18 October 2017
Holiday in the north and enjoy a snow-covered wonderland, or journey south of the equator and bask in the sunshine – it’s all up to you. To help you decide what kind of holiday you’re looking for this winter, we shed light on some of the world’s hottest snowy and sunny destinations right now.
Indulge your inner adventurer with a trip to distant Iceland. Trek up glacier-capped Snæfellsjökull Mountain, tour the ice caves that form each winter in the Vatnajökull glacier or go dog sledding on snowy plains. Take in Iceland’s natural glory by heading to its cascading Gullfoss waterfall, bathing in the mineral rich waters of the famous Blue Lagoon or by watching its Great Geysir shoot out jets of water. Stop by the capital Reykjavik, known for attractions like the striking Hallgrímskirkja Cathedral, as well as for its quaint wooden houses and chic bars, to appreciate everything Iceland offers.
Fly to state capital Juneau and enjoy a standout winter break in Alaska. Go ice climbing or moose spotting in scenic Kenai Fjords National Park. Climb its Denali Mountain – North America’s highest peak, where you can enjoy activities like snowshoe hiking. Turn your hand to ice fishing in frozen spots like Caribou Lake. The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a good attraction for families, as kids can learn about conservation and see wildlife like brown bears. For culture enthusiasts there’s Sitka National Historical Park known for its indigenous totem poles.
Japan is a popular holiday destination year-round, but you can beat the crowds if you go in winter. Hike up peaks such as Toyko’s sacred Mount Fuji and gain panoramic views of scenic snow-covered landscapes. Tackle the slopes in popular ski resorts such as Niseko, known for its night skiing. Travel to Kyoto where you can sink into soothing ‘onsen’ hot springs and visit ancient temples. Sample Japanese winter delicacies such as soy-stew oden. Top tip – visit Sapporo in February for the annual Snow Festival – a spectacle featuring intricate ice sculptures which attracts two million visitors.
There’s so many things to do in South Africa at this time of year. Tour the vineyards of Franschhoek Wine Valley and sample varietals like Chenin Blanc and Pinot Noir. Soak up the sun on glorious stretches of sand like Trafalgar Beach on the South Coast – a popular surfing spot – or Kelly’s Beach in Port Alfred – which has a special swimming area for young children. Go for the ride of your life at theme park Gold Reef City in Johannesburg, delve into the nation’s past by visiting sites like the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria or see floral displays at parks and gardens in sunny Cape Town. While here visit spots like Kruger National Park and see the ‘big five’ animals on a thrilling safari!
Whisk yourself off to a sun-kissed secluded island paradise – Sri Lanka. Try water sports in places such as Hikkaduwa – known for its scuba diving facilities and Kithulgala – where white water rafting adventures can be found. Stroll across soft golden sands at Mirissa Beach – a big whale watching spot and Uppuveli Beach, an unspoiled swathe of shore. Speed up the pace with a trip to national capital Colombo, known for its shopping, nightlife, colonial buildings and ancient temples. You could even take a tuk tuk into downtown Colombo where you can check out street ice cream vendors and traditional stalls.
Prepare for the ride of your life down under when holidaying in Australia. There’s so many famous shores to visit – from Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach with its glitzy bars, chilled cafes and scenic trails to Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island – a great snorkelling spot. Natural sites you can tour include sacred landmark Ayer’s Rock – known for its dazzling sunsets and the Great Barrier Reef – the world’s largest coral reef system which houses marine life ranging from turtles to dolphins. Other major attractions here include the Gold Coast Water Park – known for its thrilling rides like the ‘Triple Vortex,’ the Sydney Opera House.