Although many may choose the winter to get away for a sun-filled adventure, consider spending your holiday in a cold-weather locale for a seasonally appropriate vacation. With thick blankets of snow transforming both cities and wilderness, winter is a magical time to travel. Explore the world with these best winter vacation destinations that will leave you breathless with their impressive scenery.

Tromsø, Norway one of the most adventurous winter vacation destinations.

Home to nearly 24-hours of night in the winter months, Tromsø is an exceptional choice for those who want to enjoy their vacation in a subarctic climate and cold, snowy winter. Don’t let the description deter you: as one of the northernmost cities in the world, Tromsø is an ideal location for viewing one of the rarest natural phenomena on earth, the Northern lights. Known as the “Capital of the Arctic,” the city is located between fjords, mountains, and islands, and features a vibrant nightlife, fabulous dining scene, and many outdoor activities for winter enthusiasts. We suggest Tromsø in our top winter vacation destinations because of the natural beauty of the area. Experience the natural beauty of the region via boat, car, skis, or dogsled.

winter vacation destinations

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China: Harbin

Find your way to northern China to Harbin, the famous “Ice City,” for the annual Harbin International Snow and Ice Festival. Held in the capital of Heilongjiang Province, the event is the largest winter festival in the world and a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle. While the event is comprised of several themed zones, the highlight is the Harbin Ice and Snow World, an attraction that covers more than 750,000 square meters and is built out of 180,000 cubic meters of ice. Open only at night, the exhibit features professional lighting to create a true winter wonderland.

China's famous “Ice City” - WINTER VACATION DESTINATIONS

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Japan: Nagano

Japan is quickly becoming a popular winter hotspot, and with destinations like Nagano, it’s easy to see why. With snow covering the ground for a third of the year and steep, craggy cliffs surrounding the town, Nagano is an ideal winter town. Centered around hot springs, the town has winding cobblestone lanes framed by traditional Japanese wooden inns and the area is known for incredible skiing, a popular annual snow festival, and their most unique offering: Jigokudani Monkey Park where you can find the Japanese Macaque luxuriating in the hot springs.

winter vacation destinations

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New Zealand: Franz Josef & Fox Glaciers

For more adventurous souls, head south of the equator to New Zealand’s South Island. Although it is summer, experience the best of the Southern Alps and explore the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Area Te Wahipounamu from the side of a glacier. Choose from expeditions on the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers, a glacial experience unique from all others in that they rise from a rainforest. Take a breathtaking guided glacier walk and add layers as you move from the rainforest to ice and take in the incredible scenery and atmosphere. Hike past a frozen waterfall or through an ice tunnel. If you prefer a more leisurely experience, take a helicopter tour and end your day with a soak in the Glacier Hot Pools. Just remember to dress warm in your parka or fox fur vests

winter vacation destinations

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Argentina: Patagonia 

It may also be in the southern hemisphere, but the Patagonia region of Argentina is an excellent place for snow-loving vacationers for a perfect winter vacation destinations. Prepare to be blown away by scenery ranging from enormous, jagged mountaintop glaciers to brilliant azure fjords. Experience the snow-covered wonder of the Andes Mountains and the breathtaking age-old glaciers in Los Glaciares National Park where icebergs break from colossal glaciers with a thunderous crash. With the Patagonia region covering some 400,000 square miles across Argentina and Chile, there is almost no end to the series of lakes, peaks, and beech and myrtle forests.

winter vacation destinations

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For more awe-inspiring winter vacation ideas, click here.

Written by DLX contributor Katie McRoberts.