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  • Claire 27 posts

    Hi everyone, my 5 year old daughter is desperate to go somewhere snowy before Christmas. We tried New York last December and had an amazing time but there was no snow. We would be going straight after schools break up and away up to five nights. I know nothing is guaranteed weather wise but does have anyone have any recommendations on likely to snow plus lots of nice things to do with a 5 year old? This isn’t purely altruistic as I would love to go somewhere snowy too!

    NorthernLass 8,479 posts

    What about the usual suspects like Lapland/Finland? Anywhere with mountains is also a good bet, even the Scottish Highlands (where you may well see herds of deer with antlers for that Santa effect!), though of course it does depend a bit on what your 5 year old likes doing. Is she an outdoors type or more for indoor attractions?

    *Edit – If you went north you might also see the northern lights, which would be awesome.

    Claire 27 posts

    What about the usual suspects like Lapland/Finland? Anywhere with mountains is also a good bet, even the Scottish Highlands (where you may well see herds of deer with antlers for that Santa effect!), though of course it does depend a bit on what your 5 year old likes doing. Is she an outdoors type or more for indoor attractions?

    *Edit – If you went north you might also see the northern lights, which would be awesome.

    I had looked at Lapland briefly but it is so expensive and sells out so quickly that we wouldn’t be able to do it this year. My daughter is the inquisitive type who gets bored sitting about so I am leaning towards a city break where there are fun museums and some Christmas markets. It would be amazing to see the northern lights too!

    yonasl 987 posts

    It is hard to guarantee snow anywhere these days. Specially in Europe and even more in December.

    Snow in cities is not always the best. Turns brownish quickly and you cannot really do much other than a few photos.

    Vienna could be an option even if you cannot guarantee snow in early December.

    Why not focus on mountain areas that are not ski resorts (so may have less people around during that time). Plenty to do in the French/Italian alps in terms of trekking, food, culture.

    If not, your best bet is to travel east to places where it is colder and it snows more like Lithuania, Etc.

    NorthernLass 8,479 posts

    Salzburg might be a better bet than Vienna, it should at least be surrounded by snow-capped mountains even if there’s none on the ground. I went to VIE for Xmas markets a few years ago and it was a balmy 10 degrees C the whole time!

    Super Secret Stuff 372 posts

    I’d personally say Iceland or Finland (Lapland), as close as you’ll get to a guarantee on the weather

    Gavin454 174 posts

    Why not focus on mountain areas that are not ski resorts (so may have less people around during that time). Plenty to do in the French/Italian alps in terms of trekking, food, culture.

    I was going to suggest the opposite – why not go to one of the big and high ski resorts such as Tignes or Val d’Isere? 5 is old enough to have a go at skiing, and even if she doesn’t enjoy that, there’s opportunities to sled, walk/play in the snow, make snowmen etc. The large resorts have other activities as well as skiing, such as indoor swimming pools, walking trails up the mountains, ice skating etc.

    Snow is likely to be present if you go to a high Alpine resort above about 1800m, although still cannot be totally guaranteed. But it’s much more likely than going for a city break.

    dundj 106 posts

    If it is for the five nights immediately after the schools break up, fly into Munich and then take a train to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. You can stay there, and in Innsbruck or day trip to Innsbruck on the train. Highly likely to have snow especially in the mountains, and potentially on the ground. Plus, it is just before the Four Hills ski jumping tournament reaches there so should be decently priced.

    Claire 27 posts

    Why not focus on mountain areas that are not ski resorts (so may have less people around during that time). Plenty to do in the French/Italian alps in terms of trekking, food, culture.

    I was going to suggest the opposite – why not go to one of the big and high ski resorts such as Tignes or Val d’Isere? 5 is old enough to have a go at skiing, and even if she doesn’t enjoy that, there’s opportunities to sled, walk/play in the snow, make snowmen etc. The large resorts have other activities as well as skiing, such as indoor swimming pools, walking trails up the mountains, ice skating etc.

