34 BEST Winter Wonderland Destinations for a Snowy Vacation

Winter is often a time when many of us want to hide away indoors tucked under a comfy blanket with a hot cup of tea or cocoa in hand. In many parts of the world winter means brutal temperatures, gray skies, and icy roads. But the coldest season of the year isn’t always bleak. 

Winter can also mean blankets of brilliant white snow that glitter like diamonds when the sun shines down on it. 

It can mean frozen lakes that are perfect for ice skating, dreamy Christmas towns, or mountains that are just begging to be skied! In fact, there are idyllic winter wonderlands destinations across the world that will make you fall in love with winter.

From as far south as New Zealand to as far north as the Arctic Circle, these snowy destinations around the globe will have you wanting to bundle up and explore.

This guide to the best winter wonderland destinations around the world detail the best places to see snow in the United States and Canada, as well Europe, Asia and Oceania.

The Best Winter Wonderland Destinations in North America

North America is big and diverse. And when the weather turns cold, the northern part of the continent is home to some of most stunning winter wonderlands in the world. Some of these magical places you simply have to see to believe.

Quebec City, Canada

Quebec City in winter, one of the best winter wonderland destinations in north america
Quebec City is colorful, even when draped in a blanket of white snow. | Photo credit: That Adventurer Blog

Québec City is one of the most dreamy urban winter destinations. Yes, it’s super, super cold and snowy but that’s all part of the appeal. As long as you’re wrapped up warmly you’ll find plenty of reasons to love Québec City, Canada in the winter!

It is hard to find a more picture-perfect winter city than Québec. It is an old city, especially for North America, dating back to 1608. It sits on the banks of the huge Saint Lawrence River in the French-speaking province of Québec. 

The city is made up of stone buildings, and cobbled streets, and it’s all the more picturesque due to constantly being decorated in wreaths and Christmas lights.

Visitors can enjoy ice skating at Place D’Youville, explore the Christmas markets during the holiday season, or attend the Quebec Winter Carnival later in the winter season. 

Hannah – That Adventurer Blog

Banff, Canada

Banff and the Canadian Rockies during Winter covered in snow
Banff is a snow lover’s paradise with 3 ski resorts within a short drive from the town. | Photo credit: Photo Tales of Life

Winter in Canada means the icy season of awe has arrived in Banff, Alberta. Home to Canada’s oldest national park, Banff National Park, this Canadian winter wonderland is likely one of the best known and most visited winter destinations in Canada and for good reason.

With the snow-capped Canadian Rockies encircling the Banff town site, visitors and locals alike are left gobsmacked by the frosty beauty.

With world class downhill ski hills throughout the park and as close as five minutes from town, and lots of things to do in Banff in winter, it makes a perfect winter holiday destination. Not to worry if you don’t want to strap on skis. There are plenty of winter activities for all ages

Ice skating, as if in a snow globe of glistening peaks, will be a winter postcard memory to treasure.

Family-friendly snow tubing will leave you squealing like a kid and is sure to put even the most negative winter wanderer in a good spirits. 

Strap on some snowshoes or cross country skis for a relaxing sightseeing excursion. 

End your day eating at one of the great restaurants in Banff or warm up in Banff’s natural hot springs or the heated outdoor pool at the Fairmont Banff Springs – one of the best places to stay in Banff.

Sue Slaght – Travel Tales of Life

Banff is a great place to visit with kids in any season. Check out the best things to do in Banff with kids.

Toronto, Canada

people ice skating in Toronto in winter
Toronto is another great Canadian city to visit during winter. | Photo credit: linedphoto on Unsplash

Canada is known for its long, cold winters but the benefit of living in the north is that the country becomes a paradise with some of the best winter wonderlands from coast to coast during the winter season. 

Toronto is no exception to this. Snow can arrive in the city as early as December, which is just in time for the iconic Toronto Christmas Market in the distillery district. This festive market is the perfect place to get in the holiday spirit. At the market you can shop for gifts, listen to carolers, take a ride on the Ferris Wheel, eat giant turkey legs, and drink mulled wine to warm you up.

Another great feature about this winter wonderland destination is the many outdoor skating rinks you can enjoy right in the city. The City Hall skating rink located in Nathan Phillips square is a fan favorite among locals and visitors to Toronto. 

During the wintertime, the square surrounding City Hall is decorated with beautiful festive lights to admire while you skate. 

Another great reason to brave the cold during the wintertime in Toronto is to head to the outdoor Scandinavian spas just outside the city. Watching the snowflakes fall down from the comfort of a heated pool to keep you warm is a magical and relaxing experience.

Lora – Explore with Lora

Midway, Utah

Ice Castles fountain
Ice Castles is a winter attraction built each year in Midway, Utah.

Midway, Utah is one of those small towns that becomes positively dreamy in winter. Located approximately 45 minutes from Salt Lake City, this tiny bedroom community is home to one of the most unique winter attractions in North America – Ice Castles

Each winter, builders spend thousands of hours hand-placing icicles to create a frozen wonderland that is straight out of a fairy tale.

While professional photographers and Instagrammers may flock to Ice Castles for its picturesque qualities, the attraction also includes slides, crawl spaces for kids, and a maze of tunnels for families to have fun exploring.

After spending an hour or so at Ice Castles, warm up by taking a dip at the Homestead Crater, a natural hot spring located inside a cave-like limestone dome and another Utah bucket list experience. 

The nearby Zermatt Utah Resort in Midway is a great place for a relaxing weekend. The hotel has a European ambiance that will make you feel like you’ve been transported directly to the Swiss Alps.

Aspen, Colorado

Downtown Aspen in winter
Downtown Aspen is decorated and covered in white lights during the winter season. | Photo by Mitchell Bath from Unsplash

Aspen, Colorado is a truly special place to visit during the winter months. 

