Does the snow have you reaching for your Christmas jumper, stirring the mulled wine and pretending you’re in a chic alpine lodge in the Alps? Wham’s Last Christmas video springs to mind. Or is it making you dream of hotter climes? Now I’m thinking of Wham’s Club Tropicana video – sorry can’t help myself. Either way, to celebrate the launch of ACHICA Travel with award-winning travel and holiday specialist Original Travel, I asked the experts to offer some inspiration to take us away, just for today, with the top 5 winter destinations. Enjoy…
Enjoy dog-sledding in Swedish Lapland
Leave the UK in the morning and that afternoon you can be driving your own team of eager Siberian huskies through the forests of Swedish Lapland. Stay overnight in private wilderness cabins and – even better – a night at the nearby Ice Hotel. This is the original version and, in our humble opinion, still the best. As all flights route via Stockholm, this is also the ideal opportunity to stay a couple of days in the Swedish capital at a time of year when it looks incredibly beautiful. January to April. (Above)
Get away to Guatemala & Belize
Might not be on everyone’s holiday wish list, but trust us, they should be. Guatemala is one of the most unusual, visually impactful and rewarding destinations on the planet, and highlights include the wonderful colonial city of Antigua, the awesome Mayan ruins at Tikal and the archetypal bustling market at Chichicastenango. Across the border, Belize is a tiny and horizontally laid back Caribbean gem, with lovely hotels and excellent diving. (Below)
Go skiing in The Dolomites
The Dolomiti Superski area comprises some 800 miles of slopes, including the Marmolada glacier, creating a network that rivals the Trois Vallées in France. Beneath the sheer faces of the Dolomite mountain range, the immaculate Hotel Rosa Alpina is located in the small village of San Cassiano. The hotel is owned and managed by the Pizzinini family and has the warm atmosphere of a chic alpine lodge, with log fires and décor based on natural materials such as wood and linen. There are a variety of rooms and suites, no two alike – except that all are furnished with the same attention to detail. Add in a Michelin starred restaurant and this is the perfect mountain retreat. January to April. (Below)
Take in the stunning views in Oman
Just 6.5 hours flight away and a perfect place to soak up a bit of winter sun. There are several excellent beachfront hotels in and around the capital, Muscat, but also plenty of opportunities to explore this seriously picturesque country. Forget the bland scrubby desert of neighbouring Dubai – this is all about soaring mountains along the coast, and seas of enormous sand dunes in the evocatively named Empty Quarter. (Below)
Go wine tasting in South Africa
Cape Town in South Africa is stunning, but for oenophiles, the only place to hang out is the appropriately named Winelands around Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. The scenery is gorgeous, the wines delectable, and there are a whole host of new boutique hotels to roll back to after wine tastings or a delicious dinner. Of the newbies we particularly love Babylonstoren, a completely renovated Cape Dutch manor house, and Hawksmoor, an ever so slightly ramshackle farmhouse hotel, which oozes homey charm. January to March is a glorious time to be in SA.
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