japan in winter sapporo winter snow festival

The Most Amazing Winter Festivals Around The World (2022)

We all love sunshine and tropical places. However, there is so much beauty, fun, and entertainment to behold when it comes to enjoying a winter getaway. Winter festivals can be extremely fun and rewarding, despite the cold.

They are home to a wide range of activities, ranging from outdoor and sports challenges down to cozy food and drink events and pretty much anything in between. Winter festivals have a unique vibe and feeling, and there is definitely something for everyone out there.

As the cold season approaches, winter festivals are among the best and most rewarding experiences out there. Keep reading to learn more about some of the most amazing winter experiences to enjoy around the world.

The Harbin Ice Festival, China

This wonderful festival is known across the world for its many ice sculpture and one-of-a-kind exhibitions. Some of the works on display are so wonderfully sophisticated that they will make you question whether it’s even ice what you’re seeing!

The artists that make this globally recognized event so special will push ice to the limit, highlighting its malleability as an artistic medium and showcasing the wonderful potential of what can be accomplished with this material. The beauty of this sculpture is that they aren’t permanent.

best winter festivals Harbin Ice Festival night
HARBIN, CHINA – JAN 2, 2019: Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival is an annual winter festival that takes place in Harbin. It is the world largest ice and snow festival.

By its very nature, ice will eventually melt, meaning that these winter masterpieces only have a limited lifetime. Tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world travel to China to experience this, and it is easy to see why.

Not many people think of this country as a winter wonderland, but this event might very well prove you wrong. What was once a little more than a local event suddenly grew into one of the world’s truly essential winter festivals.

best winter festivals Harbin Ice Festival

This is a one-of-a-kind event, where international participants compete with their work, sparking the interest of a whopping 18 million visitors and counting.

The festival is also a massive endeavor, which generates nearly 4.4 billion yearly! The traffic is truly outstanding, and the festival continues to grow and retain its crown as the world’s most popular and fastest-growing winter festival overall.

Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival, South Korea

This ice festival in South Korea is a one-of-a-kind event that brings together some of the world’s most amazing ice sculptors. Ice is often overlooked as an artistic medium. Still, ice artists are able to turn this hard-to-work-with material into stunning creations.

korea ice festival
Photo via visitkorea.or.kr

From ice replicas of famous monuments and sculptures to new works and innovative pieces, anything goes. This stunning festival was also hailed as one of the seven wonders by CNN, whose program had recognized the festival’s important cultural and personal.

This festival is particularly well-known for its fun and amazing trout ice fishing opportunities and barehanded fishing challenges. However, there are so many other typical winter activities on tap! These include sledding, which is also celebrated with a contest within the festival.

Portland Winter Light Festival, Oregon

Portland is undoubtedly one of America’s most exciting cities. The town is quickly experiencing growth. The city’s diverse social fabric is an exciting place for young people, businesses, and entrepreneurs looking to make something happen and add even more color to this incredibly charming city.

best winter festivals portland light festival
Photo courtesy of Portland Winter Light Festival

Portland’s Winter Light Festival is an event that captures the spirit of this Oregon city to absolute perfection. This beautiful event features stunning light displays, and it feels like a true celebration of North America’s iconic winter landscapes.

Carnaval De Quèbec, Canada

Canada is often regarded as a truly magical winter destination. Many people travel to the country to get a taste of local nature, as well as to hopefully witness the Northern Lights (Also known as “Aurora Borealis”) in the northern part of the country.

best winter festivals carnaval quebec streets
Photo courtesty of Carnaval De Quebec

However, Quèbec is also well-known for its amazing winter activities. One of the most famous winter festivals in the area is the Carnaval De Quebec. This lush and buzzed-about event brings a lot of people to the area.

best winter festivals carnaval quebec ce
Photo courtesty of Carnaval De Quebec

The community animates and welcomes people from all over the world, marveling at the stunning colors of the parades and soaking in the beauty of Canadian winters.

best winter festivals carnaval quebec
Photo courtesty of Carnaval De Quebec

Although there is so much color and there are so many smaller side events that make this festival so colorful and special, you can still perceive a unique vibe, which lends the festival a refreshingly familiar retro charm to the concept overall.

Cologne Winter Carnival, Germany

Germany is a country that has a very long-standing tradition of winter carnivals and holiday festivals. This particular one ranks among the world’s oldest winter events, with roots dating back to pre-Christian times.

While the carnival is probably very different in today’s form, it still ranks as a stunning celebration of local folklore and the beauty of winter. Christmas vibe will find itself at home here as well, as this carnival happens right around the corner from the festivities, and it is definitely in tune with the mood of the perfect white Christmas.

Vinterjazz Festival, Denmark

The Vinterjazz Festival is the go-to winter festival for people who are fond of music! In particular, it is a fantastic opportunity for jazz aficionados to experience some incredible jazz performances and set the bar higher in terms of artistic excellence. Even though the weather is very cold, the great music will warm your heart!

Sapporo Snow Festival, Japan

Japan’s winters are notoriously beautiful. Nature transforms, and the forests seemingly come alive in a whole new way when the snow hits the ground. Japanese people love to celebrate turning points in the season, and there is a special place for winter in the heart of the people of Sapporo.

japan in winter sapporo winter snow festival

This event feels like a stunning communion with the spirit of nature in wintertime and a true celebration of the land and its many gifts. The origins of this festival go back many, many centuries, and it is still possible to experience the feeling of being in the presence of something deeper; history in the making.

Ljubljana Dragon Carnival, Slovenia

Slovenia is a small European country that has been overlooked by mainstream tourism for quite some time now. However, more people are quickly becoming hip to its hidden gems. Nature in the country is stunning, the cities are fun and lively, the food is great, and the people are incredible too!

The Ljubljana Dragon Carnival, held in the country’s capital every winter, is one of the most popular public seasonal events in Slovenia. It is rich in local lore, and it showcases some of the country’s best winter traditions, including parades, street vendors, and more.

Ultimately, this is only a fraction of some of the world’s best winter festivals. There are so many interesting one-of-a-kind events all over, and there is always the opportunity to discover something that is truly extraordinary!

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