What sets Aspen apart is its enchanting blend of natural beauty, world-class skiing in Colorado, and a charming mountain town atmosphere. 

The town transforms into a complete winter wonderland destination, with snow-covered streets lined with quaint shops, cozy cafes, and historic architecture adorned with twinkling lights.

However, it’s the legendary skiing and snowboarding terrain that truly steals the show.

With its four renowned mountains – Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk – the area offers something for every winter enthusiast, from groomed slopes for beginners and those visiting Aspen with kids, to challenging backcountry terrain for experts. 

The crisp mountain air, breathtaking alpine vistas, and a wealth of winter activities like snowshoeing, ice skating, and après-ski hot tub sessions make Aspen a special destination for anyone seeking an unforgettable winter getaway in the Colorado Rockies.

Jackson, Wyoming

the Jackson Hole tram
Jackson Hole, Wyoming couples snowy weather with rugged mountains making it one of the best winter wonderland destinations in the United States.

Jackson Hole, located in Western Wyoming, stands out thanks to its untamed, rugged beauty and world-class skiing that draws adventurers from around the globe. 

Surrounded by the stunning Grand Teton and Gros Ventre mountain ranges, Jackson Hole valley offers a blend of wilderness and winter sports. 

The legendary Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is renowned for its challenging slopes, deep powder, and breathtaking terrain, making it a haven for expert skiers and snowboarders. 

Beyond skiing in Jackson Hole, the town of Jackson exudes a cozy, Western charm with its wooden boardwalks, historic storefronts, and vibrant après-ski scene. There are a lot of things to do in this enchanting town year round.

 From snowmobiling through pristine backcountry to wildlife safaris in Grand Teton National Park, winter in Jackson Hole offers a diverse range of activities against the backdrop of awe-inspiring mountain vistas, making it an exceptionally special place to experience the magic of winter. 

If visiting Jackson Hole with kids, they’ll love the mountain coaster and snow tubing at Snow King Mountain and visiting the dreamy Jackson Town Square, known for its iconic antler arches that grace each corner.

New York City, USA

People Ice skating at Rockefeller Centre in New York
Rockefeller Centre is just one of several ice skating rinks in New York City. | Photo credit: 12019 from Pixabay

New York can be a city of extremes… extremely hot in the summer and extremely cold in the winter. However, when snow descends onto the city in the depths of winter it turns into one of the most beautiful winter wonderland locations, and it is well worth braving the cold temperatures to see the city at this time of the year!

New York City in winter is iconic. It is one of the best places for an East Coast winter vacation. For those that have seen Home Alone 2, that’s the perfect representation. Many ice skating rinks pop up around the city, the Rockefeller Centre and Central Park being the most popular. 

The view from the Rockefeller Centre and Empire State building completely changes.

When the whole city is covered in a blanket of snow it is quite spectacular to see from above! Bear in mind, up high it is extra cold. In fact, the viewing binoculars from the top of the skyscrapers could likely be covered in ice!

The jewel of the city at this time of the year is, of course, Central Park. Snow-lined trees, knee deep snow, and icicles framing each of the bridge arches make this a truly magical place. You will find children bringing sleds to play, people taking leisurely walks (carefully!), and others who come for the skating. 

Don’t be put off by the cold temperature, make sure you visit New York City at this magical time of year.

Sion and Ben – The Globetrotter Guys

Winter Wonderland Destinations in Europe

The continent of Europe is home to many of the most well-known winter wonderland destinations in the world.

There is just something magical about wandering through cobblestone streets covered in snow while sipping mulled wine at one of Europe’s best Christmas markets

Europe is romantic and beautiful, and in winter – those qualities are only amplified.

London, England

winter in London
London is not only one of the best winter wonderland destinations, it even hosts a winter festival called Winter Wonderland. | Photo credit: Untold Morsels

Do you like twinkling lights and festive cheer? Then visit London in winter. It is one of the best times to visit, particularly in December in the build up to Christmas.

No city quite embraces the festive season like London. It is one of the best places in Europe to spend Christmas. Stores decorate their windows and the streets are adorned with sparkling lights. Christmas markets set up along the Southbank and in Leicester Square.

And there are ice skating rinks at some of the major historical sites including the Tower of London and Natural History Museum. So, even if you are only in London for a day, you can see the sites and experience the city’s magical winter charm.

Take a brisk walk through Hyde Park and you will stumble on London’s Winter Wonderland festival full of festive gift and food stalls, rides and of course the big man in the red suit. 

All that time outdoors is sure to make you hungry, so it is a good idea to head to the closest cozy pub with an open fireplace. If you can tear yourself away, winter is also the best time to see a show or musical at the West End theaters.

London in winter is a very special experience. If you are lucky enough to see the city blanketed in snow, you will remember it forever.

Katy – Untold Morsels

Zermatt, Switzerland

zermatt switzerland lit up at night in winter
Zermatt, Switzerland is about as dreamy as a winter wonderland vacation can come. | Photo credit: Oleg Demakov from Unsplash

Zermatt, Switzerland is one of the most beautiful places in winter you’ll ever see. While this small town in the Swiss Alps is beautiful all year round, it is definitely most attractive during the winter, when it’s completely covered with snow. 

The fact that cars are forbidden within the cute mountain town makes the whole place even more romantic.

There are a variety of really good restaurants (some even with Gault Millau Points and/or Michelin Stars), bars, and shops, so you will definitely not get bored.

What makes Zermatt really great though are the amazing surroundings. Throning in front of the village is the majestic and world famous Matterhorn, which inspired poets and mountaineers alike with its beauty. 

With the Matterhorn comes also the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, which is the highest ski resort in Europe and promises snow all year round. 

