Are you planning on embracing the cold or escaping to warmer climes this winter? Whether you’re seeking snow or sun, one of these trips will be perfect for you...
1. Traverse the Arctic Circle by husky, Sweden
Get well off the beaten pawtracks on Fred Holidays’ 7-day Dogsled the Arctic Circle
expedition. Meet your team of huskies and learn to mush them across a sparkling wilderness of icy lakes and alpine forests. Husky dogs in Sweden (Shutterstock)
Pass a ghostly abandoned village, whizz alongside rivers, look up to snowy peaks, stay in remote cabins and camp out on an island on frozen Lake Sautosjarvi in a traditional Sami lavvu (tent). Finish with a visit to the spectacular sculptural suites at the famed Icehotel.
2. Celebrate Christmas on ice, Antarctica
Fancy a guaranteed white Christmas? Want to spend the festive season with penguins? Aurora Expeditions’ 11-day Christmas in Antarctica
expedition will deliver both, plus midnight sun – giving you unlimited hours for watching wildlife. Antarctica (Shutterstock)
December is penguin breeding season, so watch the birds getting frisky. You can even kayak among them, or spend a night camping on the ice, before popping champagne on the sparkliest Christmas Day ever.
3. Scuba among Japan's mysterious Iseki stones
See the more tropical face of Japan with Inside Japan’s 14-night Diving Japan
tour. Worlds away from the mainland, you will be swimming among hammerheads and manta rays in the coral reefs of the Okinawa Islands. Western clown anemone-fish, Okinawa Islands (Shutterstock)
You’ll also be diving among Japan’s very own Atlantis: the Iseki stones, an ocean mystery complete with pillars, corridors and a central plaza. Top off your trip with a trek through the jungles of Iriomote Island to reach the Pinaisara waterfall and end with two days in Tokyo.
4. See Burma on two wheels
Pedal the classic sights, detour into remote spots and bypass the rainy season on an all-encompassing Cultural Cycling Tour of Burma
with Mountain Kingdoms. Photographer in Burma (Shutterstock)
Over 17 days you'll explore Bagan’s temples, follow the Irrawaddy River, venture out to the old British hill stations of Kalaw and Pyin Oo Lwin, and visit the Shan village of Hsipaw. Use both bikes and boats to navigate Inle Lake, then delve into the pagoda-littered Sagaing hills, and wander Mandalay, Lashio and Yangon on foot.
5. Buckle up for Iceland’s best (man-made) cave
Take in the best of Iceland’s natural and man-made icy sights with Regent Holidays’ 4-day Journey into the Glacier City Break
. Prepare to be wowed at Hraunfossar waterfall before driving to the Langjokull glacier and exploring the man-made cave – Iceland’s first and only open since June – below it. Inside Langjokull glacier (Photo: Into the Glacier)
Cap it all off with a visit to the UNESCO-listed Thingvellir National Park and a day’s exploration in the capital, Reyjkavik.
6. Escape winter in the Caribbean, Cuba
Explore the Caribbean island (at your own pace) before it changes forever on Journey Latin America’s 13-day Self-drive Cuba: Best of the West
tour – avoiding the island’s hurricane season to boot. Cienfuegos (Shutterstock)
Wander Havana’s colonial quarter, take in the limestone mountains of the Viñales Valley and explore the Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve, before pitstopping at elegant Cienfuegos and the UNESCO-listed city of Trinidad.
7. See USA wildlife with a snowy backdrop
See wintry Yellowstone National Park in the company of award-winning pro-photographer Nick Garbutt, your guide on Wildlife Worldwide’s Wild West Winter Wonderland
tour. Dawn in Yellowstone National Park (Shutterstock)
On this 16-day trip he’ll give you top tips on snapping everything from frost-covered bison in the wild Lamar Valley to steaming Mammoth Hot Springs, Old Faithful geyser, Madison Valley’s snowy gorges, frozen waterfalls and – maybe – wolves padding amid the white.
8. Ski and sled along Sweden's King’s Trail
With the winter sun just peeking above the horizon, KE Adventure’s Inside the Arctic Circle - Skiing the King’s Trail
sees you ski, dogsled and snowmobile your way across northern Sweden’s royal route. Winter Expedition on the King's Trail (Shutterstock)
Kick off your 9-day trip with two nights of Northern Lights viewing in Abisko, before sweeping past the Kama River and Tjatkja, Ladtjo and Alis Valleys as they look more majestic in the ambient light, sandwiching your traverse with cosy stays in alpine lodges.
9. Indulge on Italy's Amalfi Coast
Yes, it’s a bit cooler on the Amalfi Coast in winter, but it’s also a lot quieter. G Adventures’ Local Living Italy
trip sees you get cosy at a rustic farmhouse and live like an Italian for 8 days. Amalfi (Shutterstock)
Explore the archaeological treasures of Pompeii and hike the ‘Walk of the Gods’ along the Amalfi clifftops. Also, learn how to make three of the Italy’s most famous exports: mozzarella, limoncello and pizza.
10. Trek Gran Canaria, Spain
Find winter sun while ducking summer crowds on Headwater’s 8-day Walking on Gran Canaria
trip. Gran Canaria (Shutterstock)
The hiking terrain is wonderfully varied, with trails leading via the volcanic monolith of Roque Nublo, deep-blue Chira Dam lake, the lush greens of the Azuaje Nature Reserve, the cave village of Artenara (the highest in the island), the dazzling-white village of Firgas and cosmopolitan capital Las Palmas.
11. Watch whales with Mark Carwardine, Norway
Large pods of orca head to north Norway in winter to feed, joining humpback, fin and sperm whales. Discover The World’s 4-day Orcas and Aurora with Mark Carwardine
tour will see the whale expert and photographer guide you (and your camera) on three fjord outings. Group of killer whales, Norway (Shutterstock)
The dark winter months also maximise chances of spotting the northern lights – you’ll spend two evenings hunting the phenomenon on land.
12. Explore Belize by paddleboard
Try out a new watersport as you paddleboard your way around the lagoons and waters of Belize’s Southern Barrier Reef on Island Expeditions’ 6-night Coral Islands Stand Up Paddleboarding
trip. South Water Caye, Belize (Shutterstock)
Spot turtles, conch and lobsters in South Water Caye Marine Reserve and then swap board for snorkel as you take a closer look at the coral at Billy Hawke Caye’s Garifuna Fishing Camp.
13. Travel through Russia & China to the Ice City
Take coldness to the limit on a 12-day winter expedition to Siberia. Board the Trans-Siberian Express for The Russia Experience’s Classic Snow Train: Moscow to Beijing
trip. You’ll stop at Harbin, the ‘St Petersburg of China’, for its annual ice festival, a glitter of snow sculptures and spectacular illuminations. Harbin Ice and Snow World (Shutterstock) Main image: Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone NP (Shutterstock)