Six Winter Trips That Will Blow Your Mind
Ahead, the winter trips that will blow your mind.
Sleep at the ION Luxury Adventure Hotel, Selfoss, Iceland
With its other-worldly landscapes and infamous northern lights, Iceland is a must-visit destination. Go beyond Reykjavik and stay at ION Luxury Adventure Hotel, an abandoned inn turned luxury hotel just off the Golden Circle driving route in Selfoss. It's simply stunning, the sharp dynamic structure is set on stilts against the raw, rugged landscape, and in winter, its rural setting makes it the perfect base to spot the Northern Lights. The 45 rooms embrace local materials, so expect salvaged driftwood and lava to add to the earthy ambience. The partially covered Lava Spa is the ultimate be-at-one-with-nature hangout.
Sleep in a treehouse in Norrbotten County, Sweden
For an utterly unique winter experience, head to Norrbotten County, the most northerly country in Sweden, where you can sleep in a basic but stylish branch-hung snug, truly embracing nature. In the depths of winter, the long arctic nights allow for just 4.5 hours of daylight, meaning plenty of down-time and romance on a couple's break, after husky-drawn sled rides, snowshoe walks, and reindeer spotting. Treehotel is a lo-fi eco-friendly hotel: whilst the rooms might be shower-free, the Scandi-chic decor is a world away from camping. The cold is pretty fierce in winter, so don't forget your thermals and furs...
Go ice-fishing in Lithuania
Whilst skiing and snowboarding might be the most common of winter sports, why not this year try your hand at ice-fishing? Head to the Baltics where the landscapes are picturesque, the temperatures are well below freezing, and the opportunities to catch fish are rife. Latvia's Jugla and Kisezer lakes are very popular spots with locals (who'll happily help you with your technique), and elsewhere, Lake Peipsi in Estonia is a great spot to catch salmon and trout. Plenty of local tour operators run ice-fishing trips, such as Tours Lithuania, who will offer transportation, guidance and hot snacks. Don't forget your hip flask — the locals' secret to surviving out there.
Visit Lapland and the world's largest igloo
Sun holidays might have beaches, but something they definitely don't have are hotels made out of ice. Yes, in Swedish Lapland, ICEHOTEL gives guests a truly unique overnight experience — we're talking everything from the walls to the bed being carved out of ice. Discover the World runs 3-12 night packages which include one night the icy chamber, followed by a few nights in the warmer suites. ICEHOTEL (the world's largest igloo) is located in the small village of Jukkasjarvi, alongside a frozen river and surrounded by pine forests, so an endless string of activities available include husky sledges, snow-shoe walks, Northern Lights excursions, fine dining and reindeer tours.
Go husky racing in Alaska
For a luxury adventure holiday with a difference, how about Alaska? The snow-strewn streets of Anchorage and the frozen rivers that snake through the region are perfect for adrenaline junkies who can ride snowmobiles at speed, take more traditional transport methods of dog-sledding, go heliskiing, ice climbing, husky racing and more. Black Tomato runs 7-night trips on which guests see Alaska's icy landscapes, the mountains, the local culture, and get to take part in a 1000-mile Iditarod husky race!
Sleep in a former gondola station in the Swiss Alps
In most ski resorts, you can almost guarantee that if you're high enough, the views are going to be pretty mind blowing. Whether you're in to skiing or not, Chetzeron, a former-gondola station-turned-design-hotel, is a must-visit and the ultimate spot to lap up the breathtaking views. Located 2112 meters above sea level and only reachable by foot, ski or snowmobile, the 16-room hotel is simply stunning. Along with slick guestrooms and a 'refined alpine' restaurant, it has various terraces with hammocks and sun-loungers for kicking back in and taking in the views, an outdoor pool, campfires for gathering around at night, and above all, the best views in the area.
Capture the North Lights in Trømso, Norway
217 miles north of the Arctic Circle, Trømso in Northern Norway is one of the best places to catch the Northern Lights with its long season from September to March, and its seemingly endless hours of darkness through the winter. The lights are just one of the highlights though; it's a city where culture and nature collide. On the outskirts, visitors can enjoy wintery activities such as ice climbing, dog-sledding and kayaking; in the city itself, there's an aquarium, museums, a lively nightlife season and fantastic restaurants that embrace the ingredients of the Arctic.