ROMANTIC WINTER SANCTUARIES

DREAM MORE EXOTIC DREAMS THIS WINTER; GET AWAY FROM THE ORDINARY WITH NEW EXPERIENCES.

Paris is one of the first destinations that come to mind in terms of romance. However, the earth is full of rich geographies that even the City of Lovers sounds like a “cliché” sometimes. There are many ways of enjoying the blessings of winter as well as the ways of escaping from the winter for lovers of warm temperatures. Make this winter an even more exotic dream, get away from mediocrity with new experiences. Travel to destinations from the Northern Lights to the ice hotels, where you will not want to close your eyes. Here is a list of suggestions for romantic getaways in the winter…

UNDER THE ‘NORTHERN LIGHTS’ / FINLAND
One of the most fascinating festivals of nature… The name comes from Aurora, the Goddess of Dawn, also known as Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis. These natural deposits, which emerge from the Earth’s magnetic field and the charged particles from the sun, show up in clear skies in good weather, from Canada to Finland, near the North Pole.

Between November and February is ideal
It is possible to witness this phenomenon of nature the best between November and February. It’s a romantic and magical experience to be in the snow-covered Lapland’s territory within the Finnish borders, outdoors on a sled pulled by reindeer or on horseback in snow. In the north of the Arctic Circle, the ‘auras’ that occur near magnetic poles illuminate the northern horizon with a greenish glow and sometimes with a pale red. The best place to see this is the glass-domed Eskimo houses of the Kakslauttanen Hotel. You can also warm up in the hotel’s rooms heated with fireplaces or sweat in the sauna.

A REMOTE CORNER OF THE WORLD / MONGOLIA
Considering the circumstances, many may not find Mongolia, which can be regarded as a remote part of the world, as romantic. However, this geography welcomes you with unimagined different excitements. The famous Gobi Desert, which spans 1.5 million square kilometers and is more than twice the size of Turkey, experiences two extremes. The weather temperature exceeds about 44 degrees in summer, and sand dunes are covered with snow in winter. In the 1600 km long Gobi Desert, it is worth taking tours that are organized by companies such as Nomadic Expeditions.

Relax in traditional tents
The desert has the best-preserved dinosaur fossil beds. Especially the Red Rocks region is an important place for paleontologists. You can find yourself on the back of a Baktian camel, right in between the two humpbacks, on the journey of exploring dinosaur fossils. Due to the melodic sounds coming from the Khongoriin Els Sand Dunes during the sand storms, where the length is 180 km and the width is 20 km, sand ridges are also called ‘singing dunes’ here. At the end of the day, you can relax in traditional felt tents called ‘ger’. Ideal accommodation is Three Camel Lodge. The luxury of these tents spread over the steppes includes the magnificent views of the Gobi Altay Mountains, massages, library, and Bulagtai Restaurant.

SNOW COVERED FAIRY CHIMNEYS FROM THE SKY / TURKEY
Trekking in the valleys, watching a unique geography from hot air balloons, crossing the rivers on horseback, watching the sunset against the Red Valley, playing golf in the shade of the fairy chimneys and listening to jazz performances in a stone mansion in the evenings can only be possible in a generous geography like Cappadocia. After all this, you can enjoy the Jacuzzi in your luxurious cave… Cappadocia disguises under a very different mask with the snowflakes’ landing on the ground.

Accommodation in modern caves
Among the most stunning hotels in the region, you will find even the things that you thought you wouldn’t find in a cave in the Museum Hotel’s Sultan suite. A stone room with a dome, a sultan’s sky window, a bed with a view, a hookah, an 18th-century Konya carpet, an old minbar… This 95-square-foot cave is not lacking internet service and jacuzzi. Enjoy delicious meals around the fireplace in Ziggy’s Cafe, go out to Cappadocia Balloons and watch the snowy tops of the fairy chimneys above 3 thousand meters, ride along the banks of Kızılırmak, Çavuşin, Uçhisar and Goreme valleys with Akhal-Teke horses…

NEW LIFE WITH DIGITAL DETOX / GERMANY
Aschau im Chiemgau, an hour’s drive from Munich, at the southernmost point of Bavaria, on the Austrian border, is a charming town. One of the more striking features of this protected town in recent years is that the people from the Central European cities are coming here for digital detox. Berge is a minimalist place where you can escape from the crowds of city life, internet, telephone, and television, and refresh and spend romantic time by taking shelter here.

