The Glacier Express running through the Swiss Alps.

If the thought of hibernating all winter long has you itching for an adventure, it’s time to start planning your escape. Winter travel means something different to everyone––some people enjoy the snow and high altitudes, while others crave endless sun and water. From snowy Sweden to the sunny Canary Islands, these three off-the-beaten-path adventures offered by top luxury-travel outfitters are now firmly on our must-visit list.

Swedish Lapland

Treehotel
The Northern Lights

Chock full of snow-covered forests and icy lakes, the Swedish Lapland is Sweden’s northernmost destination and the ideal destination for travelers who embrace the cold. An outdoors enthusiasts’ paradise, Lapland’s 42,000 square miles of vast untouched land and tundra are ideal for dog sledding, ice fishing, cross-country and heli-skiing, and for viewing the Northern Lights—a bucket-list item for many. Luxury travel company Indagare plans customized trips to this Arctic part of Sweden that include many of these activities, as well as incredible accommodations—from the popular Treehotel, where rooms are suspended 12-20 feet above ground, to the whimsical ICEHOTEL where you sleep in a hotel constrcuted of snow, and—you guessed it—ice. (which we previously covered here.)

Canary Islands

Tenerife Island
Casa León
A traditional home on the Tenerife island.

Those who have a preference for two wheels can escape the cold and get in winter bike training with DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co., named one of the world’s “Top 10 Tour Operators” by Travel + Leisure. While they host luxury bike tours in an array of amazing locations, we have our eye on the Canary Islands, a group of Spanish isles known for volcanic terrain and black-and-white sand beaches. With balmy year-round riding weather and diverse terrain, the islands are an ideal travel spot for the active set. The guided tour includes epic rides like the 7,700-foot ascent of the volcanic Mount Teide––a favorite of many professional riders––followed by authentic and delicious meals. The days may be difficult but the evenings are decadent: Accommodations include spots like Casa León, which is located in the hills of the island of Gran Canaria and boasts ocean views, and La Quinta Roja, a 20-room boutique hotel located at the center of Tenerife, the largest island of the isles.

 

Swiss Alps

The Glacier Express
Zermatt
Andermatt
St. Moritz

Powder hounds are always on the lookout for unique ways to experience the mountains, and luxury tour operator Scott Dunn has curated a truly unforgettable multiday experience perfect for any die-hard skier or snowboarder. The trip transports skiers and boarders on the Glacier Express, a direct train that runs between St. Moritz and Zermatt along 180 miles of world-class skiing and stunning scenery. Guests start the adventure with a couple days in Zermatt, where they have the option of skiing the legendary Matterhorn, before boarding the train to make their way to St. Mortiz. A couple-day pitstop in Andermatt allows for turns at the small resort where the Swiss army trains, before pulling into St. Moritz, where a few days of skiing with views of Lake St. Moritz conclude the memory-making trip.