It’s that time of year again, the leaves have started falling, Jack Frost has reappeared and the only thing that’s keeping your fingers warm is that spiced latte that you’re hugging for dear life! There’s a whole multitude of things to love about winter and it really is a beautiful season to travel, especially if you’re wanting to embrace that festive spirit!

11 Dramatic Experiences You Must Have In Iceland (21)

Winter holidays can often be a time when we try to escape the biting winter cold, from places like Barbados, the Maldives, and Morocco – there’s a ton of beautiful winter sun spots that will guarantee you some sunshine and some epic sights to discover! Though these are idyllic, I find it’s just as good to embrace the winter and to take the cold in your stride.

12 Gorgeous Winter Destinations That Will Get You Into The Festive Spirit

Take a look at some of my ver favourite Wintry places to truly embrace the festive season.

1.) Vik, Iceland

11 Dramatic Experiences You Must Have In Iceland (37)

Dyrhólaey, Iceland - A Photo Diary... (13)

Iceland is an incredible country to visit, with so many unique experiences to have and beautiful natural sights to see! One place to truly see the beauty of this country is in (and around) Vik – a small community 3 hours east of Reykjavik with one of the country’s most impressive volcanic beaches.

11 Dramatic Experiences You Must Have In Iceland (28)

As the nights get longer in winter, make sure to stick around to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights too – a truly magical experience.

Take a look at our full list of unique experiences to have in Iceland here.

2.) Zell am See, Austria 

10 Things No One Ever Tell You About Skiing! Austria, Zell am See, www.HandLuggageOnly.co.uk (1)

Looking for roaring fires, toasty lodges and enough hot chocolate to shake a stick at… Zell Am See is the perfect winter destination to rock out in your very own cabin, head up the slopes to ski or to just chill out by the lake. It’s a beautiful Austrian gem.

See more from our time (learning to ski) in Zell am See, here.

Learn To Ski In Zell Am See, Austria (8)

3.) Faroe Islands 

The Most Amazing Waterfall In The Faroe Islands! (24)

The Faroe Islands are only 2 hours from London (by air) and one of the most idyllic countries in all of Europe. Although it’s so close, the Faroe Islands feels like it’s a million miles away. Its small population and stunning scenery make this a very special place to experience. Perfect to get those festive juices flowing!

See more of the amazing experiences you need to have in the Faroe Islands, in our post here.

Two Of Europe's Smallest Villages That You Have To Visit In The Faroe Islands (4)

4.) Alesund, Norway

Arrival In Alesund, Norway - The Start Of Our Norwegian Road Trip! (18)

No winter holiday suggestion would be complete without a mention of Alesund, this beautiful west coast town will be a little frosty in winter, but I assure you the town and it’s people are not! For the perfect festive break, make sure to discover the quaint little shops, antique stores and the gorgeous coastline that surrounds this stunning place.

See more from our road-trip around the west coast of Norway, here.

Things To See In Alesund in Norway (15)

5.) Copenhagen, Denmark 

visiting Copenhagen-87

Copenhagen knows exactly how to bring out that festive spirit! With craft markets galore, beautiful seasonal grub in areas such as the Meat Packing District and the magical charm of Tivoli, this beautiful city is the perfect place to enjoy a wintry city break in Europe.

See our complete guide to visiting Copenhagen, here.

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6.) Pulpit Rock, NorwayHow To See The Lysefjord AND Get To The Very Edge Of Pulpit Rock In Norway! (46)

If you’re looking for an adrenaline fuelled winter break, then consider heading to Pulpit Rock near Stavanger. The hike to the top takes around 2-3 hours (4 if you like to take quite a few pit-stops) and is well worth the ramble for the stunning views across the fjords. A beautiful place to explore the natural beauty of Norway.

See how to visit Pulpit Rock, in our post here.

How To See The Lysefjord AND Get To The Very Edge Of Pulpit Rock In Norway! (50)

In winter, make sure to listen to local safety advice on hiking this route – no one likes a reckless rambler! 😉

7.) Dublin, Ireland 

8 Delicious Foody Experiences You Should Have In Dublin, Ireland (28)

If you’re looking to experience a little taste of that Irish charm, then look no further than Dublin. The festive cheer is all around in Ireland’s capital, with loads of places to sit back, relax and enjoy its wonderful festive atmosphere. Make sure to head to beautiful The Long Room and grab a bite to eat at Klaw.

See our top experiences to have in Dublin, right here.

8 Delicious Foody Experiences You Should Have In Dublin, Ireland (31)

8.) Bratislava, Slovakia 

23 Sights You Have To See in Bratislava! (27)

For a truly wintry wonderland, head over to the snowy city of Bratislava, this relatively small European capital is a great place to discover some delicious Slovak food, Bratislava Castle, and the fairytale-like Devin Castle.

See our top things to see in Bratislava, right here.

23 Sights You Have To See in Bratislava! (15)

9.) Gdansk, Poland 

The Beautiful Old Town Of Gdansk In Poland | PART 2 (33)

Gdansk is often overshadowed by the other big cities in Poland, but this small coastal city is beautiful. Head through its picturesque cobbled streets, grab yourself some hot gluhwein and even head to the promenade of Sopot for a wintry walk across the pier.

