If you're already grumbling about winter, stop right now! The colder months means it's the perfect time for some of the world's most unusual experiences.
The Perfect 10: Unusual Winter BreaksIf you ever tried building an igloo when you were young, you'll love the grown-up glass versions in Finnish Lapland. With heated glass against the Arctic Circle temperatures and to prevent condensation, there's a perfect view into the night sky, including the Northern Lights which are at their best during November to February.
There's even a motorized rotating bed in the middle so you can lie back and check out the whole sky. If you can tear yourself away, there's ice karting, plus snowmobile and reindeer safaris to keep you amused. The glass igloos cost from £213 per day and you can book through Inghams.
And with a dry suit on, you won't be in danger of freezing to death! A two night trip with Black Tomato costs from £1,000 per person including flights and accommodation.
One of the best times to experience it is during February, when the sun starts to peek above the horizon in a permanent sunrise after months of darkness, while the snow is still thick. A four-night trip with Original Travel costs from £1,550 per person including flights, accommodation and activities including a full day snowmobile adventure, 4 hours dog sledding & morning glacier trek.
Explore runs a four-night trip through Bulgaria's Rila mountains, taking in a Unesco World Heritage monastery and following the quiet paths through the forests. No experience necessary, it costs from £694 including flights with departures in December and February. The company is also planning more snow shoe destinations for 2011.
Package prices start from £470, including two nights' accommodation, one gourmet dinner, a spa treatment and a hawk walk. Hotel guests can also experience falconry for around £50 per session.
If you don't fancy the thought of being in control – or even out of control – of a mono bob, hitch a ride with a driver on the Bob Taxi Ride for a quick adrenalin rush, with packages starting from around £615.
The first, a trip to Lake Myvatn in the north of Iceland, is led by astronomy expert Dr. John Mason, and the tours are chosen for dates when the moon is less bright, giving you the best chance to see the sky and Northern Lights. The eight-day tours depart on February 26 and March 2, 2011, costing from £1,189 including flights.
Basecamp Explorer can arrange packages including the jazz festival. A three night trip to Spitsbergen, including accommodation in a glass roofed trappers hut, breakfast, half day dog sledging, half day snowmobile safari, loan of thermal clothing and guides costs from £499 per person.
Led by an expert guide, you'll hike through the wilderness with your route depending on the wildlife, before spending afternoons warming up with some plum brandy, a sledge ride or sightseeing. Prices start at £1,210 including half-board accommodation and five days with a professional tracker.
Luxury cruise ship The World, which has 165 private residences abroad to rent as well as a spa and gourmet restaurants, is sailing to the pole this Christmas, giving you the chance to see icebergs, whales and penguins, with excursions led by an expert team. Departing from Ushuaia, Argentina, the expedition runs from December 23-January 2. Prices start from around £1,000 per night. Or a 12-day Classic Antarctica Cruise costs from £2,694 with Responsible Travel with departures between November and March.
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