Known as the small village with a great history, its name comes from the rich salt deposits of the mountain of Hallstatt, and the area also gives its name to the period between 800-450 BC; the Hallstatt archaeological culture. For a cool thrill, the region can provide an ice-diving experience in the lake of Gosau. For a historical adventure, there are fascinating archaeological finds from the Celtic and Roman times and the Middle Ages and, for natural history enthusiasts, the stone and fossil exhibition allows for a trip back in time to one million years ago. However, for those not looking for a history lesson, there is a beautiful market square surrounded by breathtaking views and filled with cosy cafés, bars and restaurants, all providing a warm escape from the cold.
Need to know Flights from Dubai to Salzburg with Turkish Airlines start from Dh2,300 return and a connecting train journey from Salzburg to Hallstatt costs Dh250 return. For accommodation, Heritage Hotel Hallstatt rooms start from Dh700 per night; www.hotel-hallstatt.com.
One of Scandinavia’s biggest resorts, Åre is the perfect spot for skiing and snowboarding, with 114 runs over 1,080 acres of land. Those not looking to ski or snowboard can get an ice rush by dog sledding, snowmobiling or kite-boarding across the frozen lake. The area is also home to Igloo Lodge, where guests can sleep and dine in igloos (book in advance; there are only 10 of them!), as well as a frozen waterfall. Anyone looking for a relaxing time can rent the floating sauna on the lake for as little as Dh100.
Need to know Flights from Dubai to Stockholm with Qatar Airways start from Dh3,000 return, and flights from Stockholm to Åre at Dh125. Day ski passes are Dh850. Rooms start at Dh690 per night at Holiday Club Åre (www.holidayclubresports.com) and Dh710 per night at Tott Hotel Åre (www.totthotell.se).
Located just an hour out of cosmopolitan Beirut, Mzaar can be found amongst the beautiful snow-capped peaks of Mount Lebanon. Whether you’re looking for adventure-filled fun or beautiful sights, Mzaar won’t disappoint. Skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling are highly popular here. However, if it’s more of a relaxing holiday you’re looking for, you can visit the Temple of Adonis ruins in Faqra, the Jeita Grotto limestone caves or the ruins of a Phoenician temple.
Need to know Flights from Dubai to Beirut with Etihad Airways start from Dh1,020 return. Standard rooms at the InterContinental Hotel & Resort start from Dh500 per night. For more, visit www.icmzaar.com.
Lofoten Islands, Norway
The Lofoten Islands are filled with picturesque fishing villages, and sheltered bays and pastures. Located close to the Arctic Circle, the surroundings are like nothing you’ve ever seen before. A visit to the Refsvikhula Cave is a must, featuring 3,000-year-old paintings left behind by cavemen. Also on the to-do list should be seeing the Storbåthallaren Cave, known as the oldest Stone Age settlement of Lofoten, which gives an insight into life 5,500 years ago. If caves aren’t your thing, there are boat trips around the stunning archipelago. Reserve your evenings to sit outside and watch nature’s very own light show, the Northern Lights, which apparently are a nightly feature in winter months.
Need to know Flights from Dubai to Oslo with Norwegian Airlines start from Dh1,800 return, and connecting flights from Oslo to Lofoten’s closest airport, Harstad Narvik, from Dh540. Accommodation in a fishing cabin starts from Dh450 per night for three beds (www.lofoten-info.no), or the Lofoten Arctic Hotel from Dh580 per night (www.lofotenarctichotel.no).
Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India
Shimla is steeped in history, and with its unique combination of city and Himalayan surroundings, the area has unexpected sights, which are made even more beautiful by a blanketing of snow. For those looking for a modern vibe, The Mall is a promenade of shops and restaurants nestled into old colonial buildings and there is a large open square, which homes an open-air ice rink in winter months. For the nature lovers, there are numerous hillside walks with breathtaking views and a glen near the Annandale. For history buffs, the Viceregal Lodge, built in 1888, once housed the British viceroys and the Indian subcontinent was ruled from here for half of each year until the Second World War.
Need to know Flights from Dubai to New Delhi with Emirates start from Dh1,180 return, and connections to Chandigarh airport from Dh460 return. For accommodation, Willow Banks starts at Dh2,950 for seven nights (www.willowbanks.com) and Wildflower Hall from Dh4,800 for five nights (www.oberoihotels.com).