Places to go to experience a winter wonderland
In the southern hemisphere, the festive season usually means planning a trip to the beach for the cool ocean or driving down to the Kruger National Park, but it’s the exact opposite in the northern hemisphere.
There are travellers who desire the cool weather for the festive season, so they travel to locations like England, Italy or selected parts in the United States - where they can experience their own winter wonderland and create as many snowmen and snow angels as they want.
Here are a few places around the world that would be great winter wonderlands.
1. Quebec, Canada
Québec City, Canada gets approximately 157 inches of snow each year, and as a plethora of quintessential winter activities on offer for visitors.
However, one of their most tantalising offers for the winter is its Winter Carnival - an event which transforms the city into a fantastic winter paradise featuring snow sculptures, ice canoe racing, ice skating and so much more.
2. Shirakawa-go, Japan
The coldest parts of Japan are in its northernmost regions but nowhere is snow country more beautifully represented than in the thatched cottages of Shirakawa-go.
These UNESCO-protected villages cover 170 acres in central Japan and are tucked into the mountains like real-life snow globes.
3. Salzburg, Austria
Salzburg is famous for two big reasons: It’s where the legendary composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was born (hence its nickname, the City of Mozart); and it’s the setting of the legendary movie musical, The Sound of Music.
4. South Tyrol, ItalyIf you fancy a scenic view of the Alps in the background of your accommodation but you could not afford the Alps, then the Dolomites in South Tyrol, are your next best thing.
Considered the cosy cousins to the Swiss Alps, the Dolomites are geographically Italian sloped mountains which lean into German territory, serving more spaetzle than spaghetti in their rustic traditionally designed mountain villages.
5. Lake Baikal, RussiaLake Baikal is the planet's oldest and deepest lake, reaching depths of one mile and covering an area larger than Belgium in Siberia.
Come winter, the lake transforms into a snowy paradise, with jagged ice caves encircling what amounts to the largest ice skating rink on earth. Bonus: The lake also happens to house our planet's only freshwater seals.
6. Harbin, China
Some people express their creativity during the frigid months by building friendly snowmen. Harbin, China goes way beyond that.
Located on the northern end of the country, the city of Harbin hosts an annual Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival which attracts artists from around the world to create impressive sculptures that put any ice statue you’ve seen to shame.
We’re talking about massive ice castles and towers, trains, and more that look like they’re straight out of a fantasy movie rather than real life.
7. Lapland, FinlandHave you ever wanted to visit Santa’s workhouse or see Reindeers in real life as they traipse through the snow? Well in Lapland you have the opportunity to.
Lapland is Finland’s northernmost region, and probably one of the most idyllic winter scenes you'll ever come across. There aren't many places where you can visit Santa Claus, take a Reindeer (Caribou) sleigh ride, or sleep under the Northern Lights in a bubble igloo, after all—but Lapland lets you do all three.IOL