Everyday, I am in awe of the near-magical things/events/places that grace our planet, even if I know now that nothing that good comes without a bit of cost. Frostbite be damned, I think the snow makes the outside look grand, but this is especially true in certain unique places.
Are you looking for these winter wonderlands? Here are ten of the most beautiful Backdrop destinations in winter:
1. Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Here, you’ll find one of the world’s most impressive gardens with two galleries, a mini golf court, a restaurant, a cafe and many structures for children to play with. Amstel Park is incredibly serene on winter mornings. As the day progresses, the park pumps up with all kinds of activities, including some for adults as much as they are for children — like tennis competitions.
2. Milan, Italy
The gothic-style architecture of the Duomo di Milano — covered in snow — standing against skies so cloudy and grey that you can taste ice in the air makes the impressive cathedral a perfectly unforgettable winter view. The Christmas decorations at spots like the Duomo are also outstanding but not overwhelming, highlighting the Yuletide spirit even on damp, rainy days during the first few weeks of the season.
3. Yosemite National Park, USA
Hiking and fun in the snow are the adventurer's incentives to visit this destination. However, I learned that the things that would make this park truly magical in the winter for me are how quiet it gets (not just from the smaller crowd but also probably the big snow blankets absorbing all the sound) and the breathtaking views of overflowing waterfalls, especially at sunset.
4. Lapland, Finland
All over what is undoubtedly a majestic landscape, you're invited to experience a natural winter wonderland — dubbed so by visitors themselves. The Wilderness Hotels are a family-owned chain of resorts that make it possible for adventurers to not only brave the arctic wilderness but also enjoy it. The views are a sight to behold, even if you can’t see the aurora for a moment, and they have lots of fun activities lined up for those who must scout such glorious grounds.
5. Tallinn, Estonia
This city is one of the brightest places this time of year, and it's just brimming with inspiration. Then, what happens when queers come here and find a genuinely grand model of industrial architecture? It becomes a hotspot for creatives; it's only fitting that a work of art becomes the place for artists and other works of art. The Fotografiska museum is one of the few places to make you want to spend a little of your snow-filled winter inside.
The land of fire and ice is pretty fantastical on a regular Tuesday, as far as I'm concerned. Yet, it is even more so when there's snow every time and everywhere, and the skies are dark, but you can see volcano/mountain peaks turned white by the flurry. Tales of the Blue Lagoon’s healing waters are a great reminder of the mysticism of Iceland, and reviews say all you need is a minute inside to be enchanted by the view before you.
The country’s large cities cater to those with wanderlust for a snowy winter in different ways. If it's not cold enough for you till your ice cream stays frozen all day, then Munich is just the place for you. On the other hand, I appreciate the cold more because of how good it feels to snuggle up with someone or taste great coffee on a chilly morning. If you can relate, imagine that taste and the view while sitting inside Tucano Coffee.
For the first few weeks of the season, Shirakawa is where you want to be as the city lights up and looks like something out of a fairytale. However, if you can't have your winter holiday till after New Year’s when a lot of the lights are already gone, you can rest easy knowing Tokyo is waiting for you. The days with the most snow in the big Mikan are usually in January and February, so you let it not be heard that you missed out on the best of the season.
Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum
Typically, Kitzbühel sees an influx of tourists every winter for its snow reliability — which is why the city is world-famous among ski lovers and almost every other winter sport/activity in the books. If you're more like me, though, and can only handle exploring with my feet on the ground at all times, then the vast space of Schönbrunn Palace in Wien is said to be quite the trip in winter.
The Quebecois might as well live for the winter, turning the city into a hub of exciting activities and commune; you don't feel the cold as much when you're with someone who makes you feel warm, even if you're lying in the blankets of snow. (At least that's what it looks like in the movies.) If you want a more historical experience — to time travel through the frost, if you will — visit Confederation Square in Ottawa. In February, you can join the shindig at Winterlude after.