Snowshoeing in the mountains (Shutterstock)
List Words : Hazel Plush | 02 December 2019

7 of the best action-packed winter activity holidays

Hibernation? Pah. Get your blood pumping on these winter adventure trips – including snow shoeing in Sweden, Super Jeeping in Iceland, husky sledding in Canada and kayaking amongst icebergs in Svalbard...

1. Aurora and action in Sweden

Winter camping in Abisko (Shutterstock)

Winter camping in Abisko (Shutterstock)

Snowshoes are, quite simply, the best way to travel around frozen Abisko National Park. Part skis, part crampons, they'll let you venture far from the beaten track – where the air is crisp, the snow is pristine, and it's so quiet you can hear a glove drop. (Trust us, you'll want to keep the gloves on).

There are no roads to the mountain huts where you'll stay on this Northern Lights Snowshoe Safari – so you'll reach your digs on hardy snowmobiles. When night falls, turn your gaze skywards to seek out the Aurora Borealis on the banks of the frozen Lake Alesjaure. With zero light pollution, you could hardly ask for a better seat. 

Trip: Northern Lights Snowshoe Safari

Who: KE Adventure Travel

Type: Small group

When: Mar

How long: Six days

How much: From £1,295 (exc. flights)

2. Ride on the wild side in Iceland

4WD truck at Jokulsarlon ice lagoon (Shutterstock)

4WD truck at Jokulsarlon ice lagoon (Shutterstock)

With their whopping studded tyres and rugged bodies, the monster trucks on this Superjeep Weekend Safari make light work of Iceland's snow-blanketed terrain.

In winter, the Golden Circle (the hot spot of geysers, geothermal pools and waterfalls close to Reykjavik) is delightfully quiet – but thanks to your sturdy steed you'll be able to visit every attraction.

If you're looking for an action-packed mini break, this three or four night itinerary should tickle your fancy. You'll leave the hard work to an expert ice driver, relaxing in the back with three to six other travellers. 

Trip: Superjeep Weekend Safari

Who: Discover The World

Type: Small group

When: Departures throughout winter

How long: Four nights

How much: From £907 (exc. flights)

3. Embark on a snowshoe safari in the USA

Winter bull elk, Yellowstone National Park (Shutterstock)

Winter bull elk, Yellowstone National Park (Shutterstock)

Come wintertime, Yellowstone is crowd-free and calm – but just as rich in wildlife as it is during summer. It's an awesome place to learn to cross-country ski or snowshoe, with a snow-tipped mountainous backdrop, explosive geysers and steamy geothermal pools. 

Yellowstone isn't known as 'America's Serengeti' for nothing: on this Snowshoe Safari trip you'll spot weather-hardy bison, bighorn sheep and elks while you cover ground on your snowy walking trails – and keep an eye to the ground in case of wolf tracks, too.

Trip: Yellowstone Winter Wildlife

Who: Grand American Adventures

Type: Small group

When: Jan

How long: Seven days

How much: From £4,179 (exc. flights)

4. Ice sculptures & snowshoeing in Japan

Sapporo Snow Festival (Shutterstock)

Sapporo Snow Festival (Shutterstock)

Combine snowy adventures with a dose of culture on Intrepid's Hokkaido Winter Adventure  – a 10-day trip which whisks you into the north of the country in search of its wintry wonders.

Start in Sapporo, where you'll gawp at ice sculptures of towering proportions (its Snow Festival attracts artists from all over the world), then take a high-speed train to Asahikawa – where the mountains are thick with snow.

Strap on skis or snow shoes, saddle up a team of huskies for a dog sled trip, or simply wallow in a steaming onsen (hot spring). Nearby Sounkyo is one of the chilliest spots in Japan, so wrap up warm to hurtle down snow tubing tracks – it's like tobogganing, but with giant inflatable doughnut rings. 

The trip: Hokkaido Winter Adventure

Who: Intrepid

Type: Small group

When: Dec

How long: 10 days

How much: From £2,800 (exc. flights)

5. Climb glaciers and kayak amongst icebergs in Svalbard

Spitzberg seal on an iceberg in Svalbard (Shutterstock)

Spitzberg seal on an iceberg in Svalbard (Shutterstock)

Perched at the edge of the blue glacier on the moraine shore of a faraway ice fjord, Nordenskiöld Lodge is as remote as it gets. In fact, it’s the farthest north you can travel to on the island of Spitsbergen by motorised vehicle. It's also your base for action-packed days of arctic adventure with Best Served Scandinavia.

Following an early morning briefing, you’ll enjoy adrenaline-pumping days of glacier hiking, kayaking, sea safaris and guided nature tours that explore the unique flora, fauna and landscapes of the lodge’s stunning setting, keeping an eye out for wildlife like walruses, belugas and polar bears. Each evening: relaxing hot tub soaks and delicious dinners. Bliss.

The trip: Adventure Week At Nordenskiöld Lodge

Who: Best Served Scandinavia

Type: Tailor-made

When: Flexible dates throughout the year

How long: Seven days

How much: From £2,696 (exc. flights)

6. Experience husky-sledding in Canada

Husky sledding, Yukon (Shutterstock)

Husky sledding, Yukon (Shutterstock)

Sky High Wilderness Ranch sounds like a good base for a Husky Adventure, doesn't it? From this illustrious spot in Whitehorse, Yukon, you'll speed across the snow-thick terrain on a husky-led sleigh with an expert guide – and you'll get your hands on the reigns, too. Every day there are new jaw-dropping landscapes to discover: icy lakes, snow-whipped peaks and frozen forests.

At night, you'll either return to Sky High (where saunas and hot showers await), or get closer to nature (while still staying warm) in a cosy camp. The night's entertainment? Stargazing, hot chocolate, and storytelling around the wooden stove. 

Trip: Husky Adventure In The Yukon

Who: Windows On The Wild

Type: Small group

When: Flexible departures throughout winter

How long: Seven nights

How much: From £1,535 (exc. flights)

7. High-altitude action in Slovakia & Poland

Trekking in the Tatras (Shutterstock)

Trekking in the Tatras (Shutterstock)

If snow-capped mountains bring out the adventurer in you, Exodus's Tatra Winter Activity Week is up your street. Downhill skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, forest picnics, sleigh tours, snowboarding – it's all fair game on this action-packed itinerary. 

It's not all frozen fun, though – you'll relish a good soaking at the Bukowina Tatrzanska thermal pools, which are renowned for their health benefits. Time to warm up a bit...

Trip: Tatra Winter Activity Week

Who: Exodus

Type: Small group

When: Multiple departures throughout winter

How long: Eight days

How much: From £1,099 (exc. flights)

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