Somewhere in the world it is cold. Just the word “cold” turns people off the idea of visiting a place but let’s be honest; we have all seen some amazing snowy photos in our time. People should try to embrace it. Trips are most certainly not all about going to warm places and sitting on a beach- well, not every time. Sometimes, the most beautiful destinations are caked in the white stuff. Some of the coolest photos show a glaze of icicles and huge glaciers.
In this article, Agness and Cez of eTramping travel blog will showcase to you their TOP FIVE places to visit to experience what any others will miss out on; visiting the most beautiful icy cold destinations the human eyes will ever see. They personally love to travel in winter, so you might beware plenty of enthusiasm!
1. Svalbard, Norway
With a name that sounds like it came straight out of a Lord Of The Rings novel, Svalbard is a collection of islands situated north of Norway, tucked in between the Arctic Ocean and the Norwegian Sea. Largely unpopulated across all islands, some have “nature reserve” status and offer so much potential for the more adventurous traveller. The higher mountain tops are permanently under snow and there are plenty of cool glaciers to check out for those who love an upward trek. If you time it right, you may catch a midnight sun (April to August) or a polar night (October to February) in your Svalbard trip. They will certainly add character to your trip!
There are plenty of ways of getting around each of the islands, but the postal service boat trips or Svalbard Cruises are the best ways. Most people there speak English very well, so communication will not be an issue. The best part of these trips can include a possibility of seeing a Polar Bear family finding its way through the craggy mountains. Not only that, there may also be an abundance of other remarkable wildlife in their natural habitat. Be sure to keep an eye out for Puffins, Humpback Whales, Orcas, polar foxes and many more.
One other interesting fact: any human artifacts left lying around from before 1946 must be left alone, as the law states. You may stumble across an old mining entrance, or a random spade on your travels. It is best to not touch them!
2. Harbin, China
Harbin is home to the Ice and Snow Festival, where the most incredible ice sculptures are showcased to those that visit. Popular throughout January, Harbin is the perfect icy getaway for those wanting to numb their New Year Blues. This expedition is becoming more and more popular every year as competition grows from participants around the world. There is no doubt you will wowed by the high quality of these sculptures and their intricate and accurate cuts, not to mention the sizes! It has been known that an Ice Castle was showcased here once, standing at a whopping forty-eight metres high! There are smaller, less hectic shows on Sun Island, although the name doesn’t reflect the temperatures. Be sure to pack strategically, as it can get super cold here during this time of the year.
There is plenty to keep you occupied other than the ice sculptures. Ice-skating and sight-seeing are two very popular things to do, as the architecture here is a mixture of Russian influence and neo-classical streets, which makes for an interesting mixture of styles. Plenty of history to be learned!
3. Barrow, Alaska
This part of the US is unique because it stretches far north of the Arctic Circle. Not only that but it is surprisingly diverse with culture. You will probably hear several languages spoken around you in any given day. Nevertheless, the majority of the population are of Eskimo heritage and the locals have gone to great lengths to preserve their natural way of life. Therefore you will find plenty of points of interest, where you will learn of the evolution and hardships of a very unique group of people. In fact, the more interest you show, the more welcome you will feel. Barrow Beach is a very photogenic area, with the added possibility of sighting some polar bears in their natural habitat. You may even see them in the middle of a seal hunt! It is best to keep a whole day free for this part of the trip, as you will have a chance to relax and take in your surroundings.
Temperatures in Barrow can get frightfully cold (lows of -50 degrees Celsius) but there is plenty of landscape to explore.
4. Patagonia, South America
This is quite simply a matchless part of the world, because of its incredible exploration opportunities. Shared by Chile and Argentina, the western part mixes with the Andes and give you awe-inspiring trek routes and the most beautiful nature experiences you may ever have. The Moreno Glacier is certainly worth a visit due to its vastness and photo opportunities. The eastern stretches of Patagonia have cool views of the Atlantic Ocean. The north collides with dry and humid desert land and Pampas lowlands. It has everything! It is such a huge, desolate area, a playground for trekkers and adventure seekers to enjoy.
What is even more distinctive is the local dialect. Welsh, you may wonder? Yes, one of the larger settlements in these parts are Welsh Argentinian. You will meet the kindest, most humble people on your trip here, people will drop everything to help you along your way.
Patagonia is actually proudly a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will most likely mix with some fantastic wildlife, such as sea lions, dolphins and penguins on the coast, and witness endangered Pumas and other such animals in the mountains.
5. Swiss Alps
You know where this is going- get your skis ready! Aside from the amazing skiing experiences (if skiing takes your fancy- or snowboarding, for that matter), there are plenty of quaint, fairytale-like villages to explore, such as Saas Fee and Wengen.
They offer sweet, alpine views, amazing hot meals, and are great places to base yourself as you explore the local skiing culture. Stay warm with some local Fondue, and mix with families and lone-travellers from all around the world. Make sure you bring a GoPro or something similar, for those winding alpine slopes!
