Five Destinations You Should Visit This Winter

My love’s favorite destination NUMBER 1 😊

1. Amsterdam


For travelers who don’t fear the cold, Amsterdam can be a great winter getaway. It’s a good idea to start out with a brisk walk around the city center or a boat tour of the canals, where light installations and sculptures will be on display during the Amsterdam Light Festival in December and January. Ice skating is another favorite winter activity here and there are plenty of ice rinks — or in some years, frozen canals — available. Our recommendation: Ice Amsterdam, a rink on the Museumplein beside the stoic Rijksmuseum, the Dutch national museum. Afterwards, warm up inside one of the city’s authentic bruin cafes (brown cafes), which are local pubs named for their wooden interiors.

2. Sicily


While it won’t be warm enough for the beach, off-season Sicily offers mild temperatures (typically in the 50s and 60s) that are ideal for touring around on foot. This is the season to try hiking from Taormina to the little town of Castelmola via the ancient Saracens path, which offers views of Mount Etna, Saracen castle, and the sea en route. Or, spend a day strolling around the narrow cobblestone streets of Syracuse’s old town, which tend to be clogged with tourists during the summer, but pleasantly quiet in January and February. The Greek theater of Taormina, where winter travelers can check out the ruins without having to navigate huge crowds, is another great option. Just be aware that some restaurants may be closed and there can be chilly or rainy days — in which case, ride on the Ferrovia Circumetnea, a small (and cheap) train that circles the base of Mount Etna.

3. Cyprus


With 340 days of sun per year and comfortable winter temperatures, Cyprus is a good bet for off-season rejuvenation. The number of tourists is five to six times higher from May to September than other times of year, which means some coastal hotels close up in January and February and there are deals to be had at those that do stay open. In any case, the low-key scene makes it easier to chat with locals and explore the island’s incredible archaeological sites, such as ruins of the ancient Greco-Roman city of Kourion and the entire UNESCO-protected town of Paphos. It’s also a good season to hike, bike, or ski in the Troodos Mountains — the highest peak is Mount Olympus — as trails empty out.

4. Barcelona


Travelers looking for a big European city with tons of cultural activity and charm, but without the gray skies like London, should head to Barcelona. The air will be chilly but the sky will likely be clear and blue, making it ideal for strolling the quiet or even empty streets, the tree-lined La Rambla, and La Boqueria open-air market. There’s plenty of crema catalana (a crème brulee-like custard) to warm up with in between stops at Gaudi masterpieces like La Sagrada Familia and the paths of Park Guell, where you’ll find amazing views of the city. Plus, Barcelona’s museums and galleries often hit their stride in the wintertime, considering fewer crowds get in the way.

5. Iceland


Embrace the snow and cold in Iceland, where winter brings unique experiences not available any other time of year. First of all, winter months offer the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights on clear, super-dark nights. Secondly, streams of water running through glacial caves freeze, resulting in so-called crystal caves. Ice cave tours are a must for winter visitors. Prices on flights (particularly from the East Coast) and hotels can drop significantly, as tourism dies down from December through February. If you happen to be there during New Year’s Eve, check out the fireworks in Reykjavik, the country’s capital city.

Traveling Makes Us Better


1. Plan for the Unexpected

An itinerary can be helpful, but you won’t be able to plan everything down to the smallest detail. How could you possibly have known about that little restaurant at the back of that alley before you arrived, or that friendly local who invited who into his house to hear him play thesanturi? Often, the best parts of a trip are a result of an adventure.

2. Not getting what you want or getting what you didn’t want can be a blessing in disguise

When you have to take a later bus or a different ferry, you have no choice but to accept it. This is how a lot of successful people learn to be happy when things don’t go their way.

3. The best things can come from the worst experiences

Once, when I was in New York, I was swindled by a stranger for a hundred dollars. At first I was devastated. I spent the entire next day thinking about what I should have done to keep my money, and what I would do if I had it. But what I learned from this about humanity, about the nature of good and evil within people, and how circumstances force them to do bad things showed me a lot about myself and how to cope with misfortune.

4. Price and value are two different things

The cost of a trip may be a couple of thousand dollars, depending on how big you go. But the value it could have on your life and your memories could be priceless. Think about how much you are willing to spend, sure, but also consider what else you want from your vacation, who you want to meet, what kind of experiences you want to have, and how you want to remember it ten years from now.

5. Dont follow others’ footsteps and find your own path

Traveling in a guided tour can be informative and fun, but I look forward to wandering away from the group, down labyrinthine alleys, into falafel shops and sectarian neighborhoods, to experience my own understanding of a city and its environs. The same applies to when I come home from my trip.

6. Living in the moment

Traveling is kind of like being in love. Except instead of being intimate with another person, you become intimate with a place. Those moments of pleasure when the sun hits your face and you look out onto a foreign countryside, or arrive at a new train depot in a bustle of taxis and hawkers—those are the moments you, or at least I, remember, and live for, again and again.

7. Seeing how other people live

We’re all part of a human family, but it’s easy to forget that when we move through our daily routine, seeing people who live just like we do. But when you see people going about their daily existence in ways very different from your own, it can open your eyes to how similar you are to them, and how different.

8. Appreciating what you have

When you see a family eating rice for dinner and sleeping on the street under the open sky, it can help you think about how lucky you are to have a home and warm clothes you can go back to. Chances are if you’re reading this right now, your probably in the top 20% of the world’s wealthiest people. Don’t forget it!