Clean and crisp air, the chance of snow underfoot and the promise of a warm fire to ward off the chill at the end of it all... winter is unquestionably the best time of year to pull on your boots and go for a wander.

Whether you want a short stroll or a strenuous clamber, these walks will sate your appetite for all things outdoors during the colder months of the calendar.

Yorkshire Dales, England

Yorkshire dales
  • Malham Tarn
  • Difficulty: 5/10

The Yorkshire Dales look beautiful all year round. But this picturesque national park in northern England is at its best after a blanketing of snow. This easy, flat walk takes in some of the Dales’ finest scenery, skirting the edge of Malham Tarn, the highest lake in England, on a stretch of the long-distance Pennine Way. The path circles back through Tarn Moss nature reserve and on to an old smelting chimney leading up to Dean Moss. Break out your camera here, because the views are relentless.

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  • Ingleborough
  • Difficulty: 7/10

Yorkshire’s second highest peak, the great hump of Ingleborough is often coated in snow in winter and serves up a challenging stroll from the village of Clapham.

Catskills, New York, USA

Catskill Mountains in Winter
  • Balsam Lake Mountain and fire tower
  • Difficulty: 6/10

A three-hour drive north of New York City, this trail in the Catskills is the ideal way to conquer a mountain without having to be a hardcore mountaineer. The path is clearly marked and it’s an up-and-down route, so there’s no getting lost either. Walkers flock here in the winter, and not just for the peace and quiet of the forest on the way to the summit. At the top there’s a fire tower, the site of the first such lookout in New York State (built in 1887), with huge views across snowy conifers and rolling hills.

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  • Bearpen Mountain
  • Difficulty: 6/10

If it’s views you’re after, the summit of Bearpen Mountain offers some of the best and most accessible in the Catskills. Be sure to stick to marked paths.

Shan State, Myanmar/Burma

Hikers in a rice paddy
  • Kalaw to Inle Lake
  • Difficulty: 6/10

Okay, so there's no snow in sight... but in the cooler months from October to February, trekking from the mountain village of Kalaw to Inle Lake is a must-do for outdoor fanatics visiting Myanmar. First off, you’ll need a guide. Clued in locals are available for hire in Kalaw. The route runs through tribal hill villages and serves up mountainous views from the Shan plateau. There’s also the chance to stay in local homes or at monasteries on the way. Finish at the south end of Inle and you can hitch a ride on a boat up to the northern town of Nyaungshwe.

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  • Hsipaw to Pan Kam
  • Difficulty: 7/10

It’s a five-hour hike from Hsipaw, northeast of Mandalay, to the village of Pan Kam, where you can meet the Palaung people, famed for their tea.

Atlas Mountains, Morocco

A trail winding through the foothills of Mount Toubkal National Park – but be warned: it gets a lot tougher than this © Soren-Asher / Getty Images
  • Mount Toubkal
  • Difficulty: 9/10

If a simple pair of boots and a warm coat seem a touch prosaic when it comes to winter walks, then Mount Toubkal is for you. The highest peak in North Africa at 4,167 metres, this snowbound mountain in the High Atlas requires a high-level of fitness, crampons and even ice axes. Fortunately, many adventure tour companies offer itineraries in this region, meaning winter climbing experience isn’t essential. Acclimatising first is a smart idea, but once you’re in the hills, any concerns will disappear as the views of snow-topped summits and deep valleys open up around every corner.

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  • Imlil to Tizi Mzik
  • Difficulty: 6/10

The village of Imlil, at the foot of Toubkal, offers some less strenuous walks, including an all-day stroll through terraces and walnut groves to the Berber village of Tizi Mzik.

Nahuel Huapi National Park, Argentina

Argentina's Nahuel Huapi National Park will give you a taste for more arduous climbs in the Andes © HagePhoto / Getty Images
  • Cerro Catedral to Refugio Frey, Bariloche
  • Difficulty: 6/10

Winter hikes in the Andes are largely the preserve of trained mountaineers. But this well-marked trailhead is easily reached by an hourly bus from nearby Bariloche and is not overly challenging. It runs 12 kilometres up to Refugio Frey, the only climbers’ hut open during winter. The path passes through broadleaf forest before climbing sharply through a boulder field. The hut sits next to an icy lake in a natural amphitheatre of jagged peaks popular with climbers. Complete this walk and we promise you’ll want to come back to try more strenuous climbs in these stunning hills.

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  • Cerro Lopez 
  • Difficulty: 7/10

Cerro Lopez looms over the town of Bariloche and its paths are easily reached by local bus. The route to the summit should not be attempted in deep winter, so avoid from May onwards.

The Alps

The Swiss Alps are a true winter wonderland – and there are few better spots to explore it than Zermatt © Bluejayphoto / Getty Images
  • Zermatt to Furri, Switzerland
  • Difficulty: 5/10

The looming Matterhorn and world-class skiing are the main draws for winter visitors to the pretty town of Zermatt.  If you’re heading to the slopes, be sure to pack your boots too, because this Swiss valley is blessed with a string of excellent trails that are open throughout the colder months. This walk snakes out of Zermatt via the 500-year-old hamlet of Zmutt, its white chapel and wooden chalets an Alpine cliche it’s impossible not to love. The cold can be cutting, but fortunately the walk finishes at Furri’s excellent mountain restaurant, where you can warm up with a potato rosti and hot chocolate before the return journey.

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  • Kitzbuhel snowshoe walk
  • Difficulty: 6/10

Over the border in the Austrian Tyrol, Kitzbuhel’s tourist office runs daily guided snowshoe walks across the resort’s pristine snow fields.

Snowy Mountains, Australia

The snow-covered landscape of Mount Kosciusko is a serious challenge for hikers © TED MEAD / Getty Images
  • Mount Kosciusko
  • Difficulty: 8/10

You'll have to wait till June to August to tackle Australia’s highest mountain in winter (at the moment, it's covered in wildflowers). The cold weather means fewer walkers and huge views across the snowy tops of nearby Mount Jagungal and the high country of Victoria. Attempting to reach the top of Mount Kosciusko at this time of year requires the assistance of a professional guide, as the marked path is often covered in deep snow, and hikers face serious hazards such as plunging temperatures and regular blizzards.

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  • Cascade Hut Trail
  • Difficulty: 6/10

Strap on your snowshoes for this long walk through snow gum woods and across the desolate beauty of the Pilot Wilderness area.

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