Whether natural or manmade, the world has incredible spectacles to offer in the wintertime. Though the colder months of the year may not offer sandy beaches and a nice tan, there are plenty of awe-inspiring sights to see and things to do. Here’s a list of our top five favorite wintertime sights:
- Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, China
The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival takes place in Harbin, China, and is known as the largest ice and snow festival in the world. Starting January 5 and lasting for a month, the exhibit takes on a different theme each year. Entire cities are formed out of ice, often mimicking famous international landmarks.The ice is taken from the frozen surface of the Songhua River, intricately chiseled, and decorated with colorful lights. The festival began in 1963, was interrupted for a few years during China’s Cultural Revolution, and became an annual event in 1985 that attracts guests from across the globe.
- Jukkasjärvi Ice Hotel, Sweden
The Jukkasjärvi Ice Hotel in Sweden is the world’s first and largest hotel built of snow and ice. The hotel, located in a small village in Northern Sweden with only 1,100 residents and 1,000 dogs, attracts 50,000 visitors every winter. The ice for the hotel is harvested from the Torne River, and the rooms are each individually designed by international artists and designers. With views of the Northern Lights, this hotel is sure to provide an unforgettable experience.
- Sapporo Snow Festival, Japan
Japan’s Sapporo Snow Festival is held annually during a week in February, starting in 1950. One of winter’s most distinctive events, it typically features around 400 intricate sculptures, attracting two million people in 2007.
- Hotel Kakslauttanen and Igloo Village, Finland
This Finnish hotel that offers each of its guests a personal snow igloo with a glass view of the night sky, was constructed in 1973 and has since become Finland’s internationally best-known hotel. But for those who prefer, Kakslauttanen also offers a charming selection of log cabins.
- Ice Castles, Midway, UT
Each year, a magical ice castle pops up in the little town of Midway, Utah. The completed ice castle is made up of 20,000,000 pounds of ice to explore, including slides, tunnels and cave. In the few short years since the tradition began, it has become an infamous attraction, bringing countless visitors to Midway. The ice castles have since spread to Minnesota, Vermont and New Hampshire.