Even if you don’t ski or snowboard, there is still a lot to do in Zermatt, like hiking, enjoying a ride with the Gornergrat Bahn up to 3089 meters above sea level, or relaxing in one of the delightful spas in Zermatt. Visiting Zermatt with kids in winter promises a unique and adventure-filled family vacation.

Tom – Trip Gourmets

Prague, Czech Republic

prague castle and the buildings in front of it covered in snow
Prague’s old world charm is even more appealing when covering in snow. | Photo credit: Lukáš Jančička from Pixabay

Anybody who plans to visit Prague should consider doing so in winter! It’s clearly the most beautiful time of year, especially when it snows.

If you get lucky and there’s snow, you’ll see Prague’s hundreds of spires and roofs all beautifully covered with a white blanket. Walking in the quiet streets in the evening or along the Charles Bridge, one of the most famous bridges in Europe, with the snow peacefully falling to the ground is an experience you can’t get in the heat of summer.

Plus, there are Christmas markets in Prague during winter. Every year from December 1st until January 6th Prague hosts a number of Christmas markets. The most popular one with the largest Christmas tree is at the Old Town Square

While the district of Stare Mesto, one of the best areas to stay in Prague, is definitely a must-see during the holidays, be sure to check out the smaller markets visited mostly by locals. Such a market is at the Square of Peace (Náměstí míru).

Even when the temperatures drop below zero, you can still do short bounds of sightseeing to check out tourist attractions and some of Prague’s quirky statues and combine them with a lot of pit stops for food and coffee.

Prague has a lot of charming cafés that’ll keep you warm and well caffeinated.

Veronika – Travel Geekery

Also read: Things to do in Prague with kids

Saariselka, Finland

the sun coming up in Saariselka Finland
Saariselka is a perfect, remote winter vacation destination. | Photo credit: Hendrik Morkel from Unsplash

Finland has quickly become one of the world’s most esteemed winter wonderland destinations.  

If you are looking for the perfect winter getaway, Saariselka is the place to be! The amazing Northern Lights could be reason enough to bring you out into the snow, but Saariselka has so many other amazing activities, as well. 

One of the most unique things to do is to stay in a glass igloo, as you watch the Aurora Borealis from your cabin. You can’t beat that view in the warmth of your own bed!

They also have tons of winter activities. You can take an ice fishing trip in the morning and catch your own dinner. Take the snowmobiles around the city and enjoy some Finnish culture. Can’t forget the Finnish sauna, of course. You can spend some time with the huskies and reindeer, and even go for a sleigh ride in the snow.

One of the top adventures in Saariselka is ice kart racing, where you get to drive a go-kart on an ice track as fast as you can.  

Between the Northern Lights, the beautiful snow, and all the winter activities Saariselka provides, it’s without question a perfect winter getaway for anyone looking for some winter magic and romance!

Sara – Our Kind of Crazy

Stubai Valley, Austria

Top of Tyrol Stubai Glacier Austria winter
The Stubai Valley is a beautiful winter destination outside of Innsbruck. | Photo credit: Travel Tyrol

A glacier, snow-capped mountains, quaint Tyrolean towns, and age-old local traditions – this is what you can expect in winter in the Stubai Valley near Innsbruck in the Austrian Tyrol.

The winter wonderland starts from the moment you enter the 35 km long Stubai Valley from the A13 Brenner motorway between Austria and Italy. The first village with ski lifts, sled runs, and other fun winter activities is only a few kilometers down the road.

But it’s at the white mass of ice and snow at the end of the valley where the true winter wonderland awaits. The Stubai glacier is home to Tyrol’s biggest glacier ski area. However, this beautiful natural landscape isn’t only for skiers. 

Non-skiers can easily access the Top of Tyrol viewing platform at 3,210 meters from where you can see no less than 109 mountain peaks of over 3,000 meters high.

You can also explore what’s going on inside the glacial ice in the ice cave with its 200 meters of tunnels 30 meters below the ski slopes.

Neustift, Mieders, and Fulpmes are three of the bigger villages with their own ski resorts waiting to welcome visitors in the Stubai Valley in winter. Indoor swimming pools, snowshoe hiking, sledding, and magical light shows are just some of the things besides skiing that will make you want to come back here after your first visit.

Linda – Travel Tyrol

Tromsø, Norway

northern lights over tromso at night
Tromso’s northern location above the Arctic Circle makes it an ideal winter destination to see the Northern Lights.

Tromsø, often considered the northernmost city in the world because it is the northernmost settlement above 50,000 people, is located above the Arctic Circle in stunning Norway. It is one of the best Scandinavian cities to visit.

Though it undoubtedly has its own charms in the summer, there is no place like Tromsø in winter, where you can live out a real Arctic dream under the cover of polar night. From dog sledding on the fresh white snow to chasing the famous Northern Lights, Tromsø and its surrounding area have everything you could wish for on an Arctic adventure.

You can explore some wonderful local culture here by visiting one of the nearby Sami settlements, a community of indigenous reindeer herders. Learn about traditional Sami culture from the tribe members themselves, and you can even help feed the reindeer!

With these incredible activities all around the city, it’s easy to overlook Tromsø itself. But this winter destination actually has plenty of great museums, dining, and nightlife.

Stroll down the main street of Storgata to discover great bars and restaurants, or walk further up to Mathallen for fine Norwegian cuisine.

To learn more about the Arctic wilderness, stop by the modern Polaria museum. For another stunning example of the Norwegian winter aesthetic, take a look at the Arctic Cathedral.

And of course, no trip to Tromsø is complete without taking the cable car up to Fjellheisen, where you can get a sweeping panorama of the snow-covered town set between the cold, icy rivers that encircle it.

