The 9 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.

The 9 U.S. Cities That Made Our Winter Travel Short List


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Tallinn, Estonia

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.

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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.)

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Tromso, Norway

Fun fact This part of Norway has been inhabited since the end of the ice age. Did woolly mammoths ice-skate?

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Shirakawa-go, Japan

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.

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Bled, Slovenia

Little church. Big lake. Lotta snow. (PS: Bled is a town on Lake Bled in northwestern Slovenia and is a 30-minute drive from the Brnik airport in the capital of Ljubljana.)

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Langwies, Switzerland

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.)

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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.

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Gullfoss, Iceland

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. (Sure, it's not technically a city but doesn't it look amazing?)

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York, Maine

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 winter as well.