If you’ve had enough of the scorching Aussie heat this summer, it might be time to make a quick escape to one of these cool and calm spots in Iceland, Canada, Wales and more!
1. Crystal Ice Cave – Vatnajökull Glacier, Iceland
Descending into a cave of beautiful blue ice, inside one of Europe’s biggest glaciers, is probably one of the coolest things you can ever do. Several Ice Cave tours run throughout the winter and will have you heading down beneath the surface into a selected glowing cave, where it’s freezing yet spectacular.
2. Montreal Botanic Garden – Montreal, Canada
This otherwise lush green botanic escape transforms into a winter wonderland in Montreal’s coldest months. The gorgeous garden areas all end up covered in snow, and spots like the Chinese Garden and Japanese Garden make for a fantastical wintry sight. Believe it or not, you can ski cross country here, thanks to 3km of trails that wind through the garden.
3. Snowdon Summit – Snowdonia, Wales
No, we didn’t make up that name, it’s totally real! You’ll find Snowdonia National Park in the Welsh county of Gwynedd and it’s an area that many locals claim gave rise to the legend of King Arthur. The snowcapped mountain landscape means excellent snow hiking opportunities and the summit of the highest peak, Snowdon, is the place to aim for.
4. Ice Castles Exhibition – New Hampshire, US
What’s big and icy and glowing all over? The Ice Castles in Lincoln, New Hampshire! They’re impressively manmade using specialised drip techniques that slowly build castles and structures out of stalagmites and stalactites. The result makes for a pretty amazing experience. If you want to stay active, the Loon Mountain skiing resort is close by, too.
5. Market Square – Bruges, Belgium
If you’re looking to book an escape for the end of the year, consider Bruges. This iconic Belgian city sparkles in winter and throughout the Christmas season. Market Square, at the city centre, is the best place to be: You can skate at the outdoor ice rink, discover the stunning creations at the Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival, and shop to your heart’s content at the dazzling Christmas markets.
6. Auckland Islands – Sub-Antarctic Islands, New Zealand
If you still want something cooler without necessarily having to go far, New Zealand’s Auckland Islands are just down the road and they’re also UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Several cruise options to see this unique archipelago run from the South Island and are a fantastic opportunity to see wildlife like sea lions, penguins and albatross and get up close with Antarctic glaciers. Definitely an awesomely cool place to be!