Winter is for everyone. It is loved by people from all over the world, some of which live in places where there’s snow but some live in tropical countries and want to experience this season.
Winter is also attached to the Christmas holiday. Many cities in Europe are filled with Christmas markets where the air is covered in roasted chestnuts and hot cacao. This season is perfect to go on a vacation where you can do exciting outdoor activities that includes snow. This list of the best 3-week winter destinations will help you plan where to go this next winter.
WHAT TO REMEMBER WHEN CHOOSING A WINTER VACATION PLACE
Just like in our other articles, there are some things that we need to show you first before proceeding with the actual itineraries. Included in this portion is the budget, considering the activities, distance from your origin, seasons, as well as other travel tips.
Since winter falls exactly during the Christmas season in most countries, anticipate that there are a lot of people travelling during this time and the demand is higher than usual so the prices of flights and accommodations might be a bit higher. You need to plan your allocated budget per day in advance, especially if you’re travelling for three weeks.
You should also write down the type of activities you want to do. Let’s say you want to do skiing or snowboarding, you should first check if the destination of choosing has slopes for this. Perhaps you want to go outdoor camping, check if the national parks are open during winter.
If you like visiting Christmas markets, Europe is very popular for this. The US and Canada are catching up too. These markets are great spots to try local dishes and learn what food or handicraft is popular in each specific city.
Distance from your origin or from each other
When choosing where to spend your 3-week winter destination the distance from your origin plays a big part. Make sure it’s too far from home or if you plan to visit multiple places, the travel time shouldn’t be more than 2-3 hours flight from each other.
Apart from the flight price becoming more expensive, you might also end up spending more time travelling between airports than vacationing which isn’t only exhausting but would be such a waste of your time.
Other basic travel tips
These tools are very helpful when it comes to travel planning. A lot of these websites also offer flexible cancellations, which means if you change your mind or decided to go somewhere else, you don’t have to pay too many fees and lose a lot of money because of cancellations.
BEST 3-WEEK WINTER DESTINATIONS
Whenever the vacation season is near, most of us dream of going to two types of places, tropical countries or a winter wonderland. For this article, we will highlight the countries wherein you will experience the joys of snow.
We divided this into two areas, specifically the northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere because these two regions have very opposite months for winter.
Most of the best winter destinations for a 3-week vacation could be found in the northern hemisphere and the perfect months to go here for those who are fond of snow is from November to February.
Aside from the snow, wintertime is also the perfect season to go to France because it is an off-peak season, meaning there are fewer crowds but the number of beautiful places to see and activities to do are just the same. 3-weeks in France in winter will not leave you bored.
You could attend their flower parade in Nice which lasts for two weeks. They also have a classical music festival in Nantes, a Lemon Festival in Menton, and the festival of the kiss in France, during the nearest weekend on Valentine’s day. What could be more romantic than that, right?
For the adrenaline junkies, you could do tons of snow-related activities in the French Alps, including snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice climbing, ice rappelling, and downhill skiing. They even have a snow polo event every January. France has a popular 6-day skiing pass which costs around 293 euros for adults.
Visiting famous locations when they are covered in snow, and with fewer people makes them seem more enchanting and Germany is filled with that. Some locations that are more picturesque during the wintertime include Zugspitze Mountain, which is Germany’s best ski resort. You could do alpine skiing, ski touring, snowboarding, winter hiking, snowshoeing, and sledding, among others.
You could also head over to Claudius Therme Thermal Bath in Cologne which is known for outdoor pools and saunas where you could observe the night sky while having a dip, or go to Potsdamer Platz’s Winterworld and visit historical Christmas markets in Berlin.
For festival-goers, Germany has advent concerts. I personally think that Christmas markets in Germany are one of the best ones in Europe. While Tollwood Winter Festival is the largest chocolate festival in the country, which lasts for a whole month, Stollen (German fruitcake) Festival, and the Hamburg fair. Let’s not forget that February is carnival season in the whole of Germany.
