Seasoned travelers tend to want something more exotic than a typical winter beach vacation. Exotic destinations abound around the world and commonly feature untouched beauty, few tourists and incredible adventure options. Here are some unusual winter travel destinations that are worth considering.
Sicily offers winter visitors the opportunity to enjoy activities such as skiing, snowshoeing and horseback riding on Mt. Etna, Europe’s highest and largest volcano and one of the world’s most active. Sicily is located in the mild Mediterranean region, however the mountain’s elevation means plenty of snow in winter. Enchanting, sleepy mountain villages provide unparalleled hospitality and exquisite local cuisine. Sicily is generally easily accessible, and during the winter hotel rooms are plentiful and reasonably priced. Don’t miss a trip to the Aeolian Islands off the Sicilian coast. Ferries are available year-round. For more Sicily trip-planning advice, visit the official Sicily travel and tourism website at http://www.regione.sicilia.it/turismo/web_turismo/sicilia/uk/home.html.
Battambang was not a recognized tourist destination until recently when improvements to facilities and amenities were begun. Battambang is a perfect base for visiting several ancient temples including Phnom Banon and Wat Ek Phnom, and is home to several intriguing small villages as well. The province is a minor hub on the main route between Vietnam and Thailand. The province features charming French architecture and the main focus is on the Sangker River that winds through the area. A small museum showcases Angkorian archaeological finds, and several hilltop temples and ruins surround the town and a nearby large, sparkling lake. Battambang is peaceful and pleasant destination, offering travelers the opportunity for immersion in authentic Cambodian culture. Tourism of Cambodia’s website at http://www.tourismcambodia.com/attractions/battambang/ has extensive information on accommodations and activities in Battambang.
The tiny island of Malta is commonly known as a popular summertime beach destination. During the mild winters, countless activities are still available and the island is a much quieter and more tranquil place, providing the perfect atmosphere for relaxation and enjoyment of the colorful local culture. The town of Dragonara outside Valletta is a favorite for its gorgeous scenery, historical sites, friendly locals and fabulous weather all year. Malta winters are mild, warm and sunny. The islands features a vibrant nightlife. In Malta, Carnival is held for an entire week in February, and the best place to party is in St. Julians. More information about Malta travel is available at the Malta tourism website, http://www.visitmalta.com/.
Vilanculos, Mozambique is the gateway to the incredibly gorgeous Bazaruto Islands lying just off its coast. The islands are uninhabited and feature 1,500 miles of tranquil, untouched beaches, calm warm water, breathtaking coral reefs, bioluminescent marine life, incredible sunsets, and bountiful fresh seafood. The interior of the islands are an undiscovered paradise, with mangrove forests, sand dunes and inland lakes. Over a hundred species of birds, countless mammals and crocodiles call the islands home. Accommodations range from sleek hotels to luxury cabins and charming beachside bungalows. Find out more about Vilanculos and Mozambique at the country’s official travel website, http://www.mozambiquetourism.co.za/.
Kiruna is Sweden’s largest municipality. Kiruna is situated in the far north of the country, just south of the Arctic circle. The city is known experiences such as darkness, ice, snow, and the Aurora Borealis. Kiruna features Mount Kebnekaise, literally thousands of lakes, and seven rivers, creating infinite possibilities for recreation. The city’s annual Snow Festival starts in January and offers snowshoeing, sledging, extreme snowmobiling, and dogsledding excursions. The festival also showcases the native Sami culture, traditions, cuisine and art. Kiruna is dark for 20 days each year from December 12th through the 31st due to its polar night phenomenon. Each winter residents construct a new Icehotel, which is designed and decorated by architects and artists from around the world. The Icehotel is Sweden’s most famous destination. More information on activities, accommodations, events and trip planning advice is available at http://www.kirunalapland.se/en/Home, Kiruna’s official tourism website.