Winter time in Bled is truly magical. The snow-covered castle and island of Slovenia's famous lake look simply stunning in their fine Alpine setting, with miles of paths, covered with snow all around the frozen lake so you can go on romantic winter walks. Popular with skiers and non-skiers alike, Bled is a winter paradise with a wealth of activities including winter hiking, dog-sledding, snowshoeing and ice skating. Stay at the Grand Hotel Toplice.
If you love camping and the great outdoors, you'll want to experience the Aurora Safari Camp in Lulea, Swedish Lapland. The tents at the camp use the traditional Nordic tipi design from the indigenous Sami people but with 21st century materials and construction techniques. They're snug and comfortable with plenty of room to move around and wood fire heaters, as well as a special lounge tent to dine and relax in a group with a full bar. While at the camp, you can go dog sledding, elk spotting, canoeing and snowshoeing. Aurora Nights offers a three-night weekend trip with return flights from Gatwick, Heathrow or Manchester, one night at the Aurora Safari Camp and two nights at the cosy Sorbyn Lodge, gourmet meals and dogsledding from £1,295 per person.
See a completely different side of Tuscany to the rolling countryside in the summer, museums and piazze on a winter walking break in the Garfagnana Valley. The Tuscan hidden gem is ideal for snowshoeing and getting up close to the amazing mountain scenery. Nestled between the 'marble mountains' of the Alpi Apuane and the rolling Apennines, the valley is an area of outstanding natural beauty. Explore offers a Tuscan Winter Walks and Snowshoeing holiday in Italy. Depending on the level of the snowline (usually from 800 to 1200 metres above sea level) you can expect three or four of the walks to involve the use of snow shoes - suitable for beginners with equipment and instruction provided. The holiday departs in February 2015 for eight days starting from £899 per person including return flights, seven nights in agroturismo accommodation with breakfast, eight other meals, transport and the service of a trek guide.
For a night in the Alps to remember, sleep at the magical Igloo Village in the heart of La Plagne at an altitude of over 2,100m. Sip mulled wine around the camp fire, tuck into a fondue feast with cured meats, cosy up with a loved one under Arctic-weight duvets in a two-person igloo, or share a larger igloo with friends and family. Over a dawn breakfast, you can savour the silence and watch the sun rise over Mont Blanc. Book a stay via the La Plagne Tourist Office from £85 per person for dinner and bed and breakfast.
For a cosy winter break with a twist in Sweden, visit the island of Hinderson which is surrounded by the frozen sea. Travel by snowmobile across the ice from the port city of Lulea on the Gulf of Bothnia to Jopikgarden hotel, a romantic retreat on the small island. Explore some of the region's 700 islands before returning to Lulea to try a number of unforgettable excursions, including an exhilarating hovercraft ice tour or a trip to see the magic of the Northern Lights. WEXAS Travel offers a four-day holiday from £750 per person, including return flights from London, two nights in Lulea, one night at Jopikgarden and return snowmobile transfers from Lulea to Jopikgarden.
During the winter months, the far northern Japanese island of Hokkaido is covered in powder snow, transforming the country's second largest island into a real winter wonderland. The Sapporo Snow Festival takes place in February (5-11 February 2015) with huge snow sculptures overtaking the city, along with snow parks, plenty of food and local beer. The Otaru Snow Light Path Festival is another celebration of snow and is magnificent to see the city decorated with lights. Check out the local wildlife by boarding an Icebreaker ship off of the Shiretoko Peninsula and floating through the drift ice that attracts hundreds of huge Stellar Sea Eagles in the Sea of Okhotsk. And don't miss witnessing the Japanese Macaque bathe in the hot springs deep in the mountains of Nagano. InsideJapan's tailored Winter Highlights trip takes in the best of the season on a 14-night tour from £3,000.
Far inside the Arctic Circle in the heart of the northern Norwegian Fjords and Lyngen Alps, the boutique Lyngen Lodge offers a touch of luxury and a true snowy escape. Accessible by two ferry journeys, you don’t have to go too far to see the Northern Lights as the chances are they are in the sky directly above your head! While staying in the Lyngen Fjord, there is a plethora of activities to keep you busy, from snowshoeing, dog sledding and cross-country skiing to ice fishing and a sea safari. Back at the eight-room lodge, there’s an open fire, sauna and outdoor hot tub, perfect for relaxing in as the Northern Lights provide the evening entertainment. Simply Northern Lights offers a three-night stay at Lyngen Lodge from £1,425 per person, based on two sharing, with flights from London to Tromso (via Oslo) and transfers included.
For a snowy holiday with a difference, head to northern Spain where the Picos de Europa Mountains rise up to above 2500m and the peaks have snow almost year-round but guaranteed in the winter months. The National Park has no ski resorts so you don't have to share it with the crowds and there are spectacular views to enjoy on winter walks. Casas Cantabricas offers stays at El Hoyal from £75 per room, per night.
You don't have to travel too far for a snowy escape as some of Britain's most beautiful corners enjoy plenty of snow throughout winter. Escape to the Lake District where you can stay in a luxurious Scandinavian lodge on a serene country break in one of the region's most stunning valleys. CoolStays offers stays at Langdale Estate lodges from £98 per night. The lodges are perfectly located for a romantic break or adventure getaway, with trails through magical woodland glades and walks to take in the local scenery. Once you return to your lodge, you can relax in the steam room or indulge in a massage at the spa.
- For a rail journey to remember, look no further than Switzerland for its spectacular snowy scenes and epic landscapes during winter. Enjoy the majestic winter scenery from the comfort of a carriage on Ffestiniog Travel's 10-day Swiss trip that’s just the ticket for rail enthusiasts. As well as ample opportunity to explore independently by train, post bus, lake steamer, city bus and tram, there’s a full-day excursion from Chur to Tirano in Northern Italy on the Bernina Express, and the UNESCO Rhaetian Railways network to enjoy. Departing 11 February, Snow on the Alps costs £1,660 per person and includes standard-class rail travel to and from Switzerland, a first-class Swiss Pass, transfers, bed and breakfast and the services of a tour leader throughout.
Experience the mystical beauty of Lapland on an authentic adventure in northern Sweden. The remote, close-knit community of Kangos is located 150km north of the Arctic Circle and is surrounded by picturesque pine forests and situated close to the Lainio River. On a seven-night break with Inntravel, you'll stay at the Kangos Guesthouse, learn the basics of 'mushing' and drive your own team of dogs over frozen lakes, through deep forests and across the endlessly fascinating landscape. Other activities on the trip include a journey by snowmobile, the chance to meet reindeer and ice fishing.