When temperatures plummet, it’s natural that our thoughts should turn to making a brief getaway. But where to go? It all depends, of course, on the type of break you’re looking for. If the cold temperatures and grey skies have you yearning for an opportunity to laze on a beach or take a dip in warm waters, you would be wise to consider holidays on the other side of the equator. Winter in the UK, USA and the rest of Europe is high summer in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and Argentina, meaning that it is perfectly possible to escape the cold winter and enjoy warm sunny weather in another part of the world. Travellers on a budget will find that by avoiding peak tourist times such as New Year and South American Carnival, there are some great deals to be found on winter sun breaks. Keep an open mind about where you want to go and you could bag yourself a bargain and be sunning yourself on a beach in no time.
If it’s the country itself and not the cold that you`re looking to escape from, how about making a trip to one of the many parts of the world that are positively enhanced by winter weather. Beautiful cities such as Prague and Cologne become simply stunning when covered in a blanket of snow, and with temperatures usually dropping well below zero from November through to February, you’re pretty much guaranteed to see snow. Many cold countries are wonderful places to visit over the festive season – for example, the Christmas markets of Germany are famous the world over and the hot, spiced gluhwein (mulled wine, often laced with brandy or other spirits) will help to keep the cold at bay.
Of course, for winter sports enthusiasts, winter means ski and snowboarding season, with slopes opening across Europe and enthusiasts taking to the pistes. Much of the best skiing in Europe is to be found in the Alps, thought to be the place where skiing was invented. The vast mountain range sees beautiful ski villages sit among staggeringly high peaks, with some jaw-droppingly beautiful backdrops to be found in such locations as the Arlberg, in Austria and Chamonix in France. The ski resorts of Europe are as famous for their lively apres-ski scene as they are for their perfectly maintained pistes and challenging runs and skiers heading to upscale resorts may find themselves rubbing skis with the rich and famous. Should the prices of famous European resorts be a little off-putting, however, rest assured that there are some great winter sports breaks to be found a little closer to home, with the Highlands of Scotland increasingly making a name as a top ski destination with a relaxed and refreshingly unpretentious social scene.
Wherever you choose to make your winter break, there are plenty of resources such as First Choice that can help you make the right choices about where to stay and how to get there.