With summer all-year round in Singapore, it’s no wonder why winter holidays are one of our favourite getaways. Whether you’re looking to get those skis on and marvel in awe at snowy landscapes, or simply experience snow in the city and enjoy sweater weather, we have a list of destinations to invoke your wanderlust and kickstart your year-end holiday planning — all in a 5-minute read! Bonus: There are even places with extensive Christmas celebrations that you won’t want to miss especially during the festive season.

For a wintry city escapade far from home

There’s an adrenaline from running into cafes to warm yourself up with a cuppa that no other seasons can offer. Lively streets filled with people dressed in coats and boots (a fashion statement you don’t get to make in sunny Singapore), these cities give you the perfect reason to escape the island heat and immerse yourself in the chilly, winter air.

Seoul, Korea

Winters in Seoul are exactly like what you see in Korean dramas — people donned in thick chic coats, sipping on piping hot fishcake soup at the street-side stalls. In fact, the cold hardly stops the locals from going out and about their daily activities. In between city shopping to add to your collection of winter outfits, indulge in hot army stews and visit the famous Noryangjin Fish Market — the fat content of fish and other seafood increase during winter so these treats only get tastier in the cold!

Myeongdong Shopping Street in Seoul, Korea

Knock yourself out at shopping paradises like Myeongdong and Ewha University

Fishcake soup from Korea

Stop by for local street delicacies like fishcake and toasted bread with egg to warm your tummies

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is the quintessential European town that will mesmerise you at every corner. In the day, the medieval-like majestic buildings, such as the iconic must-visit Prague Castle and Charles Bridge, reflect a vintage charm that will make you want to take plenty of photos. At night, classic street lamps and dazzling fairy lights light up the paths in a warm, cosy glow. If you’re looking for a romantic end-of-year escapade, this city is sure to make your heart flutter.

Skyline of Prague, Czech Republic in the blue hour

From the moment you step into the city, you’ll instantly feel like you’ve been transported into a magical Christmas wonderland circa 1800s

Outdoor ice-skating in Letna, Prague

You can even ice-skate in the open air against this breath-taking view in Letna

New York, USA

Winter in Manhattan? That’s what we call going over the top in style. Fashion never bows to the chilly winds and the city never slows down in the snow. Explore the city streets against its snow-topped towers, bare trees, and twinkling lights, and check out the elaborate window displays as you stroll down the streets of New York (especially along Fifth Avenue if you’re ready to brave the holiday crowd). When in New York, you also can’t miss basking in the festive atmosphere at the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree!

Central Park covered in white snow

Central Park, located right smack in the middle of the city, makes a great vantage point for savouring urban nature against a stunning backdrop

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in New York, USA

A longtime festive tradition, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree can stand as tall as 23 meters and adorned with tens of thousands of LED lights

For snow-capped landscapes that make for great winter adventures

Apart from the cold, one thing we most definitely don’t get in Singapore is snow. So, if you’re ready to build a snowman, trek up a hill or ski down snowy mountains, these destinations make for the perfect winter vacation.

Nepal

Nestled in the Himalayas and home to eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains — including Mount Everest (the highest point on Earth) — is Nepal. Here, even beginner-friendly trails like the Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek promises just as beautiful a view as anywhere else – panoramic sights of snowy peaks that look like something straight out of a postcard.

If you’re planning for a longer holiday and feeling adventurous, you can also take a short trip out to Mustang. Known as the last forbidden kingdom of Nepal (also known as the ‘Mini Tibet of Nepal’), Lower Mustang is a mystique valley home to many cultural and religious festivities during the season.

View of Annapurna mountain from Poon Hill

Gaze upon panoramic sights of the Annapurna mountains from the top of Poon Hill

Snow-covered stairs at Lower Mustang, Nepal

The bearable temperatures and calm landscapes of Lower Mustang makes it an ideal mini-retreat in winter

Harbin, China

You can experience cool temperatures in Harbin all year round but to truly enjoy the city, you need to visit during winter as that is when the winter activities come alive! Here, you can step into a world of life-size castles made entirely of ice at the Ice and Snow World, and watch it light up in a spectrum of aurora colours at dusk. Or, you could wine and dine in a restaurant carved from ice at the Shangri-La Ice Palace, where water vapour freezes instantly into dainty snowflakes!

