Why spend winter at home this year when you could take off somewhere special? Whether it’s guaranteed snow and fairy-tale cities you’re after, or a healthy dose of sunshine to warm the cold season blues, there are plenty of unforgettable places to visit. Here are five of the best winter break destinations to get you inspired.
Dublin has much to offer those who want the buzz of a capital city with stunning natural scenery just a stone’s throw away. Picture a candlelit pint of Guinness in a snug Victorian pub, streets filled with festive folk music and a wintry stroll through sprawling Phoenix Park. St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the magnificent Trinity College – once home to a student Oscar Wilde – also make for fun excursions.
Visit it on: Irish Highlights Winter
Winter in Russia’s capital is a sight to behold, the snow-dusted city twinkling with light installations until mid-January as part of the Journey to Christmas Festival. The Red Square is at the centre of the hustle and bustle – pick up special gifts for loved ones at the traditional Christmas Market, take to the ice rink for some skating, and enjoy the open-air theatre and dance performances. Warm up nearby in the colourful St. Basil’s Cathedral, or the Cathedral of the Annunciation with its spectacular golden domes.
Visit it on: Festive St. Petersburg and Moscow
Paris is quieter in winter, which means discovering the tucked away haunts only the locals know about. You can see the whole city sparkle from the Eiffel Tower, pick up some festive treats from a Champs-Élysées chocolatier, and amble along winding cobbled lanes and avenues without the crowds. Pop over to the Louvre for shelter from the chilly weather and the best view of the Mona Lisa you’ll get all year.
Visit it on: Paris Explorer Winter
If sub-zero temperatures aren’t your thing, treat yourself to some winter sun Down Under. Bask in 26°C heat on the golden sands of Bondi, and enjoy long lunches on the harbour-front with views of the Sydney Opera House. Australian summers are also the perfect time for the energetic to take a stroll through the stunning Blue Mountains just outside the city, or make the daring climb to the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Visit it on: Australia Highlights
Dresden is the ideal destination to embrace the winter wonderland spirit whole-heartedly. From the end of November until Christmas Eve, the city is home to Striezelmarkt, the oldest Christmas market in Germany. Sip mulled wine, snack on bratwurst and traditional Christstollen fruit cake, and find hand-crafted treasures to take back home. If you manage to drag yourself away from this giant glittering grotto, check out some of the city’s wonderful historic architecture like Zwinger Palace and the Opera House.
Visit it on: German Christmas Markets