The 11 Most Spectacular Cities to See in the Winter
Because if it’s going to be freezing, it might as well be pretty
There comes a time every winter when all you want to do is make like a bear and hibernate, armed with a couple snacks and countless Netflix original series. After all, it’s gross out…and the snow in the Costco parking lot has turned all 50 shades of gray.
Wish you lived someplace prettier? Check out these 11 cities from around the world that just get more beautiful as temperatures drop.
Want to enjoy the glory of this stuck-in-time medieval town? Better make it snappy: Estonia gets only half an hour of sunshine a day during winter months.
Banff National Park, Canada
This 2,500-square-foot Alberta park is home to the Banff Springs Hotel, which, in addition to being a breathtakingly beautiful ski destination, is reportedly haunted by the ghost of a woman in a wedding dress. (We hope she also has a coat.)
Gobi Desert, Mongolia
So this is what a desert looks like in the winter. Well, the Gobi Desert, at least, which sees temperatures as low as -40 degrees come December. Good luck packing.
Fun fact: This part of Norway has been inhabited since the end of the ice age. Related: Did woolly mammoths ice-skate?
This tiny village is perched atop the highest peak of Mount Haku in the Ryōhaku Mountains. It’s one of the snowiest places in the world, making weather-resistant, sturdily-roofed minka houses (like the ones pictured above) an absolute necessity.
The labyrinth-like neighborhood of Borgo in Calitri (located in the Campania region of southern Italy) is made up of colorful houses built directly into the hillside. All streets are connected to one another by stone and marble staircases. So, that’s awesome.
Little church. Big world. Lotta snow. (PS: Jamnik is a 30-minute drive from the Brnik airport in the capital of Ljubljana.)
Wait, is that the Polar Express? Nope, just the Langwieser Viaduct, a single-track railway bridge that’ll take you from one side of Switzerland to the other. (Provided you’re not terrified of snowy abysses.)
Loket, Czech Republic
Surrounded on three sides by the Ohre River, this Czech town (complete with super-cool castle) looks like something out of Harry Potter--though you might recognize it as the place Daniel Craig played the highest-stakes poker game ever in Casino Royale.
You didn’t think we’d write a story about beautiful cold weather places without including Iceland, did you? Gullfoss is a waterfall in the southwestern part of the country, and one of its most popular tourist attractions--for good reason.
Near the southern tip of the state, York is predominantly known as a summer vacation destination. But between the ocean, the snow and the cool-as-hell lighthouse, we think it’s worth a visit in January as well.