Joanna – Lose the Map

Zakopane, Poland

People cross country skiing in Zakopane Poland
Zakopane is one of Europe’s best winter wonderland destinations for those who love winter sports. | Photo credit: Radek Skrzypczak from Unsplash

Zakopane, a quaint small town in the south of Poland, is the perfect destination if you’re looking for snow covered peaks and festive decorations that turn even the most gray days into a colorful wonderland.

Located at the foot of the Tatra mountains, this stunning region is worth braving the cold and snow. Why? To start, it is a paradise for nature lovers! Additionally, it is one of the best places to visit in Poland!

There are plenty of hikes to try and stunning locations to visit – even in winter. However, do not worry if you prefer to take it slow or do not want to hike in the snow.

There are easy alternatives with which you can still enjoy the beautiful views, namely cable cars that take you to the viewpoints (the most famous are Gubalowka and Kasprowy Wierch). 

The atmosphere in Zakopane is very unique, in part due to the traditional architecture that decorates the city.

One thing that will certainly help you deal with the cold weather is the food – there are many different dishes to try.

If you prefer sweets, there are plenty of warm pastries on offer, but the most traditional thing you can try while you visit Zakopane is oscypek – delicious grilled smoked sheep cheese, served with cranberry sauce.

Maria and Rui – Two Find a Way

Chamonix, France

france french alps chamonix
Chamonix is one of the most well known winter destinations in Europe. | Photo credit: LesterLost

Winter is a fascinating season. The quietness and the soft crunch of the snow add an enchanting ambiance to the air. Winter is especially gorgeous in the mountains and one of the best places to admire a snowy wonderland is in Chamonix, France. 

Chamonix is a famous destination for mountaineering pursuits in all seasons. The absolute highlight of a visit to Chamonix is to make your way to the top of the Aiguille du Midi in a cable-car and admire the most incredible view over the Alps.

From there, you can even take a view over Italy and Switzerland! The Aiguille du Midi is a built compound on top of the mountain, with many terraces and viewpoints.

Bear in mind that you will go to a very high altitude and you need to be suitably dressed for very cold temperatures.

Making your way to the top of the Aiguille du Midi will give you a fantastic opportunity to approach the top of Europe… Indeed, the Mont Blanc is right in front of you and this is the closest you can get to it without actually climbing it! 

Viewing the most beautiful panorama of the French Alps is an experience you will always cherish.

Delphine – LesterLost

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled winter wonderland
Lake Bled is one of the most dreamy destinations anytime of year. | Photo credit: vbosica on Pixabay

Lake Bled is quite possibly one of Slovenia’s most recognizable tourist destinations. Located just 35 kilometers from the Slovenian capital city, Ljubljana, Lake Bled is a must-see destination on a Slovenia road trip.

Summer at the lake is picturesque and full of people soaking up the sun and taking advantage of water sports, hiking in places like Vintgar Gorge, and waterfall watching. But, if you visit Slovenia’s Lake Bled in winter, you just might mistake real life for a fairy tale. 

While the blue-green water and the island church are beautiful any time of year, in the winter they are simply ethereal.

Just because it’s winter don’t assume that there is any shortage of activities and things to do in Lake Bled.

Another reason to visit in winter–you’ll feel like you have the place to yourself. The lake doesn’t freeze over every year, but if you are lucky enough to go on a year when it does, go ice skating! 

If Lake Bled isn’t frozen, don’t worry, there is a man-made rink just outside the Park Restaurant and Café with a fantastic view of the lake.

Towering high above the lake, Bled Castle is open for tours during the winter. Being that it’s one of Slovenia’s most popular tourist attractions, take advantage of the non-existent winter crowds and take a tour.

The snow-covered ground also makes it the perfect destination for snowshoeing in Triglav National Park, or cross-country skiing at Sports Center Pokljuka. 

Surrounded on all sides by the dominating peaks of the Julian Alps, a snow-covered Lake Bled is one of Europe’s best winter wonderland destinations.

Chrisoula – Travel Passionate

Munich, Germany

the rooftops in Munich Germany covered in snow
Munich Germany looks beautiful covered in snow. | Photo credit: Rita Chou from Unsplash

While there was nothing like spending a day in Munich in the summer, sitting in a beer garden, wandering the streets and eating eis (ice cream) or visiting during Oktoberfest, the city is one of the most magical winter wonderland destinations in Europe. 

It is an absolute winter paradise, although a seriously cold one! But don’t fear, visiting Munich in the winter is just as good as the summer.

You can always find a warm place to go and what you will find in there is amazing or if you are traveling with kids you can hop on the hop-on, hop-off bus and they will take you to all the sights you must see.

To stay warm, spend a few hours exploring the Munich Residenz and wandering the gorgeous halls.

Another great place to visit is Nymphenburg Palace. The inside is so beautiful and so regal that you won’t want to leave. In one of the buildings next to it is the Marstall Museum with all the Royal carriages you could imagine.

Although you will find all the beer gardens closed for the cold months you can find a beer hall nearly anywhere in the city. They are so family friendly during the day or evening hours.

Good hearty meals will keep you wandering for hours hunting for unique German souvenirs without even feeling the cold. 

There is so much to do in Munich in winter so just pop on some layers and get out there!

Mark and Bec- Wyld Family Travel

Have a limited time in Munich? Read our post about how to see Munich in a day.

Swedish Lapland

the ice hotel in jukkasjarvi Sweden
The ice hotel in Sweden is one of the most unique winter attractions. | Photo credit: Tobias Fischer from Unsplash

If you’re looking for a true winter wonderland location in Europe, there is no better place than Swedish Lapland! 

While the Swedish Lapland is certainly lovely in summer, when people hike the famous Kungsleden trail, Swedish Lapland truly shines in the winter when it is covered in snow and you can enjoy winter activities by day and Sweden’s northern lights by night.

