Living in the tropical region along the equator that blessed with year-long summers, many fantasized of a vacation that can enjoy colder temperatures elsewhere and escape from the tropical heat. From Europe's highest & charming ski domains in French Alps to the charming mountain villages in Italy, head straight for these 8 destinations that boast exciting activities, beautiful sights, and most importantly, temperate weather.
The northeastern province of China, Heilongjiang has famed for its temperatures dropping to as low as -50 C and winter season lasting for eight months. Host of the 1996 Asian Winter Games, 2008 National Winter Games and 2009 Winter Universiade, Yabuli has fast emerged as China’s premier ski destination. At an altitude of 500 metres, in the heart of Changbai mountain chain covered with pine forests, the Yabuli Merge ski domain with its 35 km of ski runs can accommodate both novice and more experienced skiers, serviced by state-of-the-art chairlifts and gondolas.
Besides the perfect Skiing terrain, a variety of activities are offered throughout the year there at Yabuli, such as ice skating, tobogganing and even grass skiing during the summer. If you stay in the Club Med Yabuli, you can enjoy the exclusive Club Med Spa by L'OCCITANE after a long day’s skiing. Other privileges such as a heated indoor pool, a gym and an outdoor Jacuzzi are also available to all guests. An annual event that shouldn’t be missed is the Ice and Snow Festival held from late December to February in Harbin. It features some of the largest ice sculptures in the world as well as buildings made of snow.
Known as the official hometown of Santa Claus, Lapland Finland has a cheerful Christmas vibe all year round. Above the Arctic circle, Finnish Lapland is also famed for its endless snow and Northern Lights gazing.
Winter is celebrated here with several choices of tourist activities and some of the most romantic luxury accommodation options anywhere in the world. You can choose from sleeping in a glass igloo and falling asleep while gazing at the Northern Lights or live out your childhood dreams by spending the night in an Arctic treehouse. Winter sports enthusiasts can head to nearby Levi for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or snow biking. There’s even an activity called “dry-suit floating” where enthusiasts dressed in special waterproof suits float around on a near-frozen lake. Kids may enjoy a Husky Sleigh ride through the forests of Lapland.
There’s more to France than Paris. France is a vibrant country, and winter is the perfect time to explore beyond Paris, Valmorel is a good place to start. Situated at an altitude of 1,460 metres on the slopes of the Massif du Cheval Noir, Club Med Valmorel is a welcoming ski resort in the heart of the Tarentaise region, boasting magnificent views of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps. Its Chalet-Apartments is inspired by the Beaufortain region’s mansion architecture with colourful facades and lauze stone roofs. Down below, the picturesque village of Valmorel emerges behind a curtain of spruce trees.
Guests can learn alpine skiing and snowboarding as well as participate in multiple snow sports program. Novices have access to six slopes include two safe ones for children while experts usually head to the off-piste in the Lauzieres area which is also popular for ski-touring and snowshoeing. Other available snow sports include snow skating, paragliding on skis and snow trekking. Valmorel is the perfect winter escape that pair an ultimate luxury vacation with your unforgettable family time.
Bohemian bliss reigns supreme in Hungary’s capital, Budapest. Offering a pleasant winter atmosphere with romantic architectural creations, Budapest resembles a scene of a classic Christmas movie. Christmas markets, outdoor ice-skating rinks, cruises in Budapest create a perfect winter wonderland, while the local thermal baths offer warmth and comfort. Taking place from November until early January each season, Christmas markets located in both Vorosmarty Square and St Stephen’s Basilica offer a host of mulled wine, Christmas strudel, traditional dishes, cute Christmas gifts and arts and craft stalls.
Budapest’s City Park Ice Rink is by far the most famous ice-skating destination in Europe. Skaters flock to the rink each winter between late November and February.
Another quirky and novel attraction is the Budapest Christmas “light tram” which is covered with over 39,000 lights. It operates across the city from 5pm each evening throughout December till early January. It is certainly known to get visitors into the Christmas spirit while taking in the sights of Budapest during the winter months.
Cervinia has been known for years as a wonderful snow-sports playground for both male and female racers who enjoy the length of the perfectly groomed runs. Known to have some of the highest slopes in Europe reaching up to 3480 meters, it offers excellent snow coverage and a long-lasting ski season from December until May. Extremely ideal for beginners and intermediates, the Plan Maison is one of the world’s most spectacular areas to learn how to ski under the looming Monte Cervino.
Various resorts and hotels in Cervinia are ski-in ski-out or at least provide very good access to the slopes and lifts. In town there are upscale restaurants, affordable pizzerias and lively bars to partake in some fabulous Italian revelry. The village has some decent shopping spots including ski shops to hire ski or snowboard equipment. There is also a play area for children that offers various activities such as snow tubing.
Ranked as one of the most beautiful alpine resort towns for celebrating winter in Europe, Lake Bled does not break the bank like its equivalents in Switzerland and France. Full of charm and character, its well known for its medieval castle which sits atop the cliffs overlooking the lake.
While the lake itself is a fairy tale spot for walking, swimming or just relaxing it is ringed by forested slopes that look out onto the enchanting island in its centre. Bled has been considered to be a mecca for cross-country skiing with trails taking you through peaceful pastures and forests. When the cold starts to surface, visitors are welcome to treat themselves to one of Bled’s many thermal spring pools.
Renowned for its fine powder snow, Hokkaido is a dream holiday destination for many winter lovers. Ideally situated amidst Central Hokkaido’s beautiful ski mountain landscape, Club Med Tomamu Hokkaido, is a favourite of many families due to its convenience and fun activities both on and off the slopes. Just 90 minutes from Sapporo Airport with six return shuttles a day, it’s one of the easiest resorts to access in Hokkaido.
The resort covers two mountains and has a large selection of trails to choose from. There are beginner slopes and groomed trails as well as courses catered for enthusiast skiers including expert runs, terrain parks and sanctioned tree skiing within resort boundaries. For those who need to learn or improve their practice, ski and snowboard lessons for all guests at the resort are available free of charge. But skiing and snowboarding aren’t all you can do at Club Med Tomamu, the resort also offers a range of additional activities including snow sledding, snow rafting, snowmobile and a sled park.
After a long day on the slopes, guests can unwind with a soothing soak in an open air onsen to rejuvenate tired muscles or they can make a splash at the Japan’s largest indoor wave pool, Mina Mina Beach. Besides that, Tomamu is home to an enchanting Ice Village that offers families and couples the chance to live in a frozen fairy tale, in a frosted forest illuminated by deep blue lights. Also, the resort has a spread of delectable dining options, perfect for food aficionados on a quest for their next culinary adventure.
Even in the winter, there is never a dull day in Iceland’s capital city. Reykjavik’s calendar is full of winter festivities, events and activities guaranteed to make your trip a fulfilling one. Many visitors flock to Reykjavik to enjoy unique winter activities such as snowmobiling on top of glaciers, glacier hiking and paying adventurous visits to ice caves. December is also one of the best months to see the Northern Lights.
Another must-do winter experience is to enjoy outdoor swimming in Reykjavik’s many thermal pools as a calming source of therapy to get rid of any winter stiffness after hitting the slopes at Iceland’s best ski resorts.
Besides, there are also many great museums in Reykjavik such as The National Museum of Iceland which explains the history of Iceland and the Settlement Exhibition Reykjavik which takes you back to the Viking age.
Book your All-Inclusive Winter Holiday with Club Med and save up to 35% off when you travel between 22 November 2019 to 2 May 2020 with the highly anticipated Club Med Snow Flash Sales! Also, follow Mayflower’s Facebook page NOW for the latest travel deals!