So you are looking for a place to spend winter holidays, but all the usual locations suddenly seem too dull and predictable? Why not try something new? Take a look at this list, and perhaps it will give you some inspiration!
1. Venice, Italy
Venice is usually associated with hot Italian sun, trips in gondolas and warm Mediterranean sea; why on Earth go there in winter? Well, for once, Venice is beautiful at any time of the year, but in the winter it is far less crowded and, therefore, accommodations (found via Wimdu, for example) are much more affordable. Moreover, there are things you will find there only in the winter—like the world-famous Venetian Carnival that takes place in February.
When choosing a winter holiday location, one usually tends to select something tropical, with a lot of sun, cheap cocktails and sandy beaches… and gets bored to death halfway through. If you are looking for a place with a rich set of winter, New Year and Christmas traditions, Germany is your choice. Festivals like Waldkirchen Rauhnacht, Bischofsgrün Snowman Festival or Maschkera carnival in Alpenwelt Karwendel, traditional pastimes like sled racing, unique atmosphere of an ancient European country—all this you won’t find anywhere or anytime else.
Oman is an excellent choice for those who want to catch a bit of sun while doing lots and lots of sightseeing. Only a couple of decades ago it was one of the most backwards and isolated societies in the world, but today it turned into a fascinating travel destination with a genuine Middle-Eastern feel without the maddeningly high prices of some of their more illustrious neighbors. Medieval forts, excellent beaches, sea and mountains—no matter where your preferences lie, Oman has something to offer.
Looking for a bit of a really relaxed lifestyle? Try out Jamaica. Although the weather is excellent all year round, there are some unique reasons to choose winter for your visit. Seasonal attractions like Negril Reggae Marathon, Reggae Month in February, Jamaican Jazz & Blues Festival in January/February, Fat Tyre Festival—whether you are look for an athletic tour or music, Jamaica is the place for you to be.
5. The Gambia
Not really a buzz word when it comes to holidays, eh? Yet the Gambia may be one of the best places to go in winter if you it is value for money you are after. Cheap hotels, fantastic yet not crowded beaches, affordable wildlife excursions, bird watching tours, river tours, bush camp accommodations—in other words, a nice choice if you are looking for something yet untried.
6. Cape Town, South Africa
An excellent combination of perfect summer weather, stunning mountain views and a lot of opportunities to sample local culture: trips to famous South African vineyards paired with chocolate tastings, nature reserves, all kinds of accommodations, from luxury hotels to treetop villages and teepees, shark diving—there is a lot more in Cape Town than guidebooks are ready to tell!
Canadian resorts are among the most underrated in the whole world—perhaps people are not keen on freezing a little bit extra when they are already cold. Yet to those not faint of heart Canada has a lot to offer: spectacular views, unspoiled nature, excellent food and wine, isolated accommodations for those willing to take a break from people, dog-sledding and snowmobiling. In other words, Canada is a place to go if you want to experience a bit of a real winter.
Want a taste of adventure without freezing your ears off? Classical safaris in Kenya may be the answer to your urge: great choice of game drives, horse-riding tours, walking safaris, mountain climbing, training courses of Maasai warriors—take your pick.
Holidays are not always about frying on a beach all day long—if you have a bit of imagination you will be able to find thousands of ways to spend your time in a way you’ve never done before. We hope this list will be of help—make your choice and have a good time!