Where We Stayed In Gdansk, Poland (9)

10.) Flam, Norway 

The Flamsbana Experience - Norway's Most Scenic Train Journey! (1) The Flamsbana Experience - Norway's Most Scenic Train Journey! (8) If you want to experience one of the most magical train journeys in Europe, then make sure you head to Flåm. Jump onboard the historic Flåm Line  that literally climbs the mountains to get you into the small town of Flåm. The journey is incredible and the perfect way to get those festive feelings flowing.

See more from our time in Flåm, and how to visit, right here.

The Flamsbana Experience - Norway's Most Scenic Train Journey! (55)

11.) Blue Lagoon, Iceland

11 Dramatic Experiences You Must Have In Iceland (24)

Probably one of the most famous geothermal bathing spots in all the world, the Blue Lagoon is incredible. Head out into the bitter Icelandic cold and immerse yourself in the piping hot water of the lagoon. It’s a magical place that’s well worth a visit when in Iceland.

See more of what you should do in Iceland in our post, here.

11 Dramatic Experiences You Must Have In Iceland (14)

12.) Cotswolds, England 

Inside The Beautiful Cotswolds Village Of Lacock... (53) An Afternoon In The English Villages Of Broadway And Bourton-On-The-Water... The Cotswolds, England (29)England has many incredible spots to see that aren’t just special in summer. Make sure to visit the Cotswolds (around 2-hours west of London), it’s the perfect place to discover an old slice of English charm (that’s even more magical with a dusting of snow).          An Afternoon In The English Villages Of Broadway And Bourton-On-The-Water... The Cotswolds, England (55)

Take a look at our complete guide to planning your trip to the Cotswolds, right here.


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  • Holly

    Gorgeous! You’ve made me want to go to a winter wonderland somewhere now 🙂 Love snow!

    Holly x

    http://www.ldnmuse.com

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Us too holly! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Rebecca Fletcher

    I would love to go to Iceland. It looks so beautiful!

    http://www.beautylifebecca.blogspot.co.uk

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It’s such an incredible country, Rebecca – you’d love it! Let us know if you plan a trip, always happy to help with tips and advice 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Such beautiful photos and an equally beautiful list! That first lead-in photo is absolutely stunning! It looks like something you’d see on a Christmas card <3

    I've always wanted to go to Iceland and Norway – oh! and Sweden! I'm a winter person so I'd love to eventually see all of these colder weather places. Something tells me I'd be travelling on my own, though, because there's no one else in my family or group of friends who like winter as much as I do haha! Everyone else I know is a summer person and would rather just take a trip down south.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much Vanessa 🙂

      Ahhhhh, snap! I think we’re the same… we love warm places but we’re totally winter people too. seeing the snowy mountains and beautiful landscapes (in winter) always feels so magical. We love it.

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Vibeke J

    Great list! Norway is amazing <3 Thank you for sharing!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much, Norway is an incredible country isn’t it 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya 🙂

  • Gorgeous destinations! I’m off to Lake Tahoe for Christmas I’m so excited!

    Abigail Alice x

    • HandLuggageOnly

      ahhhhh, Lake Tahoe is beautiful, I visited in the height of summer and would love to see it in the winter, I bet it looks so magical – you’re going to have the best time ever.

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • dolceandmasala

    Incredible photography as usual. I am headed to India and Sri Lanka for New Years holidays, but may have to add a few of these for weekend trips in December. Thanks for sharing! The combination of snow and Christmas lights are also irresistible.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much 🙂

      Ahhhh, India and Sri Lanka for New Years.. .that sounds idyllic! We’re heading back to Sri Lanka in a few weeks too, we literally can’t wait – it’s such a beautiful country.

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Stunning! I want to visit them all!

    Kate | http://www.petiteadventures.org/

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Gotta love a little slice of winter, Kate. We’re desperate to go back to them all too. 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • I’m dreaming of snow..

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Us too, Tanja 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Maria Salomonsen

    Yay, I live in Copenhagen (or, well, close enough) and I’m going to Dublin in December! I feel pretty privileged right now 😛
    Maria @ http://momentumtravels.com

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Yay! Copenhagen is incredible isn’t it… and you’re going to LOVE Dublin! 🙂

      Do let us know if you need any tips for the city – always happy to help if we can 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

    • You’re going to love Dublin!

  • You make winter destinations look so picturesque! Thanks for sharing =o)

    http://dreamofadventures.blogspot.com/

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much! Gotta love a little bit of winter, eh? 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Pretty much this whole list.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Gotta love a dusting of snow to make a place even more special! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Natalie Redman

    The Blue Lagoon in Iceland looks dreamy!

    http://www.upyourvlog.com

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It’s so beautiful, we didn’t want to get out! 😉 Haha!

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

      • Natalie Redman

        I don’t blame you! x

  • So many places! I’m already starting to look ahead to the “big” trip for next year but can’t wait for Copenhagen in a few weeks!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      You’re going to LOVE Copenhagen. Enjoy the city, Rachel… we know you’re going to have the best time! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx