Winter Wonderland: 7 beautiful towns to visit for a magical getaway
Let it snow
The enchanting town of Bled holds one of the most idyllic winter sceneries around. This Slovenian resort town has it all: a picturesque blue lake, an iconic church that sits strategically in the middle of a small island, a medieval castle perched on a cliff just above the lake, and a majestic alpine backdrop on top of it all. When in town, be sure to indulge in a blissful health spa experience—Bled is known to be home to some of the most beautiful health spas in the area.
Just North of the German-Austrian border lies this municipality with vast lands of lush greenery and towering Bavarian Alps. When winter settles in, the town is covered in a bed of snow, offering a wonderful white visual of the impressive landscape. The highlight here will be a stay at Schloss Elmau, a cultural hideaway and luxury spa built at the foot of the Wetterstein mountains. Here you'll be pampered with a sense of perfect calm and soothing treatments in spas, and a breathtakingly stunning alpine view.
This quaint little village at the heart of the Salzkammergut region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site armed with rich culture and history alongside beautiful natural views. Chances are that you've come across photos of the iconic lakeside view that never gets old no matter how many times you've seen it. Go winter hiking around Lake Hallstatt and take in the view of snow-covered hills and pine trees, glittering ice crystals, and buildings that line the lakeshore with the mountains as a backdrop.
This town is the home to Jigokudani Yaen-koen, also known as the Snow Monkey Park, an unusual winter attraction with the unique combination of steaming hot springs, dramatic landscapes, and adorable Japanese macaques (snow monkeys). Visitors come here to watch the wild snow monkeys in their natural habitat, an experience quite unlike any other—how often will you get to see snow-covered wild monkeys bathing in a natural hot spring?
Off the beaten path, the charming fishing village of Reine can be found on the beautiful arctic island of Moskenesøya. This extraordinary destination was voted the most beautiful village in Norway, and it's easy to see why: come winter, this picturesque village houses spectacular views of the harbour and snowcapped mountains, as well as stunning northern light displays.
This French Canadian hub is the destination of city winter dreams—it embraces the season with open arms, coming to life with winter festivals and activities, and beautiful festive lights. There are but few other places in the world where you can cross-country ski, ice skate, snowshoe, ride snowmobiles, and go ice fishing all within the city limits. The Old Montreal Quarter is also exceptionally beautiful in winter, with its cobblestone streets and buildings covered in a wintry glaze.
Český Krumlov, Czech Republic
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site on the list, this city has an old world fairytale-like charm courtesy of the Renaissance and baroque buildings lining narrow medieval lanes, and the historic castle and chateau. Busy and lively in the summer, by winter it transforms into a white wonderland, where visitors will be delighted by snowcapped rooftops and quiet streets, as the season casts an enchanting winter charm over the beautiful city.