Top 10 winter activity holidays

Winter is a fantastic time to explore the outdoors, breathe in some crisp air and burn off some calories – and that doesn’t just mean pelting downhill on a pair of skis. Europe’s magical, snowy landscapes are the setting for a blizzard of alternative winter activity holidays, from husky safaris to snow shoeing explorations. So, pull on your thermals and get out there!

1. Husky safaris

Learn how to handle a team of huskies, before exploring deep into wild, snowy landscapes by dog sled. Stay overnight in a wilderness log cabin or tent, with the chance to spot the Aurora flitting across the sky as you settle the dogs each night.

When to go: December to early April
Our top selling trip: Husky safari in Finland
See all our trips: Husky safari holidays
Read more: Husky safaris travel guide

2. Northern Lights & multi activity holidays

Seeing the Northern Lights rippling across the frozen sky is a bucket-list regular, but multi activity breaks team this nighttime spectacle with wintery fun by day, too. Go snow shoeing, cross country skiing, try a snowmobile safari or winter fishing, meet reindeer herders or flop in the sauna. Then, come evening, raise your eyes to the skies…

When to go: November to March
Our top selling trip: Northern lights wilderness holiday in Finland
See all our trips: Northern Lights holidays and multi activity holidays
Read more: Northern Lights travel guide

3. Cross country skiing

Glide along backcountry paths, through snow-covered forests and past frozen lakes, then push up into open wilderness above the tree line – a cross country skiing break reaches the parts downhill skiing can’t. Instruction is generally included, so anyone can enjoy this unique form of wintery exploration, including complete novices.

When to go: December to March
Our top selling trip: Cross country skiing in Norway
See all our trips: Cross country skiing holidays
Read more: Cross country skiing holiday guide

4. Snowshoeing

Hiking across winter snow is possible, in the right footwear! Snow shoes combined with a set of poles stop you sinking so you can stride out into the frozen landscape, feeling the snow crunch under your feet, to explore silent forests and snowy hillsides that sparkle in the winter sun.

When to go: January to March
Our top selling trip: Snow shoeing holiday in Finland
See all our trips: Snow shoeing holidays
Read more: Snow shoeing holidays travel guide

5. Multi activity holidays

Enjoy winter outdoors without strapping on skis on a holiday serving up a cocktail of activities. Snow shoe through the wintery landscape, drive a team of huskies, climb a frozen waterfall with an ice axe and crampons, sleep in an igloo… This is a fun, fit, flexible break.

When to go: December to mid April
Our top selling trip: Winter activity holiday in the French Alps
See all our trips: Multi activity holidays
Read more: Winter activity travel guide
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Winter or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

6. Family breaks

It’s easy to keep an entire family amused on a winter activity break. Older kids relish snow shoeing, dog sledding and cross country skiing, while little ones enjoy a wallow in an outdoor thermal pool, a horse and sleigh ride or a spot of sledging. And who doesn’t love hot chocolate and an open fire?

When to go: December to February
Where to go: Family winter holiday in the High Tatras, Slovakia
See all our trips: Family winter holidays
Read more: Family holidays travel guide

7. Luxury trekking

The mountains aren’t just for adrenaline junkies. Stay in one of Morocco’s most beautiful Kasbahs, and trek the magnificent High Atlas mountains with the help of a Berber guide drawn from the local community. Just 90 minutes from Morocco, the trails here have been walked for centuries by farmers and shepherds, and traditional customs have hardly changed whatsoever.

When to go: November to April
Our top selling trip: Luxury trekking holiday in the Atlas Mountains
See all our trips: Winter holidays
Read more: Atlas Mountains travel guide

8. Winter photography

The Lofoten Islands off Norway’s northwest coast are a hugely popular destination for photography holidays in summer. In the winter, the landscapes are perhaps even more majestic. In the company of a small group led by a professional photographer guide, workshop ideas and capture stunning images of Northern Lights, icy fjords, traditional fishing villages and deserted beaches.

When to go: February
Our top selling trip: Lofoten Islands winter photography holiday
See all our trips: Photography holidays
Read more: Photography holidays travel guide and Lofoten Islands travel guide

9. Winter wildlife

You don’t need to hurtle downhill for your adrenaline fix. Instead experience the hair-raising, goose bump-inducing thrill of tracking wild wolves on foot – or coming up close to a polar bear in the depths of the Canadian Arctic. Winter wildlife can be elusive, but following tracks with expert guides is all part of the adventure.

When to go: October to March
Our top selling trip: Polar bear tour in Canada
See all our trips: Winter wildlife watching
Read more: Polar bear watching in Churchill

10. Relaxed winter breaks

Romania’s Carpathian Mountains ooze atmosphere in winter. Thick snow, medieval villages, imposing castles… Escape to a cosy cottage and, if you can drag yourself from the fireside, enjoy snow shoe hikes, wildlife tracking and ice gorges and caves.

When to go: Late October to early April
Our top selling trip: Transylvania winter holiday accommodation in Romania
See all our trips: Relaxed winter break holidays
Read more: Carpathian Mountains travel guide
Written by Joanna Simmons
Photo credits: [Page banner: Dino Reichmuth] [Husky safari: cocoparisienne] [Snowshoeing: SivaSankara Reddy Bommireddy] [Family breaks: Ermolaev Alexander] [Winter wildlife: Hans-Jurgen Mager]