Fall has only just arrived, but thanks to Canada's always unpredictable weather, it's already starting to feel like winter. Soon enough, we'll be scraping ice off of our windshields, washing the salt off our boots, and bracing -20 weather — and that's before the windchill.
If a warm getaway sounds appealing right about now, consider swapping out Canada's snow, ice, and sleet for something a bit... well, let's be honest, more enjoyable. Seek the sun in Thailand's western islands, zipline through a canopy of trees in Costa Rica's jungle, or haggle your way through Marrakech's bustling marketplaces. Maybe you'd rather eat your way from Barcelona to Rome while you marvel at the beautiful architecture of the Mediterranean Coast.
Whatever your travel taste, there's something better, warmer, and more pleasant for you out there during these cold and dark winter months. Here are seven beautiful destinations you can travel to for your winter vacation this year!
Why You Need To Go: This is the perfect place to go for a little bit of everything. From Chiang Mai to Phuket, to the lesser-known places of Koh Tao and Koh Lanta, Thailand is a country of wonder and surprise. From elephant sanctuaries and cooking classes in the North to island hopping in the West, there's almost too much to do here! If you only have a couple of weeks to spare, consider booking with an 18-35's adventure company to ensure you see everything the Land of Smiles has to offer. Contiki offers a whopping 16 different trips to fit every budget and taste, bringing you an excursion that's packed with authentic, unique, and utterly unforgettable adventures.
Why You Need To Go: OK, so this destination may not be a warm winter escape, but it’s definitely a hot-spot travel destination. There’s no place quite as magical as Iceland, and winter is the perfect time to visit. Marvel at the colourful Northern Lights, relax in the Blue Lagoon, take a trip to see erupting geysers and cascading waterfalls through the Golden Circle, and take in Iceland's stunning landscapes on a local horseback ride.
Why You Need To Go: Costa Rica is the perfect combo of warm beach weather and amazing activities that will help you tackle that bucket list. Snorkel, zipline, and even horseback ride your way across lush landscapes. A trip to Costa Rica is filled with active excursions like volcano hiking, canyoneering, and ziplining. When you're done your activities for the day, head to the beach or hot springs to unwind, relax, and take in Costa Rica's stunning natural beauty.
Why You Need To Go: If you’re less of a beach bum and more into winter wonderlands, experience winter properly in a real-life Austrian snow globe. Get access to one of the largest ski fields in the world, the Tyrol region, and visit Christmas markets in Vienna and Innsbruck. Want to travel more of Europe at the same time? Contiki's Eastern Rocker will take you through London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Dover, Calais, Belgium, Edam, Dresden, and more. You'll visit seven countries in eight days, passing by windmill lands, gothic spires, and some of the best cities on the European map.
Why You Need To Go: The Mediterranean has the perfect combo of warmer weather and European food and culture, which makes it a no-brainer in the cooler months. Eat your way from Barcelona to Rome with Contiki's Mediterranean Quest, where you'll marvel at beautiful architecture, learn how to cook Mediterranean food, drink wine, and spend days chilling along the coast.
Spain, Morocco, and Portugal
Why You Need To Go: Turn your two-week vacation into an incredible 14-day journey through two continents under the Iberian sun. Travel through this trio of exotic countries as you walk through medinas and mosques, cathedrals and kasbahs. Spot monkeys in Gibraltar, ride a 4x4 through the Agafay Desert, and shop in Marrakech's bustling marketplaces, all while devouring pastel de nata, gelado, tapas, and tagine!
Why You Need To Go: Head to Amsterdam for Christmas or New Year (or both!) for some real European magic. Foodies will appreciate the coffee shops and fine cuisine; art lovers can visit the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum; partiers will revel in the city's endless nightlife; and everyone can enjoy Amsterdam's canals, beautiful houses, shopping, and bike rides.