Gogobot Awards

2015 Top Winter Destinations

When the wind howls and the frost bites, the general consensus is that it's time to hunker down inside with a steaming mug of hot cocoa and binge watch your favorite TV show. But for those less inclined to let Jack Frost keep them on the couch, the world awaits. Here are the Trip.com community's picks for the best places to while away the cold months -- and whether it's skiing and snowboarding on the best slopes you've ever seen, or trading in all the white stuff for bronze beaches and warm rays, these places will help you make the most out of winter.
1Big Bear Lake

Big Bear Lake

One of SoCal's favorite destinations for a "real winter," Big Bear is also a renowned destination for the rest of the country for its snowy slopes. Skiing, snowboarding, and a myriad of rustic pine cabins make this a ... Read more
favorite winter getaway, especially around the holidays.
The smell of pine trees, the quaint little town that offers fantastic restaurants and quirky souvenir shops, and the ... Read more
beautiful lake that serves as the centerpiece of Big Bear makes a trip here feel like you're in Colorado or Vermont ski town.
2Venice

Venice

Though it boasts a fairly temperate climate, the icy blast from the Dolomites can whip through Venice's mystical alleyways in winter. However, that's a price many are willing to pay to avoid the sticky summer crowds and ... Read more
high prices of peak season. Visitors to Venice in winter will enjoy leisurely strolls without bumping into others, reduced fares on everything from restaurants to tours, and a surprising abundance of pale blue skies.
Venice is magical. Postcard perfect bridges span the serene canals, lined with gorgeous and historic buildings.
Recommended Hotel: The Gritti Palace
3Prague

Prague

The romantic, Old World feel of Prague is even more pronounced in winter, when snow blankets the normally golden spires and rooftops. Take advantage of fewer crowds and a landscape that's almost as different as night is ... Read more
from day -- with the same Eastern European charm you're seeking.
Enjoy this fairy-tale land from the famed Charles Bridge (which couples can have practically to themselves in winter), a boat ... Read more
down the lazy Vltava River, or while plying the medieval cobbled lanes in search of Art Nouveau cafés.
4Oslo

Oslo

The land of the vikings is mystical in winter, with a backdrop of pine trees and snowy mountains, ice covered ponds, and a skyline reminiscent of Disney's Frozen. Skiing, sledding, and skating are all popular winter-day ... Read more
activities (they even have a Ski Museum), or go for a thrilling toboggan run.
Oslo, with mostly 20th century buildings, pine-covered mountains surrounding the city, and industry in the harbor, I felt ... Read more
like I could have been in Russia or Canada.
Recommended Hotel: Grand Hotel
5Alaska

Alaska

Alaska does winter well. Visitors searching for an outdoor adventure can choose from traditional sports like skiing and snowmobiling, or activities with a distinctly Alaskan flare, like perennial favorite dog mushing, as ... Read more
well as opportunities to see the Aurora Borealis. Plus, the state's culinary culture is quickly developing so you'll have plenty of options for a trendy meal and a craft beer when you are ready to warm up inside.
Alaska is one of the best places to put on your winter adventure list. From dog mushing (sledding) to Aurora Borealis ... Read more
viewing, Alaska's long and dark winter is filled with exciting adventures.
Recommended Hotel: Hotel Alyeska
6Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

One of California's premier mountain resorts is even more desirable in the winter. Sure, you can participate in the essential sports on the slopes, but venture beyond them, too: pursue snowcats in the mountains on a ... Read more
guided excursion, catch a dog sled race, treat yourself to a mineral spa package, or try your luck at the casinos.
Tahoe is an amazing year-round destination. In the winter/spring, the skiing and snowboarding is world class; in the ... Read more
spring/summer/fall, hiking is popular and the beaches are beautiful spots (the water can be pretty cold though!).
7Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

Escape the cold for a true island getaway: beach, rainforest, and plenty of sunshine await in Puerto Rico. Snorkel the clear waters on 270 miles of coastline, kayak through the bioluminescent bays off Vieques, zipline ... Read more
over jungles, or dance the night away at the nightclubs in San Juan -- you'll completely forget what it feels like to be stuck inside on a snowday.
I've visited many places and all I can say: I want to live here! On this Island you can find beautiful beaches, jungles, ... Read more
tropical forest, waterfalls, deserts and many more.
Recommended Hotel: Hotel El Convento
8Minneapolis

Minneapolis

It may sound like an unusual choice for a winter destination, but up-and-coming Minneapolis isn't afraid of the cold. Head outdoors for some winter fun at the Lake Harriet Winter Kite Festival or the Pond Hockey ... Read more
Championships. There are even opportunities to ski, snowboard, sled, and tube within the city limits. When you are ready to go inside, you can peruse the arts and culture artifacts at the city's many museums. Of course, shopping til you drop at the world-famous Mall of America is a great way to escape the elements, too.
Minneapolis is a cosmopolitan center for art and culture.
9San Diego

San Diego

For some fun in the sun without the island resort price tag, San Diego fits the bill nicely. With its mild climate, sunny days, and intoxicatingly blue skies, it's rare that you'll arrive on a January day and need ... Read more
anything more than a light sweater. Thanks to a phenomenon called Santa Ana (warm, dry air from the western deserts), you'll be able to spend the day with the locals on the beach, then take in downtown's many bars and gastronomical delights at night -- all of this sans parka.
There is nothing like San Diego...the beauty is breath taking; you have to see it to believe it.
Recommended Hotel: The Pearl Hotel
10Dubai

