As the morning and evening get darker, I dream of layering up and taking an adventure in the cold air. Wrapped up warm and then coming home to the heat of a log burner and a glass of hot wine. I like the idea of Hygge, but it’s not for me. I like to get out in and enjoy all the weather (as you’ll know) and want to make the most of winter as I do the rest of the seasons. Now is the time of year that I plan our winter break. With our planned place being booked up, I’m back to the drawing board, but a slow winter holiday is my focus.
Scotland, Wales or somewhere else?
For the last few years we have taken our new year winter break in Scotland and Wales. Despite having a fantastic time in both, we didn’t quite find the winter wonderland that we had been dreaming about. Having said that, we were hoping to go to the same part of Wales this year. However, change is good and we certainly don’t want to get stuck in our ways. It all works out in the end.
As we spend a lot of the year in cities and around our tech, we love nothing more than visiting somewhere where we can switch off. Somewhere we can experience something new and enjoy our own company. To find inspiration for our adventures, I turned to Pinterest and found my inspiration quickly turned into a wish list!
And as it turns out, I discovered a company after my own ethos, called Inntravel. They are currently running a slow winter holiday campaign which will have me jumping down the Pinterest rabbit hole of holiday aspiration boards. (I’m not complaining!) Inntravel are the ‘Slow Holidays’ company which offers amazing trips to help you explore on foot, by bike or train. Which to be honest, tick my holiday boxes right there. Even better is that the holidays are self guided instead of in groups, so you holiday at your own speed, rather than having to pace yourself with others. And if that wasn’t enough to join me in daydreaming, they take out all the hard work. That means route planning, maps and descriptions as well as transporting your gear. I recommend that you don’t look at their website or Pinterest boards if you have anything you need to do today!
Hot wine and Christmas Markets
After supping down daily doses of grzaniec (Polish hot wine) at the market in the small square in Krakow and plans to meet my American friends at a Christmas market in Germany next December, I’m in the spirit of things. Kind of literally. We visit the Manchester Christmas Markets every year and are making it our ‘thing’ this year to visit the ones in surrounding cities. Although one a bit further afield would be preferable. Snow, biting air and old village buildings glistening in the Christmas lights, with the smell of wine and spices warming our senses. Ahhh, it would be so lovely!
I have a feeling that Gothenburg stands out because it has a Dutch feel to it (here we go again!) yet with that little bit more too. For some reason I think the festive markets in Gothenburg, Prague or Saltzburg would be that bit more romantic and exciting. Kind of like the volume had been turned up and you were able to experience it all as new. It is funny thinking about Christmas as we were discussing how jolly the lights are as we get closer to Christmas. Cheering up the darker evenings and making everywhere feel that bit warmer even on the coldest of days. Although Manchester’s market is lovely, it doesn’t quite have the je n’ sais quoi that the European ones have.
Not to say that the Christmas lights aren’t great, but there is one kind of light that trumps them all. The Northern Lights. My parents have been on a cruise to see them and I have friends who have driven up on the hunt for them in Scotland. Unfortunately, the best views tend not to be in Scotland though. Not because they aren’t there, but because of the cloud cover that we are known for in the UK.
Having done a bit of research (after my parent’s trip to Norway) your best chance of seeing the Northern Lights is from mainland Europe. Tromsø, a historic waterfront town is apparently the place. And from the pictures, I think so too!
There are definitely some things that you just have to see in your life and the aurora borealis has to be one of them. To me it would be a bit like stepping into science and magic all at once. I’m just picturing the light dancing in the sky above us while we snuggle with something warm to drink (here I go with the hot wine again!) and collecting memories of something amazing. And on the topic of bucket list activities. It turns out that Tromsø can complete two of the ones on my list, Northern Lights and snow-shoeing.
Hiking or walking in snow can be tough at the best of times in the UK (think my hike in Littleborough last winter) but with the right kit, you can go for miles, literally. I can’t really remember how I found out about snow-shoeing. It might ave been something to do with the cartoons with tennis rackets on their feet, but I remember thinking how fun it would be to try.
I think the thing that appeals most is that you can explore individually and get to places that those on foot or skis can get to. You get to see lesser-taken paths through villages and up hills with few people around you. Perfect when you want to get away from it all, like we do on our winter breaks.
One thing I have learned in my research into slow winter holidays is that you can get out hiking and walking as much as you can in the warmer months back at home. I didn’t realise that snow holidays are so walker friendly! From what I have read on the Inntravel site, many of the walking routes are easy for self navigating, so you can go it alone, safely.
There is so much to love about a slow winter holiday. Time to relax, recharge and refresh. And not a mass of Hygge to keep you indoors either. The bad bit now is that I am so spoiled for choice as to where I want to go and what I want to do. Plus, my bucket and to-visit lists have grown dramatically. (again, not complaining as I love inspiration!)
But for now, I have the tough job of browsing Pinterest, reading about short winter breaks and Northern Light trips (someone’s got to do it!) – I mustn’t even look further for fear of finding more inspiration. Scrap that!! I’m going in!
Our slow holiday
With so much to choose from, I am going to be spoiled for choice for our break! With any luck, I’ll be able to get my head out of the clouds, count the freedom fund and book us a slow winter holiday to explore and relax at our own place. Ahhh, hurry up winter!!
Is it too early for hot wine?
Are you a fan of the slow winter holidays? Do you love exploring on foot or two wheels? Would you take a slow winter holiday?
Let me know in the comments
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Inntravel. I received compensation for writing this post. However, as always, all copy and opinions are honest and my own. The travel pictures are from the Inntravel Pinterest page.I chose to collaborate with Inntravel because of our shared ethos and northern roots. For more about who I work with, check my disclosure policy.