Better yet, marvel at the sight of pure, white snowy-goodness in China’s Snow Town (nestled in what was originally a junior ski field in Shuangfeng Forest Farm). The soft-looking snow that can build up to 2 meters thick will make you want to dive right in!

: Ice and Snow World in Harbin, China lighting up during the blue hour

Beyond intricate sculptures, experience various snow sports like ice-skating, sliding, ice-golf and even ice-archery at the Ice and Snow World

China’s Snow Town covered with a blanket of thick snow

For an entrance fee of RMB 95 (~SGD 19), you get to dive into China’s Snow Town and all the festivities it offers

Zurich, Switzerland

Ice festivals and snow-capped mountains aside, what is a winter holiday without skiing? Close to many ski regions, Zurich gives you the best of both worlds — city comforts and the option of a day ski trip up in the hills. There are gentler slopes for beginners and those with children like the Flumserberg (which is only 1hr 15min away from the city by car), and the more challenging ones like Stoos — did we mention the picturesque views it offers? If you’re planning for a ski trip though, best get prepared with these tips!

Skyline of Zurich, Switzerland

In winter, Zurich is covered in a blanket of snow that makes it all the more mesmerising

Cabin houses along Stoos Mountain

Spot classic cabin houses along the slopes as you ski down the snowy mountains

For magical Christmas markets that will get you feelin’ festive

Old or young, there’s something about the magical charm of Christmas markets that leave us feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. These must-go markets on your festive holidays will leave even the biggest Scrooge infected with the Christmas spirit — and you don’t always have to travel halfway around the world to get there!

Osaka, Japan

You have all year to hustle in Tokyo (Japan’s capital city), but winter is a time to slow down and experience a different kind of frosty festivity in Osaka. Case in point: The annual German Christmas Market held at the Umeda Sky Building. Classic Christmas huts decked out in fairy lights and candy canes; nutmeg and beer served in adorable snowman mugs; and a vintage merry-go-round to boot — if that doesn’t get you into the festive mood, what will?

Christmas huts in the German Christmas Market in Osaka, Japan

Day or night, these gingerbread-looking houses will instantly set you in the Christmas mood. Photo credit: littleislandtakara.com

Carousel at the German Christmas Market in Osaka, Japan

Hop on the carousel with your loved ones for a fairytale-inducing Christmas. Photo credit: littleislandtakara.com

Festive goers queuing for pretzels at the German Christmas Market in Osaka, Japan

And don’t miss out on traditional German snacks like pretzels and bratwurst (German sausage) paired with festive music. Photo credit: littleislandtakara.com

Copenhagen, Denmark

Chill air, snow-laden sidewalks and Christmas markets at every street — this is Copenhagen in winter. One of its largest Christmas markets, for instance, is nestled in the enchanted Tivoli Gardens. Whether you’re with little ones (who will love seeing big ol’ Santa Claus in person) or with a romantic partner, Christmas in Tivoli exudes a magical air that is hard to resist. Marching parades, Christmas carolling and the festive décor makes it all the more charming!

Tivoli Christmas Market during the blue hour

Christmas in Tivoli is like getting lost in a winter wonderland — magical with a sense of adventure

A craft stall in the Tivoli Christmas Market

While you’re there, be sure to patronise the local craft stalls that sell everything from postcards to leather accessories and trinkets

Montreal, Canada

Montreal Christmas Market, the city’s only outdoor festival, is situated in Place Jacques-Cartier in Old Montreal and is a real treat to festive seekers. Indulge in all-things-maple — maple taffy (a sweet similar to toffee that traditionally requires snow to make), maple fritters and of course, Canadian mulled wine.