There are also some fantastic mountaineering climbs on offer across the region. Plenty of choices include Matterhorn, Breithorn and Castor. If you enjoy challenging yourself to adventurous treks, you are in for a treat! The views are breath-taking, the glaciers are looming. Further down the mountains you will find wondrous gorges and national parks to gaze upon, so take a spare memory card for your camera!
Switzerland is considered to be one of the most expensive destinations in the world. Finding great things to do that will not cost a dime is therefore no small deal.
From incredible landscapes, beautifully clean cities, fresh air, friendly people, chocolate and cheese Switzerland is a lovely place to go to. Below is a list of what to do in Switzerland that will be free of charge;
Switzerland is known for its quality time pieces and Bern’s main clock is an astronomical clock that was built in 1530 but still works. The Zytglogge chimes after every 15 minutes and the show starts at the top of the hour. The jester rings the bells and medieval human and a bear dance round and round in a musical frenzy.
Bern’s Old Town and statues
Strolling around Bern’s old town center is a great experience. To make this walk fun, start walking from the Bahnhof which is the main train station to the Barenpark. You will see over 100 fountains some topped with renaissance figures that have their own unique history and you will also come across the Ogre Fountain in Kornhausplatz that has an ogre devouring children. It acts as a cautionary tale for inspiring good road manners.
Aare River swim
There is a public pool area which is located below the parliament buildings in Bern. Here one can enjoy swimming in the Aare River which is fast moving and cold because it consists of Alpine melt water. It is quite an exhilarating experience that you just have to try.
The Parliament Building
There are some free guided tours into the Parliament building in Bern. You can explore into the Council chambers, domed hall and the lobby to discover the building’s history and how the parliament works.
This gothic cathedral was completed in the 19th century and is one of the top places to see in Switzerland. After a climb of 344 steps, one can take in the beautiful sights of the city of Bern and the Alps. There is also a portal over the main doors that reveal the detailed sculpture of the Last Judgement.
There are free bike for rent at the Bern Rolt where you could go for a spin around the old city. You can find rental location at Bahnhof and what is required is your ID and 20 Swiss francs to serve as a deposit. You will then comfortably ride through the streets and over cobblestones for 3-4 hours.
It is a large area where bears roam from time to time along the banks of the Aare River. Above it is a tourist information center with interesting displays of the history of Bern.
A leisurely walk at an animal park
Tierpark Dahlholzli is a forested animal park where you can walk across the Aare River from the Old Town. Here you will see beautiful reptiles and other animals and there is also a playground for the children.
Take a sunbath
Worshipping the sun at Ufschotti in Lucerne while taking in beautiful views across Lake Lucerne is among the best things to do in Switzerland. To cool off from the summer heat, take a refreshing dip into the lake.
This convent is one of the landmarks of the city of Zurich. The artwork here is truly magnificent. The stained glass windows by Augusto Giacometti in the north transept and the rosette by Marc Chagall are captivating.
Switzerland is a favored tourist destination known for both its linguistic and geographical diversity. The landlocked country prides in having four official languages including; German, French, Italian and Romansh.
Owing to its diversity of language and geography, Swiss cuisine is also multifaceted. Even though chocolate and the cheese fondue are popular delicacies the country is famed for, there are plenty of other finger-licking foods you have to try out in some of the best restaurants in Switzerland.
Below are the 7 most widespread places to eat while in Switzerland;
The Hotel Helvetia serves delicious regional cuisine and has been awarded 15 points by the Gault-Millau Gourmet Guide. The hotel restaurant is located in one of Zurich’s most lively cities and is perched just above the Sihl River where one can enjoy views above a rooftop terrace.
Hotel Helvetia consists of 2 luxury apartments and 14 guest rooms which have a classic interior, heating, free Wi-Fi and satellite TV. It also has a spa center and sauna where one can relax.
Situated in Zurich, this bar and restaurant is well- known among locals and travelers alike. It has been the ideal meeting point for writers, artists, business partners, designers, friends and family since 1921 due to its perfect blend of art and cuisine.
Kronenhalle employs top class chefs from Alsace, Bavaria and its hometown to provide the some of the finest international and Swiss food you will ever have.
The classic traditional dish which is a tasty sliced veal in gravy will never miss on the menu. Other regional specialties will include Rosti, smoked pork and filet of sole.
This serves as Lucerne’s restaurant and brewery. One can enjoy some alpine cuisine in this pub-like set up. On the menu, the highlights include; a savory cheese cake and macaroni cheese pasta served with applesauce. All meals in Rathaus Brauerei go with the two in-house beers served namely; Rathaus Bock and Rathaus Naturtrub.
Wein & Sein
This restaurant offers a huge variety of seasonal menus and wine. It is located in Bern and the wine cabinets are lined along the walls of the bar with over 300 bottles forming the key decoration. The lunch menu keeps on changing with seasonal favorites being retained and the evening menu involves a five-course meal that can be served either with meat or without. The sommelier will then recommend the ideal wine to accompany the presented dish.
