Escape the winter vacation with a long-distance trip? Not a bad thing. Letting the warm sun shine on your stomach under the palm trees is undoubtedly pleasant.
However, it is much more exciting to snowkite across Norway’s plateaux or to spend a night in an igloo village in the middle of the Pyrenees. So why wander far away? Europe has a lot of exciting activities to offer for your winter holiday. Here are our highlights for Winter vacation:
Heli-skiing in Iceland: through the air onto the slopes
Iceland , the mysterious island in the icy North Sea, is special. Where else is the phone book sorted by first name or an elf representative asked for permission for construction projects? Equally unique is the breathtakingly beautiful mountain and fjord landscape with its glaciers and volcanoes.
Ski enthusiasts can swing down to sea level on steep descents: The mountain ranges in the north of Iceland are just below the Arctic Circle and rise directly from the Arctic Ocean – unique in all of Europe.
If you want to go one step further during your winter holiday, you can have the helicopter drop you off directly in the mountains, follow the magic of the arctic night and sweep over the slopes at an unusual hour – northern lights and shooting stars included.
More action on a winter holiday is almost impossible: heli-skiing in Iceland.
Northern Lights in Scotland: Colors as if by magic
When you hear the northern lights, do you only think of countries like Scandinavia, Iceland or Greenland? Not even close! The “Aurora Borealis” can also be admired in northern Scotland. It looks as if it has been painted on the sky by magic and is – scientifically explained – a collection of fluorescent air molecules.
The most important prerequisite for being able to admire the northern lights is a place that is as dark as possible. The light protection area Galloway Forest Park offers itself, but also the Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands or the Isle of Mull in the North Atlantic. On a clear day and with a bit of luck, the Aurora Borealis can be seen across Scotland.
The northern lights on the Isle of Mull in Scotland offer a backdrop like in a dream.
Igloo Village Andorra: Snooze like an Eskimo
If you are planning a trip to Barcelona in the winter months , but still don’t want to miss out on the glittering snow and winter landscape, you should book a night in the igloo village of Grandvaliraplan on. In the middle of the Pyrenees and only a two-hour drive from Barcelona or Perpignan, an igloo palace is built here every year at an altitude of 2,300 meters.
If you are brave enough for a night in ice and snow, you can choose between a standard igloo for several people, a family igloo or an artistically decorated romantic igloo for a special time together. There is no need to be afraid of a growling stomach, because a cheese fondue is served in the evening and there is an igloo bar to quench your thirst for the slopes.
An unforgettable experience for a winter holiday and all this with a wonderful view of the breathtaking mountain scenery of the Pyrenees.
Snow meets art: the interior walls in the igloo village are decorated by international artists.
Snowkiting in Norway: only flying is nicer
Free as a bird in the wind: At speeds of more than 100 km/h, you can hunt over Norway’s high plateaus and jump through the wind with a snow kite. Snowboard or skis and a suitable towing kite – that’s all you need for this fun. Thermal winds and endless areas make Norway the ideal kite spot.
Appropriate pistes are lined up here like a string of pearls. Thanks to their extensive areas of deep snow, the best regions for snowkiting are the high plateaus in the northern regions of Troms and Finnmark and Hardangervidda National Park in the south.
In the ski resort of Geiloeven has its own snow kite center. At 1,000 meters above sea level, everyone – from beginners to experienced freestyle athletes – will find the right challenge.
Winter holidays full of wind, snow and freedom – snowkiting in Norway.
Ice climbing on a winter vacation: pure thrills
In Norway it flows and roars on almost every corner. Some of the world’s highest waterfalls can be found here. So what could be more obvious than using this gift of nature for winter sports? As the temperatures drop, the waterfalls fall silent, turning more and more into enchanted ice formations, captivating countless climbers from all over the world.
Admittedly: without strong nerves, strength and stamina, nothing can be done when climbing the ice walls, but once you get to the top, you are rewarded with a breathtaking view over Norway’s glittering winter world. Curious? The best way to get started with ice climbing is on guided tours organized by the Norwegian Hiking Associationorganized.
The Hydnefossen waterfall in Hemsedal is also suitable for beginners. Eidfjord near the Hardangerfjord and Laerdal by the Sognefjord offer routes of varying difficulty.
But at the top of the list of popular winter holiday destinations is Rjukan , two hours west of Oslo. On the 105 meter high Rjukanfossen, ice climbing is the winter sports attraction par excellence.
There is also wonderful ice climbing in Finland ‘s Korouma National Park . Its 30 km long gorge is lined with steep waterfalls – some up to 60 meters high. In winter they freeze to form huge ice formations and shimmer in a wide variety of colours.
Ice climbing is strenuous, but when you get to the top, you are rewarded with a phenomenal view.
Winter vacation romance: Click here for Finland’s Joulupukki
What can hardly be surpassed when it comes to winter romance? That’s right, a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the snow-covered landscape, wrapped up warm in cozy blankets.
In addition to horse-drawn sleighs, snow rafting, snowmobile or kick sledge rides, torch-lit hikes between ice sculptures and snow trolls await visitors here.
If you need the full dose of Christmas magic, you have to go to Santa Claus Villageat the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi, Lapland. Here Joulupukki, the Finnish Santa Claus, welcomes visitors from all over the world.
And not just in winter, but all year round. Our blogger Franziska has more tips for northern Finland in her article Finnish Lapland – a winter wonderland .
Hunderfossen Winter Park near Lillehammer – home of the snow trolls and ice elves.
Image rights in order of appearance:
- Featured image: ©www.iglu-dorf.com
- More action on a winter holiday is almost impossible: heli-skiing in Iceland. Image: talentbuddyev via Pixabay
- The northern lights on the Isle of Mull offer a backdrop like in a dream. Image: mcbeander via Pixabay
- Snow meets art: the inner walls of the igloos are decorated by international artists.
- Image: ©www.iglu-dorf.com
- Winter holidays full of wind, snow and freedom – snowkiting in Norway.\Image: pexels via Pixabay
- Ice climbing is strenuous, but when you get to the top, you are rewarded with a phenomenal view. Image: Gipfelsturm69 via Pixabay
- Hunderfossen Winter Park near Lillehammer – home of the snow trolls and ice elves. Image: Hunderfossen Winter Park GeirOlsen
More interesting reports for you
Skiing in the US is a myth. What is different than in Europe? There is also a lot of snow in the Alps at times – effective lifts and super-groomed pistes anyway. Why would you get on a plane just to go skiing? In search of answers, I visited Vail and Breckenridge in Colorado.
As an enthusiastic skier and a self-confessed Norway fan, the question came to me at some point: Why have I never stood on two skis in Norway, the cradle of skiing? The idea became a ritual: I always end my winter season with a few days of skiing in Norway. Beca