During the day, you shouldn’t miss the chance to enjoy the snowy paradise with fun activities like dog sledding with a team of huskies or snowshoeing across Abisko National Park.

You can hunt for frozen waterfalls and the brave amongst us can even ice climb these waterfalls (with a guide, of course!).

By night, your time is best spent curled up in front of a fire with a book, enjoying a traditional Swedish sauna (be sure to jump in the snow afterwards for a truly Swedish experience) or of course, hunting down the elusive Northern Lights.

Bundle up warm and make sure you bring lots of extra camera batteries if you are trying to photograph the lights!

Finally, a few other points of interest in Swedish Lapland include the famous Ice Hotel in Jukkasjarvi, meeting with indigenous Sami locals to learn about their traditions, or exploring the cute and interesting mining town of Kiruna

You could even pop into Narvik, Norway for the day on the Arctic Circle train!

Allison – Eternal Arrival

Bergen, Norway

Snowy mountain in Bergen Norway in winter
Bergen may be best known as a rainy city, but it looks beautiful in winter covered in snow, as well. | Photo credit: Lucija Ros on Unsplash

As winter wonderland destinations go, you can’t get much cozier, with that wintry, frozen nose-feeling then heading up to the world heritage city of Bergen, Norway.

From the views as you fly in, you will be enveloped in a brisk, snowy atmosphere.

There’s plenty to do in Bergen, including taking their fjord boat out to see some gorgeous landscapes as you sit inside, nice and warm, with a cup of chocolate or tea in your hands. You’ll likely carve through a thin layer of ice as the boat makes its way through the water. 

The best part of Bergen’s winter, though, is taking the Floibanen funicular up to the top of the hill. The views, especially as the sun is setting, are spectacular and once up there you can ski, sled, or walk back down. 

The children all bring their little bum sleds up and slide down all the way to town. The bum sleds can be bought all over the city for only a few dollars, so you too, can join in the fun.

After your fill of winter activities indulge in one of Bergen’s fabulous restaurants or bundle up and go for dinner at the Fish Market, overlooking the harbor with the freshest fish around.

Don’t miss going to Bergen during winter; you’ll love it!

Corinne – Reflections Enroute

Iceland

Iceland in winter - snow-covered wonderlands
Iceland boasts so much natural beauty regardless of the season. | Photo credit: A Sherrie Affair

Iceland is truly one of the world’s best natural winter wonderland locations.

The mountains are covered with a very bright shining snow that reflects off the sun.  Combine this with one of the bluest skies you’ll ever see makes for a breathtaking view. 

The Golden Circle offers must-see icy Iceland itinerary experiences; Gullfoss Waterfall, the Geysir Geothermal Area, Thingvellir National Park and more.  

If you are an adventurer you would love taking a snowmobile tour. There are different ones to choose from like the tour to the Katla volcano in South Iceland.

There are a lot more beautiful Iceland waterfalls and majestic mountains to see in the South part of Iceland, including a black sand beach near Vik. The snow lays on the black sand as little pebbles, the white and black contrast is beautiful.

To truly enjoy an Iceland winter, a hotel or home rental stay in the more secluded areas makes a great vacation. Lucky travelers that experience the Northern Lights will be able to see them more clearly with less city lights.

In fact, the visible Northern Lights are one of the most fascinating things about Iceland

Just because it’s cold out and the snow is dropping does not mean you can’t enjoy the year-round thermal baths such as the famous Blue Lagoon. In fact, it is more exciting with such a difference in temperatures.

Sherrie – A Sherrie Affair

Krakow, Poland

Krakow Poland covered in snow
Krakow is one of Europe’s most beautiful winter cities. | Photo credit: Ida T from Pixabay

Krakow is beautiful anytime of the year, but is especially magical during wintertime. During the colder months, the city transforms into one of the truest winter wonderland destinations. The Main Square and Wawel Castle are covered in snow, and make Krakow worth visiting during the winter.

The summer crowds are gone and there’s a calm that takes over the city, where you can explore scenic side streets or duck into cozy cafes to warm up with a cup of hot chocolate.

Speaking of cafes, Krakow boasts excellent ones where you can have a leisurely brunch or treat yourself to a late night snack.

Polish food is the perfect wintertime cuisine, with hearty dishes like pierogi, bigos, and cabbage rolls that will warm you right up.

Some great spots to go around the city include the Milk Bars, which are inexpensive cafeteria-style spots left over from Soviet times.

If you’re in Krakow in December, you can enjoy the Christmas decorations, including the famous Krakow nativity szopka. These decorative structures are modeled after St. Mary’s Basilica and the best ones are displayed on the Main Square.

There is also a Christmas Market in the Main Square that sells traditional Polish food, seasonal trinkets and gifts, and has live entertainment.

Additionally, the famous Wieliczka Salt Mine is open year round and remains a constant temperature even in the middle of winter

Julia – Small World This Is

Åre, Sweden

Are Sweden ski resort
Are is home to one of the world’s most notable ski areas. | Photo credit: Hendrik Morkel from Unsplash

Åre (pronounced or-rey), Sweden, isn’t just a ski town, though it would be one of the most recommended if you want to add a top-notch ski destination to your Scandinavia itinerary.

This town in Jämtland County in Sweden’s middle west stands on its own any time of year apart from any ski crowd.

Although Åre in winter is a snowy destination, it was originally established as a summer destination and a retreat for good health and exercise in the exceptionally clean mountain air.

The first tram on Åre Mountain was installed in 1910. The mountain was finally developed as a serious ski destination beginning in the 1970s and is now one of the world’s top ski areas.

Indeed, there is no winter sport that you can’t do in Åre. You can ski downhill and cross country. You can go dog sledding or snowshoeing. And you can visit a Sami village and feed reindeer.

