For most people, winters means remaining indoors, tucked inside blankets and hogging lots of comfortable, piping hot food. However, what people don’t realise that once you’ve layered yourself in woolens, there are a lot of exciting opportunities to explore outdoors. Alternately, you can also plan a vacation to a destination which during that period, witnesses relatively moderate temperatures. Below, we’ve listed some of the best winter trips which you can embark on. Choose one which excites you the most:
• Lake Baikal, Siberia, Russia: Lake Baikal happens to be the world’s deepest and oldest existing freshwater lake. About two-thirds of the species living in and around Lake Baikal are unique in the sense that they are found nowhere else on Earth. The world’s only exclusively freshwater seal, nerpa is found here. In the months of February and March, the ice is the thickest and this is the period when most ice-related tours are offered. Ice diving, skating, rafting, and fishing are among the opportunities offered here. Local outfitters like Baikal Explorer and Green Express lead Jeep, dog-sled tours across the glassy surface. As far as accessing Lake Baikal is concerned, Irkutsk is the closest airport to Lake Baikal. When here, lodge in simple, locally owned homestays and hostels. English isn’t widely spoken in local villages, and information is provided in Russian only, so it would be beneficial to consider hiring an English-speaking guide service.
• Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy: Ensconced in a rocky inlet on the Gulf of Tigullio, is the small resort town of Santa Margherita Ligure. In order to access Santa Margherita Ligure, the closest airport is in Genoa. Travel enthusiasts recommend that the months of February and March are the best to visit this relaxed town. In fact, the International Half-Marathon of Two Pearls is held on March 2 here. This is the one of the best places for those who wish to enjoy mild winters with a scenic backdrop. Sample some of the smaller restaurants off the main square and near the port, when in Santa Margherita Ligure.
• Masquerade Games, Pernik, Bulgaria: Staged in Pernik each January to banish evil spirits is the Surva XXIII International Festival of Masquerade Games. Characterised by a primal energy, animalistic masks, fire jumping,
rhythmic chanting are traditionally associated with this festival. Numerous costumed kukeri (male mummers) performing mystical routines rooted in ancient pagan traditions. The nearest airport from Pernik is Sofia Airport. Public buses and trains connect Sofia Airport and Sofia to Pernik.
• Caucasus, Gudauri Ski Resort, Kazbegi Region, Georgia: Perched at an elevation of 13,000 feet, are the jagged snowcapped peaks of the Greater Caucasus. Set within this backdrop is Gudauri, a sprawling mountain resort built at the base of 9,862-foot Mount Kudebi. Gudauri is literally a winter playground which enjoys abundant snowfall. Gudauri is less than two hours from Tbilisi International Airport via the Georgian Military Highway. Ski season is December-April, and heli-skiing typically is available from January to mid-April.
This winters, there is no reason to hibernate. Go ahead and explore the gorgeous world outside!