The holiday lights have faded and the Christmas tree has long since been taken down. Now that the festivities have come and gone and the initial magic of winter has worn off, you're left with bleak weather, slippery sidewalks and a long stretch of cold days ahead.
Alas, there's no better time to book your winter getaway than right now. Re-ignite your spirit and sense of adventure with a trip to one of the trendiest travel destinations of the year:
While U.S. citizens faced nearly five decades of travel restrictions to Cuba, Canadians have had the freedom to travel to this colourful destination since the 1970s, according to the Canadian Traveller. Each year, nearly 1 million Canadians make the trip to Cuba. As the source explains, this is one place you'll want to visit sooner rather than later. With tourism already climbing, there is no better time than the present to experience all of the rich culture and traditions this Caribbean island has to offer.
Sunwing Canada suggests a visit to the El Floridita, the favorite watering hole of the famous author Ernest Hemingway. Other must-sees include the Plaza de la Catedral the Plaza de Revolucion and a walk through of the cobblestone streets of Habana Vieja.The Malecón, one of the most iconic spots in Havana, is a five mile-long sea wall stretching along the coast, notes the Canadian Traveller. Early in the morning, it's filled with fishermen and runners, and by sunset, locals fill the "the longest sofa in the world" to play music, enjoy drinks and just watch the world go by. After you've paid a visit to this hot spot, head toward Club 1830 to experience authentic salsa dancing and live music.
Perhaps best known for its surf towns, yoga retreats and organic cafes, Bali is the perfect destination for anyone who appreciates island life. For families on a budget, one of the most appealing parts of this tropical island is its affordability. As Huffington Post Canada explains, an entire Balinese meal can cost as little as $1, while accommodations can start at just $10. Similarly, tours and adventures that are often costly in other tourist destinations are much cheaper. This is the place to finally take that sunset cruise, go snorkeling or rent mopeds.
A day trip to Bali's breathtaking rice terraces are highly recommended. The source suggests an afternoon at the Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud where you can pay a small ticket price to explore the natural beauty of these rich green rice paddies. Take a sunrise hike to Mount Batur volcano for some truly breathtaking views. Between relaxing on the island's gorgeous beaches and exploring, be sure to spend time with the very hospitable and friendly locals.
Cape Town, South Africa
For the family that loves to eat, hike and explore a new culture, Cape Town is the winter destination for you. With opposite seasons, winter is a great time to leave Canada and fly to this South African gem as the weather will most likely be warm, sunny and dry. During the summer season, from November through February, you'll also get longer hours of daylight, which is great for exploring and catching sunsets, notes Cape Town Magazine. That being said, the weather in this part of the world can be unpredictable and though you may leave with a jacket in the early morning, you may just be sweating by midday. The key here is layers.
Hiking the iconic Table Mountain - which stands as the beautiful backdrop no matter what part of the city you are in - is one of the top activities here. According to a guide posted on Trip Advisor Canada, the park has been named one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. You can venture to the top on foot, with several hiking routes to choose from and opt to reward yourself with the cable car on the way down. The hiking can be strenuous at parts, but the views are worth the trek.
You can spend hours roaming through the fauna and flora of Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. Explore the plant species, take photos along the tree canopy walkway or simply spread your picnic blanket and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. For a glimpse of the historic and beautifully coloured homes along the hill, take a stroll through the Bo-Kaap neighbourhood, suggests the source. For the best food and souvenirs, visit popular markets including Bay Harbour Market in Hout Bay on Friday nights and the Old Biscuit Mill on Saturdays.
Tourism is booming in this little seaside town that is once again welcoming visitors after rebuilding itself in the wake of the war of the 1990s, explains TripAdvisor Canada. With the Dinaric Alps as a backdrop and the Adriatic coast sprawling out beneath the village, Dubrovnik is a picturesque destination. The Old Town, which is designed for pedestrians only, is perfect for a day of wandering. Filled with museums, churches, cafes and shops, there is no shortage of things to do. For those interested in the city's history, explore the Ancient City Walls, which also offer incredible views of the coast. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes to conquer the many steps here. At the top is the Minceta Fortress, a must-see for Game of Thrones fans.
For those interested in sun and sand, spend an afternoon at Sveti Jakov Beach. Though it's a bit of a walk to access, the quiet seclusion you'll experience once there will be worth it. From the beach you can rent kayaks and paddle to the Betina Cave.
If time allows, the surrounding islands of Dubrovnik are also worth a visit, advises TripAdvisor Canada. Boat trips run daily from the City Harbour, departing in the early morning and returning by late afternoon. Mljet National Park, located on the eighth largest island of Croatia, is great for exploring. Once on the island, you can rent bikes to see the park in full.
No matter where your winter getaway takes you this season, you'll return home feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.