This guest post was contributed by Peak Transfer
Eight Authentic Winter-Holiday Accommodations | Most of us choose to go on holiday in the summer, to make the most of the sunshine and warmer weather – and, of course, to get a tan.
But if you need a midwinter pick-me-up, there are plenty of traditional holidays to choose from in authentic accommodation that’s a world away from the balcony-and-beach ritual of the typical summer break.
The true icons of winter accommodation, igloos are a simple yet impressive feat of human engineering most commonly associated with Inuit tribes, and use the insulating properties of packed snow to protect their occupants against the cold outside.
Modern-day igloos can be quite spacious, while some operators give you the choice of staying in a room that’s igloo-shaped, but not actually made of snow.
For the authentic experience though, you’ll probably want a snow igloo – and you might be surprised by just how comfortable a night encased in snow and ice can actually be.
A lesser-known traditional Inuit dwelling, turf huts can still be found in many areas of Greenland.
Despite being made out of sections of grass and earth, they can be both warm and hospitable, even in the depths of winter.
Find a tour operator able to offer a stay in one of these, and you’ll be able to entertain and educate your friends and family about traditional Inuit customs when you get home.
Often linked with North America, log cabins can be seen in ski resorts and mountainside communities on other continents too, including nestled among the Alps in Europe.
Built from locally felled logs, and often filled with wooden furniture too, they’re a great eco-friendly, sustainable holiday option if you’re looking for a way to cut your carbon footprint.
And like the other truly iconic accommodation options, a stay in a log cabin during the festive holiday season is likely to be something you remember for the rest of your life.
Many people all over the world live in caves all year round, and they can provide an excellent retreat from the rat race of modern-day life.
Sneak off to a cosy cave that gets you out of the wind and snow, and you can join this peaceful way of living – at least for a little while – and plenty of adventure tour operators are likely to be able to help you find the perfect location to suit your tastes.
You don’t have to be John Rambo in order to feel at home in the mountains – they can often feel like the roof of the world, and a winter stay surrounded by snow-capped peaks offers its own unique kind of serenity.
Accommodation options vary from camping in the wilderness to a stay in a village or other small community that’s open to tourists.
If you’re looking for a hotel, meanwhile, there are plenty that nestle among the mountains as though they grew out of the rock itself – the Hotel Bellevue in Pilatus, Switzerland, is just one example of the striking architecture that’s out there.
Spectacular but short-lived, ice hotels are carved out of the ice each winter, and melt away when the warmer weather of spring arrives.
In the time between, they fulfil the dreams of hundreds of holidaymakers, proving that a block of ice covered in reindeer hides can actually be a warm and comfortable place to spend the night.
As much art as they are accommodation, these mind-blowing works of sculpture and hospitality combined are well worth considering, the next time you’re booking an authentic winter getaway.
Ski chalets are a little more mainstream than some of the other suggestions on this list, but they’re still a very traditional accommodation option in many of the older resorts of the world.
Whether they’re built from wood, brick, or – like the wilderness cabins mentioned above – logs, they’re a warm and welcoming place to retreat after a hectic day’s action on the slopes.
In many cases, you’ll be able to benefit from the services of an experienced chalet host, helping to make the holiday more authentic by advising you on local history and cuisine.
And of course, there’s nothing wrong with a few modern conveniences either – such as a sauna, steam room, or outdoor hot tub to soothe away any bumps and bruises from your skiing and snowboarding efforts.
The boreal forest stretches across the entire northern hemisphere, including both Scandinavia and Canada, and while the accommodation options are again varied, it’s the trees that make an enticing destination for many nature-loving holidaymakers.
Head to Northern Europe in particular and you’re into the land of reindeer and wolverines – and, of course, Santa Claus.
But for a more authentic trip, head out into the wild – with a guide to help you survive the conditions – and you could soon be closer to nature than you ever imagined possible.