The temperature has plummeted this week and put HuffPost UK Lifestyle in the mood for log fires, squashy sofas and big glasses of red wine.
But if you're willing to open your mind, and brave the initial feelings of cold, then you might be surprised by how lush, magical and cosy a holiday can be at this time of year.
Imagine eating dinner under the glow of the Northern Lights of Sweden. Or kissing your partner in a Finnish igloo. Or even heading out in the winter chill to spot Killer Whales in Iceland.
Click through our gallery to see a range of wonderful winter escapes courtesy of Discover The World.
Spend the ultimate white Christmas in Lapland
For a magical Christmas like no other, <a href="http://www.discover-the-world.co.uk/en/holidays/sweden/christmas-ice-hotel/index.html">escape to Swedish Lapland</a> and enjoy a festive break at ICEHOTEL. Lit with twinkling lights and decorated trees, you’re guaranteed to get into the Christmas spirit. Enjoy a special torchlight procession under snow-laden trees and join a traditional Christmas Day carol concert in the picturesque village church. Depart 22nd December for four nights with prices available from £1,271 per person (based on two adults sharing accommodation). This includes flights and transfers, one night in a Snow Room and three nights in a Kaamos Room (heated accommodation), morning sauna and breakfast.
Dine at Aurora Sky Station in the Abisko National Park
A trip to Abisko National Park in Sweden is another great combination with a stay at <a href="http://www.discover-the-world.co.uk/en/holidays/sweden/northern-lights-and-icehotel/">ICEHOTEL</a>. The park has statistically the clearest skies in the auroral zone, offering the maximum chance of seeing the northern lights in the world. Spend a night at Mountain Station, located within the park and take the chairlift up to the nearby Aurora Sky Station for dinner at the summit, eating delicious Swedish cuisine whilst keeping a lookout for northern lights through enormous picture windows. This unique break starts from £1,233 per person (based on two people sharing accommodation) and includes return direct flights between Heathrow and Kiruna, airport transfers, some meals, one night at Abisko staying in the Mountain Station, one night in a Snow Room and one night in a warm Kaamos room at ICEHOTEL.
Killer Whales and Northern Lights
This incredible trip combines northern lights sightings with Killer Whale spotting. Departures for this <a href="http://www.discover-the-world.co.uk/en/holidays/iceland/orcas-and-aurora/">four-night tour</a> run in February and March 2013, travelling to the mystical Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland. Head out on boat trips for close-up encounters with the large groups of orca that often frequent the Grundarfjordur bay and by night keep an eye out for displays of the northern lights! Make sure you also include a visit to the pretty village of Stykkishólmer where you can explore the Volcano Museum as well as visiting Blue Lagoon to take a dip in geothermal spa. Prices are available from £598 per person based on two sharing, including four nights’ accommodation, two whale watching boat excursions, private guide and driver and entrance fees for specified activities.
Sleep on a bed of ice…at -5°C…
ICEHOTEL, located in the picturesque village of Jukkasjärvi, Swedish Lapland, forms an exclusive ice art exhibition where artists use only frozen water from the Torne River to create a unique and magnificent ‘pop up’ hotel which opens each December. The hotel is left to melt back into the river each April and no two designs are ever the same. All ice rooms have beds made out of a large block of illuminated ice, with a mattress on top. Guests are kitted out with reindeer skins, long johns, hats and sleeping bags so you won’t get cold. A <a href="http://www.discover-the-world.co.uk/en/accommodation/sweden/icehotel/ice-rooms.html">three-night stay at ICEHOTEL</a> with a night in a Snow Room and two nights in a Kaamos Room (warm accommodation) is available from £1,099 per person (based on two adults sharing accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis). This includes direct flights between London Heathrow and Kiruna, and airport transfers and taxes.
Take to the skies with the northern lights flights…
Take to the sky for an even closer look at the Northern Lights in Sweden, with one of the most exciting excursions that ICEHOTEL has to offer. Jump on board the hour-long flight and look out of your window to an unforgettable display of vibrant colours. There are <a href="http://www.discover-the-world.co.uk/en/excursions/sweden/northern-lights-flight/">two flight excursions</a> taking place 17th and 18th March, coinciding with 16th March departure for the Spring Equinox - an optimal time for aurora viewing. Flights are priced from £630 per person.