    Snow is likely to be present if you go to a high Alpine resort above about 1800m, although still cannot be totally guaranteed. But it’s much more likely than going for a city break.

    This sounds like a good idea but I don’t think any of us would actually want to ski, my husband and daughter are both pretty clumsy, to the extent that she is recovering from a broken arm from a bouncy castle.

    Does anyone go to ski resorts and not ski? Not sure where to even start on where is best to go etc?

    Claire 27 posts

    I’d personally say Iceland or Finland (Lapland), as close as you’ll get to a guarantee on the weather

    I will look into Finland and Iceland, thank you!

    The real Swiss Tony 739 posts

    Don’t go to a ski resort if you have no intention of skiing. Yes it’s done by some for the party scene, but it’s a niche play and will likely work out very expensive, especially as you’ll be left trying to find stuff to do. Most ski resorts will work for one non-ski day, but not 5…

    Right now I have limited confidence that there will be much skiing at Christmas in Europe. It’s still 15C in places that should have a decent covering of snow by now, so the ground temps are going to be high as well.

    I don’t know Switzerland well enough, but that might throw out some options in terms of staying in a city then taking a day trip into the high Alps for some snow? Although you note that your daughter wants to be doing stuff, so 4hrs on a series of trains & cable cars to get to stand in the cold for 30 mins might not quite hit the spot…. This might throw out some ideas https://www.jungfrau.ch/en-gb/

    marshy11 248 posts

    Years ago we went to Hovden in Norway. Yes, terribly expensive, but SO worth it. We went over on the ferry from Newcastle (we live in Cornwall so that was a trek) we stayed in a log cabin with sauna. Our (then) five year old couldn’t believe that Santa visited the local cafe on a skidoo and gave out presents (think tangerines and kinder egg gifts) on Christmas Eve, but more exciting was that we had enough snow for my non-DIY OH to build an igloo. They had a ball, it was totally amazing. We only had four or five nights and travelled back in thick snow to the ferry at Kristiansand, taking in the zoo on our way home. It was magical.

    We did ski (we don’t normally ski and it wasn’t pretty) but we walked a lot (even on frozen lakes which freaked me out) but we literally spent the time having snowball fights, sledging down hills and watching cars fail to get up hills!

    marshy11 248 posts

    Hopefully these work

    Snow

    Igloo

    omicron 55 posts

    Another Norwegian favourite is Gelio, which is a ~3 hour direct train journey from Oslo (so no need to rent a car now that the ferry has stopped running). It’s a ski resort, but is often in a bit of a pre-season mode until Christmas week, so you won’t be paying a big premium for being close to the slopes. Has a few good restaurants and cozy cafes in the town centre as well.

    Norwegians spend just as much time on other more accessible winter activities as they do on downhill skiing, so there should be plenty of opportunities for just having fun in the snow, as in marshy’s photos above this post. Keep in mind though it can be COLD (-20).

    Johnie 20 posts

    Helsinki is a great place to take a child, lots of indoor activities.

    Also, they’ve just decided to stop dumping snow in the sea, and instead truck mountains of it to urban car parks to thaw out (very gradually).

    https://yle.fi/a/74-20054464

    You can use Avios on Finnair (also try Ryanair, Air Baltic etc).

    The real Swiss Tony 739 posts

    Stating the obvious but Helsinki will be pretty much dark all the time at the end of December. Did a trip there with my now wife 20+ yrs ago in early January. Not much daylight at all but we’d not been together long… 😉

    Claire 27 posts

    Thank you for all the great advice, I’ve been researching it all this morning. I think I’ve decided on Reykjavik, they seem to have lots going on in the run up to Christmas, should have snow if we travel out of the city and we might get to see the northern lights! Norway is definitely on the list for another time when I have more time to plan. Thank you again for all the suggestions.

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