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10 Snowy Countries You Should Visit In Winter

10 Snowy Countries You Should Visit In Winter

When most of us think of a vacation, we imagine sunny beaches and summer getaways. But, there are so many great winter wonders out there that we couldn’t help but share some with you. These are some of the best winter holiday destinations around the world. So this year, instead of getting caught up in the tourist traps in the summer months, check out one of these magical stops around the globe.

Lake Tahoe, California

Lake Tahoe Winter

    Known for its beautiful scenery during the summer, what you might not know about Lake Tahoe is that it is also an enchanting winter stay. With phenomenal skiing, Tahoe offers a plethora of winter activities from snowshoeing, skating, sledding, and even great shopping. The resorts in the area also house some wonderful annual events, including the Magical Memories holiday celebration at the Squaw Creek Resort. Families can participate in the Grand Tree Lighting Ceremony, have Breakfast with Santa, and walk along the Gingerbread Village. Tahoe is truly a charming winter getaway.

    Switzerland

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    Switzerland Winter

      Known as the “playground for the rich and famous,” Switzerland is a big stop for the holiday season. With its picture-perfect cities like Bern and St. Moritz, and access to the, Alps, Switzerland offers one of the best places to spend your holidays abroad. From the Matterhorn to the “Top of Europe” — Jungfraujoch —to the Bernina Express, Switzerland is the perfect fairytale vacation for families and individuals alike. Currier and Ives truly had nothing on the Swiss.

      Iceland

      iceland ice cave

        With geothermal pools and spas, northern lights sightings, whale watching, and the majestic national parks, Iceland is a lesser-known winter secret for explorers all over. Ice climbing and glacier hiking are very popular during the snowy months. The stunning Northwest corner of Iceland, known as the Westfjords, is a wonderfully untainted wilderness and a great area for exploration.

        Westfjords, Norway

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        Westfjords

          With near-perfect conditions for skiing, Norway is a great stop for a winter vacation. But adventure isn’t all that Norway has to offer. In fact, with its Christmas Market in Oslo, the Gingerbread Town in Bergen, the Northern Lights Festival in Tromsø, and the Polar Jazz music festival in Svalbard, Norway is one of the top destinations for fun and enchanting winter activities. Don’t forget to slip into a sleigh for a little reindeer sledding with someone you love!

          Banff, Canada

          Banff

            Yeah, everyone knows about Canada for winter activities, but probably its best place to vacation overall is Banff National Park. With its delightful Winter Festival, this stunning region in Canada is one of the best places for families and individuals to visit. With après specials and full event schedules, there are countless opportunities for adventurers of all kinds. The beautiful Ice Magic Festival exhibits some of the most astounding ice carving around. In February, ski and snowboard pros compete in The Big Bear competition that is sure to make you say, “wow!” Banff isn’t just for adventurers either, with great dining, museums, galleries, and historic sites, there are also ample choices for culture gurus, too.

            Aspen, Colorado

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            Aspen Ski

              On a list of best winter destinations, we definitely can’t leave out Aspen, Colorado. Famous for its top-notch skiing, Aspen is every family’s winter dream. Along with its famous skiing, Aspen offers dog sledding, snowmobiling, fly fishing, hot air ballooning, ice skating, and so much more. With the Aspen Ideas Festival, Food & Wine Classic, Winter Words, and many more museums, Aspen isn’t just for ski junkies. Come for a truly great winter getaway this year to really experience all that Aspen has to offer.

              Sweden

              Sweden

                With 200 different resorts, Sweden is another Scandinavian must for winter fun. Travelers can go on a reindeer safari and sleep in entire hotels and igloos made from ice. Like Norway or Alaska, Sweden is one of the best places to see the Aurora Borealis because of the “blue hole” in the Abisko National Park. Along with reindeer or moose safaris, travelers can drive their own dog sleds, snowshoe through the Kungsleden, and dive into the culture rich Sapmi of the Sami people. Enjoy unique cuisines, snowmobile, and watch for the king of the forest (elk) all during your next winter vacation to Sweden.

                Moscow, Russia

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                Saint Basil's Cathedral

                  When it comes to winter vacations, most people steer clear of Russia, but this year, you really shouldn’t! In January, the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas with merry events for everyone — Moscow is a great “after-the-holidays” trip. Participate in the On Ice group tours in St. Petersburg, visit the mystical Winter Palace, and then be sure to catch The Nutcracker in the place that made it the fairytale joy it is today — Mariinsky Theatre.

                  Japan

                  Japan Winter

                    Most wouldn’t expect Japan to be on the list for best winter vacations, but it truly is a great snowy destination. There are endless winter activities, like the Kitami Yakiniku Festival with the Winter BBQ, visiting the Tadami River in Fukushima with its most striking landscapes, the Sapporo Snow Festival, and, of course, skiing. New Year’s is one of the best times of year for anyone traveling to Japan to experience some great ancient traditions and also some beautiful modern illumination around the Tokyo Michi Terrace and the Marunouchi Illumination. Be sure to jump onto a Japan tour this winter.

                    The Netherlands

                    Netherlands Snow

                      Last, but certainly not least, is Amsterdam — where the legend of Sinterklaas brought us Santa Claus. For those who want to spend more time than just a weekend celebrating Christmas, Amsterdam offers double the magic. On December 5th, Saint Nicholas’ Eve, the Dutch begin the celebrations with gift giving. On December 25th, the Dutch spend a second day of fun with food and family. Top the fun off with ice skating, shopping, and the best twinkling lights around.

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                      Paisley Hansen

                      Freelance Writer

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                      Last Updated on December 9, 2019

                      5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

                      5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

                      Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

                      Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

                      Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

                      1. Get Rationally Optimistic

                      Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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                      This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

                      In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

                      The result: no more mental stress.

                      2. Unplug

                      Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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                      How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

                      It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

                      Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

                      3. Easy on the Caffeine

                      Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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                      Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

                      4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

                      That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

                      How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

                      • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
                      • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
                      • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

                      While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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                      5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

                      This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

                      The result: mental stress will be gone!

                      So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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                      Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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