The 8 Best Snow Destinations in the World
Published on: December 12th, 2019
Last modified: July 28th, 2023
When it comes to visiting the world's best snow destinations, there’s a few that standout from the crowd. Japan holds the record for the snowiest city on earth and Switzerland is revered for its beautiful alpine snow. Witness the spectacular northern lights in Iceland and in Finland, you might meet Santa Claus.
From winter activities among the soaring mountain peaks of Italy to silent cruises down Norway’s frozen fjords - there’s plenty of experiences to choose from too. Whether you're looking for a family adventure or a romantric trip for two, there’s something for everyone in the world’s best snow destinations.
We’ve asked our experts to let us know their favourite snowy destinations and explain why they love them, what they’re best for and importantly, the best time of year to visit to experience plenty of beautiful white snow.
1. Norway - The Best Snow Destination for Fjords and Northern Lights
Home to the breathtaking Fjords and one of the best places to view the spectacular northern lights, Norway offers a range of exclusive experiences to leave you spellbound. Embark on a luxury cruise along the stunning coastline, where you may also be lucky enough to spot whales emerging from the waves from October to mid-January.
2. Switzerland - The Best Snow Destination for Luxury Train Journeys and Pristine Lakes
Switzerland, which can boast snow all year round in some regions, is an outstanding destination for those seeking breathtaking Alpine scenery and serene lakeside retreats. South Western Switzerland is a fantastic option, home to the legendary Matterhorn, a magnificent mountain that towers over the charming town of Zermatt.
One of the best ways to truly appreciate the stunning landscape is by taking a luxury train journey. Although the trains run all year, to experience the best snowy scenes climb aboard between December to February for breathtaking views of the frozen lakes and mountains blanketed in snow.
3. Sweden - The Best Snow Destination for Dog Sledding and the Northern Lights
For those seeking an unforgettable snowy experience, try a dog sledding adventure through the pristine snowy landscapes of Swedish Lapland during Sweden’s winter, November to February. This is also the best time to visit if you hope to catch a glimpse of the swirling green auroras of the northern lights.
4. Finland - The Best Snow Destination for Lapland Adventures to meet Santa Claus
Finnish Lapland is the ultimate playground for travellers and is one of Europe’s snowiest countries. Families seeking a winter wonderland adventure can go on a reindeer safari, a husky ride through the glistening snow-covered forests and even meet Santa Claus himself.
For thrillseekers there’s a chance to try your hand at a multitude of fun-filled activities. Perhaps speeding along on a mini snowmobile or sledging down the snowy hills.
5. Italy - The Best Snow Destination for Soaring Mountain Peaks and Winter Activities
The impressive mountain peaks of Italy’s Dolomites and the Alps are one of Europe’s year-round snowy locations. From December to April, when snowfall is at it’s heaviest, this region is perfect for both relaxation and exciting winter adventures such as snowshoeing, ice skating, and winter hiking.
Italy has plenty of charming towns and villages to explore, all with a fascinating history to discover. From the picturesque mediaeval town of Cortina d’Ampezzo to the stylish resort village of San Cassiano, Italy’s landscapes are perfect for a leisurely retreat as well as more active snowy experiences.
6. Iceland - The Best Snow Destination for the Northern Lights and Hot Springs
Iceland offers a plethora of activities, but none are more awe-inspiring than witnessing the spectacular northern lights. October to March are the best times to witness this natural phenomenon, and there are a myriad of ways to do so, from visiting the Aurora Borealis Observatory, to snowmobiling under the stars.
After a day of adventure, relax at one of our favourite spots, The Retreat at the Blue Lagoon. Here you can sink into the embrace of the mineral-rich hot springs. To experience the solitude of Iceland’s vast wilderness, stay at Deplar Farm or Torfhús Retreat. Both offer remote experiences with exceptional comfort.
