So we’ve finally hit October, which can only mean one thing – winter (for some, not you lucky South Pacific lot) is just a hop, skip and jump away. Whilst there is something oddly comforting about pulling out the woolly jumpers, battening down the hatches (excuse the war time speak) and hunting down the pub with the biggest fire/best roast dinner, winter is still a somewhat gloomy prospect.
Or is it? Yes it’s cold, yes it’s dark and yes we lose the summer tan we worked days for, but winter also plays host to some incredible festivals and celebrations around the world. From the traditional Christmas faire in Europe, to an incredible snow festival in Japan and of course the legend that has become Snowbombing, if you do winter right, it might just become your all-time favourite season. Here are our picks for ultimate winter fun-ness:
Berlin Christmas Market at Kaiser Wilhelm (Nov – Jan)
Christmas isn’t complete without a trip to a mandatory Christmas market, so do it right with a visit to the market at Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche. Berlin has around 50 Christmas markets each year, but this one takes the crown in popularity with around 2 million visitors each year. Expect the normal festive faire – jewellery, decorations, artwork, and indulge in the pleasures of the season – mulled wine, roast chestnuts, and an unhealthy amount of stollen.
Sapporo Snow Festival – Japan (5 -11 February 2014)
Snow slides, snow mazes, snow murals, yup, Sapporo knows its snow. Known as the winter capital of Japan, this week long festival also erects over 400 snow statues, some of which rise above 15 metres and double as stages for myriad concerts and events. With over 2 million annual visitors, this ultimate snow celebration is well worth a visit.
Snowbombing – Mayrhofen, Austria (7-12 April 2014)
Now in its fifteenth year, Snowbombing has become something of an institution amongst winter sports fanatics and party goers alike. Set in the idyllic alpine scene of Mayrhofen, Snowbombing is basically a week long party of awesome skiing/snowboarding, world class DJ’s, sky high igloos, enchanted forests, (optional spas), and basically LOADS of fun. Last year’s acts included Kasabian, Disclosure, Rudimental and Carl Cox.
Rio Carnival – Rio de Janeiro (28 February to March 4th 2014)
Still hate winter, had your fill of Christmas food and want to escape to tropical lands and exciting culture? Book a trip to Rio Carnival. The absolute daddy of Carnivals and revered all over the world, Rio Carnival is a week-long explosion of colour, sound, culture, vibrancy and excitement. Watch the parades, attend the balls, dance at a street party and learn to samba with the best of them. And once it’s over, put off winter a little longer with a trip to one of Rio’s exquisite beaches. The ultimate winter blues buster.