TIP: Spend 3 weeks in Central Europe where you can enjoy winter in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Poland.
Switzerland is on another level of picturesque scenery during the winter season. With the snow-covered mountain peaks, quaint Christmas Markets, and the best skiing place you’ll find in Europe, you can never go wrong in opting to go to Switzerland in winter.
St Moritz is the perfect place for skiing and snowboarding, so much so that they have already hosted two winter Olympic games. Zermatt, on the other hand, is the highest ski area in Switzerland. Other snow/ice-related activities include ice skating on natural rinks, dog sledding, helicopter tour, or cable car sightseeing.
You can also ride the Bernina express which would take you through the snow-covered Alps, a great once-in-a-lifetime experience to have or stay in one of their igloos. The average daily cost of expenses in Switzerland is around $210 per day.
However, there are tons of cheaper but high-quality accommodations and good food around, make sure to book in advance and look for restaurants with great reviews and more affordable rates if you’re on a budget.
Nordic is derived from the Scandinavian language word Norden, which literally means Northern islands, the Nordic region consists of Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, as well as Greenland, Faroe Islands, and Aaland, and among these countries, some have the best skiing resorts and are the perfect winter destinations.
First on the list is Norway, which has tons of skiing resorts, the most famous of which is Hemsedal. The unique mountain scenery will give the skiers an Alpine feel. Aside from that, Norway also has glaciers and fjords that tourists can marvel at.
During the winter, Norway transforms into a snow-clad paradise. Some of the most popular winter sports that you could try include downhill skiing, ski jumping, biathlon, snowboarding, curling, ice hockey, and dog sledding.
There are loads of places you can visit in Norway in winter. Bergen’s fjords are magical during this season. The traditional houses covered in snow are quite a view. While Tromso in winter is just filled with adventurous activities such as visiting its ice domes, dog sledding, and of course, chasing the stunning Northern Lights.
Another must-visit nordic country during the winter is Sweden. It has a vast landscape covered with frozen lakes, snowy mountains that look straight out of a motion picture, and boreal forest. The best part is that it has a long ski season. Åre is Sweden’s most popular ski resort and is the largest in the Nordic region. You’ll find slopes for various expertise levels here, as well as numerous hotels and restaurants to choose from.
Aside from it being a top ski spot, tourists also love to go to Sweden because of the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights (which are also visible in Norway and Finland). Other activities that you could do here are snowmobiling, dog sledding, spotting arctic wildlife, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. You could even experience staying in a room entirely constructed with ice.
CHECKOUT: 3 weeks in Scandinavia
You’ll certainly remember your winter vacation for a long time if you spend it in the US. Spending 3 weeks in the US visiting a ski resort will be an interesting winter vacation. From mushing through the Alaskan wilderness, to bobsledding at Utah’s Olympic Park or skiing in Colorado, you’ll make nothing but fond memories during your trip.
As mentioned in the paragraph above, Colorado has one of the best skiing slopes in the US, with Aspen Snowmass being voted as the top skiing destination. Colorado has tons of ski resorts that range from luxurious to budget-friendly, you could easily take your pick.
You could also try ice fishing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice climbing, bobsledding, and dog sledding. For those who simply want to unwind and relax, take in the scenic views of New York. Some iconic sites you should visit during the winter include the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center, and the Empire State Building. You could even ice skate in the Central Park rink.
Some people might think the US is only great to visit in summer or spring or fall. But winter is equally an incredible time to explore this huge country. If you’re coming to toast a milestone, there are many places in the US to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, or honeymoon. You can do exciting activities, including visiting national parks in winter or heading to a ski resort.
One of the reasons why you should visit Canada during the winter is because it’s more affordable to visit Canada in winter compared to the rest of the year. Because it’s an off-peak season, everything costs cheaper, including flights, accommodations, and tours. The great thing about this is you’ll still see tons of amazing and unique scenery.
