Embrace the chill: Top winter wonderland travel experiences

Wednesday 22nd November 2023 06:18 EST

While summer is typically considered the prime time for travel, opting for a winter getaway opens the door to an entirely different realm of exploration. Venturing out during the deep winter months can unveil magical experiences and introduce you to destinations you might not have previously considered.

Across the globe, there are numerous winter wonderlands, each boasting breathtaking beauty. To ignite your wanderlust, the travel experts at Iglu Cruise have unveiled five must-visit winter destinations for your bucket list. Additionally, they've shared insights into the top attractions awaiting you in these regions. 

Edinburgh, UK: A Winter Wonderland Close to Home

For a winter wonderland escape closer to home, consider visiting the Scottish capital, Edinburgh. Marvel at enchanting illuminations adorning the city, with George Street featuring captivating lights. The Royal Botanic Garden transforms into a winter wonderland, featuring sparkling light tunnels and projections animating historic Inverleith House. Enjoy the festive atmosphere at East Princes Street Gardens, hosting a traditional Christmas Market with around 70 stalls offering the best from local and international traders. Discover handmade gifts, bespoke products, and delectable treats. The iconic big wheel and helter-skelter add an extra dash of excitement. Experience a unique Polar Express at Waverley Station—an interactive theatre performance bringing characters from the iconic film to life. Sing, dance, savor hot chocolate, and anticipate a visit from Santa Claus. Edinburgh, with its festive lights, bustling markets, and immersive experiences, provides a magical winter escape close to home.

Prague, Czech Republic

Explore the enchanting winter charm of Prague, where the Old Town Square hosts one of Europe's largest markets, featuring handmade crafts and delectable fare. From late November to December, the city transforms into a fairyland adorned with twinkling Christmas lights, enhanced by the majestic castle in the backdrop. Prague's winter wonderland blanketed in snow from November to March, offers a serene and picturesque atmosphere with temperatures dropping to 2°C or lower. A river cruise along the Vltava River provides a unique view of iconic landmarks, including the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle. 

Basel, Switzerland

The enchanting Christmas magic of Basel, Switzerland is hailed for hosting the best Christmas markets in Europe in 2021. These markets boast exquisite jewellery, festive decorations, culinary delights, fairground attractions, and live entertainment. Switzerland's winter allure extends beyond the markets, with ski slopes, snow-draped mountains, and frozen lakes creating a picturesque destination. Charming villages around the Alps offer a snow globe-like experience. Basel provides a range of winter activities, from scenic train journeys through the Swiss countryside to unique fondue experiences aboard trains. Unwind with a thermal spa visit, such as the over 600-year-old Mineralbad and Spa Rigi Kaltbad, overlooking Lake Lucerne. 

Lapland, Finland

Lapland, the quintessential Winter Wonderland and Santa Claus's official residence, captivates thousands of visitors, especially during Christmas, with Rovaniemi as a standout. Santa's hometown allows guests to encounter the legendary figure, explore his workshop, and meet the reindeer that aid his sleigh flights. Adventurous spirits can embark on a husky safari, traversing the thick snow and picturesque landscapes. For an extraordinary night, tourists can consider staying in an ice hotel or igloo, sleeping under the stars, and, if lucky, witnessing the mesmerising northern lights.

New York City, USA

For those with the means, immersing oneself in the Christmas magic of New York City is an unparalleled delight as the metropolis transforms into a globally renowned hub of festive revelry. One can glide across the ice at Central Park, stepping into a cinematic universe, or meander down 5th Avenue, where the mere act of window shopping infuses Christmas spirit.  As night falls, New York City becomes a dazzling spectacle of Christmas lights and the Dyker Heights neighbourhood in Brooklyn, where residents bedeck their houses with extravagant Christmas decorations, is worth exploring. Indulge in the holiday spirit at some of the United States' most significant Christmas markets. The Grand Central Holiday Fair and Bryant Park’s Winter Village offer an abundance of unique handmade gifts, Christmas tree decorations, winter accessories, and gourmet food and drinks. New York City during Christmas is a feast for the senses, a radiant celebration promising unforgettable memories in the heart of Manhattan.

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