Many of us yearn for the perfect winter wonderland year-end holiday, especially if you’re eager to experience snow for the first time, or simply just deprived of snowfall from living in a tropical country! Imagine the snowflakes falling down while taking in breathtaking views of vast white carpets of snow and snow-capped mountains. To help you out, here’s a list of the best 10 all-encompassing spots to see snow in December! These places offer the best scenic snow views and all-round winter entertainment, regardless of whether you’ve never touched snow, or if you're a winter sports pro.
10 snowy destinations to visit in December
1. Salzburg, Austria
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Salzburg has got everything covered when it comes to experiencing winter! This charming Austrian village has a wide range of activities that cater to the laidback and the thrill-seekers alike.
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If you're more into winter sightseeing than anything else, then you have to see the amazing Hohensalzburg Castle amidst a landscape of snow. Almost a thousand years old, this castle is the biggest fully preserved castle in Central Europe!
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You can also try snow-tubing if you’re looking for some family fun! If you're more experienced in winter sports and would like to try something more challenging, you can also try your hands at snowkiting and snow biking in Salzburg.
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2. Zermatt, Switzerland
Though the winter season officially starts in late December in Switzerland, this quaint Swiss village reliably snows all year round!
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Zermatt also sits comfortably at the foot of the famous Matterhorn (Toblerone!), giving you exceptional views of the majestic mountain.
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Besides top-notch skiing facilities, Zermatt also offers a snowpark for snowboarding enthusiasts and an ice rink for ice skating fans. You can even hike and paraglide among the Swiss Alps in Zermatt!
Credit: Zermatt Matterhorn on Facebook
There's also a Glacier Palace, where you can find caverns and sculptures carved out of ice. There’s even a throne made of ice where you can sit and channel your inner Elsa!
3. Amsterdam, Netherlands
If you're up for some unconventional winter wonderland fun, you have to get to Amsterdam! With celebrations starting as early as the 2nd Sunday of November, rest assured you will not be bored throughout your entire winter break in Amsterdam.
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During winter, the famed Amsterdam canals freeze over, allowing pedestrians to walk and skate on the surface! Also, if you're a theme park enthusiast, you definitely need to check out Efteling Theme Park Resort during winter!
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Approximately a 2-hours drive away from Amsterdam, the park undergoes a winter transformation and continues to operate all its rides (sans 2 water rides), including additional winter thrill rides and an ice rink.
4. Uludağ, Turkey
Located in the city of Bursa in Turkey just 2 hours away from Istanbul, the Uludağ mountains offer amazing rocky winterscapes and an assortment of winter activities in December. Often considered the best place in Turkey for winter sports, Uludağ translates to "sublime mountain" in Turkish!
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Hop on the cable car ride to snap some gorgeous panoramic views, or grab a pair of skis and glide through the snow at this locally popular ski resort!
An underrated Muslim-friendly country in Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan has been gaining some buzz over the years as an interesting winter destination, especially when various lakes and mountains throughout the country turn magical when the snow starts to fall.
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While Kyrgyzstan boasts a number of skiing amenities, the main allure of the country definitely lies in horseback riding across snowy terrain! A nomadic tradition that has become a way of life, this is a must if you would like to further immerse yourself in the Kyrgyz culture, or experience winter in an unconventional way.
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#HHWT Tip: If you’re craving some authentic and traditional Kyrgyz cuisine, some must-tries especially during winter include Lagman, noodles served with hot lamb broth, and Borsok, little fried pastries often dipped in cream as dessert!
6. Niseko, Japan
Situated in Northern Japan on the island of Hokkaido, Niseko is reputed to be one of the few places on Earth that receives the most snowfall every year!
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If you’re looking for an unforgettable ski experience, Nisekp is a must-visit! Whiz down snowy white slopes as you take in the breathtaking views of Mt Yotei. If you're a novice at winter sports, there is also a resort that provides beginner-level slopes for you to practice skiing.
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Besides skiing, Niseko also offers an assortment of other activities, such as snowshoe trekking, sledging, winter rafting, and even glamping! Many onsens are also found in Niseko for you to relax your tired muscles after all that rugged adventure.
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#HHWT Tip: Niseko generally starts snowing faster than other parts of Japan, sometimes as early as the first week of October!
7. Kyoto, Japan
While Kyoto has never been as snowy as other Japanese territories up north, the past winter season has seen increasing snowfall. This creates gorgeous landscapes – that of famous places of interest blanketed in snow!
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Snowfall is usually expected from early Dec till late Mar in Kyoto, though they melt by noon. So rise early to experience snow in sites such as Kinkakuji and Kiyomizu-Dera! You may also travel a little north to Hakodateyama Ski Area for some family ski and snow fun!
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8. Yellow Mountains, China
This magnificent World Heritage UNESCO site is worthy of a visit all year round, due to its famous sea of cloud scenery. In December, the winter snowfall further accentuates the stark sweeping landscape of jagged peaks that pierce through the sea of clouds, creating a much more dramatic scenery!
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If you're the adventurous sort but would like to skip the usual skiing, rent some crampons at the mountain base and go on a hike amidst the Yellow Mountains!
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#HHWT Tip: Be prepared that some trekking paths may be closed should a heavy snowfall occur.
9. Gapyeong, South Korea
Rounding up this list is Gapyeong, a small county just northeast of Seoul that offers amazing scenic snowfall sights and wintry landscapes that you should definitely not miss out on this December! Around late December, the well-known tourist spot Nami Island gets an icy makeover even Elsa would be proud of!
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If you prefer something a little more thrilling, do check out Gapyeong Sledding Hills! During winter, visitors can sledge across snow hills of varying intensity levels. Definitely, something worth experiencing if you're looking for family activities in Gapyeong.
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If you're a Kdrama addict, you might also want to check out The Garden of Morning Calm, where the popular drama series Love In The Moonlight was filmed! In December, the garden gets illuminated at night during the Lighting Festival, making for a much more magical sight altogether.
Credit: Korea Tourism Organization India on Facebook
10. Beijing, China
Beijing, the capital of China, isn't just a treasure trove of history and grandeur, it's also a winter wonderland! Picture this: temperatures regularly dip below freezing, and while snowfall isn't a guarantee every year when it does happen, it's like a scene straight out of an epic Chinese historical drama!
Now, if the snowflakes decide to stay hidden, don't fret, because Beijing has your back. You've got easy access to incredible ski resorts like Badaling, Nanshan, Huaibei, and Snow World Ski Resorts. Imagine the thrill of perfecting your skiing or snowboarding skills while embracing the icy adventure. It's all about embracing the chill and having a blast!
There you have it, from conquering snowy slopes to gorgeous and unique photo opportunities to up your Instagram game, you will be spoilt for choice for your coming year-end holidays with these 10 places! It’s time to head out to one of these destinations and experience a winter trip like never before!