They have a festival called Winterlude in Ottawa and an annual restaurant week in Toronto called “winterlicious“. They have the world’s largest underground shopping complex called PATH. While wandering around, you should also make it a mission to try these tasty Canadian Christmas foods if you plan to visit during this season. We have an itinerary for 3 weeks in Canada that covers when to go in winter.
Canada has Igloofest in Montreal and Carnival de Quebec. With the list of festivals that you could attend during the winter, you’ll never run out of things to do here. Some of the winter sports to try here include hockey, snowmobiling, lacrosse, curling, skiing, ice fishing, and snowboarding.
Poland is an ideal winter destination for many reasons, one of which being the Baltic Sea looks extra ethereal during this time of the year. Going to the sea isn’t only calming, it even has health benefits because the sea exhales more amounts of iodine during the winter season.
Zakopane has exceptional ski slopes and hiking trails that you could explore and this place hosting the Ski Jumping World Cup is a testament to that. Poland is the most affordable place to ski in the entirety of Europe. Other activities include snowboarding, ice skating, biathlon, and curling.
For those who prefer sightseeing, the hills of Bukowina Tatrzanska offer a magnificent view of the Tatra Mountains. They have thermal waters here as well and they host a carnival every February.
Japan is the least crowded during winter. However, don’t be mistaken as there are tons of things that you could do here during this season. First is the food. Tons of seasonal specialities can be found in Hokkaido, Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Kanazawa, and of course, Tokyo. Onsen is also a must-try experience, which is similar to a hot spring bath.
You can also ski and snowboard to your heart’s content, then eat hot ramen and soak in the Onsen afterwards, seems like a perfect vacation itinerary doesn’t it? They have a couple of festivals during this season as well, including Sapporo Snow Festival, Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival, and Otaru Snow Light Path Festival, among others.
Check our 3-weeks in Japan and South Korea itinerary.
Included in our list of countries for 3-week winter destinations in South Korea. Aside from the exciting activities that you could try (skiing and sledding), they also offer winter street foods such as warm sweet potatoes and chestnuts that aren’t available during the other seasons of the year.
Nami Island is a beautiful winter destination because it is filled with redwood trees that turn into stunning ice cones and just a shuttle bus away, you’ll find La Petite France, a French cultural village. You can also trek Seonjaryeong Mountain, which is 1,157 meters high. Other activities include ski day trips, snow sliding, ice diving, and indoor and outdoor ice skating.
Some travel agencies ski resorts offer day passes which are more affordable as you have unlimited access to the activities, depending on the package that you avail.
Kazakhstan certainly offers unique winter activities. Did you know that you could try out ice fishing or even horse riding in the snow here? They also do “kokpar” and eagle hunting during the winter, which can be a marvel to witness for some people.
For an authentic holiday experience, you could go to this country’s Santa Claus Village, where you can ride in a sled pulled by reindeer or huskies and even take selfies with Santa. Aside from that, you could go skating, skiing and snowboarding then head over to one of their bathhouses. One of their most famous bathhouses is the Arasan Bathhouse.
As for events, Kazakhstan has the international falconry competition, which is among the most ancient traditions in Kazakhstan. As for the average expenses during the winter season, you should prepare to spend at least $17 per day and it would cost $241 a week for a couple.
When you think of winter in Europe, you can’t deny that your mind goes to the Alps. Italy is one of the most visited countries by tourists all over the world and luckily, its northern region sits on the Alps. With that being said, its tourist spots are usually jam-packed, museums filled to the brim and immensely long queues. For people who don’t want that, winter is the perfect season to go, especially if you find cold weather enjoyable and would love to see snow.
This is also when operas, theatres, and symphonies are in full swing. For sports enthusiasts, Italy has tons of mountains wherein you could ski or snowboard. The top destinations for winter in Italy are the Dolomites and Livigno. Towards the west, head to Sestriere.
As for festivals, they have tons of those as well, including Florence Noel, Wild Boar Festival, Carnevale, Epiphany, and Befana. Most people spend 3 weeks in Italy during summer, but coming in winter is equally fun. If you visit during Christmas, you should check what dishes Italians eat on Christmas and make sure to try them.
