Most people will tell you that winter is the perfect time to escape the cold and find a warm, tropical beach where you can sink your toes into the sand.
I am not one of them.
Growing up in Florida, my experiences with cold weather, let alone snow, were few and far between. So whenever I have an opportunity to experience either, I take it.
If you live in the colder parts of the world, snow is probably the last thing you want to see when you are traveling. I am here to change your mind.
That being said, here are four destinations that I recommend visiting during the winter months, where the snow only makes the scenery better:
Last February, I went to Munich, Germany, for a weekend trip and it had snowed for a day or two before we arrived. There was a layer of snow on the ground and a few remaining flurries were swirling in the air. Granted, this was the first time I had seen snow since I was very young, so my excitement level was through the roof (my fellow travelers, two Chicagoans, were less thrilled).
Munich is one of those cities that looks very stereotypically European, so the white blanket of snow on the rooftops and the sidewalks was magical.
The timing of our trip was perfect for a quick day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle, located upon a hill above the village of Hohenschwangau, about an hour and 45 minutes southwest of Munich. The snow-covered scene was straight out of a fairytale, but I'll let the following photo speak for itself:
One word: fjord.
From photos I have seen, the fjords are beautiful in the spring and summer, but my trip in early March produced my favorite set of photographs I have ever taken. The snow-capped mountains and the glassy water are so photogenic and I'm pretty sure it's impossible to take a bad photo there.
No matter how cold it is, take a cruise through the fjords. My fingers were numb by the end of the ride, but I would rather risk frostbite than miss such an incredible photo opportunity.
Bonus: Norway is beautiful no matter where you go. Hop on a train through the mountains, sit back and take in the snowy wonderland.
I visited Zermatt, Switzerland, during the summer, so I don't have firsthand experience with the winter months. However, when I visited with my family in early June, it was a ghost town. We were able to take the lifts part of the way up toward the Matterhorn, but to fully experience the skiing and other snow sports, the winter is surely the best time.
I can attest to the charm of the area, and everyone told us that during the peak winter months, Zermatt is the place to be. Plus, who doesn't want to be able to say that they have been skiing in the Swiss Alps?
After living in Dublin for almost five months, I would recommend it on almost any list I could possibly come up with. If you're looking for a place to go to avoid the snow, Dublin is where it's at. From what I've heard, snow is minimal outside of the capital city as well.
Ireland is almost always cold, but low temperatures average around 30 degrees, even in the coldest winter months. As a Florida girl, even I would say that's reasonable.
If that's not enough to convince you, tourist season doesn't pick up until late April or May, so it will be less crowded and therefore much more enjoyable.
My point here is this: Sometimes embracing undesirable weather can lead you to the most unique experiences. Give it a chance. The beach will still be there next year.
What are your favorite winter destinations? Do you have any questions or suggestions for future posts? Please comment below or contact me here!