• 11 November 2022

Snow holidays are the best kind of winter getaways. They offer a magical (and sometimes incredibly chilly!) world full of adventure. The charm of frosted mountains, iced lakes, snow-covered landscapes and crisp, fresh air is something that can be truly appreciated when in the right country.  World Snow Day is on 16 January and celebrates all the wonders of this magical occurrence!

Winter escapes are all about enjoying the benefits of snowfall, with ski slopes and ice skating to keep you busy. Although, you can look forward to much more than snow sports when enjoying a snowy winter holiday. Especially if you consider taking snow breaks at Christmas. Visiting a country during the festive season will introduce you to all kinds of new cuisines, cultures, traditions and festivities. A white Christmas will always be one to remember!

Expat Explore has put together a list of the best destinations for your winter snow holidays. Take a look below!

Woman playing with snow
Dreaming of a white Christmas? These winter snow destinations could be perfect for you!
1. Canada

Canada is one of the world’s most scenic destinations and it also happens to be the second-largest country in the world. You can expect snowfall to occur between November and April. With so many places to explore and marvel at in the beauty of the snow, Canada is sure to win your heart during the snowy months. 

You can look forward to incredible journeys and sightseeing during wintertime in Canada. Some fun things to do include: 

  • Seeing the Northern Lights
  • Ice Skating 
  • Winter zipline rides
  • Ice fishing
  • Snowy mountain hikes

The snowfall in Canada is nothing short of magnificent, covering the entire country with a frosted blanket of white. Although, you’ll need to keep the weather in mind and choose the perfect clothes for Canada’s winter that will keep you warm and dry. This really is one of the most beautiful places to enjoy winter snow breaks! 

Woman photographing winter landscape in Canada snow
Canada is home to incredible winter landscapes.
2. Switzerland

One cannot help but envision the majestic, rolling hills of Switzerland blanketed in white when imagining the perfect holiday in the snow. If the idyllic Swiss Alps and the chance to ride the Glacier Express aren’t enough to stir your wanderlust, then the idea of spending Christmas here surely will. The festivities and the Christmas cuisine will entice even the biggest ‘grinch’!

If you love skiing, then this is definitely the best country in which to enjoy a snowy getaway.

Places to see in Switzerland during the snow season include: 

Snow begins to fall in Switzerland between December and March and watching as the landscapes turn to frost is an absolutely amazing experience.

Glacier Express travelling through Switzerland snow
Hop aboard the Glacier Express in Switzerland for a journey through the snow like no other!
3. Vermont, USA

Not only does Vermont boast stunning fall colours, but winters spent here are just as glorious! Ignite your inner adventurer and travel to Vermont for the snowy holiday of your dreams. Visit between late November and early April to indulge in the mesmerising, snowy scenery and fun winter activities.

Places to see jaw-dropping snow views in Vermont: 

  • Mount Snow
  • Stratton
  • Montpelier 
  • Burlington

Vermont is a stunning place, with spectacular mountainous landscapes, charming New England towns and tranquil natural parks. All of this becomes even more special when the snowfall adds a layer of white to the scenery. 

Burlington Vermont New England Town in snow
Enjoy spending the snowy festive season in Vermont’s charming New England towns, surrounded by stunning landscapes.

Related: Explore New England on Expat Explore’s Eastern USA and Canada tour

4. Belgium

Belgium is not only the ideal place to enjoy the world’s best chocolate; it’s also an amazing place for Christmas snow holidays. Enjoy the magical atmosphere of Belgium during the festive season on a premium Christmas and New Year tour in Europe. 

A trip here during winter is overflowing with exciting places to see and things to do, such as:

  • Visiting Gravensteen Castle
  • Sightseeing in Brussels
  • Exploring the historic city of Bruges
  • Shop at one of the many Christmas markets 

Enjoy your travels here to see the snowfall from December to February. Belgium will delight your holiday spirit and give you plenty of thrilling winter activities to enjoy, all with a charming frosty backdrop to add to your experience.

Brussels Royal Palace in winter snow
Explore sights like the Royal Palace in Brussels with new eyes when the city is blanketed in snow.
5. Germany

During winter, Germany is alight with celebrations. Crowds of tourists and locals alike get together to partake in snow sports. Germany is hands-down one of the most unique and vivacious places to have a snowy weekend break in Europe.

Some of the most popular snow sports include: 

  • Snowboarding 
  • Snowshoeing
  • Snow hiking
  • Ice skating 

If sports aren’t your thing, Germany in the snow is still an incredible place to experience! Think historic towns and fairytale castles dusted with snow! Grab a hot cup of Glühwein and begin having the snowy escape of a lifetime in Germany, one of the best destinations for winter Christmas holidays. Plan your journey between December and March and you will be guaranteed a travel experience you will never forget.

