That time of the year draws near again and we all know what that means – winter festivities! Well no, not really for those of us residing ’round these parts of the woods. To truly appreciate winter and the upcoming festivities that go along with it there is one crucial factor that is needed but so conspicuously missing – snow! Well, it’s time to ditch that suntan lotion and slip on that fur coat because Expedia has some sweet deals for us to go on journeys to these beautiful winter wonderlands where the streets glisten with snow.

Reykjavik, Iceland

I am pretty sure that witnessing the northern lights in all its incandescent glory occupies the bucket list of many around the world. And there is no more accessible – and affordable – location to absorb the sights of this magnificent natural phenomenon than Reykjavik. Winter is the best time to witness the Aurora Borealis due to the extended amount of darkness that surrounds the location.

Aurora Borealis as seen from Reykjavik

There are several ways you can catch the northern lights in Reykjavik. It is so accessible in this city that if the northern lights are strong enough, just taking a stroll out into the streets will suffice. If you want a more surefire way, you can rent a car and take a little ride out of the city away from all the light pollution and perhaps head out to Þingvellir National Park. Lastly, you can just leave it to the experts and join one of the many northern light tours available in the city.

A return flight only costs you from RM 6145.90 which is a very reasonable to realize one of your dreams.

Rovaniemi, Finland

Winter wonderlands doesn’t get anymore literal than this. Rovaniemi is the official address of residence for the icon of all things wintry and wonderlandy (?) – Santa Claus.

A panoramic view of Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi

Located just 8 kilometers north of Rovaniemi proper is the famed Santa Claus Village. This town truly comes alive during winter. Here you can meet the man behind the holiday himself and also frolic with his trusty reindeer or head into the official Santa Claus’ Main Post Office – which is curiously part of Finland’s official network of post offices – and be greeted by his elvish friends before ordering a letter to be sent your loved ones – by Santa Claus, of course – and get it signed and stamped with the official postmark of Santa Claus’ Main Post Office. The post office also sells a wide variety of Christmas products for you to procure.

Apart from that, you can absorb the carnival atmosphere of the village. You can take a ride on a sled driven by huskies or reindeer or opt for something a bit more exhilarating  and hop on a snowmobile. There are also tons of shopping you can do with the whole village replete with stores open daily.

A return ticket to this bonafide winter wonderland to meet Santa Claus himself would only cost you from RM 6673.26.

Sapporo, Japan

At the forefront of winter activities in Sapporo is the Sapporo Snow Festival.  One of the largest winter event in The main site of the festival is Japan, this seven-day festival is located in Odori Park and Tsudome  as well as the streets in Susukino.

Magnificent ice sculpture in Sapporo Ice Festival

Last year’s main event of the festival includes the opening ceremony, a photo session with the beautiful Ice Queen and an ice sculpting contest with available activities and attractions are also steeped in the theme of winter such as the imposing ice sculptures on exhibition, exciting snow slides, snow rafting and a skating rink.  There is even a huge snow ramp set up for snowboarders and extreme-skiers to show off their skills.

There was even an indoor Gourmet Land at the Tsudome site of the festival where one of the reasons for its conception is to introduce visitors to authentic Hokkaido Cuisine such as ramen noodles and the freshest of seafood.

Hop on a flight with Expedia with return tickets from only RM 6673.26 to this winter wonderland in the land of the rising sun.

Bansko, Bulgaria

Forget about all the expensive and over-rated ski resorts and head to the ski town of Bansko in the Balkan nation of Bulgaria. Skiing is very affordable in Bansko with reasonable prices on rental of gear and also for the use of the ski-lifts (it gets even cheaper if you book your gear a day in advance with prices going as low as 50 Euros for a full gear rental of 4 days).

A ski slope in the ski town of Bansko

The mountainous region of Bansko is a good place to pick up skiing with slopes that are rather easy for novices and beginners to navigate plus there is also a ski school for those looking to really pick up skiing in a structured manner. The experts can have a go at some freestyle skiing in some spots of Bansko if they’re looking for a little bit more thrill and excitement. They should also lookout for amateur events hosted in Bansko such as the freestyle race christened the ‘Mad Goat Ride’ and endurance events that happen once in a while.

A return ticket for the perfect ski adventure with Expedia goes from only RM 316.90.

Cologne, Germany

Every year, as Christmas draws near, a magical thing happens in Cologne. The cities are bathed in the the warm glow of lights and an air of festivity surrounds the city. This is the season of the Christmas Markets.

Warm glow from one of the Christmas markets in Cologne

A total of seven Christmas Markets dominate the cityscape of Cologne bringing in a total of more than 2 million visitors each year. with the most impressive of the lot being the Christmas Market at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Cologne Cathedral. Engage in merriment as sip on mulled wine all the while basking under the glow of the lights that adorn Germany’s largest Christmas tree to the tune of traditional music in the air. There are plenty of Christmas goodies to buy and eat from more than 160 stalls and of course, what’s a visit to Germany without some tasty beer. For the kids, there is the Alter Markt – a playground for kids filled with toys and themed decorations for them to feast their eyes on.

Bask in the atmosphere of Cologne’s Christmas Markets with return flights from only RM 4806.90.

Book your winter getaway on Expedia with ShopBack and get up to 8% Cashback!