It's a brand new month of a brand new decade and like each year, it's also time to make lists for everything. Whether that involves individual goals for keeping fit, making resolutions to procrastinate less, or, a unified favourite; where to travel next. If you're thinking of experiencing winter the proper way - inclusive of hail and snowstorms - then put these amazing city breaks right on top of your bucket list.
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada:
Compared to its bigger counterparts such as Toronto and Vancouver, Halifax will barely qualify as a city. However, it punches well above its weight. Airfare is far cheaper in winter and there are zero to none tourists (translation: you get the whole place to yourself). Halifax also has something for every age group, and all individual preferences. From a stunning waterfront lined with cafes and restaurants to Canada's biggest public gardens - the municipality truly is beautiful. It's easygoing and relaxed unless you're caught jaywalking! Not only is it frowned upon but in Nova Scotia, it is punishable by law with a hefty fine of $700. However, if you're looking for sledding and snowboarding on one side, and stunning coastal sunsets on the other - this North American gem is the answer to your prayers. Halifax is also just a short one hour drive from Canada's most picturesque town; Lunenburg. Did I mention it's also home to the country's best seafood?
Secret tip: hike up to Duncan's Cove and take in Nova Scotia's rugged coastline, covered in snow. It is straight out of a real life winter wonderland.
Novi Sad, Serbia:
For those of you who might not be familiar with my love for Serbia, here's a mini recap. Last year, I visited the country for the first time and instantly fell in love. While Belgrade is the nation's big smoke (most visited by tourists); Novi Sad is the lesser known gem. Despite being Serbia's second largest city, it has all the spoils but none of the stresses of a standard metropolis. Its looming Petrovaradin Fortress is a sight to behold, as is Serbia's prettiest street; Dunavska.
Secret tip: try pasulj (a delicious bean and sausage stew) from one of the many carts lined in Old Town Novi Sad during winter months (mid-December to mid-March).
While Lapland doesn't necessarily count as a city; it definitely is a region that counts for a third of Finland's population. Out of which, Mr. Santa Claus is one! Yes - Father Christmas "officially resides" in Lapland. With its snow-covered hills, jumper-clad reindeer, sleigh-riding, mugs of steaming coffee and magical Northern Lights; there is no better place to experience proper winter.
Lapland also has awesome latitudes because at Nuorgam, the northernmost point, you have already passed Iceland and nearly all of Canada and Alaska.
Secret tip: throw on some snow boots and go for a nighttime walk - it's absolutely magical. Lapland is the safest place in the world so pottering around in the dark isn't dangerous in any way.
Casablanca isn't as popular amongst tourists as Marrakesh or Fez; but, this is where French colonial designs meet traditional Moroccan buildings. For those looking for cooler temperatures without snow or rain; Casablanca really does justice to the mild winter affair. From centuries old souks to French built theatres, it teleports visitors to an otherworldly experience.
Secret tip: visit Patisserie Bennis Habous, hidden in a lane that goes by the same name. The place deserves a dedicated visit, and during winter months, it sells the most scrumptious almond macaroons.
Tunis is a beautiful blend of Islamic heritage, attention to detail and meandering through a medieval medina. It is where history comes to life; evident in its Arab architecture and French designs. There are boutique hotels to check into, and art cafes to check out. During colder months, it's easy to interact with locals over a steaming cup of chai and a plate of halva. Winter is mild in Tunisia and the airfare, significantly cheaper.
Secret tip: Ditch your plans for Greece and instead, head down to Tunis's Sidi Bou Saïd neighbourhood. It mirrors Greece's lovely white and blue island architecture complete with palm trees and an exciting catch; there are absolutely no crowds (especially during winter months/off-season). You get the entire neighbourhood to yourself.
Begin 2020 and the new decade with these exciting destinations! Visit before they get "Instagram popular". ;)