There’s just something so magical about a landscape blanketed with snow. Aside from the breathtaking landscapes, these snowy wonderlands offer unforgettable icy adventures you won’t experience anywhere else.
If you’re dreaming of a winter escape but have no idea where to go, here are the best destinations, perfect for icy adventures.
Best destinations for icy adventures
- Bergen, Norway
- Saas-Fee, Switzerland
- Salla, Finland
- The Golden Circle, Iceland
- The Scottish Highlands, Scotland
Bergen, which lies in the southwestern part of Norway, is a lovely city home to colourful wooden houses surrounded by majestic mountains and fjords.
In winter, Bergen offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor sports. Its proximity to the sea means rain and winds are frequent, resulting in incredible landscapes in winter once rain transforms into snow.
Ulriken and Fløyen are two of the best spots for skiing in Bergen. You can reach Ulriken on a cable car, while getting to Fløyen requires taking the funicular. Both offer incredible city views, which makes for a fantastic experience.
On Fløyen, you can take lighted trails for cross-country skiing, while the hills towards the city centre are great for sledges if the weather allows it. You will also find indoor ice-skating rinks in Bergen. The Asane Arena is only a short walk from the bus terminal of Asane, and Iskanten is in Loddefjord.
Multiple ski resorts exist within an hour or two’s drive from Bergen, with a range of slopes from family-friendly to expert off-piste.
Another fun activity to enjoy in Bergen in winter is going hiking. You will find several hiking and walking trails in Bergen. All are easily accessible through a funicular or cable car. Of these trails, the most popular ones are those going to Bergen’s Seven Mountains.
The Swiss holiday town of Saas-Fee is one of the best destinations for icy adventures. From alpine canyoning in the Fee gorge to exploring the glacier and skiing at an altitude of 1,800 metres, Saas-Fee offers the ultimate experience for a winter getaway.
Visitors often rent chalets in Saas-Fee for their holiday, providing an ideal base for exploring the resort town and enjoying numerous winter sports.
Saas-Fee lies at the base of mountains reaching 4,000 metres above sea level. Therefore, you can guarantee there’s plenty of snow here. Even in summer, snow exists at the highest peaks.
In addition, Saas-Fee has 150 km of pistes, attracting skiers of all levels. You will also find ski schools offering private lessons throughout the winter season.
Saas-Fee is also home to the world’s largest ice grotto, which you can visit all year round. It is accessible by cable car. It offers a peak into mountain life and the history of the glacier.
Drop by the world’s highest revolving restaurant, offering a stunning 360-degree view of the winter wonderland. You can also try a guided tour of Saas-Fee, including fun activities like mountain climbing, abseiling over gauges, and hiking into Italy from Saas-Fee.
Salla, a lovely village in the southeast part of Finland, is home to a ski resort and a national park, making it a fantastic destination for icy adventures. You’ll see snow-capped forests threaded with reindeer-sleigh routes and skiing trails.
In winter, you’ll marvel at the spectacular Northern Lights every night, while in summer, Salla offers the perfect setting for unforgettable hiking adventures.
Home to the Salla Ski Resort, which has 15 slopes and six ski lifts, skiing is a popular activity in Salla. The lifts range in difficulty, from easy slopes to more difficult ones, suitable for expert skiers.
Best of all, Sala is so remote and peaceful that you might even feel like you have the entire ski resort to yourself! It has over 160 km of cross-country skiing trails threading throughout the ski resort and its surroundings, giving you a vast area to explore the stunning wilderness at your pace.
A vast portion of Salla is wild and uninhabited and has over 300 km of hiking trails threading towards the Arctic wilderness. During your hike, you’ll discover natural wonders like the forests of Tuntsa and the Giant’s Kettles, which are glacial potholes drilled in solid rocks.
The Golden Circle, Iceland
Iceland is another gorgeous destination having all the ingredients for an incredible icy adventure, especially if you drive through the Golden Circle route.
Going on road trips in Iceland is the best way to explore the country since there’s so much to see and do. For instance, as you drive along the Golden Circle route, you’ll pass by several spectacular natural wonders, such as majestic waterfalls and bursting geysers.
The Golden Circle route covers three of Iceland’s most popular attractions, the Þingvellir National Park, the Geysir geothermal area, and the Gullfoss waterfall. Starting in Reykjavik, the country’s capital city, you will drive into the southern uplands and back.
You can complete the entire route in one day. In fact, it is only 230 km long and can be completed in over three hours. But you also need to factor in the time you will spend exploring the attractions you’ll be passing by.
While you will find guided coach tours covering the Golden Circle, going for a self-drive tour is the best way. You can explore at your own pace and make stops whenever you please. In Reykjavik, you will find many car rental companies from where you can rent a car before you start your journey to the Golden Circle.
The Scottish Highlands, Scotland
The Scottish Highlands transform into a magical wonderland in winter, offering a stunning backdrop for icy adventures. In winter, the region boasts magnificent views of frozen lochs and white-dusted evergreen trees with blankets of snow covering the mountain tops and the villages below.
The Highlands’ snow-covered mountains offer the perfect setting for snow sports. It has several ski resorts offering a range of activities for skiers of all skill levels, with Cairngorm Mountain being the most popular.
Another fun winter activity in the Highlands is dog sledging, which is how the locals transport people and supplies over snow.
Nowadays, dog sledging has become one of the most exciting winter activities in Scotland, where you will ride on a sledge pulled by dogs as you travel through the region with the spectacular scenery on the backdrop.
Save on your trip with these resources
These are our go-to companies when we travel. We believe this list to be the best in each category. You can’t go wrong using them on your trip too.
- Flights: we use Expedia for the best and cheapest flight options.
- Accommodations: we use Booking.com (hotels) or VRBO (self-contained).
- Cars (gas or electric): we use RentalCars to search for deals and dealer ratings.
- Campervans or Motorhomes: we use Campstar where Albom Adventures readers get a 3% discount
- Private guides: we love the private guides at Tours by Locals
- Travel Insurance: our go-to is World Nomads*.
Check out our travel resources page for more companies that we use when you travel.
*World Nomads provides travel insurance for travellers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.
Which of these icy adventures do you want to try first?
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All photos on this page are either shot by our team and watermarked as such or stock images from Depositphotos.
About the author
Alexa is a talented photographer, writer, and world traveller who speaks four languages. She is equally comfortable walking around a city and exploring museums as she is out in the wilderness discovering nature and photographing wildlife. She is an avid coffee drinker, and can often be spotted in local cafes when she needs a break.
I’ve been to Scotland in late winter and it’s amazing. Norway and Finland are on my list.