We are right in the middle of the enchanting winters! This is that time of the year when most countries in the Northern Hemisphere are covered in a blanket of snow and are cast with the crisp winter chill. Winters are also truly special owing to Christmas and New Year’s Eve, two of the most prominent festivals celebrated across the planet. This year, instead of visiting the mainstream winter destinations, opt for offbeat alternatives. Rest assured, you will avoid the crowds, and will get plenty of snow, quaint cafes and almost the entire town to yourself!
Check out these 11 amazing offbeat winter destinations to visit in 2020!
1. Tromsø, Norway
One of the best winter destinations in Europe, the Norwegian city of Tromso is stylish, contemporary and full of fun. This is the city known for its brilliant display of natural phenomenon like the famed Northern Lights and Midnight Sun. Contemporary architecture, the trendiest of restaurants and nightclubs, plenty of internationally acclaimed events, and exciting activities combine to make Tromso one of the most exciting and offbeat winter destinations.
2. Novi Sad, Serbia
The second largest city of Serbia, Novi Sad winters are all about the Novi Sad Winter Fest which is a combination of Christmas shopping, joy, festivities and live musical performances. One of the best experiences to have during the winters in Novi Sad is to sip on some hot chocolate or coffee while taking a stroll around the architecturally marvelous old centre of the city.
3. Reykjavik, Iceland
The northernmost capital of Europe, Reykjavik is a chic, trendy, and exciting winter destination. Reykjavik is all about vibrant, creative energy, hottest parties, modern-day designs, molecular gastronomy, and interactive museums documenting the Viking history and culture of the region. Step out of the capital, and you will be greeted by terrific volcanic landscapes, majestic waterfalls, ice glaciers and caves, hot pools and vast stretches of wilderness that resemble a land from a fantasy fiction.
4. Belfast, Northern Ireland
Belfast bustles with new found energy and creative spirit. Today, the city is seeing a resurgence of ritzy hotels and restaurants, all adhering to a resurgent Irish spirit. Belfast’s Titanic Centre documents the city’s maritime history and the ill-fated journey of RMS Titanic. The city now has a refurbished waterfront, a sophisticated contemporary art and culture scene, delightful restaurants and pubs, and of course, the typical Irish charm!
5. Gothenburg, Sweden
Often overlooked by Stockholm, Gothenburg is now gaining prominence as a tourist destination. It’s a city of beautiful landscapes comprising of an archipelago of 20 islands, stunning nature parks, year-long events pertaining to music, art, films and performing arts, and a rich culture. Gothenburg also stands on its own for its delicious array of seafood, amazing cafes and restaurants, fashion boutiques and plenty of creative vibes.
6. Lapland, Finland
The home of Santa Claus, Lapland is a fascinating destination shaped by vast acres of wilderness, arctic forests, sensational natural phenomenon like Northern Lights and Midnight Sun, and the native Sami people. This is a land where you can enjoy thrilling activities like camping, dog sledging, and skiing amongst several other adventures, to your heart’s content. To keep your vacation interesting, Rovaniemi, the prime hub of the region, offers delicious Lappish food, forest huts stays, interesting architecture, and Finnish saunas.
7. Rothenberg, Germany
Rothenberg is a scenic German romantic town celebrated for its well-preserved medieval centre. Rothenberg lies halfway between Frankfurt and Munich in the famed Bavaria region of Germany. The town has a picturesque Market Square with a charming Town Hall Tower, an interesting food market and a fairy-tale-like Christmas setting!
READ MORE: 5 exciting things to do in Germany
8. Tallinn, Estonia
Tallinn, the timelessly charming capital of Estonia, just had to make it to the list! Untouched by the hands of tourism, this city with its cobblestone alleys, warm cafes, historic fortifications, vibrant buildings and friendly locals is waiting to be explored. The best part about Tallinn during the winters is its magical Christmas Market which can be enjoyed from November till the first week of January.
9. Cumbria, England
A fabled land that has captivated the likes of William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Arthur Ransome and Beatrix Potter, this is certainly a great destination to visit this winter vacation. Cumbria is the region which incorporates the Lake District, the Eden Valley, the North Pennines, the Furness Peninsula, and part of the Yorkshire Dales. The region is blessed with pristine lakes, mountains, a charming English countryside, and villages with cosy homestays and alluring towns like Keswick and Windermere.
READ MORE: 10 amazing reasons to visit England
10. Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
For cheap winter destinations, look no further than Japan (1 AED = approx. 29 yen)! Did you know that the area to receive the heaviest snow fall in Japan is the beautiful island of Hokkaido? In fact, the island’s largest city, Sapporo, hosts the annual Sapporo Snow Festival which is as eccentric and as intriguing as the country itself. For over 7 days in the month of February, Sapporo turns into a surreal winter wonderland with gigantic snow statues and elaborate ice sculptures dotting its skyline. Now this is as offbeat a winter destination as can be!
READ MORE: Witness the awesome Japan autumn season
11. Positano, Italy
Positano is one of the most photographed towns of Italy’s Amalfi Coast. This picturesque town is blessed with sun-drenched beaches, colourful houses, steep streets, charming restaurants and cafes, and plenty of stylish, fashion boutiques. A true travelers’ delight, Positano is certainly among the top offbeat winter destinations of 2020.
READ MORE: 13 reasons to visit Italy