7. Japan - The Best Snow Destination for Abundant Snowfall and Snow Monkeys
Although famous for its cherry blossom and autumn seasons, Japan is also an incredible winter destination. The country’s stunning mountain ranges, including the iconic Mount Fuji, become even more captivating when covered in a blanket of snow.
From December to March, a visit to the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park offers an unforgettable experience. The Japanese macaque monkeys soak in the steaming hot springs to keep warm amidst the icy scenery.
8. Greenland - The Best Snow Destination for Remote Arctic Deserts and Indigenous Culture
Greenland is one of the most remote snow destinations and the perfect destination for Arctic adventures. Head to the town of Ilulissat, famous for its Icefjord which is particularly impressive during the months of December to March.
Take the opportunity to explore the icecap and go glacier walking at Eqi, where you can learn about Inuit culture and the history of the region. And don’t forget about the wildlife, with the chance to see musk oxen in their natural surroundings.
Luxury accommodation in our best snow destinations
Torfhús RetreatThe remoteness of this snug hideaway is a most attractive feature to those looking to flee from the flurry of city life. Set in close proximity to Iceland’s Golden Circle, within driving distance of the Great Gullfoss waterfall and the Great Geysir, Torfhús Retreat encompasses 25 inky-black cabins, lined with turf. Interiors are accentuated by alpine wooden ceilings, panels and furniture, merged with leather seating, soft rugs and warm lighting. A cosy lounge area allows guests to unwind in the comfort of their cabin, or if they’re wanting to relax while taking in the rugged scenery, they can make use of the basalt hot tub outside. A homely communal area calls for board games in between sips of mulled wine, and the on-site restaurant offers an ever-changing menu, inspired by local produce and the catch of the day. A classic Icelandic breakfast is served every morning, and hearty soups and fresh bread are available during the day, ensuring ample sustenance for adventuring in the wilderness. If guests can pull themselves away from the salubrious waters of the tub, various day excursions are available, such as horse riding, helicopter sightseeing, fishing, mountain hikes and glacier tours.
IcehotelWhen it comes to finding rooms with that little something extra, the Icehotel is hard to beat. This hotel and art exhibition was first built in 1989 and has been redesigned and built from scratch every year since. Water from the River Torne provides ice for the hotel and a team of skilled and hardy workers chip, carve and chisel until the building is complete. There is a mix of warm and cold rooms in which to sleep, the latter lingering between -5 and -8°C on the thermometer. The highlight for most guests is the chance to bed down in one of the cold rooms, where a thick mattress covered in reindeer skins sits on top of a huge bed of ice. Snuggle up in your thermal sleeping bag then wake up in the morning to a steaming cup of lingonberry juice before jumping in the sauna before breakfast. New for 2016 is the Icehotel 365, a permanent structure that is kept cool in summer by solar panels. Inside are luxury suites, each with their own bathroom as well as art suites designed and hand carved by artists from around the world. Despite its frosty nature, there are plenty of cosy corners in which to warm your fingers and toes. Set up camp in front of the crackling fire in the Jukkasjärvi Homestead, a timbered building that dates back to 1768. Here you can enjoy beef and salmon steaks hot out the charcoal-fired oven, or head to the hotel restaurant to sample traditional Scandinavian fare with locally sourced fish, game and berries. Then there is the ice bar, where everything from the glasses to the tables, chairs and bar itself is made from ice. Enjoy the totally unique surroundings and sip on what is likely to be the crispest glass of champagne or cocktail you’ll ever drink.
Rosa AlpinaIn the charming village of San Cassiano and sitting 1,537m above sea level is Rosa Alpina, a beautiful mountain retreat just 2.5 hours north of Venice. Each room has been individually designed and furnished with local antiques. You’re in the heart of the magnificent Dolomites and the hotel maintains a cosy alpine feel while offering guests the highest level of comfort and luxury. Be sure to treat yourself at St. Hubertus, the hotel’s three Michelin-starred restaurant – one of only a few restaurants in Italy with three stars. For a really special dining experience, be sure to reserve the chef’s table with a view into the kitchen. The wine bar offers a more informal atmosphere and on those chilly evenings, you can indulge with a traditional fondue. You’re ideally located to explore the mountains, and hikers, skiiers and climbers won’t be disappointed. If you’d rather sit back and relax, then unwind in the spa or enjoy a drink on the terrace looking out over the jaggedy peaks. There are two wellness areas, one for families and one for adults, so there is something for everyone.
