Are you still figuring out how to spend your holiday season? Step outside the box and go on a winter wonderland adventure. Take in the magic of destinations across the United States and around the world. Whether you prefer historical, cultural, trendy, or the unexplored, there are magical winter vacations suited precisely for each of us. So pull on your Harry Potter winter robes or cloaks, stowe your wand in your pocket just in case, and explore the great outdoors.
When you think of snow and a magical winter destination, Iceland often comes to mind. This winter wonderland is one of the few places you can view the beautiful northern lights. Enjoy stunning views as the streaks of green and purple dance across the sky. With very low pollution levels, stargazing is a sight to behold. (For the Harry Potter fans among us, don’t worry. These sights are natural and not the marks of witches or wizards casting spells around us.) Of course, you cannot miss the beautiful caves, waterfalls, and mountains. If you base yourself in Reykjavik, you can easily make day trips to various areas of Iceland. Skiing experiences are available for beginners and experts. Join in on holiday celebrations from mid-December through early January. Experience the Christmas markets, Icelandic traditions, bonfires, and fireworks to celebrate the holiday season. Other can’t miss sights include the Golden Circle to view the 2-tiered Gullfoss waterfall, bubbling pools, and geysers as well as the ice caves and tunnels around the country. Iceland is full of magical winter beauty.
Stowe or Woodstock, Vermont
Escape to the mountains of Vermont this winter. In the spring and summer, Vermont is lush and green with mountains, trees, and winding back roads. In the winter, snow falls in a blanket over the state creating a magical wonderland. For the outdoor adventurers, skiing or snowboarding is a must. There are plenty of slopes for beginners or experts to glide over the snow-covered hills. With resort locations in several cities including Stowe and Woodstock, you can split your time between the rugged outdoors and treating yourself to a little pampering at the spa. Don’t forget to snuggle up by the fire in the evening with your family or significant other. For an escape from the slopes, stroll through downtown Stowe for a little shopping, festive decorations, historical churches and buildings, and a bite to eat.
As the northernmost state in the United States, Alaska is known for being cold, particularly in the winter. Explore various spots throughout the state to experience the perfect winter wonderland. A must-see spot for visitors in the fall through early spring, is Fairbanks, Alaska for the Aurora Borealis. View the northern lights from the soothing hot springs, check out dog sleds, or treat yourself to a massage while in Fairbanks. Continue your outdoor adventures with amazing views of the bay and mountains during a guided boat tour through Porcupine Bay in Kenai Fjords National Park. In Juneau, visitors can take in the Mendenhall Glacier Caves. Discover the natural beauty and architecture in the ice, rocks, and water. For a once in a lifetime magical trip, Alaska will not disappoint. The state is full of natural beauty and winter wonders.
Perhaps Tibet is not a location on your typical vacation list. However, if you are looking for a culture steeped in history as well as the mystical and spiritual, this Asian location is a must see. Lhasa has been at the center of the Buddhist world and is a city of wonders. Because the winter months are cold, there are often fewer tourists so it is less crowded and often less expensive. However, the temperatures are often more manageable than you may think since the abundant sunshine makes it feel much warmer. If you are really cold or it happens to be a snowy day, be sure to stop by a Lhasa teahouse to warm up. Regardless of the weather, visitors can go sightseeing to take in the beauty of the Tibetan-style architecture and temples. Take in the Potala Palace which appears to be coated in frost on winter mornings or the Jokhang Temple with pilgrims gathering to pray and make offerings to the sacred building. Venture out of the city to visit Namtso Lake or the more accessible Yamdrok Lake to view piercing blue water surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Surrounding areas offer views of fortresses and monasteries, architecture, and snowy landscapes. While climbing Mount Everest is not ideal in the winter due to the cold temperatures, you can still get amazing views of the base camp and Everest peak.
While the snow and cold tend to make tourists avoid northern Europe in the winter months, Finland has much to offer. (Just be sure to pack layers and warm clothes.) The surreal winter landscapes make outdoor activities a must. Try ice fishing, dog sledding, skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, or kicksledding. Spend the night in an ice hotel and go hunting for the northern lights. For those who celebrate Christmas, Finland is a magical winter destination for families. Helsinki is the country’s official Christmas city with a designated Christmas Street full of holiday lights and decorated shops. Families can meet Santa and his reindeer at their year-round residence. With plenty of indoor and outdoor activities, Finland is a must-see addition to your bucket list.
Embark on a magical adventure or visit a winter wonderland this holiday season. Just don’t forget to take your magic wand! Stay up-to-date on the latest trends, Wand Shoppe offerings, and current promotions by signing up for our email newsletter below and following us on social media: Facebook and Instagram.