You may not have heard the news – if not, where have you been? – the summer holidays are long gone. But that doesn’t mean playtime is over – if anything, the fun has just begun…
As one of our favourite times of year, winter has much to offer when it comes to jet setting and exploring new sights: it’s convenient, (usually) cheaper and above all, it’s extremely festive. And if you don’t want to fork out a small fortune, staying relatively local is what’s best. So, to help plan your dream winter wonderland escape, here’s our top picks of places to head to when the temperature starts to fall.
One of the most sought-out places to visit in winter, Paris is unrivalled by its romantic charm and magical atmosphere. Without a doubt, take a trip to the usual photo-worthy spots – the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe – and don’t leave without doing so. But, also spend time getting lost in the chain of canals and sampling croissants from the range of idyllic cafés. For couples, head to the Ponts des Arts and stroll across the so-named ‘Love Lock Bridge’. With every inch of the railings covered with padlocks, each etched with sentimental messages, it’s a hot-spot for lovers.
Only a forty-minute plane ride away, Amsterdam’s a chilled-out hub that’s easily accessible and worth every euro spent. Due to its proximity to England, the weather can be a little glum in the winter so remember to pack your coat. But, there’s light at the end of the tunnel (literally) – with decorative lights covering the canals and white street lights, Amsterdam shines through the grey clouds. Make the most of this display and take to the water on a canal cruise. In the day, get lost in the numerous art galleries and try out your skating skills on the ice rinks.
If seeking adventure is more up your street than city-hopping, set your sights for Morzine. Found in the breathtaking French mountains and located at a low altitude, Morzine is the perfect skiing holiday for everyone to enjoy. It’s famed tricky runs and promise of snow draw tourists in every year, but its lively après scene is the real crowd-pleaser. After adrenaline-pumping days, spend your evenings at the gastro-style restaurants, sipping local ale.
New York in winter is exactly like the movies: an arctic fairytale. The atmosphere may be a tad freezing, but with picture-perfect buildings around every corner and snow-covered trees everywhere, there’s no place that thrives as well as this American bubble. Plus, when the festive season begins, there’s plenty on offer to do. Check out the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree or head to the Christmas markets in Brooklyn – be sure to snap a picture on the bridge. Or, shop for your stocking fillers at Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s. If anything, there’s too much to see, so plan your days wisely.
When heading to the German capital, you must, must, must try at least one of their Christmas markets. The Alexanderplatz market favours convenience in the centre of town, but if you fancy more a more rustic experience then Gendarmenmarkt is not one to miss. Above all, the markets are the best place to relax, unwind and eat all evening long. So, forget about counting calories and try a traditional wurst – you’ll be surprised by the variety. Stroll around first, see what catches your eye, and then order two of everything…