Seven cities that show how cool winter can be
With the long nights and cold temperatures of winter upon us, it’s tempting to retreat to a warm spot in front of a crackling fire. However, Booking.com, the global leader in connecting travellers with the widest choice of incredible places to stay, has delved into its more than 1.5 million properties in over 123,000 destinations to present seven city breaks that will have you exploring winter’s cool factor to the full. So whether you’re after cosy restaurants with warm and hearty food, great shopping or beautiful architecture that glows in winter’s dusk, bundle up and wander the charming streets of these magical winter destinations.
In addition to being the world’s design powerhouse, Stockholm is also a Nobel Prize contender for Scandinavia’s friendliest citizens. No matter how cold the temperature outside, you’ll be warmly welcomed with open arms to this urban city, where medieval alleys, majestic parks and an awe-inspiring Royal Palace will leave you eager to explore. From December to February travellers have very high chances to enjoy the snow around the city.
Where to stay: Located one floor below the popular Urban Deli restaurant and marketplace in central Stockholm, the trendy Hotel With Urban Deli features industrial-modern rooms near the lively Stureplan dining and shopping area.
Reykjavik, IcelandIceland rumbles with volcanoes and geysers and in Reykjavík, the capital city, the urban and natural worlds meld together. See how Hallgrímskirkja Church, one of the tallest structurs in Iceland, rises into the sky like an ice wave or plunge into the geothermal waters of Nauthólsvík Beach and warm up faster than you can say “Eyjafjallajökull”! January is the coldest month of the year in Reykjavik and although snow is not 100% guaranteed, chances of enjoying the fluffy white snow are high.
Where to stay: The Swan House - RÆTUR Apartment Hotel offers trendy apartments with self-catering kitchen facilities, just a one minute walk from Reykjavik’s Laugavegur shopping street.
There’s something about Edinburgh and storytelling. After all, this is the city that inspired Barrie, Stevenson and Rowling. Bundle up and let your imagination take flight in Old Town’s maze of streets and write your own story in the home of haggis (a savoury local cuisine), single malt whisky and deep-fried Mars bars. During the winter months, Edinburgh becomes an atmospheric destination with cosy cafes and bars to warm up in and meet the locals.
Where to stay: Opposite historic Calton Hill Park, The Hedges Bed & Breakfast is a traditional guesthouse with spacious rooms and an inclusive breakfast.
Nicked named the Windy City, Chicago experiences its coldest months in January and February. Standing proud along the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago is down-to-earth, friendly, and abounding in culture. Don’t let the cold stop you! Ice skating in Millennium Park and shopping on world-famous Michigan Avenue are only some of the activities travellers can enjoy during the chill of the winter months.
Where to stay: Just blocks away from the luxury shopping, dining and entertainment of Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile, the boutique Kimpton Gray Hotel is in the heart of Chicago. Guests can warm up and relax on the hotel’s rooftop bar and take advantage of the complimentary evening wine hour.
Quebec City, Canada
Built on a sheer cliff called Cape Diamond, Québec City is a genuine gem. While the old town, where you can uncover the city’s European roots, is enchanting year around, it takes on a whole new dimension of wonder in the winter. Wander along Rue du Petit Champlain – it bubbles over with bars and bistros that serve everything from hearty pub grub to fancy nouvelle cuisine.
Where to stay: Along the St. Lawrence River, steps from the shopping on Le Petit Champlain Auberge Saint-Antoine is a stylish hotel with luxurious guestrooms in Quebec City's Old-Port area.
Highly endorsed by Booking.com travellers for shopping and seafood, the capital of the Japanese prefecture of Hokkaido hosts an annual Snow Festival every February, which is very popular amongst both domestic and international travellers. Snow is almost guaranteed every winter, so put on your boots and gloves and get ready for a snowball fight.
Where to stay: Grids Sapporo Hotel&Hostel is in the Sapporo City Centre district, 400 metres from Odori Park. The property features dormitory and private units, as well as a female dormitory room. Visitors can leave their baggage at the property’s storage space and relax and stay warm in the shared lounge before exploring the cool city.
St. Petersburg, Russia
In the winter, St. Petersbur is like a real-life snow-globe full of splendid cathedrals, snowy parks and charming bridges. During winter the city can be covered in snow, but buddle up, the average temperature is -6°C during January and February.
Where to stay: The exclusive 5-star State Hermitage Museum Official Hotel is set in the 1830s mansion in the centre of Saint Petersburg and represents the atmosphere of the original Hermitage Museum. Guests will have the opportunity to stay in luxurious rooms and suites with elegant furnishings, designed by Italian woodwork masters from Florence.