As the dreary days and dark nights set in for the majority of us in the Northern Hemisphere, those feet will certainly be starting to itch for lands to adventure.
We all love a duvet day, but 5 months of a good thing will inevitably lead to complacency. It’s time to kick off those slippers, peal yourself out of the blanket and head into the world!
But where to go? Why not try one of these countries, each perfect for winter fun in their own unique way:
- Portugal – this European county is on the top of every ‘visit here’ list at the moment and it is clear to see why. With its moderate year-round climate, interesting architecture, national parks, extensive coastline of golden sand beaches and fantastic cuisine, there is something to tick every travel box.
- Costa Rica – this country will always sit at the top of my lists for almost everything. It is absolutely full to the brim with exotic wildlife, national parks, dramatic mountains and gorgeous coastline. A visit to this country will result in a sensory overload. Wait, it gets even better; the weather will be gloriously warm during our winter season! I guarantee that when you leave you will already be planning your return trip. Take a look at my suggested itinerary before you travel to make the most of your time in this extraordinary country.
- Vietnam – this Southeast Asian country is known for its rivers, pagodas, temples atop hill sides (up many, many steps), bustling markets and street food. Once you step foot in Vietnam you will be entranced by its natural beauty and exotic intrigues. From Hanoi head south stopping at Vinh, Hue, Da Nang, Hoi An, Nha Trang and Phan Thiet to reach Ho Chi Minh City making sure that you take a tour of Ha Long Bay.
- South Africa – world famous mountains? Check. World famous safari parks? Check. World famous beaches? Check. World famous wine? Check. I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Endure the long haul flight to South Africa and you will not be disappointed.
View from Table Mountain, Cape Town
- Barbados – head to the Caribbean for some much needed R & R at this time of year and you will get exactly what you imagine; endless sunshine, white sand beaches, tranquil blue seas, a tropical breeze and serene botanical gardens. Seek out Long Pond, one of the world’s most exquisite and peaceful estuaries or take a dip with the locals in the Hot Pot, an extraordinary ‘natural’ beach jacuzzi.
- Nevada, USA – feeling adventurous and a little bit wild? By day visit some of nature’s most interesting sights in the desert; Red Rock Canyon is a great area for hiking, biking and climbing and the incredible sandstone formations at Valley of Fire State Park are not to be missed. Then by night, soak in the bright lights and entertainment of the Las Vegas strip. Be sure to pack plenty of sun cream as it will be h.o.t!
- Mexico – Baja California is not as well known amongst travellers as it should be. This Mexican state sits on the border of California and boasts unblemished azure inlets and soft pink cliffs. Kayak, surf or stroll whilst you watch the sun disappear into the Pacific Ocean. Of course, the well-trodden Yucatan Peninsula will offer equal amounts of natural majesty along with ancient Mayan ruins and colonial cities. Wherever you chose to visit in Mexico, the vistas will be memorable. Head there from mid-November onward to avoid the end of the wet season.
- Croatia – will be cooler this time of year but will not have the thousands of tourists that it endures during the summer months. Layer up and meander through ancient walled towns to the glistening waters.
- Argentina – slightly cooler than neighbouring Brazil but still in the high twenties, Argentina is a travel phenomenon that will have you leaving wanting more. From the formidable Iguazu Falls to the rural lands of wine region Mendoza, heading down to Buenos Aires and even further to Patagonia, this country will set your pulse racing and your senses into overdrive.
- The Canary Islands – “yeh ok”, I hear you say, “we’ll skip this one”. Wait! If you are in need of some Vitamin D and don’t want to travel far, then this archipelago may just surprise you. Mix in soaking up the sun on the black and white sand beaches with a visit to Teide National Park, which is dominated by the active volcano Mt. Teide, or hike through the lush pine forests and pre-historic sites. These islands have more to them than you expect.
- Iceland – As the temperature starts to turn cold, your experience of Iceland will heat up. Flurries of snow will cover the land making outdoor activities even more exciting. Make your way up a glacier by super truck and take a ride on a skidoo or rent accommodation with an outdoor hot tub to make your viewing of the northern lights even more spectacular. Snow-capped cliff edges make for a stunning picture against the famous black sand beaches. A trip in winter will be a stark seasonal contrast to that in summer – don’t let the dark days put you off.
- Austria – if it’s an adrenaline rush you are seeking, then Austria’s famed ski resorts of Ishgl or Lech should have everything that you are after. These Alpine meccas will provide the exhilaration both on and off the slopes.
- Ireland – there aren’t many places in the world that can make you feel warm inside when it is so darn cold outside, but Ireland is one. Friendly locals will welcome you with tales of myths and legends, making viewing the breathtaking landscapes even more powerful. Seeing the dramatic coastline under moody skies and castles bathed in low winter sun will fill you with warmth.
- Sri Lanka – head to the south coast of this Asian island to enjoy long sun-soaked days surfing. With temperatures averaging in the late twenties throughout December and January, Sri Lanka is a great spot to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve partying on the beach with the locals.