Neuschwanstein Castle Germany and winter landscape with snow
Sights like Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle covered with snow feels like a scene from a fairytale!
6. The Netherlands

With snow covering every inch of its already beautiful landscapes, forests and cities, this one-of-a-kind destination is truly something special to experience during the winter season. The Netherlands will provide you with countless opportunities to revel in the pure beauty of snowfall. This is one of our favourite places to see when touring Europe in winter

Incredible places to soak in the snowy atmosphere include: 

  • Maastricht
  • Gouda by Candlelight
  • Dickens Festival
  • Amsterdam

Christmas time is the best time to embark on an adventure in The Netherlands and the hospitality of the Dutch people will warm your heart. Look forward to lots of activity with winter festivals and ice skating being immensely popular. Even weekend-long, short snow breaks here are rewarding!

Woman standing on canal bridge in Amsterdam in winter snow
Spend your days exploring Amsterdam’s frosty canals and enjoying the warm Dutch hospitality!
7. United Kingdom

Nobody can deny the electric yet cosy and charming ambience of winter in the United Kingdom. With Christmas traditions that date back hundreds of years, this country really is a gem and a wonderful place for snowy Christmas holidays.

There’s something about the Christmas lights in London, the cheerfulness in Wales, the festivities in Scotland and the celebrations in Ireland that all come together to make the United Kingdom a must-see during winter.  

Some of the best places to visit for a snowy holiday in the UK are: 

  • The Cairngorms, Scotland
  • Orkney Islands, Scotland
  • London, England
  • Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Fair Isle, Scotland
  • The Cotswolds, England

If a British Christmas is something you’ve got in your books, then be sure to join in on our festive tours

Two highland cows in Scotland standing in field of snow
Highland cows enjoying the snowy Scottish countryside – travellers can enjoy the unique sights and events across the United Kingdom during winter.
8. Budapest, Hungary

Hungary‘s capital city offers a unique festive experience! Budapest is a favourite travel destination for travellers from around the world and at Christmas time, it transforms into a festive wonderland. Visit and enjoy the beautiful architecture adorned with twinkling lights, stroll through the welcoming Christmas markets and be sure to indulge in hearty local cuisine – the perfect way to warm up during the cold season!

Top things to do in Budapest at Christmas:

  • Visit one of the Christmas markets
  • Soak in the geothermal waters at one of the city’s famous bathhouses
  • Try local dishes at a food market
  • Go ice skating

Decemeber and January are the coldest months in Budapest and the time of year when snow is most likely.  Visit Budapest during the festive season on the Eastern Highlights Christmas & New Year tour as well as the Europe Jewel Christmas & New Year tour.

Budapest in winter white Christmas
Enjoy the unqie festive spirit in Budapest.
9. Iceland

Glaciers, lava fields, icy waterfalls, gushing geysers and rugged, snow-capped mountains – Iceland is a magnificent natural destination! At Christmas time, the beautiful landscapes are dusted with snow and ice and the cities come alive with festive celebrations. Experience the crisp fresh air and natural beauty, chase the Northern Lights, soak in the famous Blue Lagoon and absorb the Yuletide joy Reykjavik which is becoming an increasingly popular European Christmas destination!

Best things to do in Iceland at Christmas time:

  • Visit Reykjavik
  • Head to the outdoors for a chance to see the Northern Lights
  • Go skiing, snowboard, snow-mobiling and snowshoeing
  • Tour the Golden Cirlce and see some of the country’s must-see sights

It can snow in Iceland anytime between October to April so you’re in for a high chance of a white Christmas when you visit in December!

Godafoss waterfall in Iceland during winter white Christmas
Chase the Northern Lights at places like Goðafoss Waterfall in Iceland!
10. Salzburg, Austria

Finally on this list is Salzburg in Austria. This picturesque city is home to Baroque and Medieval architecture with a historic Old town simply waiting to be explored! Salburg is also famous for being the setting of The Sound of Music and for being the birthplace of musical maestro Mozart! During winter, this chocoate-box destination is sprinkled with snow, illuminated with Christmas lights and filled with festive cheer.

The best things to do in Salzburg during winter:

  • Shop at Salzburg’s Christmas markets
  • Sip glühwein and eat roasted chestnuts
  • Visit destinations associated with Mozart and The Sound of Music
  • Explore the UNESCO-listed Alstadt (Old Town)

Austria’s snowy season takes place from December to March with the highest chance of snowfall in January and February.

Salzburg Austria in the snow white Christmas
Enjoy a picture-perfect white Christmas in Salzburg.

There are fantastic destinations all around Europe that promise the perfect Christmas in the snow. On a winter vacation, you can also look forward to a plethora of festive activities, delicious meals, hot drinks and excellent shopping!

Whether you plan on visiting western Europe during winter or going to see the snow in the USA, snow holidays offer some of the most enchanting travel experiences of all. This is especially true during the jolly, festive season!

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