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Home Destinations The 40 Best Cold-Weather Travel Destinations

The 40 Best Cold-Weather Travel Destinations

by Staff
scenic picture postcard view of famous hallstatt mountain village in the austrian alpspinterest
RuslanKaln
1

Bolu, Turkey

a house with a snowy landscape
Courtesy Kaya Palazzo Ski & Mountain Resort

Located approximately halfway between Istanbul and Ankara, the mountainous Bolu Province of northern Turkey boasts some of the nation’s best sporting opportunities and cold-weather getaways. Visitors can explore the region’s historic mosques, museums, and national parks with Kaya Palazzo Ski & Mountain resort as their home base, ideally located in the ski hub of Kartalkaya.

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2

South Tyrol, Italy

a wooden deck overlooking a mountain range
Courtesy FORESTIS

The Amalfi Coast, this is not! Tucked away at the border of Austria and Switzerland sits the northern Italian province of South Tyrol, a mountainous region that includes part of the Dolomites range. The best vantage point onto all of that wilderness has to be Forestis, a five-star hotel that’s almost 6,000 feet above sea level. At that altitude, the crisp winter air actually restores energy by improving oxygen transportation throughout the body. Breathe deep!

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3

Andermatt, Switzerland

a ski lift is parked at the top of a mountain
Valentin Luthiger

While many visitors flock to the region for its famed Andermatt-Sedrun-Disentis ski route, which spans more than 111 miles across mountains that climb up to almost 10,000 feet, Andermatt has more to offer than just its world-class slopes. Following a multibillion-dollar redevelopment over the past 15 years, the Alpine village is also home to multiple Michelin-starred restaurants, an 18-hole golf course, and five-star accommodations.

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4

Burlington, Vermont

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Abrams Books / Getty

The holiday season is the most magical time of year in Vermont. Holiday lights sparkle along the open-air markets, snow-capped mountains beckon visitors to some of the state’s best ski resorts, and small-town cheer fills the air. If you remain unconvinced, Burlington just so happens to sit on Lake Champlain, offering exceptional views, ice skating, and even ice hockey.

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5

Hallstatt, Austria

scenic picture postcard view of famous hallstatt mountain village in the austrian alps
RuslanKaln

Maybe most famous for allegedly inspiring the settings in Disney’s Frozen movies, Hallstatt, Austria, is a tiny Alpine village between Salzburg and Vienna. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it’s also a popular day trip destination thanks to its scenic lake views and charming Old Town.

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6

Greenland

arctic village tasiilaq greenland
Alex Hibbert

What Greenland lacks in major urban centers, it more than makes up for in remote arctic villages, if that’s your thing! From dogsledding to hiking—and make sure you catch the northern lights!—Greenland is bound to whet the appetite of the most adventurous among us.

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7

St. Louis, Missouri

a view of the gateway arch and st louis missouri
JByard

Foodies will flock to STL for its diverse and budget-friendly restaurant scene, but there’s something for everyone in this Midwestern metropolis. Whether that’s simply selfies in front of the Gateway Arch or a night spent rink-side watching the local hockey team, the St. Louis Blues, is your call.

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8

The Scottish Highlands

cold weather winter destinations
Courtesy Getty Images

Whether you’re keen on a pilgrimage to Loch Ness or want to hike through Cairngorms National Park, the U.K.’s largest, the Scottish Highlands is a picturesque wintry destination. Make an itinerary of the local castles, or stay at the Fife Arms, a former Victorian coaching inn in the town of Braemar, where they host the Highland Games in September.

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9

Seoul, South Korea

landmark of seoul korea
jaehaklee

The popularity of South Korean TV has surged in recent years thanks to Netflix—Squid Game, anyone? But even if you haven’t been making a bucket list of iconic locations to visit from your favorite shows, Seoul in the winter is a great place to cozy up with a spicy bowl of budae jjigae and drop in on a local palace museum to live out your Joseon-era fantasy.

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10

Dublin, Ireland

christchurch cathedral in the snow in dublin city ireland
David Soanes Photography

From its Gothic cathedrals to its contemporary art galleries, Dublin is steeped in culture. Plan a day trip to the blustery Atlantic coast to take in the view from the Cliffs of Moher, then make your way back to the city to unwind with a pint and a guided tour at the Guinness Storehouse.