You can even tow your skis by snowmobile up to the very top of the Åre mountain–far above where the ski lift reaches–to eat waffles and drink hot chocolate.

Don’t miss the food, either. There are several outstanding restaurants – Uvisan, a popup restaurant by famed chef Magnus Nilsson, and the VinBaren (Wine Bar) at the Åregården Hotel are particularly outstanding. 

The Åregården Hotel is also a fine place to stay in town. But be sure to have a look at Copperhill Mountain Lodge if you want spectacular views, a gourmet restaurant, and downhill ski runs right out the front door.

Tom – Travel Past 50

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen in winter
Winter in Copenhagen calls for a daily hygge. | Photo credit: Max Adulyanukosol on Unsplash

Copenhagen goes polar in winter. Despite the freezing temperatures, the Danish capital is one of the most beautiful winter wonderlands in the world..

Due to the cold weather, plan to stop at least once an hour to warm up indoors at the closest coffee shop for a mug of cocoa or a cup of tea. 

Snuggled up in front of a fireplace where you can sink in a comfy armchair while sipping on a hot drink and watching the snowflakes falling gently outside… that is true coziness – or what the Danes call hygge!

Once you are warm, wander around the picture-perfect King’s Garden and duck into Rosenborg Castle.

Stroll alongside the colorful houses and idyllic snow-covered boats in Nyhavn for one of the best winter experiences. 

Without question, the best spot in Copenhagen in winter is definitely Tivoli Gardens.  

This second-oldest amusement park in the world looks like a 19th century Nordic fairy tale land, and is the most romantic and magical place to experience a perfect winter wonderland destination!

Aside from its beauty, there are also lots of fun rides at Tivoli Gardens to keep even the youngest kids entertained.

Mei and Kerstin -Travel with Mei and Kerstin

Berlin, Germany

Berlin winter -snowy winter wonderland vacations
Berliners don’t let the cold weather stop them from enjoying the outdoors. | Photo credit: Lisa Theobald-Herbst on Pixabay

Berlin is a magical city any time of year but it transforms into a winter wonderland destination during the cold months of the year. 

Partly because there’s just something romantic about getting all bundled up and heading out to explore a snowy city with family or friends. And partly because Germans don’t hesitate to spend time outside in the winter, so there are plenty of things to do both indoors and outdoors.

Dress warmly and go explore the city on foot. Then enjoy cozy afternoons and candle-lit evenings in cafes and bars. It is easy enough to warm up by popping into a museum or a cute restaurant for a meal. 

If you are planning a trip to Germany and have the opportunity to visit Berlin in the winter season, pack warm clothes and go for it!

Cate – International Desserts Blog

Štrbské Pleso, Slovakia

Štrbské Pleso is one of the most popular ski areas in the Slovak Alps. | Photo credit: Adrian Regeci from Unsplash

The High Tatras, a mountain range that’s also a national park, is the natural pride and joy of Slovakia, dubbed the Slovak Alps.

While hiking and rock climbing are quite popular during the summer in this north-Carpathian mountain range, it’s the winter that turns the Tatras into a wonderland.

A number of ski resorts, each with one or more pistes, each accessible with a ski lift, caters to skiers and snowboarders, who love the combined 32 kilometers of slopes for their affordability and gentleness.

The most popular resorts, like Tatranská Lomnica and Štrbské Pleso, draw the bulk of the crowds.

Even though most hiking paths in the High Tatras get shut down for the winter, daring hikers appreciate less foot traffic and the beauty of snow-covered peaks and valleys.

Better still, the snow that covers the rocky mountain sides and forests turns each hike into a silent retreat from civilization – best enjoyed with a warm lunch at one of the alpine chalets.

The Tatras are easily accessible by mountain train from the nearby town of Poprad, by the cog railway from the village of Štrba, and of course by road.

A little further out, the medieval towns of Kežmarok and Spišská Nová Ves are excellent starting points as well, offering, if you’re lucky, a snow-covered approach for the ages.

Peter – I Heart Slovakia

Stockholm, Sweden

stockholm best winter wonderland vacations
Stockholm is a great city to bundle up and explore during winter. | Photo credit: Elisabeth Hellström on Pixabay

Stockholm, Sweden is the perfect winter wonderland location! And actually it is a city better visited in winter rather than summer. 

In summer, the crowds can be immense, especially if one or several cruise ships are docked in the city. However, when visiting Stockholm in winter you’ll find the city much quieter and more full of locals. 

In winter the dark nights close in early which adds to the atmosphere of the city and the cold weather offers many opportunities to experience fika and the traditional dish of Swedish meatballs.

As the city is set for winter there are plenty of indoor activities including a wealth of museums, however my favorite place is to walk around the living museum Skansen and experience traditional Swedish life

For kids the Nordic zoo at Skansen is a lovely place to see animals in their original habitat and environment.

A favorite winter activity in Stockholm for many is to experience the traditional Christmas markets at Gamla Stad and Skansen. If you are lucky you might just get to see some snow, too. 

Leona – Wandermust Family

Dartmoor, England

Dartmoor covered in a sprinkling of snow at sunset
Dartmoor isn’t always covered in snow, but when it does see snow, it becomes a serene winter wonderland. | Photo credit: Mark Frost from Pixabay

Dartmoor is situated in the south west of England and has been the inspiration for many artists and writers over the years. The rugged landscape, icy waters and desolate atmosphere create a beautiful setting for a wondrous wintry scene.

Dartmoor has a uniqueness in the fact that much of its landscape is uninhabited, this adds to the authentic feeling you get when you’re exploring its endless pathways.

Braving the cold peaks of Dartmoor during the winter is something that will give you an appreciation for the natural world. Ramble along ancient pathways sharing open landscapes with stags and wild horses

While snow can be patchy in Dartmoor, when it does pay a visit to Dartmoor it gives visitors the opportunity to witness a sea of white flowing over the hills.

