5 Perfect Winter Getaways – For any Taste and Budget
With temperatures dropping, shorter days and less time spent in the sun, the winter blues are starting to take effect. As the winter holidays are just around the corner, it is about time to get those energy levels back up and plan your perfect winter getaway. To get you inspired, I uncovered the ideal spots for any traveller. Whether you are after a relaxing retreat, an adrenaline-filled adventure trip, or a few fruity cocktails on an exotic beach, read on to discover the season’s best.
1. Blue Mountains, Sydney, Australia
One hour drive west of Sydney, a whole new world filled with endless eucalyptus forests, dramatic, lush scenery, and even Japanese bath houses awaits. If you don’t feel like packing hiking shoes, enjoy fresh mulled wine and immerse yourself in the christmasy Yulefest celebrations or treat your taste buds in one of the many boutique restaurants dotted amongst villages such as Katoomba, Leura, Blackheath and Lithgow.
The expansive National Park caters for all levels of fitness and is sure to leave you feeling refreshed, replenished and ready to take on the second half of the winter. After you have ticked off the basics (Three Sisters, Valley of the Waters and Blue Lake River Walk), which by the way are no less stunning, head off the beaten track and test your courage at the Kanangra Wall cliff top walk. Another equally challenging and rewarding option is the 13.5km long track through the Australian Grand Canyon. A vast variety of interesting wellness spots, including traditional Japanese Onsen and Scandinavian baths, can be the perfect end to an exceptional stay in the Blue Mountains.
2. Anchorage, Alaska, USA
Alaska seems to be one of those destinations that everyone wants to travel to, but hardly anyone does. What better way to explore America’s most authentic and wildest outdoor playground while watching the sun shine endlessly. Meeting fellow adventurers in the surprisingly cultural, but expensive city of Anchorage sets you up perfectly for your best winter break yet. The list of things to do in Alaska is long, but just imagine yourself cruising through terrific glaciers, watching bears fish for salmon or climbing mountains never climbed before. Just imagine.
3. Wanaka, New Zealand
If you are seeking a cosy mid-winter skiing holiday, look no further than Queenstown’s quieter, dreamier and cheaper cousin Wanaka. With a cinematic backdrop of mountains and lakes, some of the country’s best ski fields are at your doorstep. For the advanced skier, Treble Cone offers some of the most challenging terrains, while Cardona caters for all abilities. Being used to endless mountain ranges in Austria, the enchanting views of Lake Wakatipu and the Cardrona Valley were rather distracting. :-) If you decide to cross the Crown Range for lunch in Queenstown, don’t forget to stop by its delightful step-cousin Arrowtown.
4.Pulau Perhentian, Malaysia
This tropical paradise in the northeast of Malaysia will not disappoint. It is said to be one of the best spots to visit in Asia during June and July as prices are low, and rain is scarce. Spend your days diving, snorkelling, wandering through the thick jungle, or just do nothing at all. After all, the pristine white sand beaches and crystal clear waters (such as cliché, I know, but so true!) require some time to take it all in over a fresh coconut.
5. Sweden’s countryside and islands
Despite school holidays kicking off across Europe around June, a trip to Sweden will still be worth it. Think flower power, never-fading sunlight, folk music, idyllic islands, Aquavit (spiced schnapps) and many Swedish delicacies. It is a celebration filled with nostalgia ideal for travellers who are after a sneak peeks of authentic Sweden. Avoid the mad traffic rush and leave the sprawling cities a few days early (before June 20). Finish the day with a huge outside bonfire, good company and, in case you are looking for the one, don’t forget to pick flowers on your way home. In fact, the legend says to pick seven different species of flowers and lay them on your pillow, so the man of your dreams appears. Make your winter getaway a special one, book a flight to Stockholm and experience the magic of Midsummer.
Following Cyclone Pam that struck this archipelago only a few months ago, tourists hesitate planning a trip to what used to be considered the most authentic, picturesque and affordable group of islands in the South Pacific. Vanuatu is in desperate need of the tourist dollar. Also, it offers far more than your average beach escape. Adventures await near bubbling volcanoes, world-class diving sites, and bluer-than-blue lakes dotted across 83 islands. Look forward to friendly locals showing off the brightest smiles you will ever come across. Get lost trekking through magical lush canyons, go all out and rent your island for the day or just sit down for a mouth-watering meal at the local market. The opportunity to make a difference in restoring this unique island treasure is very special and should not be missed.
Where do you like to go for a winter break?