Baby, it's cold outside. Even though it's really just the beginning of winter, I'm already dreaming of places to travel to in order to warm up. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I hate the winter, but the idea of basking on a sunny, warm beach right now is rather enticing. Depending on where in the world you live, you may very well enjoy or loath the winter months. I've lived in different parts of Canada my entire life, so like many other Canadians, you learn to embrace the less than desirable weather during the cold winter months, and at times try to enjoy them, unless you find yourself caught in a blizzard or find yourself knee-deep in snow. Either way you look at it, it's a good experience to toughen you up.
There is no doubt that the winter is the perfect time to get away from your everyday routine and take a vacation that you so rightfully deserve, preferably a lavish and luxurious one. Here are some places around the world to travel to this winter, depending on whether you enjoy cold or hot climates. Our top 10 winter getaway picks are sure to have something for everyone - full of skiing, snowboarding, site seeing or basking in the sun.
10 St. Barths
It's pretty obvious why so many vacationers travel to St. Barths every year. It is a beautiful and luxurious island in the Caribbean full of exciting and memorable entertainment. To enjoy the finest experience, why not go all out and stay at a posh villa in St. Barths or even a beachfront condo? There are a ton of high end boutiques and stores to please every shopper's needs. Need to practice your swing? One of the island's most popular activities to enjoy is golfing. St. Barths has 14 white sandy beaches, so take your pick and spend your days relaxing in the sun, have lunch at a seaside cafe and take some scuba diving lessons. You can even travel 6 feet beneath the sea and gaze into the breathtaking sea life in a submarine.
9 Manzanillo, Mexico
Manzanillo really is Mexico's best kept secret on the Pacific Ocean. Besides its more than ideal tropical weather, this city is a luxurious beach destination that offers deep sea fishing, water sports and prime beaches, and it's also known for its rich history. Like a lot of tropical destinations, there is natural beauty that surrounds Manzanillo. It's separated by a large mass of rugged rocks and beautiful greenery. Manzanillo is probably best known for its beaches which are covered in stunning, gold-colored sand,which alone puts this charming Mexican city on the list for luxurious winter getaways.
8 Guadeloupe Islands
If you've ever wanted to learn French, here's your chance to brush up on it now. Being part of the French West Indies, Guadeloupe is a French-speaking Island and quite honestly has it all, from waterfalls to rain forests, sandy beaches and alluring villages. It's covered with white beaches and rolling hills.
The island’s biggest town, Pointe-à-Pitre, is a European-style shopping village where you'll find an endless amount of vendors at bazaars selling breadfruit, sweet mangoes and handmade crafts. It also has the majority of the destination’s accommodations, which range from family-owned guesthouses to French resorts.
Basse-Terre is the biggest attraction for you nature lovers out there. It has a breathtaking volcano, called La Soufrière, which lies sleeping at its center, with the highest point being at 4,813 feet. You can also take hike through the nearby rain forests in the Parc National de Guadeloupe, or enjoy a day or two on Grand Anse, one of the island’s most recognized beaches known for its surprisingly soft sand.
7 Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Santo Domingo is a great winter getaway, especially if you are looking to leave the cold weather behind and become enriched with a bit of culture the Dominican Republic has to offer. The city has many attractions to keep you busy whether you're interested in their busy nightlife, architectural landmarks or rich history. An abundance of historical monuments from the Spanish Colonial era surrounds Santo Domingo. Christopher Columbus's 500-year-old home is among these monuments along with many other 16th century museums and cathedrals. Besides the city's rich history it also has many high end restaurants and a vibrant atmosphere along with quaint boutique shops all over the city.
If the winter blues have you down this season, Dubai could very well be the place for you to take a vacation, unless you're dead set against taking a holiday in the peak season, as quite a few tourists from all over the world tend to flock to Dubai in the winter months. The average temperature is normally in the high double digits with clear blue skies and prime beach weather. Dubai has many attractions that tourists come to love while visiting. One of them is experiencing Dubai Mall. With over 1,000 stores it is one of the largest shopping centers in the world. Another attraction is Jumeirah Beach, Dubai's one-mile, cream-colored strip of paradise. Sun-seekers come to this busy shoreline to bask in Dubai's bright rays, while water sports enthusiasts revel in the beautiful waters the Persian Gulf has to offer.
5 Naples, Italy
A European winter vacation does sound appealing doesn't it? You'll find Naples is in the area of Campania in Southern Italy, approximately 2 hours south of Rome. The possibilities are endless in Italy, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Naples is a lively and vibrant city, brimming with remarkable history, culture and treasures. Its streets have plenty of quaint shops all over the city to visit. If shopping is in fact your forte, there are several shopping centers within the city, including the very famous Tin City Waterfront Marketplace. Naples is also well-known for its seaside resorts and immaculate beaches. For the best experience I recommend renting a beachfront condo or villa in Naples with access to the best resorts.
4 St. Moritz, Switerland
St. Moritz is a remote town in Switzerland known as one of the most famous and expensive holiday resorts in the world as well as a very popular winter destination for celebrities and jet-setters. Some of the guests that have traveled to St. Mortiz over the years include names like Hugh Grant, George Clooney and Laurence Fishburne. Typically guests are chauffeured from the train station to an Alpine resort that lies before lake St. Moritz and the Swiss Alps. When you first walk into the resort you will find the grand hall which has its original 19th century cathedral ceiling, antiques and stained glass finishing. Popular activities among guests include skiing, hiking and snowboarding. Close by to the resort there is also the world famous Cresta Run toboggan course, and every winter the resort hosts the "White Turf" horse race on the frozen lake which is attended by celebrities and the international upper class.
3 Banff, Alberta
For all of you ski enthusiasts out there that want to get away this winter and hit the slopes, Banff is a resort town located in Alberta's Rockies and one of Canada's most popular tourist destinations. It's probably best known for its breathtaking mountainous surroundings and hot springs found in Sulphur Mountain. Banff is one of the most well known destinations for outdoor sports throughout the year. In fact, Banff and nearby Canmore were hosts to the 2014 Alberta Winter Games where approximately 2,500 athletes competed. The town of Banff offers a wide range of activities including extensive hiking, biking, and skiing throughout the three surrounding resorts: Sunshine Village, Lake Louise Mountain Resort and Ski Norquay.
Why not try a different part of the Alps this winter? The Dolomites is part of the northern Italian Alps. The most well known resort over the Dolmoties is the 40-room Rosa Alpina which offers traditional skiing, ice climbing, snow-shoeing, and heli-skiing, as well as a spa that has detoxifying foot treatments and slimming full-body wraps. Not only does it offer many winter activities but the Dolomites is also enriched with history. During World War 1, the line between the Italian and Austro-Hungarian armed forces actually ran through the Dolomites. Many visitors now come here to climb the vie ferrate, "the iron road," which is a series of protected paths created during the first World War.
1 Wakaya, Fiji
Nowadays it seems like a good majority of extremely rich celebrities either own their own private island or have the big dream of one day doing so. It looks as though Canadian entrepreneur David Gilmour set the trend back in 1973 when he privately bought the island of Wakaya. He has, however, made his island public and has since developed Wakaya into one of the world's most luxurious resorts. Quite a few celebrities have been spotted on the island over the years, such as Nicole Kidman, Bill Gates and Russell Crowe. The beautiful island of Wakaya is Fiji's paradise, surrounded by a coral reef, lagoons, breathtaking hills and beaches. Some of the activities offered are snorkling, scuba diving, fishing, kayaka, hiking and spa treatments.