Winter is the time of year that tends to be a little dark, wet, cold and gloomy! That being said, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, there’s a heap of the best places in winter that make for a gorgeous experience. 

From places like; Lapland to Banff National Park, there’s a ton of the best places in winter you’ll want to explore.

Now, for me, I always feel like it’s great to lean into the season you’re visiting. Though, with so many areas of the world experiencing winter at different times (or not at all), it can be hard to pinpoint an exact period that is winter for everyone.

So, to make things clear, I’ve gone with a northern hemisphere classification of winter. This way, I can share some of the best places in winter that are dotted all across the world. 

Yes, most are cold but there’s also a heap of other cool (pun intended) places that I’m hoping to surprise ya with! 

best places in winter to explore

Take a look, below, at some of the best places in winter to explore. Have the best trip.

1.) The Ice Hotel, Sweden

Here's What The ICEHOTEL Looks Like Inside (6)

Completely carved and re-produced each year, the Ice Hotel in Swedish Lapland is most definitely one of the best places in winter to visit. 

After arriving at the Ice Hotel, we quickly realised how much many things to do here than just sleeping in the stunning art rooms. 

Constructed each year in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden (and with a permanently cool 365-day hotel next door); the Ice Hotel is, you guessed it, made entirely from ice.

Literally, even the beds are made from massive slabs of ice and it’s so incredible to stay here. We loved every second.

Honestly, f you are looking for that special winter treat or surprise for a loved one that likes holidays a little different from the norm, head to the Ice Hotel. You’ll love it. 

Fun fact: The rooms can actually be kept quite warm, so no need to think you will be heading into an ice-cold nightmare. Plus, you’ll be given some toasty sleeping bags, too. 

Read more: Best things to do in the Ice Hotel

2.) The Blue Lagoon, Iceland

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland on Hand Luggage Only - (17)

One of the most amazing adventures that we both took was to Iceland, where we were fortunate enough to stay at the Blue Lagoon.

What an amazing hotel, spa and geo-thermal pool complex. Spend two days here if you can, enjoy soaking up in the hot pools while it’s in minus temperatures all around. Slather the silica that surrounds the outdoor pools onto your skin – giving you a fresh glow and awesome hydrated facial.

It really is one of the best places in winter to visit. Although, be warned, daylight hours can be massively reduced during the winter months in Iceland. 

Top tip: Stay in the Blue Lagoon hotel to have access to a more intimate and private geothermal pool that is reserved exclusively for hotel guests.

Read more: Best things to do in Iceland

3.) The Northern Lights Village, Finland

The Northern Lights Village And Star Arctic... In Lapland, Finland (11)

If you want to witness the glory that is the Northern lights in Finnish Lapland from the comfort of your own bed, all whilst Inside either a glass igloo or wood cabin igloo, in Lapland. 

It’s a totally perfect place to relax.

Enjoy the beauty of snow-capped mountains (with some hot cocoa, of course) and fall slowly to sleep while watching the Northern Lights.

A truly once in a lifetime experience and one of the best places in winter to visit for some snow and stars. 

Top tip: If you are feeling super adventurous, try out their smoke saunas and ice swimming. A truly Finnish experience.

Read more: Best things to do in Finnish Lapland

4.) New York, USA

Things To See New York (8)

If you want to mix the culture of a buzzing city with the snow, then New York is the place to go. Plus, you can go ice-skating, too. It’s so much fun, especially after exploring all the best areas of New York.

After wrapping up warm, take a stroll up Fifth Avenue (also, with brunch at Bubby’s, too) and see the views from the Top Of The Rock, it’s stunning in the crisp winter evenings.

Afterwards, make sure to visit some of the best things to do in New York (like; visiting the Vessel, too) or pop around to the many free things in New York. Honestly, you’ll be busy with all the things to do and places to eat in the Big Apple.

Just remember to take some sturdy yet comfy shoes. No one wants to slip and slide all across the avenue

Top tip: Once you have walked up Fifth Avenue, head to the ice-skating area of Central Park. A magical experience around 8 pm. When it’s dark, the rink becomes illuminated by the glittering lights of the city. It is spectacular.

Read more: Best things to do in New York

5.) The Alps, France

If you want a more energetic and sporty winter break – head for some of the best places to ski across the world. For us, we totally loved Tignes and also Montgenevre, too. 

Both are some of the best places in winter to snuggle into a wooden cabin and head out for a few morning slopes.

Top tip: You can also get some tutorial lessons. So, fear not, even the worst skier can have a truly remarkable winter holiday.

Read more: Best place to ski across the world

6.) Lapland, Finland

The Northern Lights Village And Star Arctic... In Lapland, Finland (44)

While great for children, Lapland is also an ideal holiday destination for adults.

Now, I know I mentioned the glass igloo experiences previously, but there is so much more to Finnish Lapland than just this. 

If you truly want to experience all things traditionally Christmas, head to Lapland for an unforgettable journey to the home of Santa Claus (Father Christmas).

Here, you can visit and witness Santa in all his glory (perfect for the children) but also head out into the wilderness by ski-jets and reindeer to really take in the unforgettable adventure that Lapland truly is.

The First 24 Hours In Lapland, Finland (12)

Top tip: Pack your camera ready and make sure you practise taking photos of the sky. Lapland is a great place to see the Northern Lights and you wanna make sure you’re good and ready when they appear.

Read more: Best things to do in Lapland

7.) Banff, Canada

Banff National Park is one of the oldest national parks in Canada that’s well worth a visit. Now, typically, people tend to visit Banff in the summer months but the winter months are just as incredible. 

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This is especially true around Lake Louise or even going on a helicopter tour of the Canadian Rockies. It really is one of the best places in winter to explore. Just drive carefully and always take sensible precautions when in the snow. 

Read more: 1-week itinerary to explore Banff and surroundings

Epic 1-Week Banff Itinerary In Winter (And Surroundings)

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