Words rarely fail us here at Original Travel. However, sometimes the best descriptions come from the great lyricists of our time - namely, Diana Ross, ABBA and...err...OutKast? Whether you want to chill out or turn up the heat, here are some of our favourite destinations for a winter break, and the songs they remind us of.
Oman - 'Drawing Pictures In the Sand', The Kinks
In Oman, you'll certainly be 'drawing pictures in the sand...sitting by the sea, drinking [Arabic] tea'. A great option for some last minute winter sun, temperatures in Oman hover at a pleasant 22Â°C - even in December. While Muscat is home to some of the finest beachfront hotels in the Middle East, you'll also want to explore Wahiba Sands, a wonderful sea of dunes where you can try your hand at desert driving and camel riding. Ocean lovers, meanwhile, can go on a dolphin watching boat trip and spend days snorkelling at the nearby Daymaniyat Islands. And if you'd prefer to keep your feet on dry land? There's also the sensational Hajar Mountains to hike.
Iceland - 'Hey Ya!', OutKast
'What's cooler than being cool? Ice cold!' (according to hip hop duo OutKast). One such 'cool' pace - literally and figuratively - is Iceland. While here, one thing you simply must do is explore some of the country's ice caves which can only be visited in winter when the ice is hard. Treat yourself to a dip in the mineral-rich waters of the famous Blue Lagoon - a unique natural spa set in the middle of a giant lava field - and enjoy a complimentary silica mud mask and drink. Another must on a trip to Iceland is a visit to the starkly stunning Snæfellsnes peninsular, where we can arrange snow-shoeing or snowmobiling on the glacier-topped volcano that dominates the tip of the peninsula.
California - 'California Dreamin'', The Mamas & the Pappas
In the UK the leaves certainly are brown, and the sky certainly is grey, just like in the song California Dreamin' by the Mamas and the Papas. Just like the song, dreaming about a sunny California trip is what keeps us going through the colder winter months, and is certainly enough to get us booking a last minute winter holiday. Blessed with the perfect year-round sunny climate, holidays here are all about lazing on gorgeous beaches, drinking vino in winemaking country, brushing shoulders with the stars in Los Angeles and delving into hipster San Francisco. All this and we haven't even gotten onto the breathtaking National Parks yet...
Swedish Lapland - 'Super Trouper', ABBA
Swedish Lapland - the place where 'lights are gonna find you, shining like the sun' (we couldn't feature Sweden with an ABBA reference - criminal!). Your greatest chance of seeing the Northern Lights is in Swedish Lapland during the winter months when the nights are long and the skies are generally clear. A magical place to take children in the run up to Christmas, we can arrange dog-sledding, snowmobiling and three-course dinners on the ice. Our favourite place to stay is the iconic Ice Hotel, where every room is carved entirely from snow and ice. Guests stay in their own spectacular themed grotto, with reindeer skins to sleep on and warm clothing provided to keep the chill away.
New Zealand - 'Upside Down', Diana Ross
Aside from boasting some of the most startlingly beautiful landscapes in the world 'down under' (or even 'upside down' as Diana Ross would have it) New Zealand also has entices with its culinary delights, wonderful wine, wacky wildlife and thrilling adventures. The delicious locally-produced wines may turn you 'inside out, and round and round', but if you can tear yourself away from the vino varieties, visit some of the country's sensational National Parks where we can organise everything from hiking and kayaking to abseiling and rafting. December being the start of summer in the Southern Hemisphere also means that you'll be able to explore the country's lively cities - like North Island's Auckland and South Island's Queenstown - at a comfortably warm temperature.
Thinking about booking a last minute winter holiday? Get in touch and we will be happy to help.