Winter multi activity vacations

For those who suspect that a winter break doesn’t have to involve strapping on skis and hurtling down a mountainside, multi activity vacations are just the ticket. As well as offering variety they tend to celebrate the traditional ways of enjoying winter mountain air: cross country skiing and snowshoeing off the tourist trail, husky sledding, taking in the Northern Lights or mountain winter walking with the aid of crampons. And then there’s relaxing with roaring fires, steaming saunas and the Northern Lights at night. In other words, a world of magical, frozen fun.

Where to go

Winter multi activity vacations tend to take place around northern Scandinavia, including Lapland, and the French and Austrian Alps – with a couple of spots in the Carpathians, Chile, Canada and the United States too. Lower latitudes offer more hours of daylight in midwinter, but you’ll miss out on the Northern Lights. The far north of Europe – the traditional home of Father Christmas – is better for husky sledding, encountering reindeers and meeting the Sami people – an unforgettable part of any Lapland winter vacation.

The High Tatras in Slovakia, part of the Carpathian Mountains, are an excellent spot for an alternative winter break, as are the mountains of Bjelasica and Durmitor in Montenegro. Or, you could really go for broke and head to Chile for a hardcore mix of climbing and downhill skiing – in the southern hemisphere winter of mid-June to September, of course.

Winter activities

If you think winter vacations are all about skiing then you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Multi activity winter vacations offer a huge range of activities to enjoy, all designed to make the most of the pristine frozen environment.

Northern Lights

The Northern Lights are a big pull for winter adventurers, and countries which lie between the Aurora zone of 65 to 72 degrees latitudes are the best places to see this nightly display. Head to Norway, Swedish and Finnish Lapland, Iceland or Alaska from late November to March, where many winter activity vacation operators have built Northern Lights experiences into their itineraries. If you’re staying in a remote wilderness lodge or a simple hut, then you may only have to walk a few steps view the lights; if you’re in town you might be spirited away to the wilds via sled or snowmobile for the best chances of a viewing.

Husky sledding

Since the Aurora Borealis are a nighttime phenomena, they leave plenty of time for daytime activities, and you’ll find plenty to choose from. Husky sledding, for example, puts in a frequent appearance on winter multi activity vacations based in the far north of Europe, and options range from shorter, family friendly affairs to full-on overnight husky safaris complete with a stay in a wilderness cabin.

Meeting the Sámi people

Most winter multi activity itineraries in Lapland will give you the chance spend time with the Sámi people, the original inhabitants of Lapland, who will welcome you to join in their daily lives and share stories of their sustainable, ancient lifestyle. Responsible tour operators will ensure that these experiences are genuine rather than a ‘show’ put on especially for tourists.

Cross country skiing & snowshoeing

If you have always resisted snow vacations because you’re not into downhill skiing or snowboarding, then multi activity winter vacations can introduce you to a quieter alternative – cross country skiing or snowshoeing. There are superb cross country skiing trails in the Austrian Alps, Canada and Scandinavia, while Central Europe’s Carpathian Mountains offer top notch snowshoeing.

Our top trip

Finland Northern Lights vacation, Wilderness Auroras

Finland Northern Lights vacation, Wilderness Auroras

Winter activities & Aurora hunting in Finland

From £1997 to £2444 5 days inc UK flights
Small group travel:
2023: 5 Dec, 19 Dec, 26 Dec
2024: 2 Jan, 9 Jan, 16 Jan, 23 Jan, 6 Feb, 13 Feb, 20 Feb, 27 Feb, 5 Mar, 12 Mar, 19 Mar, 26 Mar
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Multi activity or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Other winter activities

But there’s more --- you could also try ice fishing, snowmobile safaris, plus igloo building, sledging and visiting Santa for the kids; whilst in Iceland you could combine the Aurora Borealis with visiting hot springs, volcanic lagoons and icebergs. Across the Atlantic, the Yukon is the perfect place to spot winter wildlife such as caribou, moose, bison and Arctic fox.


When you finally retire for the night after a busy day’s frozen fun, accommodation on a winter multi activity vacation can be a real treat, ranging from a cosy tree hotel overlooking frozen woods; a log cabin where you can watch the night skies from the comfort of a hot tub; or wilderness huts where you can wrap up warm and listen to the whistling of the wind and snow of the frozen landscapes outside your hut.
Written by Nana Luckham
Photo credits: [Page banner: Pi-Lens] [Cross country skiier: Simon Matzinger]