Dartmoor can be a bit scary for anyone who is not used to hiking but many of the trails are popular throughout the year. 

There are many things to do on Dartmoor whether it’s visiting the famous Dartmoor prison or stumbling into a warm cozy tavern to enjoy a well-earned drink and some locally sourced food. 

Dartmoor is an authentic, rural landscape all year round but to see its true beauty there is no better time than winter with a fresh sprinkle of powder covering the rugged countryside.

Dean – Life out the Hive

Lviv, Ukraine

Note: Given the current situation in Ukraine, we strongly advise not visiting this winter destination at this time. This post was originally published before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Please use this information on Lviv for future inspiration when travel to Ukraine is safer. 
Lviv Ukraine magical winter places
Enjoying one of the many cafes in Lviv, Ukraine is the perfect way to spend a winter day. | Photo credit: My Wanderlust

Lviv, Ukraine is a perfect place for a city break all year long. But it’s even more beautiful in the winter time, when the streets and rooftops are covered in snow. The white blanket everywhere around makes Lviv look like it’s taken straight from a fairy tale, too beautiful to be true.

It’s a pure pleasure to wander around, feeling like you’re transferred in time and falling in love with the city.

Winter and cold temperatures are a perfect excuse to visit as many cafes as possible, to get warmer and drink a delicious coffee followed by even more delicious cake.

You wouldn’t feel bad for spending a lot of the time inside as Lviv is known for its spectacular cafe scene.

The city has the highest number of cafes per capita and they are not the random places where you just get your drink and go. Lviv cafes are one of a kind. Some of them have a very distinctive style (like the post-office or the pharmacy theme) others focus on coffee itself and even offer guided tours showing how the drink is prepared from scratch. 

When you travel to Lviv you don’t need to worry about the expenses as the city is very affordable and even if you spend most of your day going from one cafe to another your wallet still won’t be drained at the end of the day!

Kamila – My Wanderlust

Winter Wonderland Destinations in Asia

Of all the continents, Asia is probably the most unique. With its rich history and breathtaking temples, Asia is enchanting regardless of the season in which you visit. 

While parts of Asia – like Thailand and Singapore – rarely see snow, other areas can turn into incredible winter wonderland destinations when the temperatures turn cold.

Here are some of the most wonderful winter wonderland locations in Asia that will have you eager to book your next flight east.

Koyasan, Japan

magical places in winter Koyasan Japan
Koyasan, Japan looks even more magical during the winter. | Photo credit: Spiritual Travels

Koyasan is one of the most important spiritual destinations in Japan. The mountaintop village was settled over 1,000 years ago by Kukai, who founded Shingon Buddhism in Japan.

Kukui is interred in Okunoin Cemetery in Koyasan. With over 200,000 gorgeously arranged tombstones and statues, this incredible cemetery is a sight like no other.

Few people see Koyasan as a winter destination. However, if you visit in winter, you may get a chance to see fresh snow covering the area. 

Seeing Okunoin cemetery and the temples of Koyasan blanketed in snow is nothing short of mystical. It is as if you’ve been transported to a magical Buddhist winter wonderland

Buddha statues in the park wear hats of snow several inches thick, while fresh sparkling snow drops amidst the ancient trees. Besides the incredible white landscapes, doing a shukubo (temple stay) in winter is an experience you will forever recall.

Stay at the popular Eko-In Koyasan, right across from the cemetery. With no central heating system, staying in a wooden temple in winter is freezing, but fortunately they have a steaming hot onsen bath and yukata robe waiting for you!

Nick – Spiritual Travels

Jigokudani Monkey Park, Japan

a monkey in winter jigokudani japan
Jigokudani Monkey Park in Nagano is a winter wonderland for both it’s resident macaques and for visitors. | Photo credit: Traveling Sisters

One of the most beautiful and unique winter wonderland destinations in the world is Jigokudani Monkey Park located in the Nagano prefecture of Japan. 

The park is home to a group of Japanese macaques which play in the snow and hang out in hot springs just inches away from visitors during the cold winter.

While Jigokudani Monkey Park is open year round, winter is the best time to visit. Not only is the area more picturesque when it is covered with snow, but the snow monkeys are more likely to soak in the hot springs to stay warm. 

Getting to the hot springs from the park entrance involves an enjoyable walk on a snow covered trail through the beautiful forest.

In addition to seeing the cute snow monkeys, you should explore the surrounding snow covered area. 

Unless visiting on a day trip from Tokyo or Nagano, many visitors will stay at a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) in one of the nearby traditional hot spring towns of Yamanouchi or Shibu Onsen where you can soak in an onsen, a type of Japanese mineral bath that Japan is famous for.  

Another fun winter activity to do in the area is to go skiing at one of the nearby ski resorts.

Matilda – Travel Sisters

Interested in ethical animal experiences in Japan? Check out the wild deer in Nara.

Sapporo, Japan

The Hokkaido Shrine in Sapporo - Where You're Between
Sapporo hosts a massive snow festival each year that adds to it’s winter appeal. | Photo credit: Where You’re Between

Sapporo in winter is caked in snow for several months a year and is easily the best time to visit. A fun and lively city, the capital of Hokkaido is built to withstand the strongest of cold snaps, with the help of an endless supply of ramen and curry soup. 

If there’s a queue outside a restaurant on a cold snowy night then get in line, it’s bound to be worth it.

Each February the city hosts the legendary week long Sapporo Snow Festival in Odori Park. Huge intricate sculptures are expertly carved from the mountains of snow that covers this part of northern Japan. 

In December, a Bavarian Christmas Market is held in the same spot beneath the city’s iconic TV Tower. A host of stalls selling everything from traditional German Christmas decorations, bratwurst and mulled wine pop up in honor of Sapporo’s twin city of Munich.

