10 Best Destinations for Winter Travel

By Soren Rivero

There are plenty of amazing winter destinations to pick, whether you enjoy skiing in the Canadian Rockies or prefer escaping somewhere warmer like Costa Rica. Not sure where to start? Check out some of our 10 best winter vacation destinations!

Athens, Greece

The pride and joy of Greece lies within the city of Athens. As the heart of Ancient Greece, this city is full of rich history and iconic architecture that has inspired many people around the world. Visiting it should be on everyone’s bucket list.

The best time to travel to Greece is in winter, as the cooler temperatures makes seeing the best attractions in Athens more tolerable. The crowds are generally smaller as well. All of this combined with the clear skies makes Athens one of the best destinations for winter travel. Greece also hosts a number of mountains around the country if you want to go skiing or snowboarding. While you’re there, be sure to sample some traditional Greek foods to eat in winter. Fasolada (a bean soup) and Giouvarlakia (meatball soup) will surely keep your body warm after you spend the day climbing the Acropolis or exploring Syntagma Square.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Winter in Dubai is a very special time for many people. The weather is exceptionally nice with bright blue skies, crisp air, and cool nights. It’s an option you should consider if you’re not a fan of extreme winter temperatures (like the heat in Costa Rica or the cold in Greenland).

Now, what about things to do in Dubai in winter? Well, the nice weather will definitely allure you to the great outdoors. The parks in Dubai are a great place to start, especially if you’re traveling with family. We recommend taking a look at Mushrif Park — it's one of the only parks in Dubai where the natural landscape has remained mostly untouched. You’ll also get to see the native Ghaf trees alongside other luscious greenery!

If you’re feeling adventurous, exploring the deserts in Dubai is a super cool option! The cooler weather makes for a more enjoyable experience. Other fun things to do in Dubai: visiting water parks, participating in seasonal events (the Dubai Garden Glow is absolutely stunning), going on a boat ride, and enjoying fresh produce at the farmer’s markets.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Winter in Iceland is rather cold compared to other parts of the world, yet, more tolerable if you compare it to other northern countries. Temperatures rarely go above 40F and the coldest you’ll probably experience is 30F. This makes it a great option if you’re looking for where to travel in the winter, that’s not too cold.

We recommend visiting the capital of Iceland itself for the best winter fun in Iceland. As for what to do in Reykjavik in winter, first and foremost, you most definitely need to see the northern lights. This natural phenomenon is most visible in Iceland during winter due to the low humidity and clear skies. Other fun things to do in Reykjavik include skiing, snowboarding, and heliskiing. You'll also want to take a day tour of the Golden Circle, which features three of Iceland’s most famous landmarks! Exploring ice caves/glaciers and submerging yourself in steaming water at the Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River are also fantastic options during your trip to Reykjavik!

Las Vegas, Nevada

Nevada is hot during the majority of the year, given its vast deserts and dry air, but the state’s major attraction becomes quite cool in the winter time. Las Vegas stays around the mid 60s to high 70s throughout the days whereas the nights are much cooler.

Las Vegas’ down season is in winter as well, making it ideal if you want to avoid the large crowds. You’ll be able to enjoy some of the best events in Las Vegas such as the Fremont Street Experience and the Cirque du Soleil intimately. This is your chance to stroll through the world-famous strip in a more suitable environment. The national parks are also a great option for fun things to do in Las Vegas in winter. Not only will the crowds be smaller, but the cooler temperatures will help you enjoy the experience even more!

Cartagena, Colombia

Another best winter vacation destination that’s great if you’re looking to escape the cold is Colombia. Temperatures hardly ever go below 80 F throughout the winter season.
One thing to note: many people say that the best time to visit Colombia is between December–April, mostly because of the reduced rainfall and lower temperatures.

Not much changes in terms of fun things to do in Colombia, since the weather stays pretty much the same throughout the year. Try visiting Cartagena for a warm-weather winter vacation if you get the chance. You can visit the beaches, go deep sea diving, and take boat rides all the while celebrating popular holidays such as Christmas and New Years! Don’t forget to visit the Mud Volcano either – the slightly cooler weather makes the experience all the more ideal.

Rome, Italy

Capital of Italy and home to dozens of world-famous attractions and the mysterious Vatican City, you already know there’s tons of things to do in Rome.

Rome is fairly chilly during the winter season (but still tolerable), and lasts from around November to early March. It rains here and there, especially during January and February. Winter is considered a low season in Rome so it's great if you want to experience all the magic of this wondrous city without the huge crowds. The city streets also come to life with holiday lights and decorations, making a trip to Rome in winter even more special. Even the plaza in front of St. Basilica bursts in bright lights! Be sure to plan a trip to nearby Pompeii if you can, as the smaller crowds and cooler temperatures will make the experience even more enjoyable.

