Previously, we shared some of our vacation ideas for a South East Asian getaway for two. If you are searching for more exotic, far-flung destinations, why not travel some place further abroad with cooler weather? As autumn turns to winter, put on your coat and boots and try these temperate climes for an adventure:
Kyoto is the historical capital of Japan, and is full of beautiful shrines and temples. The seasons in Japan are distinct and highly celebrated, and you can find numerous autumn leave viewing parties happening during this season. Watch the leaves turn to red and gold in their final burst of glory, and talk a slow walk hand in hand down serene forest paths.
In winter, Kyoto’s architecture is blanketed by pure white snow. As temperatures dip, make a visit to an onsen – a thermal hot spring. The water in the springs contains minerals that are said to heal chronic pain and fatigue. Lying in the warm springs, surrounded by crisp, cool air, travelers can slowly take in the surrounding nature. Afterwards, sit down to a traditional Japanese kaiseki, which features seasonal and regional specialties. As everything is prepared according to what is available seasonally, you are guaranteed a fresh and unique meal.
Kraków is the second largest and oldest city in Poland. In contrast to the modern day capital of Warsaw, Kraków has maintained most of its old-world charm and architecture. Once the seat of kings, Kraków continues to be an important cultural and artistic hub. Travelers can see beautiful examples of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture all the same historical city.
The city square itself will take more than a day to explore. It is full of intersecting cobblestone streets, and beautiful buildings housing everything from fashion boutiques, pubs, cafes, museums to even university faculties. Take a tour of Copernicus’ student lodgings, watch a modern film in a Baroque movie theatre, shop for fresh flowers, amber jewelery, hand-carved chess sets and leather goods in the handicraft market, and try the excellent Polish cuisine which is available everywhere, from fine dining to Soviet-retro-kitsch bar mleczny.
Another attraction is Wawel Royal Castle which, along with Wawel Hill, constitutes the most historically and culturally important site in Poland. For centuries the residence of the kings of Poland and the symbol of Polish statehood, the Castle is now one of the country’s premier art museums.
Merano is a town and comune in South Tyrol, northern Italy, surrounded by the Alps. Famous for its spa resorts, it was also the popular place of residence for several scientists, literary people, and artists, including Franz Kafka, Ezra Pound and Paul Lazarsfeld, who came to bathe in its healing thermal baths and enjoy the mild climate. Wide, tree-lined promenades make the town ideal for walking tours.
Merano is a picturesque place where one can drink a cappuccino outside for up to nine months of the year. On the other hand, just above the city one can also enjoy skiing for nine months of the years too. It is the contrast between this characteristic Mediterranean city and the high alpine plateaus of the majestic mountains, which make this region so attractive.
For those looking to spend a white winter and a romantic ski holiday, the Merano 2000 Ski Area is perfect. This sunny ski area is situated on a high-plateau above the town of Merano, just a few minutes drive away, and features 40 km of ski runs suitable for skiers of all levels.
For more ideas for a European getaway, check out Lonely Planet’s Top 10 winter destinations in Europe.
If you would like to travel this holiday season with one of our lovely companions, please contact us with your itinerary and we will make it happen!