Hoshinoya FujiNestled within a pristine red pine forest overlooking Lake Kawaguchi and Mount Fuji is Hoshinoya Fuji, a beautiful glamping hideaway that allows guests to enjoy the tranquility of their natural surroundings. On arrival at reception guests are presented with a camping kit containing binoculars, headlamp, map and blanket before being driven up to the main site. Here you will find the cabins, restaurant and the Cloud Terrace – a network of walkways and wooden platforms seemingly suspended in the air. You’ll find 40 cubic concrete blocks nestled with the forest, minimalist in design but featuring everything you could possibly need. Large windows look out over the beautiful landscape and every cabin features a balcony where you can light a fire. Lighting in the cabins is soft, and around the site only the pathways are illuminated so as not to detract from the natural environment. The main restaurant features a grill station in the middle where chefs cook up succulent steaks which are served with a seasoning rack. Alternatively, head up to the top of the Cloud Terrace and have a go at cooking in the wood-fired oven. For complete privacy, you can choose to dine in the comfort of your cabin. Volcanic activity 10,000 years ago created a landscape of craters and ice caves, and the surrounding area is ripe for exploring. Canoe on the lake, go horse riding through the forest or take a lesson in stargazing and marvel at the night sky.
Isfjord RadioOriginally built as an outpost for radio operators in 1933, Isfjord Radio allows guests to enjoy the vast wilderness of Svalbard without compromising on comfort or style. The world’s most northerly boutique hotel, you are located on the outermost part of Isfjord on the Nordenskiöld coast, surrounded by the magnificent Svalbard mountains and overlooking the open sea. 90km from Longyearbyen, the hotel is accessible by snowmobile or dogsled in winter and by boat in summer. The transmitter masts and satellite dishes still remain outside, a reminder of its past as an important telecommunications link between the Norwegian mainland and Svalbard. After a day exploring, relax and wrap up in a cashmere throw in one of the beautifully styled guest rooms, or take a seat in the cosy sitting room. The connection to your surroundings extends to dinner, an Arctic feast of smoked seal, whale, halibut and reindeer. Each night of your stay, you’ll enjoy a three-course dinner of Norwegian specialties. Surrounded by icy fjords, snow-capped mountains and a wealth of wildlife, this majestic landscape begs to be explored so prepare for some epic adventures in what feels like the end of the world.
TreehotelMore than simply cabins tucked away in a forest, the rooms at this contemporary treehouse hotel in Harads are marvels of engineering and works of art, designed with sustainability principles in mind. Whether you’re relaxing on the net patio of the Seventh Room, or gazing out over the forest from the Dragonfly, your stay will be exceptional, luxurious and truly memorable. The seven unique rooms are situated above ground in a pine forest, a celebration of design, taste and nature. The Seventh Room is located ten metres up in the trees, boasting panoramic windows, which offer views of the Lule River, and skylights in the bedrooms are ideal for admiring the Northern Lights. The patio level is a net, stretched around the trunk of a pine tree, allowing you to lie back and listen to the sounds of the forest. The room itself is luxuriously modern with Scandinavian wood and fine textures. The other vastly different rooms include The Cabin, The UFO, The Bird’s Nest, The Mirror Cube, The Blue Cone and the Dragonfly. Britta’s Pensionat, a short walk from the rooms, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a 1930s-50s setting. The menu changes daily according to what fresh produce is available. Guests can enjoy the bar, television area, sauna and relaxation area. There are a variety of activities for guests to participate in depending on the season, including hiking, mountain biking, moose safaris, fishing and photography.