Six Great Winter Travel Destinations

Winter seems to be one of the most "controversial" seasons—either people love cold weather, winter sports, and snow and can’t wait for the first snowfall or they dread winter weather and can’t wait until it’s warm and sunny again. In any case, winter can be one of the best times to plan a vacation. Many people have breaks from school and work over the holidays, making it the perfect time to get together for a vacation that everybody can attend. What better way to celebrate the holidays than by going on an unforgettable vacation?


Winter can be a great time to travel for other reasons, too. In many places, winter brings smaller crowds, lower airfare prices, cheaper hotels, and great scenery such as Christmas markets, holiday lights, and even the famous northern lights. If you don’t like the cold, you can plan a trip to Hawaii or Florida to escape for a bit and relax on a warm beach. If you do like winter and winter sports, you can plan a trip to Vail, Colorado or Zinal, Switzerland and spend the days skiing and snowboarding on their world-famous mountains.

Here are some of our favorites:


VAIL, COLORADO
For the winter sports enthusiasts who aren’t looking to travel very far from home, Vail, Colorado is the perfect place for you. Vail Ski Resort is a world-famous resort, and for a good reason, too. With over 5,289 acres of skiable terrain (most of which is more for advanced skiers), incredible scenery, and plenty of top-tier equipment rental shops located nearby, Vail has everything you need for an awesome ski trip. Once you’re done hitting the slopes, you’ll be satisfied with the great restaurants and various lodging options located near the resort. It truly is one of the best winter vacation destinations for adventurous winter-loving people.

HAWAII 
The Hawaiian Islands consistently rank highly on travel lists, no matter the time of year. From beautiful scenery to perfect surfing locations, black sand beaches to world-class hikes, Hawaii has something for everybody. With legendary attractions like the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Akaka Falls State Park, there are enough interesting, exciting, and beautiful aspects of Hawaii to keep you busy for a lifetime.


GERMANY 
All of Europe turns into a wonderland during the winter, but Germany is one of the best places to visit. While it does get cold and snowy there, the winter weather seems to serve to make the experience more magical. The beautiful architecture, fun Christmas markets, and dazzling light displays are only some of the notable things that Germany has to offer. It also is home to some of the best winter sports in the world, such as Zugspitze, Belchen, and the Harz Mountains.

BARBADOS 
The Caribbean Islands are very dependable when it comes to offering great vacations, but Barbados is one of the best. With incredible beaches, spectacular scenery, and plenty of places to explore, Barbados has limitless opportunities for adventure, exploration, and relaxation. Warm temperatures, fascinating architecture, and a thriving nightlife are only a few of the things that make a winter trip to Barbados one worth taking.


ITALY 
Famous for its rich history, awe-inspiring architecture, and great food, Italy is usually high on every list of places you need to visit at least once in your lifetime. Some will argue that the best time to see Italy is in the winter because the weather is nice and there are fewer tourists. If you have an appreciation for art, good food, history, or beautiful scenery, Italy is the perfect destination for your winter getaway. From wandering the streets of Florence to sunbathing on deserted islands, admiring the Roman ruins to touring the rolling hills of Val d’Orcia, the breathtaking experiences that Italy has to offer are matched by few other places.

JAPAN
Japan is an underrated winter travel destination. For some reason or another, it usually isn’t the first place people think to travel during the winter. But it definitely deserves a spot on the list of best places to visit during the winter. It has plenty of fantastic places to ski and snowboard, thousands of onsens (Japanese hot springs), and cherry blossoms start to bloom as early as February. It also hosts impressive events such as light shows, the Sapporo Snow Festival, Kamakura Festival, and the Sumo January Grand Tournament.


Whatever your preferences, the odds of you finding the perfect place to get away for a bit are pretty good. Some winter vacation destinations are definitely better than others, so you’ll want to do some planning to see which places are the best fit for you.