From the viewing point at the top of the JR Tower, Sapporo’s tallest building, you can take in a magnificent panorama of the whole area, including the mountain ranges that surround the suburbs. 

Alternatively, take the cable car and funicular to the top of Mount Moiwa on the edge of Sapporo for a stunning snow covered view of the entire city. And if winter sports is your thing, head to nearby Niseko for skiing and snowboarding.

James – Where You’re Between

Nami Island, South Korea

Nami Island Korea winter
Nami Island is a popular tourist destination near Seoul year round. | Photo credit: MC Adventure Blog

Nami Island is a tiny haven just outside of Seoul in South Korea. It is gorgeous to visit at any time of year, but winter is when it really shows off. Nami Island exists for tourists, and you can find tons of restaurants, cafes, and activities for the whole family.

In winter there is a snowman festival, and you can wander through spectacular ice carvings, and even learn to make one yourself. There are open fires to warm yourself along your stroll through the tree-lined avenues, or snuggle up at one of the cafes and watch the icicles drip over the frozen Han river.

The site for many famous Korean Drama series, Nami Island is filled with storybook characters and folklore, making both a perfect family day out or a romantic date. 

You can reach it via train and bus from Seoul, and catch the ferry or take a zipline onto the island.

Nami Island is a favorite winter escape in Korea, and after visiting, it may be one of your favorite winter wonderland destinations, as well. 

Monique – MC Adventure Blog

Winter Wonderland Locations in Australia and Oceania

When you think of winter wonderland destinations, you probably don’t typically think of Australia and Oceania. Perhaps it’s because their winter falls during summer in the United States and Europe.

If you long for winter during the months of June through August, look no further than the following places.

Wanaka, New Zealand

Wanaka New Zealand winter wonderlands around world
Wanaka is one of New Zealand’s most popular winter destinations. | Photo credit: Swing Abroad

About an hour from Queenstown, New Zealand lies one of the most popular and lovely towns in the country, Wanaka. Built by Lake Wanaka and surrounded by mountains, Wanaka is often the top choice when it comes to winter wonderland vacations.

Accommodations are at their peak during winter as there are several ski fields near the town. 

The  convenient transportation is also a reason why Wanaka has been adored by ski-lovers around the world

What makes the town itself beautiful during winter? Well, plenty. During winter, snowfall often covered the upper half of nearby mountains.

These snow-capped mountains, along with the lovely town itself give you a dreamy wonderland feel.

The only thing that is a minus for the town is the crowd. Visitors love Wanaka so much that the main streets are often crowded during peak season. Other than ski-lovers, tourists often pick Wanaka more than other destinations, as well.

While there are many things to do other than skiing in Wanaka, there’s one thing that is a must do: Hiking Roys Peak. It’s probably the most popular activity for travelers. The panoramic views at the peak are just stunning beyond words. 

Bring some food, and have a picnic up there! It’s important to note though that the snow could get one-meter thick!

Yen – Swing Abroad

Falls Creek, Victoria Australia

Falls Creek Victoria winter
Falls Creek is a one of Australia’s most notable ski areas. | Photo credit: Let’s Go Mum

Falls Creek is a mountain-top village, located in the Victorian alpine area of Australia. It is located within a few hours’ drive of Victoria’s capital city, Melbourne. 

It’s shown to its best advantage during winter when the snows settle in, painting the entire village white.

This beautiful area is incredibly popular with Australians from all areas in winter – not just because of the excellent skiing and snowboarding offered, but also for its pure natural beauty.

Impossibly high mountains offer incredible vistas at every turn. Eucalyptus tree avenues beckon visitors to ski, snowshoe, or stroll down them to view their showcase of stunning natural icicle sculptures dangling from their branches. 

The village itself is as picturesque as a chocolate box lid. A ski-in ski-out village above the snowline during winter, Falls Creek Village has numerous cozy bars, cafes and restaurants to offer its visitors.

There are many hotels and lodges to choose from, including the nearby charming Howmans Gap, which offers accommodation for all budgets. 

The main Falls Creek Village chairlift carries passengers up the mountain to witness stunning views across the valleys. Falls Creek has to be one of Australia’s most outstanding winter wonderland destinations – don’t miss it!

Barbara – Let’s Go Mum

34 reasons to fall in love with winter

It’s safe to say, paradise doesn’t always have to be warm. So many magical places in the world become even more incredible when they’re covered in snow. 

From white, snow-capped mountains to ice castles and cities that have embraced winter to the fullest, these best winter wonderland destinations from around the world give you so many reasons to fall in love with winter.

Do you have a question or comment about any of the best winter wonderland destinations? Leave your thoughts or recommendations for winter wonderland vacations in the comments below.

Like it? Pin this list of winter wonderland vacations to save it for later!
This guide to the best winter wonderland vacations in the world was first written in November 2018 but was most recently updated in February 2024 for accuracy and current information.

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4 comments on “34 BEST Winter Wonderland Destinations for a Snowy Vacation”

I love all the photos of colourful towns covered in snow. Copenhagen, Quebec, Bergen – I could just do a RTW trip to those destinations you mentioned here. Thanks for the inspiration!

I love this list of beautiful winter travel destinations! I usually only travel to warm weather locations (including some on this list!) but am now inspired to pull out the winter woollies and brave the colder climates. Europe looks like another whole world blanketed in snow, and I think that Lviv in Ukraine and Zakopane in Poland look particularly enchanting in winter.

We want to travel somewhere snowy in late December, probably 1 or 2 days after xmas. We have 2 young boys so we were wanting to let them play in snow since it’s not a guarantee where we’re from in michigan. We currently live in fl. Any suggestions?

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