Where in the world to take a great snowy trip (iStock)
List Words : Wanderlust team | 27 November

9 coolest snowy trips

If you want a real winter’s tale this season – something more exciting than mince pies and John Lewis ads – look no further. Here’s Wanderlust’s pick of the coolest snowy trips...

Nothing can transform a landscape like snow. Innocuous hills become sparkling giants, watery lakes become icy playgrounds and, if you go far enough north, the skies might just fill with the emerald glow of the aurora...

1. Japan

See the best of the season

Hop from shrines to springs to sculptures on Inside Japan’s Winter Highlights tour. You’ll visit Tokyo’s neon lights and temples before heading to the mountainous island of Hokkaido. It’s bursting with wildlife: you’ll spot red-crowned cranes, crash through drift ice to spy Stellar’s sea eagles and be entertained by snow monkeys before warming your limbs in a hot-spring bath. The trip ends at the Sapporo Snow Festival, so you can enjoy the ice art that takes over the city.

Who: Inside Japan
When: 4 Feb 2014
How long: 14 nights
How much: From £3,000 (excl flights)

2. India

Be first to tackle an ice trek

Brand new for 2014, World Expeditions’ Zanskar Ice Trek is not for the fainthearted. Fourteen lung-tingling days are spent deep in the Himalaya, trekking the Chadar – the ice path that forms over the Zanskar River. Passing gorges and heart-flipping scenery, you’ll be walking in lands seldom experienced by foreign trekkers. Plus homestays and hilltop monastery visits offer a unique way to sample the Zanskar lifestyle and to savour the mountain vistas.

Who: World Expeditions
When: 2 Feb 2014
How long: 22 days
How much: From £2,190 (excl flights)

3. Switzerland

Ride the rails

From the civilised comfort of your carriage you’ll enjoy winter scenery and exploring opportunities on Ffestiniog Travel’s Snow on the Alps trip. Travelling through Geneva, Brig and Chur, you’ll marvel at mighty glaciers and wild valleys as you ride the Centovalli line and UNESCO-listed Rhaetian Railways network. Highlights include an excursion to Tirano in northern Italy on the soaring Bernina Express.

Who: Ffestiniog Travel
When: 11 Feb 2014
How long: 10 days
How much: From £1,680 (incl Eurostar)

4. Russia

Follow in the footsteps of aristocrats

Sample the lavish lifestyle of Russia’s last Imperial dynasty with On the Go Tours’ Route of the Romanovs trip. Riding the Trans-Siberian Railway, you’ll see St Petersburg and visit the Romanov tombs before transferring to Moscow. Then, wind through the  countryside to arrive in Yekaterinburg for dog-sledding, ice-fishing and vibrant market  shopping.

Who: On the Go Tours
When: Monthly, excluding Jan 2014
How long: 10 days
How much: From £1,149 (excl flights)

5. Iceland

Discover a secret lagoon

Regent Holidays’ Lake Myvatn Nature Break takes you away from the crowds and to the steaming landscapes around Myvatn. Spend your days amid bubbling calderas, touring Dettifoss waterfall and snow-scootering through the Krafla volcanic area; at night, hunt for the aurora.

Who: Regent Holidays
When: Tailormade, 3 Feb-17 Apr 2014
How long: 4 days
How much: From £360 (excl flights)

6. Mongolia

Enjoy festival fun

Travelling through the frosted desert of Mongolia on Goyo Travel’s Blue Sky, White Land – The Winter Festivals tour, you’ll spend two days at the Ice Festival on frozen Lake Khovsgol; enjoy flying demos and an insight in to Kazakh culture at the Eagle Festival outside Ulaanbaatar; and round up the trip in the Gobi Desert for a two-day Camel Festival bonanza.

Who: Goyo Travel
When: 28 Feb 2014
How long: 10 days
How much: From US$3,440 [£2,150] (excl flights)

7. Sweden

Mush with man’s best friend

Sunvil Discovery’s Silence of the Winter – Husky Experience is no ordinary dog-sled tour. From feeding the huskies to leading your own pack, you’ll be fully hands-on from the word go. Staying in the rural hamlet of Kangos, days will be spent harnessing and packing sleds before driving them through the pristine winter landscapes. Two nights in a wilderness cabin are also included.

Who: Sunvil Discovery
When: Tailormade
How long: 4 nights
How much: From £1,333 (incl flights)

8. Bosnia

Enjoy city sights and snowy walks

Walk on perfect powder on Exodus’ Snowshoeing in Bosnia tour. You’ll climb through forests and follow lakes to snowy summits before spending the night in a traditional shepherd settlement. After feasting on highland food and culture there’s time for Sarajevo sightseeing too.

Who: Exodus
When: 1 & 15 Feb, 1 Mar 2014
How long: 8 days
How much: From £999 (incl flights)

9. Finland

Bed down in a bubble

The Aurora Zone’s four-day Muotka Fellside Auroras trip crams in ice-fishing, husky-mushing, snow-shoe hikes and a reindeer farm visit. Night times are spent hunting the northern lights both by sled and heated minibus, not to mention an unusual stay in a heated bubble – perfect for spotting the lights in cosy comfort.

Who: The Aurora Zone
When: Various departures, Dec 2013-Mar 2014
How long: 4 nights
How much: From £1,660 (incl flights)