Top 5 Winter Destinations
| image courtesy of Gray Malin |
Top 5 Winter Destinations

| image courtesy of Steven Tuchiwsky |

Peaceful, serene, quiet, still, puffy white blankets of snow. I know I am dreaming of living in a snow globe for at least part of the upcoming winter season. And being a displaced Canadian living in a decidedly un-snowy part of California, I know that if I want to frolic in the snow and get in the spirit of the season, travel is the way to get my snowy fix. I may romanticize snow during the holiday season now that I live far away from the snow, but the twinkly lights truly do hit different when dusted in a layer of white. It's simply magic.

Us Elsie gals all have a shared wanderlust, and are always chasing the next adventure. We have a shared desire to sit fireside in a snowy locale, enjoying an après-ski-style drink after a day of taking in the majestic wintry fairytale landscapes. 

And while packing for a trip to a winter destination may be a little heavier than our traditional Elsie Green method of traveling with only a carry on, you'll be happy once you reach your winter destination with all of the layers necessary to enjoy your wintery adventures. My mother was famous for telling us that there was no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing, as she bundled us up and shoved us out the door. Right she was, as always. So pack your thick socks, your thermal underwear and your heaviest winter coat, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

  Read on for our top 5 picture-perfect postcard destinations to enjoy winter around the world.

Hallstatt, Austria
Hallstatt Austria Top 5 Winter Destinations

| image courtesy of find us lost |

The icicles dripping from the sides of the pastel colored homes dotting the waters edge, twinkling with the evening light, lend a magical quality that make Hallstatt a winter paradise. Set against the backdrop of Alpine mountains, there are plenty of winter sports and vistas to climb, but there are also many lake view cafes and lakeside hotels with roaring fireplaces and beverages to keep you warm while you take in the awe-inspiring views. For your more adventurous moments, there are winter snowshoe hikes to panoramic vistas and through storied colorful streets. For your more relaxing moments there are thermal baths with Alpine views. Take the iconic funicular up the mountain to get the astounding view you've seen in pictures. Or simply stroll the edge of the icy blue lake and watch the white swans swim. Prepared to be enchanted.

For the best lakeside ambiance, book a stay at historic Grüner Baum.

Lapland, Finland
Top 5 Winter Destinations

| image courtesy of Kakslauttanen |

If you are forever chasing Aurora Borealis, then a visit to the Northern Lights Belt during the winter months may be just what you are after. There is more Aurora activity in Lapland than anywhere else in the Northern Hemisphere. And while watching the lights dance overhead while cozied up in a glass hotel sounds like a winter dream, you can also book tours to see them out of town away from the lights of the town. And speaking of getting out of town, why not go for a sled ride led by actual reindeer. You are in the north pole after all.

With only an average of 3 hours of daylight near the winter solstice, you'll want your accommodations to be as warm and atmospheric as possible. For optimal snuggling, reindeer sighting, and the general feeling of being in a snow globe, your glass igloo will be filled with the warmest bedding for a good nights rest. And to start your day, warming up in one of the many traditional saunas is the perfect Finnish way.

Stay in a glass igloo at Kakslauttanen to view the magic of Aurora Borealis from your cozy bed. Did I mention the aurora alarm if the lights appear?

Banff, Alberta, Canada
Top 5 Winter Destinations

| image courtesy of Fairmont Banff Springs |

If outdoor winter activities are your thing, then you should look no further than Banff, and the Canadian Rockies. Largely regarded as one of the best ski destinations in the world, you can take in the slopes against the backdrop of the jaw-dropping natural scenery. And if lacing up your skates is more your thing, then ice skating on frozen Lake Louise is a must-do. There are a myriad of other winter activities to enjoy, not the least of which is dog-sledding through the jaw-dropping landscapes. Add snowshoeing and cross country skiing and you will have earned your soak in the geo-thermal hot springs. There is not much more serene than floating in the hot springs while snow is falling all around you and onto the surrounding mountains. 

Stay at the Castle of the Rockies, The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, for your very own Hogwarts-esque experience.

Colmar, France
Top 5 Winter Destinations

| image courtesy of thisglamorouslife / photography by Anastasia.Life |

The quaint Alsatian village of Colmar may be slightly busier in the winter months, but for good reason. There are 6 Marché de Noël throughout the old town, and with that brings colors, sounds and a feast for all senses. Stroll the old market stalls while sipping on mulled wine or vin chaud blanc, and sample some crepes and gingerbread as you check off some of your holiday shopping. And when you have had your fill, there are alsatian pubs, and even a few Michelin starred restaurants to cleanse your palate. France's fairytale town has canals lined with timbered wood homes that will have you gazing up at in awe. A boat ride up the canals through La Petite Venise will be a nice respite from the crowds, and will offer you a view of the well preserved medieval village you wouldn't get on foot.

Book Hotel Le Marechal for an authentic stay in an old world residence dating back to the 1500's.

Quebec City, Canada

Top 5 Winter Destinations| image courtesy of the Shopkeepers / photography by Victorio Nakata |

There is no denying the old world charm of this 400 year old city at any time of the year, but seeing it dressed up for the holidays and dusted with snow makes it seem like Quebec City is wrapped up like a present. With the prettiest outdoor skating rinks in the city center, to the extraordinarily gorgeous ice paths in the forest, ice skating at night with twinkly lights has never been prettier. There are luge courses, cross country ski paths, snow shoeing in the woods, and even ice fishing in the city center. And to top it off, you can stroll through the oldest city in North America, popping into artisan shops and dining in world class French restaurants within the old walled city under the basking glory of the historic Château Frontenac. You can even do a toboggan run from the front of the hotel during the winter. You'll feel as though you have been transported to Europe, yet it is a uniquely French Canadian experience.

Stay in luxury at the most photographed hotel in the world, Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, or for a chillier stay, book the Hôtel de Glace

Bon Voyage!

Shop Sarah's Cold Weather Essentials:

Jenni Kayne Cashmere Socks

  Read more travel tips and guides from the EG team >

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Sarah Guenter