Many people dream of sunny beaches and exotic destinations when the cold winter temperatures start knocking on their door. However, if you have a Viking soul in you, you're absolutely fascinated of how the Night's Watch lived, or simply adore snow and ice, you might have a very different idea about how you'd like to experience the winter holidays. Check out the coldest places on Earth you'll love to spend Christmas in!
While France is not exactly renowned for freezing temperatures, do keep in mind that it is home to Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps and the silent guardian of the Chamonix commune. If you're into winter sports, you'll have a blast in Chamonix! This picturesque high-mountain town hosted the first Winter Olympics all the way back in 1924 and is a huge attraction for skiing, snowboarding and ice climbing fans from all over the world.
Lapland is the northernmost and largest region of Finland, and it has almost freezing temperatures all year round. Christmas, however, is the best time to visit this fairy-tale place. This is Santa's homeland after all, and the locals know how to make the most out of this festive period. Enjoy reindeer sleigh rides through the sleepy woods, hear amazing stories by the crackling fire, go skiing or snowmobiling, or just sit back and relax in a cosy cabin, enjoying the snowy countryside.
If cold, remote, and a bit creepy are your cup of tea, Oymyakon might be your ideal winter holiday destination. This little Siberian town is officially the coldest permanently inhabited site in the world, with temperatures dropping even below 70 degrees C (95 F). Explore the otherworldly landscapes of Siberia, have a go at reindeer sledding, try authentic nomadic food and get to see Yakutian cows and horses - unique Siberian breeds adapted to the harsh conditions of the region.
While here, don't forget to check out the Road of Bones, the only connection of the town with the outside world. In case you're wondering, yes, the nickname of the highway has quite a spine-chilling story behind it the road was built by prisoners, many of whom died during its construction due to exhaustion, malnutrition, exposure to the freezing temperature, or were simply executed for not working hard enough. Their bodies were left buried within the foundations or purposefully incorporated into the road to serve as a buffer against the permafrost.
The northernmost settlement in the US, located 514 km (320 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, Barrow enjoys a polar climate, with temperatures above 0 degrees C (32 F) for only 160 days per year. While here, you will learn about the history and traditions of the Inupiat people, try local dishes, get the chance to spot polar bears, go bird-watching, visit the whaling station and Birnirk archaeological site nearby, or embark on an exciting tundra adventure. Are you ready to embrace the cold this winter and enjoy an out-of-the-ordinary Christmas? Time is running fast, so start planning your trip, buy plenty of warm clothes, and look for a good holiday insurance policy ASAP!