Finland: Kakslauttanen – Igloos
This <a href="http://www.discover-the-world.co.uk/en/holidays/finland/classic-lapland-cabins-igloos/">three-day adventure</a> takes you to the Kakslauttanen Holiday Village, located deep in the heart of Finnish countryside, but only a 30-minute transfer from Ivalo airport. Stay in an authentic log cabin complete with a private sauna or experience sleeping on a large bed of ice in a Snow Room, or sleep under the stars in a Glass Igloo - keeping a lookout for northern lights! Days can be spent on a safari led by huskies or reindeers, snowmobiling, or at the ski resort of Saariselkä just 10 minutes away. Prices start from £973 per person (based on two sharing on a half board basis) and include flights and transfers. Departures are available between November 2012 and April.
Norway: In pursuit of the Aurora
Take a <a href="http://www.discover-the-world.co.uk/en/holidays/norway/in-pursuit-of-the-aurora/">week-long adventure</a> to Norway’s wild and wonderful area of Finmark, discovering vast mountain plateaux and island seascapes. The adventure starts in TromsØ with a journey to the top of mainland Europe with lots of opportunities to view the northern lights. Visit the striking Arctic Cathedral and fascinating Polar Museum and take part in some outdoors action with snowmobiling, dog sledging and icefishing all available. As an optional excursion, head to Nordkapp (North Cape) – a snow-covered landscape which is empty except for friendly herds of reindeer. Prices start from £1,599 per adult (based on two sharing) and include seven nights’ accommodation, daily breakfasts plus two evening meals. Departures are available from September to April.
Finland: Kakslauttanen – Log Cabins
This <a href="http://www.discover-the-world.co.uk/en/holidays/finland/classic-lapland-cabins-igloos/">three-day adventure</a> takes you to the Kakslauttanen Holiday Village, located deep in the heart of Finnish countryside, but only a 30-minute transfer from Ivalo airport. Stay in an authentic log cabin complete with a private sauna or experience sleeping on a large bed of ice in a Snow Room, or sleep under the stars in a Glass Igloo - keeping a lookout for northern lights! Days can be spent on a safari led by huskies or reindeers, snowmobiling, or at the ski resort of Saariselkä just ten minutes away. Prices start from £973 per person (based on two sharing on a half board basis) and include flights and transfers. Departures are available between November 2012 and April.
Iceland: New Superjeep Self Drive Adventure
This <a href="http://www.discover-the-world.co.uk/en/holidays/iceland/aurora-superjeep-challenge/">icy adventure</a> is really ‘self-drive on steroids’ with the chance to drive specially equipped and modified Land Rovers known as ISAKS into remote and little visited areas of the southern highlands of Iceland. The trip will be based at Hotel Highland, perfectly situated for northern light sightings. From here you will venture out somewhere new each day - taking in Vatnajokull Glacier, Landmannalaugar lava field, Volcano Hekla, Haifoss waterfall, river crossings on The Power Line Trail plus the famous Gullfoss waterfall and the hot spring Geysir. With departures available between October and March, prices start from £1,672 per person (based on two sharing) and include five nights accommodation on a full board basis and five days of self-drive guided tours.
Canada: Northern Lights and Winter Rockies
First up, search for the aurora borealis during a <a href="http://www.discover-the-world.co.uk/en/holidays/canada/northern-lights-and-rockies/index.html">three-night stay</a> at Fort McMurray followed by a tour of the Canadian Rockies. Fort McMurray, Northern Alberta is situated under the southern edge of the Auroral Oval and offers over a 90% chance of seeing northern lights from a specially designed night-sky centre, with local astronomy experts on hand. A flight to Calgary begins your exploration into the heart of the Rockies which includes a sleigh ride at Lake Louise, an ice-walk in Maligne Canyon and snow-shoeing in Banff. Departures are available from December 2012 to March 2013 and start from £952, including nine nights’ accommodation based on two sharing, transfers, an expert astronomer, specified meals and excursions.