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Destinations & Inspiration

2021's must-visit winter destinations

Adam Napier
By Adam Napier - 6 minute read

Ljubljana, Slovenia

One of Europe’s hidden gems is Slovenia. Bursting with glorious activities and sights, holiday makers will be spoilt for choice during the winter period.

At the top of your ‘to see’ list should be one of the countless castles (there are reportedly 500 in the country – yes really!) For spectacular views over the capital, start with the 900-year-old Ljubljana castle, , making your way there via the funicular railway which picks up visitors from the city’s central market.

If you’re visiting during the festive season, the capital’s Christmas Lights are not to be missed. Drawing inspiration from the universe, the light show makes for a delectable alternative to traditional Christmas decor.

And for a one-of-a-kind experience, make sure you include a visit to Lake Bled. Located in the Julian Alps, there are multiple activities to get stuck into year-round including hiking, mountain biking and water sports – though in the winter months, you’ll want to get your ice skate on at one of the various outdoor venues. Enjoy a romantic backdrop of the lake and its fairy-tale island (see image below) while you whizz (or stumble) around the rink. Utterly magical.

Homes to swap in Ljubljana

Lapland, Finland

Often overlooked in favour of other Scandi neighbours such as Denmark and Sweden, Finland is a winter wonderland just waiting to be discovered. A popular destination for tourists is Lapland in the north of the country, where kids of all ages will love the Santa Clause village in the town of Rovaniemi.

Other activities in the region include reindeer sleigh rides and skiing . If you’re lucky, you may even glimpse the Northern Lights.

Then after a long day of sightseeing, unwind with a sauna. With roughly 3million saunas in the country, compared to a population of just 5.8million, this is a national pastime that begs to be tried! There are a few different approaches to experiencing a cleansing sauna, but for a really unique experience, hop on the Sauna gondala and enjoy a steam in the sky. Not a fan of heights? Then keep your feet on the ground with one of the many saunas on offer across the region.

Homes to swap in Lapland

Quebec City, Canada

Skiing in Whistler is the obvious destination for a Canadian holiday in winter, but for a surprising treat, the capital of the Quebec province is a world apart.

With an old town that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, Quebec features cobbled streets and old-world charm – meaning there is something to keep everyone entertained. From the funicular to amazing murals and world-class dining, this is a destination that begs to be explored on foot.

Fancy a spot of retail therapy? Then be sure to check out Petit Champlain District, As North America’s oldest shopping district, the boutiques are hard to resist.

If you’re lucky enough to visit in February, Carnaval de Québec is not to be missed. Billed as one of the world’s largest winter festivals, activities include visiting the castle of the festival mascot (Bonhomme) and watching the enchanting winter parades that are held in the evening.

Homes to swap in Quebec City

Lisbon, Portugal

Always a popular destination, Lisbon is fantastic to explore during the winter. For the perfect tourist experience, start your day with a visit to the world’s oldest active bookshop, Livraria Bertrand where you can immerse yourself in the history of the establishment, and pick up some new reading material.

Follow this up with a visit to the former Carmo Convent,

Following an earthquake in the 18th Century, this medieval wonder has a large section of the roof open to the elements. Then take a ride on one of the famous yellow funiculars (you’ll find there is less of a queue in the winter months.)

Finally, end your day with a glass of Port and a couple of pastéis de nata, a gloriously delicious Portuguese staple that is a bit like a baked custard tart. Try to stop at one (or throw caution out of the window, and enjoy as many as you can eat – you’re on holiday after-all!)

Homes to swap in Lisbon

Mexico City, Mexico

Steeped in rich culture and history, if you fancy a visit to Mexico, then the capital is a great place to start out.

First on your list should be the National Palace

Featuring Diego Rivera’s The History of Mexico, this fascinating mural showcases everything from the Aztec rule to the development of industry.

Next, wander free and get lost in Colonia Juarez, a neighbourhood famed for its great eateries and French architecture. Keep an eye out for the many old mansions that are dotted around the area.

If you have some time during your travels make sure you venture out to Teotihuacan, an ancient city which is famed for its archaeological ruins, as well as the pyramids.

And obviously, a trip to Mexico wouldn’t be complete without some serious food indulgence. With a street-food scene that is spectacular, your only decision will be whether to start with a tacos al pastor (spit-roasted pork in tortillas) or frutas en tacha – a deliciously sweet combination of local fruits soaked in brown cane sugar. Whatever you choose, it’s bound to be delicious!

Homes to swap in Mexico City