Most people like to escape the winter when travelling (I’m guilty of this as well), but there are so many beautiful winter destinations to discover! From the snow peaked mountains, to the gorgeous scenery, to drinking mulled wine and hiding out in comfy clothes in front of a fireplace, it is definitely worth a trip to experience it! Whether you snowboard, ski, ice fish or hide out in the warmth like me, there are plenty of winter activities to enjoy.
I’ve met many people who have never seen the snow in their lives and I’ve urged them to plan a trip somewhere soon. Many thought I was crazy in suggesting they leave the warmth of their home countries, but the true winter season is definitely an experience. It may be cold (and your face may hurt!) but the beauty of nature in the winter will make you smile. Let me take you through some of my top winter destinations that I’ve visited over the years.
It’s no secret that Alberta has beautiful scenery year round! From the gorgeous Rocky Mountains, to the turquoise lakes, it is definitely a picturesque and popular travel destination in Canada. Not to mention, it is fairly cheap in Alberta for accommodations, food, travel, etc.
Jasper National Park
The drive to Jasper is absolutely dreamy. The mountains line both sides of the road, wildlife roams through the fields, and the snow covers the trees just right!
Like Banff, Jasper is a very popular destination in all seasons. The little town in Jasper National Park is really cute, with lots of shops, restaurants, and breweries. You can eat lunch with stunning views of the mountains while breaking from skiing or snowboarding all day! Jasper is said to be one of the best ski towns in North America, and it sure does not disappoint!
You are bound to see wildlife roaming around the town, like elk, bighorn sheep, deer, and possibly moose! I recommend stopping by Jasper Brewhouse to eat and try out some of the beers brewed on site. The food is really good, and the flights of beer are worth writing home about.
Of course, another gorgeous park to visit is Banff National Park, located only a few hours from Jasper National Park. When travelling to Alberta, definitely check out both these parks as they are absolutely breathtaking!
Being born and raised in Southern Ontario, I’ve come to love the scenery and activities during the winter. From the outdoor skating trails, to cottage country, and the snow-covered Great Lakes, it is my second favourite province I’ve travelled around for winter destinations.
If you find yourself around Toronto during the winter, be prepared for unpredictable, chaotic weather. One day it may reach -20 with a snowstorm, the next day may be +5 and rainy. This of course makes it really hard to plan how to pack when visiting! But, weather aside, there are plenty of fun winter activities around the city.
One of my favourite things to do in Toronto in the winter is skating. There are many free outdoor rinks around the city, my favourites being Nathan Phillips Square and the Bentway. Both offer skating rentals and options for food and drink.
Many museums and various establishments host winter events like light shows, DJ skate nights, Christmas Festivals, and so much more! There’s events every night around Toronto, and bound to be something you are interested in.
Canada’s capital, Ottawa, is a gorgeous city to visit during any season. I enjoy the city in the winter because the snow-covered Parliament Buildings, cobble-stoned streets, and trees are gorgeous.
Aside from Parliament, one of the highlights during winter is skating down the Rideau Canal. The skate trail is about 8km long, and is lined with various skate rental places, snack shacks, and change stations. Some locals even use the canal as a means of transportation, skating from one destination to another!
As with Toronto, establishments in Ottawa host many events, including Canada’s annual celebration of winter, Winterlude. Winterlude events include an ice carving competition, huge slow slides, and giant ice sculptures.
Located further North than Ontario, you can bet on the weather falling below Ontario temperatures, and much more consistently as well! If you can invest in some good winter wear, however, I highly recommend visiting Quebec! If you are visiting Ottawa, the Quebec border is right on the city limits, so it is easy to pack both destinations into one trip.
Probably the most popular destination for people living in Ontario is Montreal. The city itself is known for it’s nightlife, with some bars and clubs open until 4 am. The city hosts many events, such as a world famous electronic music event, Igloofest and amazing light-up shows and performances during Nuit Blanche.
A short drive from Montreal is arguably the best Ski Resort in Ontario and Quebec combined. It is located within the Laurentian Mountains, along side a gorgeous lake. There are so many activities aside from skiing and snowboarding, including dogsledding, sleigh rides, tubing, ice climbing, ice fishing, and so much more.
My favourite part about Tremblant is the village filled with many shops, the gorgeous chateaus, and the SPAS. A quick drive away from the ski resort is a wonderful Scandinavian Spa, where you rotate relaxing in hot water, warm water, and either cold water or JUMPING INTO THE FREEZING COLD RIVER.
Switzerland is definitely one of my top 5 places that I have been to. From the beautiful mountains to the cute towns, it is definitely a country everyone should visit.
One of the highlights of my Switzerland trip was taking a train to the highest rail station in Europe, Jungfraujoch. At the top, the views were mesmerizing. It was definitely the most memorable view I’ve ever seen. At the top, there are various shops, mini museums, tubing, snowboarding, ice sculptures, and much more! Albeit quite expensive, I highly recommend visiting Switzerland sometime in your life!
Thinking of adventuring to a winter destination? Here’s my favourite mulled wine recipe, best enjoyed inside during a snowstorm!
How do you spend your winter months? Let me know in the comments!