Places in Europe to spend a white Christmas - Parts 5-8

Published: 14th December 2008
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Part 5 - Icehotel, Sweden


With beds made of reindeer skins and sleeping bags made from polar, you are bound to keep 'warm' in the icehotel. This Arctic Experience is offering five-day Christmas trips to this chic and chilly spot (which has an Absolut ice bar), although many might be secretly relieved to learn that only one night is spent in the cold part of the hotel. Christmas Eve is spent in the Esrange space centre, where a guided tour includes an explanation of hte northern lights, and among hte host of optional extras are snowmobile safaris which include a night in a wilderness camp



Part 6 - Quebec, Canada


For a spot of luxury with your snow, try hte Auberge Saint-Antoine, in Quebec City. Recently voted one of hte world's 100 best hotels, it's hte perfect place to snuggle up while blizzards swirl outside. When it's not snowing, you might take in one of hte many carol concerts or venture out into the snowy wilderness beyond the city limits - for snowmobiling at the Parc des Laurentides, perhaps, or to try your hand at a little gentle skiing on the local slopes at Mont-Sainte-Anne



Part 7 - Yukon, Canada


For anyone who really wants to escape from Christmas - but still wants to be surrounded by snow - dog-sledding on hte Iditarod trail, in Yukon, has to be the answer. It certainly isn't cheap, but it's hard to think of a trip that will take you further away from civilisation without strapping on skis and setting off on your own into the wilderness. For the first two days, you'll be staying at base camp and familiarising yourself with your team and basic sledding techniques. You then set off for a three-day run up a section of the Iditarod racecourse. To being with, the trail is easy - mostly over frozen lakes - but it gets progressively harder and, by the finish, will be giving your driving skills - and your rapport with your dog team - a proper workout. Accommodation en route is in heated tents, and everyone is expected to muck in with setting up and striking camp. Softies need not apply.



Part 8 - Seefeld, Austria


Austria gets two bites of cherry in thsi piece because it's had such a wonderfully snowy start to winter. Nearly two metres of snow fell in some mountain resorts last weekend, and there has been more since then. For those who only want a little downhill action, mixed in with lots of other wintry activities, Seefeld is the place to target - a pretty town, set in a flattish bowl at 1,200 metres and surrounded by wooded peaks. The level ground means cross-country skiing is easy, and there are 280km of trails to be tried here, as well as sleigh rides, skating and snowshoeing. Or you could just gaze at the view from the window of your indoor swimming pool. The four-star Garten Tummlerhof has a nice one in its vast spa



Part 9 - Rila mountains, Bulgaria


There's no better way to soak up the stillness of a snowy environment than snowshoeing. It takes only a few minutes to master your new high-tech feet, and then you're off into the big white wilderness. All you'll hear is your own breathing and the occasional croak of a raven. You can sampole it in any mountain resort, but hte tour operator Explore has devoted an entire trip to it in hte Rila mountains, Bulgaria. The itinerary also includes a trip to the Rila monastry - a Unesco World Heritage Site



Part 10 - Chamonix, France


It snowed in France, too, this week: but, even if it hadn't, the one place you'd have been absolutely certain of seeing at least a little of the white stuff would be Chamonix, crouched in hte shadow of the 4,807-metre peak of Mont Blanc. All right, so there's still a faint chance December will see a thaw, and there might not actually be any snow lying in the valley. But ride the cable car to hte 3,842-metre summit of hte Aiguille du Midi and you'll get an eyeful - courtesy of the Vallee Blanche glacier. Accommodation to suit every budget can be found in town, but anyone with money to burn should target the rustic but luxurious Auberege du Bois Prin, where double rooms with Mont Blanc views are still available over Christmas.

Tim Burton writes travel articles for the popular

Florida Villas website and

Orlando Holiday Homes website

© Copyright 2008 by Tim Burton

Article may be reprinted but must include the all the author information



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