Sauna instead of Internet!
The four corners of the room and especially the rooms with different styles reflect the taste of Nils Holger Moormann, the owner and contemporary furniture designer. There are many winter activities in the town including skiing and cross-country skiing. Here, instead of digital blessings, there is a sauna, a view of the medieval castle Hohenaschau, and a special feeling of being in the mountains, in a region of rare nature that you have not experienced often.

EXCITEMENTS OF AN EXTRAORDINARY GEOGRAPHY / ICELAND
Snaefellsnes, also called as the miniature Iceland, is a peninsula that extends west of the North Atlantic Ocean, with Snæfellsjökull Glacier, a national icon that can be seen even from  Reykjavik in clear weather. The peninsula, which is 90 km long, has the most impressive views of Iceland.

You can take a day trip to see the moss-covered lava fields, foggy fjords surrounded by steep hills, and the volcano with a glacier at the top of it. Include watching the Northern Lights in your bucket list! It is pleasant to stay at the Hotel Egilsen, which is a small boutique hotel with 10 rooms, converted from a historic house in Stykkisholmur. The old city with its galleries and museums is almost an open-air museum by itself.

THE FIRST ICE HOTEL OF THE WORLD / SWEDEN
In the northernmost part of Sweden, 200 km north of the Arctic Circle, in the village of Jukkasjärvi of ​​the Kiruna district, the world’s first hotel made of snow and ice takes place. Despite the many efforts to imitate the place, the hotel still carries this title since 1990 when it was opened. Night tours are organized to watch the Northern Lights from the village of Jukkasjärvi. If seeing the Aurora is not possible, then you should participate in a tour at the Esrange Space Center to watch the starry sky, free from light pollution.

As you travel by a snowmobile in Kiruna, you have the chance to admire the views of the Torne River and enjoy the romance of the snow accompanied by the sunset. Artists and designers who come here every year compete with each other to transform this place into a sanctuary by taking a certain amount of ice from the Torne River to use in the reincarnation of the Ice Hotel.

AWAY FROM THE CIVILIZATION / JAPAN
Japan’s Hokkaido Island, located in north, is the second largest and least developed island of the country. The winters are hard with plenty of snow and ice. Untouched nature is a charm for many who enjoy nature sports. It is known that cross skiing requires an effort at a significant level.

As you discover a volcanic region with spectacular views on one side, you can dream of other pleasant activities in snow among the birch trees on the other. Goshi Hot Springs Lodge is a good option with its western style and traditional rooms, menu, and indoor-outdoor thermal pools. It will serve as a remedy after a challenging cross skiing experience.

EMBRACING NATURE / BULGARIA
The karstic formations, water reserves, caves and valleys of the Rhodope Mountains of Bulgaria are magnificent. It is surprising, but very few people in the summer show interest here. In winter, the largest ski resort in Bulgaria, Panporovo, comes to life with its 50 km runway, 18 lifts and 40 km cross ski trails.

It is in the Unesco’s World Heritage List…
The surrounding pine forests with magnificent scenery further strengthen your sense of being one with nature. Villa Gella is a spacious, modern and a scenic accommodation with an indoor pool, sports facilities, sauna, yoga area and a delicious menu. This place is 25 minutes away from Panporova. Four of the nine places in the Unesco’s World Heritage List are in suitable distance for an excursion. There are 15 natural parks and several natural lakes in the area; some of the mountains are under the protection of Unesco.