Situated in Bern, the Altes Tramdepot has lovely views of the Bear Park, Bern’s Old Town and the Aare River from its front terrace and beer garden. Its menu is quite extensive offering many options of what to eat in Switzerland. Some of the delicacies you have to sample are the Bernese plate, Swiss pasta dishes, Asian plates and French cuisine. Altes Tramdepot also has a brewery where the in-house beer is produced.
It ranked 5th place in the world’s best restaurants in 2015. It is found in Schloss Schauenstein in the little mountain village of Furstenau. The overall room lighting is kept low with the tables being well lit to provide a romantic atmosphere. Food served here is quite exquisite from its smell, flavor and texture. The service is good all year round and there is a beautiful terrace where a cold drink can be enjoyed in fine weather while admiring the scenic views.
Restaurant de l’Hotel de Ville
This restaurant took the number one spot for world’s best restaurants in 2015. It is located in Crissier and is known for serving classic French food. The restaurant has had three Michelin stars since 1998. The restaurant is known for its high level of hospitality and consistency in its dishes and the perfect balance of flavours that most of its clientele are regulars. Be sure to stop by this elegant restaurant for a taste of heavenly delights even before checking into one of the cozy hotels in Switzerland.
The presence of various international organizations and having the headquarters of most of the agencies for Red Cross and the United Nations makes Geneva to be considered as the worldwide center for diplomacy.
Another notable feature the world identifies Geneva with is in its offshore banking industry that the rich of this world prefer to keep their money.
It is quite possible to familiarize yourself with the finest places Geneva tourism has to offer in just two days. For the first day of the trip, here are excellent places to start;
Jet d’Eau means water jet and it is the most famous landmark in Geneva. An enormous jet of water soars straight up from the surface of the lake to a height of 140 meters.
This park is located on the southern side of the lake and there is a large flower clock set on a slight slope. The clock changes with plants that bloom with each season to form its colorful face.
You will also find the Monument National with symbolic figures of Helvetia and Geneva to commemorate the city’s entry into the Swiss Confederation.
It is a lakeside beach found in a quiet bay for swimming and water sports. A great way to relax and have fun on your first day.
Quai du Mont-Blanc
It is quite the place to be especially late in the afternoon to see the beautiful Mont-Blanc mountain chain. There is also a monument to remember the Empress Elisabeth or Austria who was assassinated in 1898 by an Italian anarchist.
Beyond the Quai du Mont-Blanc, you will also see the Brunswick monument that serves as a mausoleum built for Duke Karl II of Brunswick. The monument is a replica of the Scaligeri tomb in Verona.
This military tower dominates the Molard Square. The highlight of this place are the illuminated stones in the pavements. A great way to enjoy this is by ending the first day trip with a relaxing stroll at night and see the inscriptions on the illuminated stones.
For the second day of the trip, the following sites are a great way to conclude the Geneva trip;
A stroll through the Parc des Bastions is a delightful way to start the morning. It offers a pleasant promenade lined with trees as you walk from on monument to the next. This is where Geneva made its first botanical garden. Highlights you are likely to relish here are the Palais Eynard, seat of the city government and one of the most notable tourist attractions in Geneva is the Reformation Wall that stretches for 100 meters portraying various protestant figures from across Europe. At the center of the wall are the statues of William Farel, John Calvin, Theodore Beza and John Knox. Right below their statues is a Christogram.
Temple de Saint Pierre
For a taste of the protestant reformation history, the Temple de Saint Pierre is a good place to go after touring the Reformation Wall. John Calvin actually preached some sermons here. The Gothic architectural style of the building is awe-inspiring.
Art and History Museum
It is one of the largest museums in Switzerland. Its collections come from various mergers of regional museums and donations from private collectors. This has resulted to a collection from different fields including; archaeology, applied and fine art collections, numerous weapons, Greek and Roman art treasures, Roman and Etruscan pottery.
It is therefore not such a hard task to become a connoisseur of Geneva in just two days. So take the challenge and book cheap flights to Geneva from the airline with the best deal and explore this amazing city.
Switzerland is a unique country where the diverse cultures of surrounding countries have greatly influenced the country itself, with the official languages being German, French, Italian and Romansh. Zurich Switzerland travel will welcome you into a land of cleans streets, interesting traditions, and national specialties providing each visitor with a small taste of surrounding countries. Summer holidays 2012 are out there waiting for you in Switzerland.
Famous for staying neutral in wars by refusing to go against other countries, even being called cowards by some, they still produced an undeniably prosperous society — Switzerland has proven have been better off without wars. Zurich is an amazingly clean city and the population goes to great lengths to keep it that way, even to the point of expecting pet owners to pick up the little messes their animals make on the streets or in parks. This might sound a little extreme, but it comes from the profound respect Swiss people have for their country, each considering the streets part of their home, and by keeping them meticulously clean, they honor their homeland.