And if the Christmas spirit’s gotten to you, then move on to The Nutcracker Market, an indoor Christmas Market where festivities ensue and a portion of all profits goes to help disadvantaged children through theatre therapy. After all, isn’t Christmas all about giving?

Performers at The Nutcracker Market

Snap a photo with roaming ballerinas, toy soldiers and other festive mascots while you shop at The Nutcracker Market

Pink doll for sale at The Nutcracker Market

10% of your purchase goes to the Les Grands Ballets’ Nutcracker Fund, which allows 1,500 sick and disadvantaged children to participate in educational theatre workshops

If you’re all pumped up for a winter vacation, you better get booking before air tickets run out! Otherwise, you’d have to make do with spending Christmas in good ‘ol Singapore (which really isn’t that bad either if you ask us). Nonetheless, happy planning for those holidays!

Useful Travel Information

Best time to visit

Winter in Seoul, South Korea, starts from December to early March, and temperatures can go as low as -5ºC and as high as 7ºC.

Currency

The official currency of Seoul, South Korea, is the Korean Won (KRW).

Book now

You can get to Seoul, South Korea, in 6hr 10mins via a direct flight from Singapore. Search for airfare deals and book your tickets here.

Best time to visit

Winter in Prague, Czech Republic, starts from mid-November to mid-March, and temperatures can go as low as -1ºC and as high as 8ºC.

Currency

The official currency of Prague, Czech Republic, is the Czech Crown (CZK).

Flight links

You can get to Prague, Czech Republic, in 15hr 35mins via a layover flight from Singapore. Search for airfare deals and book your tickets here.

Best time to visit

Winter in New York, USA, starts from December to late March, and temperatures will go as low as -3ºC and as high as 11ºC.

Currency

The official currency of New York, USA is the United States Dollar (USD).

Flight links

You can get to New York, USA (Newark Liberty International Airport), in 17hr 15mins via a direct flight from Singapore. Search for airfare deals and book your tickets here.

Best time to visit

Winter in Nepal starts from November to February, and temperatures will go as low as 3ºC and as high as 24ºC.

Currency

The official currency of Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee (NPR).

Flight links

You can get to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, in 4hr 50min via a direct flight from Singapore. Search for airfare deals and book your tickets here.

Best time to visit

Winter in Harbin, China, starts from November to February, and temperatures will go as low as -20ºC and as high as 0ºC.

Currency

The official currency of Harbin, China, is the Renminbi (RMB), also known as the Chinese Yuen (CNY).

Flight links

You can get to Harbin, China, in 7hr 15mins via a direct flight from Singapore. Search for airfare deals and book your tickets here.

Best time to visit

Winter in Zurich, Switzerland, starts from December to March, and temperatures will go as low as -1ºC and as high as 6ºC.

Currency

The official currency of Zurich, Switzerland, is the Swiss Franc (CHF).

Book now

You can get to Zurich, Switzerland in 12hr 40mins via a direct flight from Singapore. Search for airfare deals and book your tickets here.

Best time to visit

Winter in Osaka, Japan, starts from December to February, and temperatures can go as low as 2ºC and as high as 12ºC.

Currency

The official currency of Osaka, Japan, is the Japan Yen (JPY).

Flight links

You can get to Osaka, Japan, in 6hr 40mins via a direct flight from Singapore. Search for airfare deals and book your tickets here.

Best time to visit

Winter in Copenhagen, Denmark, starts from November to April, and temperatures can go as low as -1ºC and as high as 5ºC.

Currency

The official currency of Copenhagen, Denmark, is the Danish Kroner (DKK).

Flight links

You can get to Copenhagen, Denmark, in 12hr 35mins via a direct flight from Singapore. Search for airfare deals and book your tickets here.

Best time to visit

Winter in Montreal, Canada, starts from mid-November to early April, and temperatures can go as low as -12ºC and as high as -1ºC.

Currency

The official currency of Montreal, Canada, is the Canadian Dollar (CAD).

Flight links

You can get to Montreal, Canada, in 22hr 15mins via a layover flight from Singapore. Search for airfare deals and book your tickets here.