If you feel like you need a bit of a getaway to recover after the festive period, then why not go and explore one of our top winter destinations?
Plitvice Lakes – Croatia
The beauty of this national park is not just to be enjoyed in summer - the winter months can be just as breath-taking.
Located halfway between the capital and the coast, it consists of 16 lakes which are interconnected by waterfalls - a sight to behold. The park is also home to lots of wildlife, including deer, bears, wolves, boar and rare birds, so don’t forget to take your camera (remember: don’t get too close to the wildlife).
We recommend that if you want to get some incredible snaps then head for highest point so that you can capture the lakes below.
St Petersburg – Russia
During the winter season, St Petersburg is the place to be, with their elegant bridges, frozen canals and stunning architecture dusted in layers of white snow. With an average winter temperature of -5°C, you’ll need to wrap up warm but trust us, the sights are worth it.
While you’re there, St Isaac’s cathedral is worth a visit to see its iconic golden dome, followed by a stopover at the Hermitage Museum to soak up the outstanding art collection. If you don’t mind the cold, a snowy walk in Victory Park is a must, then head to one of the nearby cafes for some traditional Russian cuisine and a cheeky shot of vodka.
Budapest – Hungary
Once you arrive in this beautiful city, top of your list should be ice skating on the outdoor rink, with the incredible Vajdahunyad Castle as the backdrop. The rink itself is a boating lake in the summertime.
After spinning around on the ice, warm up in one of the city’s many thermal baths. Szechenyi is the largest of its kind in Europe. If you’re looking for something a little more modest, we recommend you try Veli Bej, also known as ‘the secret bath of Budapest’.
Finally, before you leave, make sure you try a cup of Hungarian mulled wine. The balance of spices and sweetness will be the perfect end to your winter escape.
Jasná – Slovakia
Forget the French Alps and hit the slopes in Jasná instead for a high quality but more budget-friendly experience.
The resort itself is located in the Low Tatras with the winter sports section sitting between the elevations of 973m and 2,004m. There are plenty of slopes to experience ranging from easy to advanced, providing skiers and snowboarders alike a great environment to hone their skills.
Not a skier? Don’t worry, there’s still plenty to do, such as taking a dip in the thermal pools, spas and aqua pools or alternatively you can hire snow bikes or a ski fox and explore the mountains in style.
Madeira - Portugal
Finally, if your idea of a winter holiday is to escape the cold, then we have just the place for you. Madeira in Portugal is the perfect retreat with winter temperatures at a comfortable 18-20°C and the sun shining each day for about 6 hours.
Along with the pleasantly warm days, minimal tourists and cheaper flights, you will be able to fully enjoy your holiday. Take the opportunity to indulge in a bit of surfing on the Portuguese waves or taking a boat trip to see the dolphins and whales in their natural environment.
Visiting out of season means more relaxed locals, so make sure you strike up some conversations for that insider information on the best places to eat and drink.
If you need a helping hand with your winter break this year, we offer low-cost holiday loans to spread the cost. Starting from just 3.3% APR Representative between £7,500 and £25,000.
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