Whilst the snow is settling down outside my home-office window here in the London I thought today would be the best time to share some of my favourite recent escapes, as they too, featured the whimsical white stuff ;)
Over the past few years of working as a travel journalist my adventures often take me to distant tropical shores and like most Brits I speak to, I’ve always been someone who associates a ‘holiday’ with a warm beachy escape. In the last few months however I’ve had the unexpected option of broadening my horizons, both mentally and physically, all the while a little closer to home!
Swapping my bikinis for salopettes, I was first invited to the affluential and upscale Swiss Region of Gstaad. Knowing that Switzerland is famed for luxury and scenic beauty I was counting on being impressed by the location but the ski destination of Gstaad really did exceed all my expectations. The town is well known for it's extravagance, with a stunning collection of luxury hotels for pamper-seeking visitors and gourmet restaurants for guest to indulge in, all of which are condensed into a few picturesque cobbled streets and snowcapped hills. If skiing is would entice you to a book a european winter break then Gstaad has the active covered with miles of slopes and tricky runs galore but it’s the luxury hospitality that sets the resort apart from other ski destinations and during my stay I sampled some of the best the location has to offer!
It was waking up each morning and glancing out over my quaint hotel balcony that really captured my heart though, the view was like a whimsical mirage, an untouched blanket of snow that stretched out as far as my eyes could gaze, I never dreamed it would touch me the way it did and I knew from my first morning that the snow had lured me in the same was a beachfront residence would. Whether we were racing down the slopes or sipping on hot chocolate in a local log cabin, the atmosphere of the fresh cold air was utterly captivating. The snow wooed me and from just one short get-a-way I was sold on spending ore time in it!
So after crushing over the crisp cold air and snowy scene in Switzerland I travelled to Iceland a few weeks later, confirming my love affair with the colder climate. Iceland is such an amazing country with the incredibly unique and captivating landscape made even more beautiful with the winter addition of ice! There we trekked on volcanic debris, hiked a glacier, bathed in the Blue Lagoon and most special of all, travelled to the south of the island to one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in all my years of travel, Jokusarlon. Visiting here you feel as though you are stood inside a National Geographic magazine spread, it’s absolutely breathtaking.
Living predominantly in a cold country I know that my sun-seeking tendencies are shared when it comes to booking a winter holiday but having visited both these incredible countries when the freeze rolls in again next year, my escape plans are more likely to be swayed to see more snow! I had heard the tales of how good the 'mountain air ' can be for you but never before this year had I truly experienced the wonder of the white. Now having experienced both winter escapes I wouldn’t swap a sunscreen application for a frantic shiver for anyone!
For more details about both trips read through the full itineraries on my blog clutchandcarryon.com.
Written by Sabrina Chakici, TV Host & Travel Expert, follow her on instagram @sabrina_chakici
Tagged in Iceland