21 of the world’s top winter experiences

6. Sleep in a mountain ice hotel in Romania

How about a night on the ice? In winter, Transylvania’s glacial Lake Balea, smuggled high in the Southern Carpathians, freezes solid and is transformed into the striking Balea Ice Hotel (Dec–Apr). But the setting is the real star here, as views from the local cable car reveals. There’s 14km of ski slopes, ice-climbing on the frozen Balea waterfall and heli-skiiing among the furthest reaches of the Fagaras Mountains. Also, pay a visit to the gothic spires and cobbles of nearby Brasov and the 14th-century Bran Castle, on which the author Bram Stoker based his ideas for Dracula’s home.

What about… North America’s only ice hotel? Every winter, Canada’s Quebec City rebuilds Hôtel de Glace (Jan-Mar). Created using 500 tonnes of ice, it’s unabashedly palatial, with 40 rooms, an ice bar, grand hall, chapel and an enormous natural slide. 

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