Top 10 alternative winter activity vacations

Top 10 winter activity vacations


there’s more to winter than downhill skiing

Winter is a fantastic time to explore the outdoors, breathe in some crisp air and burn off some calories – and that doesn’t just mean pelting downhill on a pair of skis. Europe’s magical, snowy landscapes are the setting for a blizzard of alternative winter activity vacations, from husky safaris to snow shoeing explorations. So, pull on your thermals and get out there!

1. Husky safaris


Learn how to handle a team of huskies, before exploring deep into wild, snowy landscapes by dog sled. Stay overnight in a wilderness log cabin or tent, with the chance to spot the Aurora flitting across the sky as you settle the dogs each night.

When to go: December to early April
Our top selling trip: Husky safari in Finland
See all our trips: Husky safari vacations
Read more: Husky safaris travel guide

2. Northern Lights & multi activity vacations


Seeing the Northern Lights rippling across the frozen sky is a bucket-list regular, but multi activity breaks team this nighttime spectacle with wintery fun by day, too. Go snow shoeing, cross country skiing, try a snowmobile safari or winter fishing, meet reindeer herders or flop in the sauna. Then, come evening, raise your eyes to the skies…

When to go: November to March
Our top selling trip: Northern lights wilderness vacation in Finland
See all our trips: Northern Lights vacations and multi activity vacations
Read more: Northern Lights travel guide

3. Cross country skiing




Glide along backcountry paths, through snow-covered forests and past frozen lakes, then push up into open wilderness above the tree line – a cross country skiing break reaches the parts downhill skiing can’t. Instruction is generally included, so anyone can enjoy this unique form of wintery exploration, including complete novices.

When to go: December to March
Our top selling trip: Cross country skiing in Norway
See all our trips: Cross country skiing vacations
Read more: Cross country skiing vacation guide

4. Snow shoeing


Hiking across winter snow is possible, in the right footwear! Snow shoes combined with a set of poles stop you sinking so you can stride out into the frozen landscape, feeling the snow crunch under your feet, to explore silent forests and snowy hillsides that sparkle in the winter sun.

When to go: January to March
Our top selling trip: Snow shoeing vacation in Finland
See all our trips: Snow shoeing vacations
Read more: Snow shoeing vacations travel guide

5. Multi activity vacations


Enjoy winter outdoors without strapping on skis on a vacation serving up a cocktail of activities. Snow shoe through the wintery landscape, drive a team of huskies, climb a frozen waterfall with an ice axe and crampons, sleep in an igloo… This is a fun, fit, flexible break.

When to go: December to mid April
Our top selling trip: Winter activity vacation in the French Alps
See all our trips: Multi activity vacations
Read more: Winter activity travel guide

6. Family breaks




It’s easy to keep an entire family amused on a winter activity break. Older kids relish snow shoeing, dog sledding and cross country skiing, while little ones enjoy a wallow in an outdoor thermal pool, a horse and sleigh ride or a spot of sledging. And who doesn’t love hot chocolate and an open fire?

When to go: December to February
Where to go: Family winter vacation in the High Tatras, Slovakia
See all our trips: Family winter vacations
Read more: Family vacations travel guide

7. Winter combinations


The mountains aren’t just for adrenaline junkies and you don’t need to be part Polar explorer to enjoy a winter activity break. Vacations that feature clever combinations of outdoor pursuits with anytime activities exist. How does kick starting your day with a yoga session, before snow shoeing at the top of a mountain sound?

When to go: December to April
Our top selling trip: Snow shoeing and yoga in Austria
See all our trips: Winter vacations
Read more: Yoga vacations travel guide and Snow shoeing travel guide

8. Ski touring


This unique form of skiing uses skis to travel both uphill and down, as special skins stuck to the bottom of the skis allow you to glide uphill without slipping backwards. Once at the top, the skins are taken off and you ski back down. Think mountaineering meets skiing, with speedier descents than on snow shoes. Most of all, think fun!

When to go: February to March
Our top selling trip: Ski touring course in Austria
See all our trips: Ski touring vacations
Read more: Ski touring travel guide

9. Full on activity




Want an exhilarating downhill rush? You don’t need skis to get it. Try a weekend of bobsledding, beginning on a bob raft and finishing with a taxi bob, when a professional pilot drives you down the course at terrifying speeds. You’ll need to be fit and full of adrenaline. Or just opt for tobogganing instead…

When to go: February
Our top selling trip: A bobsled weekend in Lillehammer, Norway
See all our trips: Winter activity vacations
Read more: Norway travel guide

10. Relaxed winter breaks


Romania’s Carpathian Mountains ooze atmosphere in winter. Thick snow, medieval villages, imposing castles… Escape to a cosy cottage and, if you can drag yourself from the fireside, enjoy snow shoe hikes, wildlife tracking and ice gorges and caves.

When to go: Late October to early April
Our top selling trip: Transylvania winter vacation accommodation in Romania
See all our trips: Relaxed winter break vacations
Read more: Carpathian Mountains travel guide
Photo credits: [Cross country skiing: Günther Sader] [Family: ErmolaevAlexander] [Full on activity - bobsledding: Lake Placid Region]

Written by: Joanna Simmons
Finland winter activity vacation & Northern Lights

Finland winter activity vacation & Northern Lights

Discover this Finnish winter activity wildernerss week

From US $1935 8 Days ex flights
Cross-country skiing vacation in Finland, Russian border

Cross-country skiing vacation in Finland, Russian border

Guided hut-to-hut cross-country skiing vacation in Finland

From 990 7 Days ex flights
Finland Northern Lights vacation, Wilderness Auroras

Finland Northern Lights vacation, Wilderness Auroras

Winter activities & Aurora hunting in the Finnish wilderness

From £1415 5 Days inc UK flights
Northern lights short break, Finland

Northern lights short break, Finland

Leisurely stay in Finnish Lapland & an Aurora alert system

From £1265 5 Days inc UK flights
Husky safari in Finland

Husky safari in Finland

Sled with huskies through spectacular Finnish scenery

From £1865 8 Days inc UK flights
Cross country skiing vacation in the Dolomites, Italy

Cross country skiing vacation in the Dolomites, Italy

A famously beautiful range of jagged peaks

From US $1515 8 Days ex flights
Winter cottage holiday in Finnish Lapland

Winter cottage vacation in Finnish Lapland

Log fires, lakeside trails & a range of winter activities

From £1745 8 Days inc UK flights
Transylvania winter vacation accommodation

Transylvania winter vacation accommodation

B&B in Transylvania

From 49 per person per night
Winter adventure in Finland

Winter adventure in Finland

Experiences which stay with you

From £1795 7 Days inc UK flights
Winter activity vacation in the French Alps

Winter activity vacation in the French Alps

A flexible winter multi activity vacation in the French Alps

From 546 7 Days ex flights
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