Winter Wonderland: Must-Visit Cold-Weather Travel Destinations
If you’re ready to embrace the snowy climes, these locales channel that winter-magic vibe. Whether sipping hot cocoa mountainside, hitting the slopes, or just soaking in the yuletide spirit, our Scouted experts deliver dreamy destinations. Just don’t forget to pack your scarf and mittens. To find a Scouted travel expert, consult The Scout Guide Directory.
St. Moritz, Switzerland
“Endless slopes, scenic train rides, Christmas markets and fondue—Switzerland is easily one of the most beautiful destinations year round, but it really sparkles in the winter. If you have a taste for the finer things, St. Moritz is often described as ritzy, glamorous and vibrant. A must for luxury accommodations and skiing, the tiny town of St. Moritz is home to multiple Michelin Star restaurants, luxury shopping, and of course, access to endless ski terrain. Badrutt’s Palace is my top choice of resort in the area. It feels like you have stepped into a winter fairytale with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and frozen lakes. With three separate mountains easily accessible from town, you could ski for days without repeating your runs. Riding the rails on the Glacier Express is an amazing way to not only travel through Switzerland, but to do so while enjoying luxurious comfort, dining, and stunning scenery. The eight-hour train ride only covers a mere 180 miles, but the leisurely pace allows you to take in the scenery as you wind through the Swiss Alps. I always recommend travelers book an Excellence Class seat. This level above First Class guarantees a window seat, access to their private Glacier Bar, and offers a five-course lunch with wine pairing. With Christmas Markets sprinkled all over Switzerland you can easily plan a visit during the month of December to soak in the holiday spirit with mulled wine, Christmas music, twinkling lights, and of course, endless stalls with handmade crafts. Some of our favorite markets are located in Basel, Bern, and Lucerne.” – Kristen Carr, owner and travel advisor at Ever East Travel in Orlando, Florida.
“One of the blingiest ski towns in the world, St. Mortiz has long been a playground for the rich and famous, but it is also credited as being one of the originals. A snow-sports wonderland with 44 lifts and access to 67 runs, it offers plenty for a wide demographic. Carlton Hotel St. Moritz is a charming and boutique style hotel with just 60 suites. During the winter, a celebrated ritual is Fondue in a Gondola with breathtaking views of Lake St. Moritz served on the terrace. Another great lodging option is Kulm Hotel, a modern and stylish space with mountain view rooms and a five-minute walk to the funicular, which leads to the Corviglia ski area. If you are traveling with children, they offer free ski and snowboard group lessons for children ages 3 to 12. Beyond skiing, St. Moritz has a great selection of high-end boutiques, hotel terrace bars, restaurants, cafés, and tea rooms. Other recommended activities include visiting the St. Moritz Design Gallery, taking the Corviglia Funicular up to Piz Nair for pastoral views of the valley, and visiting the Segantini Museum and Alpine Cheese Dairy Morteratsch. Après ski begins on the slopes;, Check out the Alpina Hutte at the mid-altitude Corviglia lifts junction above St Moritz, offering a lively atmosphere from early afternoon onwards.” – Mandy McKaskle, founder and luxury travel advisor of Creosote Journeys in Tucson, Arizona.
Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
“For the ultimate experience in breathtaking winter beauty, there’s perhaps no better place in the Northeast than Mount Washington in New Hampshire. The Omni Mount Washington Resort, oozing in historic charm and stunning views, is the perfect base for a winter getaway. Skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts will be spoiled for choice of slopes in the Bretton Woods Ski Area, while the nearby Great Glen Trails provide exceptional cross-country skiing. For a thrilling adventure, a guided ice climbing expedition with the International Mountain Climbing School is a must. Back at the Omni Mount Washington Resort, it’s essential to warm up from the day’s icy activities with a hearty dinner at Stickney’s Restaurant, followed by a drink in The Cave, a cozy prohibition-era speakeasy. For a break from the slopes, make time to explore North Conway, a quaint village bursting with shops, including the 70 store strong Settlers Green Outlet Village.” – Jordan Tabor, agency owner and travel advisor at Simply Sensational Travel in Kernersville, North Carolina.
Salzburg & Vienna, Austria
“A visit to the enchanting Christmas Markets in Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna is a dream winter trip for many. I always suggest taking a snowy hike to a few of the smaller, more intimate Christmas markets outside of the bustling urban centers while you’re there. Learning the art of baking Austrian Christmas cookies with a ‘granny’ at Vollpension is a heartwarming experience that’s part of a Vienna-based social project aimed at assisting low-income seniors in finding employment while fostering intergenerational connections. For accommodations, the newly opened Rosewood Munich is an excellent option close to it all.” – Kaleigh Kirkpatrick, founder of The Shameless Tourist in Fort Worth, Texas.
