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Sip mulled wine in Christmas markets, speed through the snowy forest in Lapland on a husky safari, crunch through the Pyrenees on snowshoes, or soak up some warm rays in Mauritius. This winter with Not In The Guidebooks, treat yourself to some stunning winter travel experiences.

Whether you’re looking for something different to do, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, or some offbeat discoveries, here are our top 7 winter experiences to help get you inspired for a winter season like no other.

1.     Christmas Markets in Strasbourg and Reims

christmas lights on a street in alsace france

Winter always means Christmas, and this year with Not In The Guidebooks, head to the beautifully lit cathedral and lanes of Reims or the picturesque wooden chalets and cobbled streets of Strasbourg for a Christmas market break to really get you in the festive spirit.

In Reims, get under the skin of Champagne country and visit generations-old Champagne houses, sip the finest produce on Champagne masterclasses and float on gourmet river cruises through the beautifully lit city – all after freely discovering all the spectacular food and wine on offer at various stalls serving up bubbling fondue, delectable chocolates and more.

If you pick Strasbourg, then prepare yourself for a trip into wine country as you follow the Alsace wine route to numerous family-run wineries, discovering the very best produce on offer, and enjoy one of the most memorable meals of your life at the chef’s table of a world-renowned restaurant. Of course, you’ll be able to find the perfect cup of mulled wine to warm your bones at the beautiful Christmas markets themselves.

2.     Husky Safari in Lapland

close up of husky dog

Experience hissing through the pristine, white wilderness of Lapland, pulled by a team of beautiful dogs with endless energy, as you drink in the panoramic views of quiet forests, rolling fells, frozen lakes and, if you go at the right time, the purple-green twilight of the northern lights.

Get up close and personal with these incredible working huskies in their best environment, an experience that is sure to melt hearts for all, and have a go at driving the team yourself with a few obligatory shouts of ‘mush’.

All in all, it’s an essential winter travel experience in Lapland you’re sure to never forget, and a chance to explore some European wilderness in the most authentic way possible, using a method that’s been used for thousands of years.

3.     Fire & Ice in Iceland

People exploring the ice cave in Iceland

Winter travel experiences don’t get much more varied and thrilling as this journey across Iceland which crosses lava fields and glaciers, passes through ice caves and across black volcanic sand beaches, and stops at jaw-dropping waterfalls and bursting geysers.

On this Fire & Ice tour of southern Iceland, you’ll discover the very best of this explosive island as you soak in natural, geothermally heated lagoons and set off on northern lights cruises from the characterful capital of Reykjavik.

But you’ll also get to know the authentic, local side of the island on tours around the city to discover family-run eateries and hidden, local gems, as you get to know the true culture and cuisine of the Icelandic people. Throw in the incredible natural sights, and this definitive winter tour of Iceland will provide one of the most memorable winter travel experiences you could wish for.

Popular Winter Travel Experiences

Searching For The Northern Lights

Finland, Lapland

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Iceland Fire & Ice Experience

Iceland, Reykjavik

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Snowshoeing Foodie Adventure in the Pyrenees

France, French Pyrenees

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Champagne and Christmas

France

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4.     Snowshoeing Foodie Adventure in the French Pyrenees

snowshoes in front of mountain view

You don’t have to be a skier in order to make the most of the mountains in winter. In fact, on this snowshoeing experience, you can discover areas well off-piste that you’d never be able to reach on skis, and experience these beautiful mountains to their fullest on a thrilling winter travel experience.

With an experienced mountain guide, set out into the snow-covered pine forests, spot deer, birds of prey or even bears, and summit your first Pyrenees peak as you crunch through the stunning landscape of wintery mountains and valleys.

Stay in a cosy, locally-run B&B and discover the wonderful range of local cuisine, as you rest up each day by a roaring fire with a home-cooked, hearty meal of regional specialities. And with unique experiences like a night time, torch lit walk through the forest to a cider house for a feast of French food, and you have one of the most compelling winter travel experiences on offer.

5.     Soak Up Winter Sun in Mauritius

boat and sunset in mauritius

Not all winter travel experiences have to be about snow and mountains, some find winter the best time to escape the cold, grey weather of the UK for more tropical climates and a winter sun travel experience. On this beautiful itinerary on the paradise island of Mauritius, you’re sure to find all the gorgeous weather, gold-sand beaches and warm seas you could want.

Discover the incredible blend of Creole, African, Asian and European flavours on a local food walk in the capital of Port Louis, head out on glass-bottomed boats and experience snorkelling in the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean, and simply relax on a white-sand beach for that feeling of true escapism.

You’ll also get to see the local side of the island, taking a wooden sailing boat to a tiny, uninhabited islet for a beautiful fish barbecue, and being invited for home-cooked meals at the homes of the local, so that you don’t simply see Mauritius, you experience it.

6.     See the Northern Lights in Lapland

finland northern lights over the trees

Winter travel experiences don’t come much more magical than sitting in your own cosy glass-roofed cabin, gazing at the flickering tongues of red, green and purple northern lights gleaming above the pines.

Head to the vast fells, quiet forests and frozen rivers of Lapland in winter, one of Europe’s last true wildernesses, and discover the Aurora Borealis like never before either from the comfort of your own bed, or out on magical snowshoe walks in the vast quietness that is Lapland at night.

By day you can experience husky safaris, reindeer rides, or that most quintessential of Christmas experiences for the kids, meeting Santa himself in his home town! One thing is for sure, once you’ve finished a day of exhilarating activities and enjoyed a beautiful meal by the fire, you’re sure to be blown away by the spectacle of the northern lights above Lapland, and remember your Finnish adventure for a long time.

7.     Adventure in Costa Rica

cloud forest in costa rica

Experience a fully immersive tour of Costa Rica, a country of steaming volcanoes, beautiful cloud forest, dripping jungles dotted with clear lagoons and cascading waterfalls, white sand beaches and enormous biodiversity, and fall in love with this sliver of South America that has captivated so many travellers.

From spotting alligators and tropical birds in the mangrove forests of Sierpe, to having your breath taken away at the summit of Irazú, the variety of this winter travel experience, not limited thanks to its almost equatorial climate, is endless and fascinating, and you’ll pack a huge amount of activity in to find those secret swimming spots and those most thrilling hikes.

However, this itinerary gives you plenty of time to relax and unwind, whether in small eco-retreats nestled in the jungle, or in beachside accommodation where you can pass the time soaking in the Latin American sun. By the time it comes to returning back to wintery England, the colours of Costa Rica will still be burning bright in your mind’s eye, inspiring you to return.


Here at Not In The Guidebooks, we offer a wide variety of off the beaten track holidays, local, immersive itineraries and unique day experiences. Whether that’s camping in the Sahara desert in Morocco, crossing Cambodia by tuk-tuk, or finding foodie delights in France, there’s something to suit everyone that means you don’t simply see the world, you experience it.

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