Whether your idea of a winter escape is racing down a mountainside on a fresh sheet of powder or swinging from a hammock with a freshly stirred snowball, holidays aren’t the sole remit of summer. Snowboarding boots or sarong, blizzard or barbecue, read on for some freshly fallen notions of the perfect way to escape a humdrum winter.
For adventure: Alpe D’Huez, France
There’s nothing like the classic glamour of a ski resort in the French Alps. The idyllic pasture of Alpe D’Huez is famed as one of the stages of the Tour de France, as well as being one of the world’s largest, best-equipped snowy retreats. Enjoying 300 days of sunshine a year, with a fully southern exposure, these slopes suit all levels of snow bunny, with some of the best nursery slopes in Europe, as well as challenging white-knuckle black runs.
For sun and relaxation: The Caribbean
During its off-season, between April and mid-December, prices for holidays to the Caribbean plummet, while temperatures remain high. With very little annual variation the Caribbean has a favorable climate for an early winter escape, and even during its coldest season, it feels like late spring. Different islands have different micro-climates; try Aruba (where it barely ever rains) to ensure your holiday won’t be a washout. Swoop into Eagle Beach to tick off the guidebook clichés; swinging palms, sunset cruises and turquoise waters, and don’t neglect to fill up on some jerk chicken.
For a winter city break: Budapest
Hungary’s capital, and one of the largest cities in Europe, Budapest is a city of two parts; riven by the majestic Danube. Its old town (Buda) boasts an extensive castle and palace complex in the hilly west of the city, while the flatter, more modern east holds its own wonders. Indulge in a hot chocolate in the most beautiful café in the world (New York Café), or grapple with a cheap pint in one of the city’s quirky ruin bars. Whether on a budget or game for a splurge, Budapest consistently delights its visitors with its beauty and atmosphere, heightened only by the addition of a little wintry sparkle.
Sometimes we all just need to get away, so don’t feel restricted by the seasons; there’s a holiday out there for every time of year. Shop around, do your research, pack appropriately, and you can expect fewer crowds, lower prices and a more fulfilling experience this winter.