Park City, Utah
“I may be biased having family from Park City and growing up visiting there, but it truly is the perfect winter wonderland destination. A quick drive from Salt Lake City International Airport, it’s a short commute compared to other mountain destinations that can take hours to reach after a flight. With two world class resorts, Montage Deer Valley and Park City Mountain, just a few miles from one another, the slope options are endless. Deer Valley caters to skiers only and houses some of our favorite properties in the area. Snowmobiling, ice skating, tubing, and sleigh rides are just a few of the many winter activities offered in and around Park City in addition to skiing and snowboarding. A personal favorite for our thrill seeking clients has been bobsledding on the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games Sliding Track. When you’re ready to warm up, venture to Park City’s Main Street which is just a quick five minute ride down the road. Spend the afternoon popping into luxury shops and art galleries, followed by dinner at our favorite spot, Riverhorse. Whether you are looking to enjoy a bottle of Veuve at the Apres Lounge slopeside, ski the Mayflower Bowl, or enjoy a relaxing day at the spa, Park City really has it all!” – Kristen Carr, owner and travel advisor at Ever East Travel in Orlando, Florida.
“Park City and Deer Valley are perennial favorites with a wide variety of accommodations, and an abundance of outdoor activities for all ages and levels, including skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, dog sledding, hot air ballooning, snow biking, fly fishing, and horseback riding. For those looking to hit the slopes daily, the new Pendry Park City, is a ski in/ski out option in Canyons Village with multi-bedroom suites and residences and a rooftop pool with an après ski vibe. Bonus: they offer extensive children’s amenities including a kids’ club. The St. Regis Deer Valley is another fabulous option, located right next to the entrance of Deer Valley Resort. If you’re not necessarily going to hit the slopes, the Lodge at Blue Sky offers a more private, luxury escape. Historic Park City has been a shopping district since the 1800s, when merchants began catering to the town’s founding miners. It has over 70 retail stores (many in historic buildings), art galleries, specialty shops, and food and beverage options. If you want to dine at local hot sports Yuki Yama or Midway Mercantile, be sure to make a reservation in advance. Can’t miss boutiques include Olive + Tweed, Grace Clothiers, and Cake Boutique.” – Mandy McKaskle, founder and luxury travel advisor of Creosote Journeys in Tucson, Arizona.
“Aspen is a charming town, a snowy paradise where travelers can immerse themselves in a trove of winter activities. From thrilling downhill skiing and tubing to the unique experience of snowshoeing to the renowned Pine Creek Cookhouse (only accessible by foot or horse-drawn sled during winter), there’s no shortage of outdoor adventures. Beyond the outdoor fun, Aspen boasts some of the finest shopping options you’ll find in any mountain town, along with world-class dining experiences that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. Be sure to check out Betula, which is a favorite among locals and travelers alike. Additionally, the array of accommodations is impressive. I love to stay at The Little Nell, which is nestled at the base of Aspen Mountain, and offers exclusive mountain perks and the opportunity for its guests to be among the first to hit the slopes, thanks to its wonderful location.” – Kaleigh Kirkpatrick, founder of The Shameless Tourist in Fort Worth, Texas.
San Cassiano, Italy
“Europe certainly abounds with winter wonderlands, but there’s something particularly special about the Dolomites, a mountain range in northeastern Italy. With snow-covered peaks and enchanting alpine villages, this region transforms into a magical playground for serious winter enthusiasts. Hotel Fanes, nestled among the mountains in the picturesque village of San Cassiano, offers plush luxury accommodations that will please even the most discerning guests. Visitors wishing to arrive at this alpine paradise in style need look no further than the hotel’s helipad. Beyond the hotel, skiers and snowboarders can revel in the world-class slopes of Val Gardena, while cross-country skiers can explore Alta Badia’s extensive trails. More winter fun awaits for those who join guided snowshoeing expeditions or ice climbing excursions with Dolomite Mountains, an outdoor adventure company based right in San Cassiano. After a day of snowy adventure, the village offers plenty of excellent dining options, including Mumant, a family run establishment that excels in the art of regional seasonal fare.” – Catherine Eick, travel advisor at Simply Sensational Travel in Kernersville, North Carolina.
The Shameless Tourist appears in The Scout Guide Fort Worth. Creosote Journeys appears in The Scout Guide Tucson & Southern Arizona. Ever East Travel appears in The Scout Guide Orlando. Simply Sensational Travel appears in The Scout Guide Triad.