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon sees heavy tourism during the summer months because of its abundance of outdoor attractions and sceneries that are excellent for viewing in the bright sun. But here's a little secret: Lisbon is equally good to visit in the winter, if not better!

Lisbon's coolest winter months are in December and January with temperatures staying around 46-59F. The city typically gets no snow either. So Lisbon's pretty nice if you want to vacation somewhere with temperatures right in the middle. To add to that, Lisbon's bright sunny days don't go away just because the air is a little cooler. You can enjoy visibly clear days with average weather all throughout the winter months! Combine that with the smaller crowds and you're going to experience Lisbon in the best way possible! Not sure what to do in Lisbon? Take in the coastal views scattered around simply by walking throughout the city. You can also watch a performance of the traditional Fado music, a genre native to Portugal. And don't forget to take in all the decorations and lights celebrating Christmas and New Year's!

Vancouver, Canada

When it comes to the best places to travel in the winter, you can never go wrong with a trip to Vancouver! We all know that Canada gets pretty cold throughout the winter season. But you’d be surprised to hear that Vancouver isn’t actually that chilly — at least compared to other parts of the country. Temperatures in Vancouver linger around 45F and snowfall is pretty rare in the city. This is the perfect vacation destination if you enjoy cool weather without extreme snow.

Vancouver is famous around the world for the abundance of fun winter activities it has to offer. Travel just a few miles away from the city and you’ll find dozens of places where you can ski, snowboard, and play in the snow. This bright city is especially fun for those who enjoy partaking in holiday festivities. Most major holidays around the winter time are celebrated in Vancouver so you’ll find something to your liking. The city has its own unique festivals such as Winter Solstice Lantern Festival and the Whistler Pride and Ski Festival, so be sure to check them out when you go.

For affordable things to do in Vancouver, you can head over to Robson Square for free ice skating in Vancouver —so long as you bring your own skates, otherwise the price for rentals are just under $10. Taking a day trip to Whistler is a great option as well.

San José, Costa Rica

Finally, we’re presenting you with another warm weather winter travel destination – Costa Rica. This South American country has its dry season during the winter months so the temperatures are pretty mild (around 60- 70F). Most tourists who enjoy spending time outdoors see Costa Rica as a top destination when it comes to winter travel. The natural beauty and incredible biodiversity is undeniable. Since the weather is cool and dry, this is the best time to visit Costa Rica.

No matter what time you visit Costa Rica, you absolutely have to see the rainforests and beaches. A good place to start is to take a guided tour through Corcovado National Park. Dozens of indigenous animal species make this park their home. To name a few: scarlet macaws, spider monkeys, harpy eagles, and tapirs. Playa Jaco Beach provides the perfect beach getaway for winter travel and is just two hours away from San Jose. Fiestas with live music, dancing, and bull-fighting appear sporadically throughout the winter months.

The local holiday of Palmares Fiestas goes for two weeks in January and is a great way to learn more about the culture. This event celebrates raising and taking care of horses. You’ll see dozens of people bringing horses to events around the country to admire the resilient creatures (food, water, and safety are provided) as well as a carnival-style celebration! The Christmas holiday is widely-celebrated across the country as well. Visit any local authentic restaurant to try out traditional Costa Rican Christmas meals that include tamales, Christmas Cake, rompope, and eggnog!

Bangkok, Thailand

Most of Thailand falls under the category of a subtropical climate. You should expect thick humidity and high temperatures pretty much anytime you visit. The country’s capital of Bangkok is no exception, with the coldest month being January (still lingering around 84F). So if you’re looking to escape from the bitter cold this winter season, head on over to Thailand.

You can enjoy the best things to do in Bangkok with slightly cooler temperatures and humidity. Taking a bike tour through Bangkok’s jungle is a viable option if you’re an active person, otherwise you might prefer to spend your day in an ethically-run elephant sanctuary. Historians will love visiting Kanchanaburi. An English-guided tour in Bangkok will take you to the Erawan National Park where you can learn how World War II impacted Thailand as well as see the famous Death Railway.

Festivities are also held in Bangkok to celebrate the holiday season. Christmas isn’t an official holiday but some market squares and tourist hotspots will be decorated in Christmas ornaments. Loi Krathong is one of the more major holidays in Bangkok, where crowds gather to light oil lamps and send them into the sky.

Which one of these best winter vacation destinations are you dreaming of?

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