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11

Copenhagen, Denmark

copenhagen cold weather winter destinations
Kevin Grace

This picturesque port city is famously home to a very well known mermaid, alongside some of the world’s best restaurants and museums—including stylist Colin King’s personal favorite haunt, the Thorvaldsens Museum. Raise a glass to toast the chill, then check out some of the best in Nordic design.

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12

Kennebunkport, Maine

Winter sunset at a Kennebunkport dock
Education Images//Getty Images

There’s a reason why Kennebunkport is so popular regardless of the season. From the quaint coastline to the charming downtown shops, the picturesque town’s appeal lasts far beyond lobster rolls and beachcombing season.

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13

St. Moritz, Switzerland

Switzerland, St. Moritz, Landscape
Marka//Getty Images

This luxury alpine resort town is more than just a ski destination. It’s long history (it was the birthplace of Alpine tourism) gives the area its old-world charm, while the constantly evolving town is the perfect landing spot for a dream-like vacation. Think polo on the frozen lakes, skiing all the way into the night (2 a.m. ski-sesh, anyone?) and apres-ski amenities like no other.

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14

Lyon, France

Lyon. France. Festival of Lights. art works called Lantern Of Zigong in De La Republique street
AGF//Getty Images

Lyon’s famous Festival of Lights is enough to make the trip to this lively French city, located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. Every winter, France celebrates Mother Mary with the Lyonnaise tradition where every house places candles on the outsides of their windows to create a unified glow across the city. Visitors can also expect light shows at Basilica of Fourvière and the Place des Terreaux, a worthy spectacle for travelers and natives alike.

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15

Big Bear Lake, California

USA - Travel - Big Bear Lake in California
Ann Johansson//Getty Images

The small city of Big Bear Lake has largely become a popular travel destination during the winter, with the beloved Bear Mountain ski resort and family-friendly Snow Summit ski resort. Big Bear Lake Village—the commercial area of the ski town—is lined with local shops, boutiques, and restaurants, making it the perfect place to enjoy the snowy season and escape the cold in town’s cozy spots.

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16

Condon, Montana

best cold weather vacations
Courtesy of Holland Peak Ranch

Condon, Montana is a worthwhile trip even if it starts and ends at Holland Peak Ranch. The dreamy retreat—comprised of three luxury residences and over 1,000 acres of scenic prairies—is an all-star spot, no matter the season. The quiet, unincorporated community of Condon is the perfect place to escape bustling life and take a moment to indulge in a cool, cozy respite.

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17

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled, Triglav National Park, Julian Alps
DEA / M. MILANI//Getty Images

Situated within Slovenia’s Julian Alps is Lake Bled, an idyllic body of water that surrounds the Bled Island. While picturesque year-round, it’s during the winter that the lake becomes a true spectacle, with skiing and other attractions include the Vintgar gorge, waterfalls, and caves.

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18

Harbin City, China

PREPARATION OF THE ICE FESTIVAL IN CHINA
Langevin Jacques//Getty Images

Nicknamed the “Ice City,” Harbin, China is known for its long and cold winters (snow season can last almost half a year); a time when the city truly shines. Because of the prolonged colder weather, there are plenty of chilly activities to enjoy, from skiing at their famous Yabuli Ski Resort to attending the annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, which lasts for an entire month.

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19

Bergen, Norway

Hanseatic houses in Bryggen at winter.
Tatiana Kolesnikova//Getty Images

Stock up on Norwegian sweaters at the Oleana textile factory, fly up the Fløibanen funicular bullet railway for the best views of the city, then ski down one of the seven famous mountains. Or stay at sea level—or fjord level—and Instagram the adorable fishing town to your heart’s content.

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20

Lake Tahoe, California

Winter at Lake Tahoe
SusanGaryPhotography//Getty Images

It’s a pretty trippy experience to land in sunny San Francisco, grab an In ’n Out burger, soak in the sun—and then drive headlong into a blizzard. But that’s what’s so magical about this spot, which is just under four hours from SFO. There’s something decidedly low-key about Tahoe—likely, the giant alpine namesake lake sends out soothing, unsnooty vibes.

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Headshot of Sean Santiago

Sean Santiago is ELLE Decor‘s Deputy Editor, covering news, trends and talents in interior design, hospitality, travel, and luxury. He writes the So Courant! column for the magazine and elledecor.com.

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