Collected by Kirsten Alana , AFAR Local Expert
You can look at winter as being cold and gray, or you can look on the bright side and travel to the places where winter is a wonderland of twinkling lights, handcrafted goods, snow-covered chalets and where après-ski is de rigueur.
Moosstrasse 40, 3920 Zermatt, Switzerland
The sharp peak of the Matterhorn provides visual drama to the backdrop of Hotel Matthiol, which is nestled among evergreens on the periphery of Zermatt, Switzerland. The stone-and-timber exterior evokes storybook Alpine chalets; inside, select...
7700 Stein Way, Park City, UT 84060, USA
This chalet-style lodge takes its name from legendary Norwegian skier Stein Eriksen, the 1952 Olympic giant slalom gold medalist and 1954 World Cup champion. When he agreed to help develop this ski-in, ski-out spot in the 1980s, he drew from his...
Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
Near the base of the landmark Rialto Bridge, the historic Rialto Market is well worth a wander. Seek it out in the early morning when it provides an authentic local experience (and awesome social-media ops), with fishmongers hawking their fresh...
Marienplatz 1, 80331 München, Germany
2961 Kinderdijk, Netherlands
When waterways in the Netherlands freeze into glittering paths, overjoyed residents take to the ice. Visitors can buy or rent a pair of noren (traditional long-blade skates) to glide across town or take part in one of the country’s dozens of...
Gornergrat, 3920 Zermatt, Switzerland
A trip up to the Gornergrat provides the best view of the Matterhorn without ripping a huge hole in your wallet. For less than 10 Francs, we were able to ride the lift up to Gornergrat and see one of the most spectacular views. At the top there is...
Marble Canyon, AZ 86036, USA
Bordered on the south by its eponymous deep-red cliffs, the national monument is home to broad plateaus, endangered California condors, and some of the oldest petroglyphs in the United States. But the area’s greatest hit is the Wave, a dramatic,...
Japan, 〒381-0401 長野県下高井郡山ノ内町平穏６８４５
I left tropical Southeast Asia for Japan in the dead of winter for one reason - to see snow monkeys. I'd always seen pictures like the one above, of zen macaques in steaming hot springs surrounded by snow, and had no idea how accessible they were...
Nauthólsvegur, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
On a trip to the amazing Iceland this January, my husband and I ended our first day at the small seaside town of Eyrarbakki. I wasn't prepared for how beautiful the Icelandic coast would be. The sun started its slow descent right around 4:45 each...
675 Lionshead Pl, Vail, CO 81657, USA
We all have a mental image of upscale European alpine villages from countless spy movies and Vogue fashion shoots. There’s the little café with etched glass and women sipping Alsace with perfect hair and puffy parkas. The men are capable sorts,...
Bahnhofpl. 1, 7000 Chur, Switzerland
I didn’t even realize that the Bernina Express scenic train journey was on the UNESCO World Heritage list until I arrived at the small northern Italian town of Tirano to start the trip. There are several different routes from which travelers may...
1000 Arlberg Ave, Girdwood, AK 99587, USA
This 304-room hotel at Alaska’s biggest ski resort partners with Chugach Powder Guides to offer helicopter and snowcat excursions deep in the Chugach backcountry. Snowcat packages from $1,236. (800) 880-3880. This appeared in the November/December...
“We wanted to go to Yosemite, but didn’t have time.” I’ve heard this refrain from several San Francisco visitors and they all have said it with regret. Yes, the reverent national park is outside of a short-drive comfort zone – it’s more of a...
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