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Summer seems to get all the glory when it comes to vacationing. Sure, the kids are out of school, the days feel longer, and the weather is hotter than hades, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only time you should travel the globe.
This year, why not plan a winter escape that will have you hitting the slopes, exploring new cities, or cozying up by the fire with a loved one? Here are nine winter destinations all over the world that will inspire you to pack your bags and go. Just make sure to pack a warm coat when you do.
Tucked away in the French Alps travelers will find the charming ski village of Courchevel. Though it may seem quaint, it actually helps to make up the largest connected ski area in the world. The town is broken up into three areas, all based on altitude, becoming more luxurious the higher you climb. Book a stay at the Hotel le Saint Roch for both mountain access and high-end experience.
Darby is the place to head this winter if you’re really looking to escape your day-to-day. The tiny town has fewer than 1,000 residents, but still packs in plenty of adventure. Visitors to the town can head out dog sledding, skiing, snowshoeing, or even for a winter cross-country horseback ride. The town is also home to one of the coolest resorts around, Triple Creek Ranch. Book a cabin, light a fire, and finally relax.
Swedish Lapland, Sweden
If you’re going to travel this winter you might as well go all the way to the arctic. Luckily, on arrival in the Arctic guests will still find a glamorous place worthy of vacation time. In Swedish Lapland, guests can experience the beauty of nature at every turn with hiking, dog sledding, and more. But, at night is when the real star comes out thanks to some of the best views of the Northern Lights in the world. To maximize a stay in Swedish Lapland book a few nights at the Arctic Bath Hotel and Spa, where you can see the lights from a floating tub.
Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina
This winter, check off “glacier sightings” on your travel to-do list by visiting the Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina. Located in Patagonia’s Los Glaciares National Park, the glacier is a sight to behold as it’s one of the few glaciers in the world that is still growing. Guests are allowed to get rather close to the massive ice structure and can even snap a few photos from viewing platforms. To get there, book a stay with the Adventure Domes, which allow guests to sleep in the great outdoors with all the comforts of home.
If anyone does winter right it’s the Canadians. This season, head north to Banff, one of the premier winter destinations in the nation. There, guests can hit the slopes, explore Canada’s first national park, relax in its hot springs, or just sit and watch the snow fall down with a hot toddy next to a fire. Spend a few days in the Fairmont Banff Springs, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property, for both the best views and the best hot toddy service around.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
For anyone serious about skiing and snowboarding Jackson Hole is the ultimate winter vacation. The town is home to one of the best mountains in the United States, which offers up miles and miles of terrain for every skill level. However, the town is so much more than just the mountain. Explore its arts and culture scene, shop up and down the town’s main square, and indulge in a few good meals at Caldera House too. To ensure your entire family can come along too, rent an entire ski chalet at the Snake River Sporting Club, which offers plenty more fun on its property as well.
Vienna tops the list when it comes to wintertime city escapes. The capital city of Austria is rich in culture, including plenty of museums to explore, restaurants to dine in, and markets to shop. Plan a winter getaway that includes plenty of time bundling up to walk the city streets, visiting the opera, and shopping in the holiday markets. To ensure your stay is as magical as the city itself book a few nights at The Ritz Carlton, another American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property. The hotel may be a bit on the outskirts of town, but, because it is constructed out of four 19th-century palaces, it’s got more charm than any hotel in the city’s center.
For one of the most unique seasonal experiences head to Zao Onsen, a community in northern Japan that transforms each winter into a wonderland. Yes, the town is well worth it just for the skiing and snowboarding at the mountain (along with a stellar apres-ski scene), however, there’s one more reason to go: The snow monsters. Each year, the trees in Zao are covered in thick white snow that makes the trees appear to be monsters trekking across the snow. Guests can either view them by skiing down the hill or taking the chair lift up to the viewing platform. They are even lit up at night to ensure everyone gets a good view.
St. Moritz, Switzerland
Another ski destination that’s way more than skiing, is St. Mortiz. Located in the Swiss Alps this ski town has become a major wintertime destination thanks to its many winter activities including skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, and even polo, cricket and, horse racing on its massive frozen lake. The town is also home to some of the best fine dining on earth, as well as plenty of cultural sites for visitors to check out in between runs down the mountain. Stay at the Grand Hotel Des Bains for a stunning view of the mountain and more amenities than we can count.