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Top 5 Snowy  Destinations

Oftentimes, when temperatures plummet, the beauty of a place only increases. Whilst a lot of us look to warmer destinations during the blistering winter months, we’re here to make a case for some of the snowier sceneries out there.

Rila, Bulgaria

Flickr | Filip StoyanovDeep forests, alpine summits and glacial lakes await you in Rila, a glorious mountain range located in southwest Bulgaria. Sometimes referred to as the Great Rila Desert, not because of its climate (obviously) but because of its vast, expansive areas that house amazing wildlife, hiking opportunities and breath-taking views. Amongst Rila’s most famous attractions are the Seven Rila Lakes, whose blue, iridescent waters are truly eye-catching amongst the surrounding blanket of snow and ice. The historic Rila Monastery offers refuge from the blistering outdoors, boasting colourful frescoes and lavish Eastern Orthodox architecture that are well worth exploring.

Cappadocia, Turkey

Flickr | SteFou!Known for its “fairy chimney” rock foundations, which are sculpted from ash, lava and basalt, the dramatic landscape of Cappadocia is further enriched when snow settles on its breathtaking vistas. Hot air ballooning is a popular activity, allowing visitors to take in the panorama from high above. Rock carvings dominate the architecture, with churches and even boutique hotels carved into the rockery. There are also around a hundred underground cities, which, whilst not snowy, are still incredibly fascinating places to explore!

Hokkaido, Japan

Flickr | jacky dingJapan’s most northern island of Hokkaido is a true winter gem. The capital Sapporo attracts around 2 million visitors for its annual Snow Festival, which transforms the city streets into a dreamlike expanse of glistening sculptures, filled with the smells and lights of endless food and handicraft stands. From the spell-binding Lake Toya to the hot springs of Noboribetsu, Hokkaido offers some seriously beautiful splendours of natural beauty and cultural tradition. The island is also home of the Ainu, Japan’s indigenous people, who have defiantly preserved as much of their culture as possible in face of relentless persecution. Consequently, Hokkaido hosts a unique mélange of cultures that cannot be found on any other Japanese island.

Lapland, Finland

Flickr | Rayann ElzeinProbably best known for its association with Father Christmas, Lapland holds an undeniable magic, with or without the festive connotation. It’s vast, lonely expanse occupies 30% of Finland’s land area, but houses only 3% of its population. This makes exploring its boundless wilderness a totally unique journey, usually done on foot, sledge or skis. If you want both solitude and excitement, take time to discover its eerie yet magnificent landscape. From hidden gold under the Lapland rivers (seriously), to wildlife that includes wolves, wolverines and of course reindeers, this far-flung destination offers an escape from the hectic reality of our daily routines by immersing you in an almost dream-like dimension. If you're lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights!

Banff National Park, Canada

Flickr | Rene RiversOnly about one and a half hours drive from Calgary, Canada’s first national park cosists of 6,641 square kilometers of exquisite wilderness.From the majestic snow-capped mountains of the Canadian Rockies to the jagged swells of its frozen waterfalls, Banff offers awe-inspiring views as well as a wide range of activities. Every year, the Ice Magic Festival attracts artists from around the world, who sculpt and display their sub temperate works to festival visitors. So whether you’re looking to skate across the glistening, icy surface of Lake Louise, explore the picturesque alpine town, or speed down the slopes of the area’s world class ski hills, Banff has no shortage of activities.

So there you go - our top 5 snowy destinations! Have we managed to convince you to embrace the cold this winter?

By Laura Hallensleben - Online Journalism Intern

Frontier runs conservationdevelopmentteaching and adventure travel projects in over 50 countries worldwide - so join us and explore the world!

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