pastry at one of their amazing cafes.

Trans Siberian Railway

Trans Siberian RailwayWant to enjoy the Russian winter landscape without the Russian winter? Then a ride on the Trans-Siberian rail is just your ticket. Russia is another one of those countries that (albeit stereotypically) comes alive in the winter months, with everything covered in a layer of white, from the onion domes of St. Petersburg to the squares of Moscow. Enjoy the landscapes and vistas of Russia in the comfort and warmth of the Trans Siberian Railway.

And for those that want to frolic in St. Petersburg, you’re welcome to do that too! The Trans Siberian Railway is one of those seminal travel experiences, and I wouldn’t be able to pass it up, especially not in the winter.

Park City, Utah

Park CIty UtahIf you want to stay a bit closer to home, but still find your perfect winter-weather getaway, try Park City, Utah. It’s a ski town, but one of the lesser known ones – at least compared to places in Colorado like Vail.

If you’re a movie buff, Park City is probably familiar to you, though for other reasons – Park City is the location of the Sundance Film Festival – this year Sundance takes place at the very end of January. The winter retreat of Hollywood, Park City is a chill skiing location that you (and a few stars of the silver screen) can make a winter getaway.

These are just a few travel locations for the more winter-weather inclined of us – do you have any suggestions?

About The Author:  Amber Daniels loves to travel, but likes to explore close to home as well – especially around Broadway – most recently she has tried to buy tickets to Spiderman: Turn off the Dark tickets – but hasn’t had the chance to go see it yet. Of all places, New York City is one of her all-time favorite winter locations, nothing beats it.
Photo Credits: #1 Amber Daniels, #2 Amber Daniels, #3 Flickr-Alex E. Proimos, #4 Flickr-Boccaccio1, #5 Flickr-Wickenden

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