Dubai

Dubai's weather forecast is generally hot, sometimes hotter. Wintertime has the mildest temperatures, which means it's the perfect time to hit the beach. If you want to change things up a bit, there are also tons of ... Read more
cultural activities this time of year, including camel racing, film and music festivals, and even -- because this is Dubai -- a shopping festival.
Great place for a stop over or a short break - sun is guaranteed with superb beaches, hotels, shopping and top class ... Read more
amenities.
Recommended Hotel: Atlantis The Palm
11Denver Metro Area

Denver Metro Area

The Mile High City is gorgeous year-round, but it really sparkles when the snow falls. Join the crowds on the slopes for top-notch skiing and boarding, but be sure to also check out the local national parks, the annual ... Read more
Winter Brew Fest, the MileHigh SnowFest, and rare winter concerts at the iconic Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre.
No matter the season, there is ALWAYS something to see or do...Winter there is snowshoeing, skiing, snowmobiling and hockey.
Recommended Hotel: Hotel Boulderado
12Austria

Austria

Home of 800 ski resorts, including the infamous Saalbach, St. Anton, and Sölden, Austria's most popular winter sport is a given. But beyond the snow shoes and ski boots, the winter months bring a myriad of magical ... Read more
activities. For instance, you can build an igloo and camp overnight in it, join a traditional toboggan run, or wander through the charming Christmas markets in cities around the country.
Skiing and culture blend blissfully in Austria. Soundtracks of Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss are infused deep into the veins ... Read more
of Austrian capital, Vienna, where heavenly architecture of carved cherubs, flamboyant figureheads and dramatic domes threads through in dramatic fashion.
Recommended Hotel: Hollmann Beletage
13Sapporo

Sapporo

Sapporo is home to Japan's most sought-after festival: Sapporo Yuki Matsuri (snow fest). For 65 years now, teams have arrived from all over the globe to carve intricate sculptures out of ice -- and not just for display. ... Read more
Stages for musical acts, slides for kids, and even adventure mazes are all made out of ice, while beer and exceptional Japanese cuisine abound.
Sapporo is most known for its beer and awesome anual snow festival. When I went for the ice festival I carved a mug out of ... Read more
ice and drank Pepsi from it, ate endless bowls of delectable ramen, and sat spas surrounded by snow.
14Whistler

Whistler

Endless miles of rugged terrain await in Whistler, Canada's favorite winter getaway. Explore snowy backcountry on foot or from a gondola (or a helicopter!), go tubing or sledding, zipline across daunting canyons. Later, ... Read more
check out the local village life for the arts and culture scene, as well as hearty beers to keep you warm through the night.
Whistler has great runs, a pretty vibrant apres ski scene, plenty to do if you're tired of the slopes.
15Chamonix

Chamonix

Chamonix is France's premiere snow sports capital, with endless opportunities to check out that powder. There's top-notch skiing, sledding, snow-shoeing, and snowboarding, but also paragliding, mountaineering, ice ... Read more
climbing, dog sledding, and speed riding. Pick your thrill; the choice is yours.
Chamonix is a great city for winter sports, mountain climbing, cycling, hiking, geogeous place with a viewing to the ... Read more
Mont-Blanc.
Recommended Hotel: Le Hameau Albert 1er
16Finland

Finland

There's plenty to do in Finland during the winter, since winter lasts half a year in this gorgeous corner of Scandinavia. Skiing and sledding are top notch from February through May, and little snow in Helsinki means the ... Read more
exciting city life is virtually uninterrupted. But venture out into the rugged backhills of the country, too, for a snowmobile safari, ice-fishing, or a tour across a frosty, breathtaking fjord.
Upon landing in Finland for the first time, I was struck by all the greenery I saw from the plane.
Recommended Hotel: Klaus K Hotel
17Leavenworth

Leavenworth

Leavenworth embraces Christmas like the Whos in Dr. Seuss' famous book. Wander through the stunning displays of lights (on foot or in a horse-drawn sleigh), or be there at the end of November for their Bavarian-esque ... Read more
Christmas market, complete with beer, lantern decorating, and St. Nicholas himself. In January, they channel Bavaria again with an annual ice festival, where ice sculptures and tandem-snowboard competitions are just the beginning.
The town is beautiful in the summer but even more spectacular in the winter time when the Christmas lights are up!
18Cape Town

Cape Town

For a breath of warm air, jet off to the tip of South Africa -- where summer is in full swing. Tour award-winning vineyards for unique South African wine, visit the penguins, lay around on a beach all day, and check out ... Read more
the many festivals and carnivals that go on in the place many call the most beautiful city in the world.
Surf the two oceans, explore the beaches, see the penguins, take in the history. And the wine nearby!
Recommended Hotel: Cape Grace
19Montreal

Montreal

Subzero temperatures? No problem! Montreal is a winter wonderland, blending European and Nordic charm. You can partake in snow sports right within the city, and winter is prime festival season. Plus, the lack of crowds ... Read more
makes it a perfect time to hit the slopes on Mont-Royal, or cozy up in a street cafe with a steaming cup of coffee.
I visited this city by the end the Canadian winter and it was still amazing. When I heard it was the combination of Paris and ... Read more
New York they were not kidding.
Recommended Hotel: Hotel Le St-James
20Jackson

Jackson

World-class skiing at Jackson Hole, snow-shoe trekking, and a national elk refuge (no, really) make Jackson a hit for winter travel. Soak in the Old West feel of the town, complete with boardwalks and antique shops, or ... Read more
pay a visit to the Grand Teton National Park for some incredible snow-capped scenery.
I imagine that most people visit Jackson to ski or to explore the surrounding wilderness that includes the incredible Grand ... Read more
Teton National Park.
Recommended Hotel: The White Buffalo Club

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