Since the southern hemisphere is basically on the other side of the world, the months of their seasons are the polar opposite of the northern hemisphere. The winter season for the countries below the equator is from May to August, which are the best months to visit
Australia is among the driest continents in the world. 35% of its landmass receives so little rain these are basically deserts. But during the winter season, it completely transforms into a seemingly whole new different place. Australia’s winter isn’t as cold and harsh as in other countries you could even swim with the whale sharks on the Ningaloo reef.
You can also access miles upon miles of savannah woodlands, and paperback swamps, which are home to various species such as buffalos and wallabies. Hiking and snorkelling are also famous activities in Australia during the winter. They also have areas here where it snows so you could ski through the slopes of South Wales or the Victoria Alps.
Some of their winter festivals include snow tunes, winterwild, the blessing of the dogs and truffle festival, Adelaide Cabaret Festival, and orange winter fire festival, among others. Australia even has winter night markets that locals and tourists could enjoy.
This country is so huge that 3-weeks in Australia might not even be enough. But that’s okay, it just means that you can come back and visit when the season is different to see the country in a completely different world.
Just like in Australia, Chile has such a diverse winter temperature range. There are areas wherein the cold is manageable and there are areas wherein it snows. One of the most famous winter destinations in this country is Torres del Paine, which is known for its incredible landscapes and trekking sites.
Another famous winter destination is Lake District, where you can ski, snowboard, hike, and go ice fishing. Argentina also has hot springs and you can purchase a hearty bowl of cazuela. Star gazing is also a famous activity in Chile. They have a snow festival in Puerto Williams and a winter carnival in Patagonia. Take a look at your 3-weeks in Chile itinerary.
You could have the best of both worlds if you visit Argentina during the winter season. Skiing and trekking are the most popular activities but if you’re not fond of winter sports or snow, You can go to places where the temperature is moderate and try wine tasting tours.
Aside from being a premier skiing destination, Bariloche is also famous for its chocolates. It is perfect to try out their hot chocolate after trekking through the cold. Perito Moreno is one of the largest glaciers and is also a must-see in Argentina. Of course, one shouldn’t miss out on seeing Iguazu Falls.
Other activities that you could try out include snowshoeing, snowmobiling, sledding, train, or boat ride sightseeing. The estimated daily expense in Argentina is around $58 per day.
Winter is a great time to visit New Zealand because the beauty of this country is enhanced by snow-capped mountains. You’ll also be able to do activities that can only be done during the winter such as alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, curling, snowboarding, ice hockey, para snowboarding, freeriding and free skiing.
Mt Hutt in South Island has been crowned as New Zealand’s best ski resort for five consecutive years now. Some of the places to visit during winter include Sky Tower, the international Arctic Center, and Queenstown, wherein you could also do bungee jumping, jet boating, and hiking aside from skiing.
Festivals being held here during the winter are the Queenstown winter festival, Matariki, Dunedin Cadbury Chocolate Carnival, and Whitianga Scallop Festival, among others. For those planning to have a vacation here, you should plan to budget up to $115 per day, including food, transportation, accommodation, and trips.
SUMMARY OF BEST 3-WEEKS WINTER DESTINATIONS
Who says travelling during the winter isn’t fun? Just like what was written above, you’ll get to do tons of activities that can only be done when it involves snow. Winter is also the season where one could appreciate top attractions. Because there are fewer tourists, you could enjoy the places you are visiting to your heart’s content without the usual hustle and bustle in the background.
Of course, there’s also the fact that everything is cheaper as this is an off-peak season. Who knows, you might even be able to fully indulge yourself and stay at a 5-star hotel because the sales and promos during this season are just off the charts. So go ahead and plan your winter vacation in one (or more) of these countries.
I hope that this list of best 3-week winter destination to spend your well-deserve holiday has bene helpful in choosing where to go.