Magical frost-tipped vistas, blissful quiet and endless excuses to snuggle up with a cup of hot chocolate. These snowy islands are the perfect way to escape the chaos and cares of the holiday season.
Koster Islands in Strömstad, Sweden
The snowy Strömstad harbour
The atmospheric Koster Islands are part of the locality of Strömstad, which frequently clocks in more days of sunshine than any other town north of the Alps. Despite all these sunny days however, the Koster Islands are still a winter wonderland. The winter light gives the sea a glistening, silvery glow and regular snowfall will leave you falling slightly in love with the austere landscape. At the end of a long day exploring, park yourself in the hot tub at Daftö Resort and watch the sunset over the water.
Nantucket in Massachusetts, USA
Winter transforms Nantucket from tourist hotspot to snowy paradise
One of the only things that can beat a summer afternoon on a Nantucket beach is a long walk along the same shoreline, six months later. The lack of crowds during the winter season transforms Nantucket from a tourist hotspot to snowy paradise. Wrap up warm and admire the dramatic views over Cape Cod, followed by a walk through the historic town centre, where fragrant local bakeries will entice you inside. Keep things cosy and central by staying at the Seven Sea Street Inn.
Sylt in Nordfriesland, Germany
Ellenbogen lighthouse in the north of Sylt
Germany’s Sylt island encapsulates all the wild beauty of the Frisian archipelago; with long ochre beaches and seemingly endless horizons. These same beaches are rated as some of the country’s most family-friendly during the summer months, and in the winter, hiking through the dunes to highest point on the island is an exhilarating experience for everyone. When you’re done, the Hotel Wiesbaden has log-burning fires, hot chocolate, hearty meals and cosy bedrooms to admire the inevitable snowfall.
Bøur in Vágar, Faroe Islands
Gásadalur, located on the west-side of Vágar
The Faroe Islands float between Iceland and Norway, but they are officially part of Denmark and the biggest among them – Vágar – is truly breathtaking during the winter months. Hike the verdant grassy cliffs that surround the waterside village of Bøur, an experience that becomes all-the-more special when the waning daylight allows for sweeping views across the choppy North Sea and shifting ice floes. Stay at the aptly named The View in the centre of Bøur for access to some of the island’s best hiking trails.
Namiseom in Chuncheon, South Korea
A frozen day at Namiseom
A tiny island in the North Han River, Namiseom is a self-declared micronation. While it’s worth paying a visit just to see the island’s special passport, currency and fierce local pride, it’s the pristine snow and magical landscapes that make winter an extra special time to for a trip. This is also when campfires are set up all over the island and vendors sell piping hot red bean buns to help you keep the cold out. If you’re hoping to stay nearby, check out the Moonlight Blue Pension; this spacious resort hotel has views of the river and overlooks Namiseom.
Lofoten Islands in Nordland, Norway
'Blue hour' at Lofoten Islands
The Lofoten Islands offer an near-guaranteed view of the Northern Lights, and – if you can tear your eyes away from the luminous sky – the view at ground-level is pretty good, too. During the winter Lofoten is blanketed in a thick layer of snow, turning the usually-rushing fjords into elaborate ice sculptures and leaving visitors with the impression that the White Witch might appear at any moment. Find your perfect winter hideaway at the highly rated May’s Apartments.