Winter holidays to cooler countries

Although many people say that they are unhappy in the colder weather, colder countries are often home to the happiest people. The 2013 World Happiness report has revealed that the happiest places in the world this year include Norway, Sweden and Canada.

If you want to visit a happy place, or just fancy travelling to sub-zero temperatures, here are some of the best places to head for:

-40°C – Norway

In winter, much of Norway is transformed into a snow-clad paradise. The lower inland areas, both in the southern and northern parts of Norway, can have very low temperatures in winter, sometimes reaching below -40°C but the coastal areas have comparatively mild winters.

Amongst a stunning snowy backdrop, Norway in December also offers the opportunity to try and see the magnificent Northern Lights.

Unsurprisingly, in January and February many of the big events on offer relate to ice. The ice climbing festival gives visitors the opportunity to climb a frozen waterfall while the ice music festival features both a stage and instruments carved out of ice and snow.

Have a look here for more information about Norway.

-10°C – Russia

With temperatures as low as -10°C in January, it is probably worth investing in a ushanka, a snuggly Russian hat with earflaps, to keep you snug while witnessing the majesty, beauty and culture of Russia.

In the capital Moscow, it’s hard not to be blown away by the sheer beauty of Red Square or the imperial treasures in the Kremlin, while St Petersburg, a beautiful city bisected by romantic canals is full of intriguing sights and surprising opulence, including stunning palaces.

Wintertime sees horse-drawn sleighs and folklore performances, partnered with hearty bowls of delicious borscht a traditional beetroot soup, and warming Russian vodka.

Read more about Russia’s top locations here.

-1°C – Sweden

In Stockholm, Christmas temperatures average around -1°C, with snow adorning the city’s spectacular landscape. During the day temperatures reach the dizzy heights of around 1°C, whereas at night temperatures drop down to -3°C, but be warned: during the shortest days of the year, the sun shines for just two hours.

Sweden’s capital is built on 14 islands connected by 57 bridges and is experiencing a culinary boom. Gamla Stan is Stockholm’s oldest attraction and one of the best preserved medieval city centres in the world. Walk through small winding streets, lined with stores full of handicrafts, antiques, art galleries and cafés.

Find out more here.

-10°C – Alaska

The American subarctic has loads of attractions for winter lovers, thanks to an unruffled small-town ambiance and a large variety of winter sports on offer such as skiing, skating, ice hockey, ice fishing, or even dogsledding.

In the winter, Alaska’s dog teams take the spotlight in epic events like the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, while sprint teams jet at faster speeds and shorter distances through urban areas.

Glacier viewing and trekking offer the chance to see Alaska’s gallery of glaciers alongside opportunities to see whales, puffins and porpoises.

Take a peek at the official guide.

-4°C –Canada

December is characterised by falling temperatures, with daily highs ranging from 0°C to -4°C over the course of the month.

The expanse of the entire country’s natural beauty, from mountains and glaciers to secluded lakes and forests, is almost unparalleled worldwide. But Canada’s allure is not just the great outdoors, as it has cosmopolitan cities that are clean, safe, friendly and multicultural. In fact, Canada repeatedly is lauded as one of the world’s most liveable countries.

Québec City is protected by fortifications and has become a kind of living museum. Narrow cobbled streets are lined with 17th and 18th-century houses and its history and cultural significance has got the attention of Unesco and the entire old town is on the prestigious world heritage list.

Read more here.

And lastly:  

1)      Before travelling overseas, always check that the Travel Advice Unit of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or the World Health Organisation have not advised against travel to your destination.

2)      And if you are considering participating in any sporting/ hazardous activities, check your travel insurance policy wording to see whether you will be covered.