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The best cold-weather vacations

The best cold-weather vacations
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Love the exhilaration of snow and ice? Here are some of the best destinations to make the most of winter

Wintry weather vacations allow you to see the wonders of winter firsthand. Wrap up well and discover how beautiful a frosty landscape can be. And when you’ve had enough of ice, snow and Northern Lights, retreat indoors, because no-one does cozy as well as folks who are used to cold weather.

The obvious choice if you love the cold is a skiing holiday – but there are plenty of other options, as well, from luxury cruises to wild spaces to city breaks, all perfectly suited for winter travelers.

Visit Lapland to see the Northern Lights

What could be more magical than a visit to Lapland in the north of Finland to view the Northern Lights? Whether you want to bring your children to Santa’s workshop, or try husky sledding or ride in sleigh pulled by reindeer, there’s something for everyone in Lapland. And if you are lucky, the aurora borealis (the Northern Lights) will put on a show that you will never, ever forget.

Take in Europe’s Christmas markets

Northern Europe – including Germany, Scandinavia, Czechia, Austria and Hungary – has a tradition of Christmas pretty markets where you can shop for gifts, often hand-made, while trying local treats like gluhwein, stollen and lebkuchen. Christmas markets also offer live music, entertainments and winter activities like curling and skating and sometimes fairground rides.

Cruise in Alaska

Alaska is famous for its majestic wilderness and rugged way of life. But if roughing it is not your thing, there is a way to tour Alaska in luxury. On a cruise of Alaska, you can wake up to views of spectacular glacial ice formations and sample fresh salmon with all your favorite home comforts.

The ice city of China

Harbin, China, is named Ice City for its long winter. As well as skiing and other winter sports, it offers a snow and ice festival between late December and February. See ice palaces, try ice slides, and performances while admiring ice sculptures laid out in parkland that can be measured in square miles.

Tour Patagonia in winter

Patagonia, Argentina, is South America’s southern frontier. People come from all over the world to experience the pristine wild spaces and mountain landscape. Patagonia’s winter months (May to August) offer clear blue skies and reduced crowds. Some of the southernmost national parks close during winter. Furthermore, you’ll need to wrap up well against the biting wind. The southern hemisphere fall (middle of March to May) offers incredible sunsets and spectacular autumn colors.

What should I know about protecting my health for travel during winter?

You are less likely to risk exposure to insect-borne diseases during a cold-weather holiday. But infectious respiratory diseases, such as meningococcal meningitis and measles are more likely to affect you in colder weather. So you should still get travel health advice before your winter holiday.

Make a travel health appointment six to eight weeks before your departure so that one of our travel health nurses can assess your risk of exposure to hepatitis A, meningococcal meningitis and measles.

You may also wish to discuss with your normal healthcare team the effects of colder weather on any health conditions that you live with, such as asthma, COPD or diabetes.