If you laugh in the face of tropical getaways and think there's nothing more fun that pulling on that third sweater, we may have the holiday destinations for you.

Editor's note: please check local travel restrictions before booking any trip and always follow government health advice.


Many visitors to Greenland make a beeline for the iceberg-studded Disko Bay, and more specifically to Ilulissat, the centre of the country’s tourist industry. The town is home to star attraction Ilulissat Kangerlua (Jakobshavn Icefjord), the northern hemisphere’s most prolific tidewater glacier. The massive ice-choked expanse it creates disgorges gargantuan icebergs – some weighing up to seven million tonnes – into Disko Bay, a truly stunning sight.

Canada's Dempster Highway

Starting from Dawson, the last remnant of the Yukon gold rush, the Dempster winds its way through pristine wilderness flanked by craggy peaks and rolling tundra before arriving at the Arctic hub of Inuvik, gateway to the remote communities of the Western Arctic. 

One of Canada's best road trips, the Dempster Highway is one of only two roads in North America that cross the Arctic Circle. It’s a road deep in history, with stunning scenery and myriad chances to see wildlife. You may catch sight of moose, and wolves as well as peregrine falcons, golden eagles, and Arctic terns, all without leaving the road.

Yakutsk, Russia

Rear view of people standing on snow covered field,Yakutsk,Sakha Republic,Russia
Yakutsk is the world's coldest city © Mark Torkington/Getty Images/500px

Yakutsk, the world's coldest city stands on stilts (the shifting permafrost collapses buildings otherwise) and, although there is an airport there, still feels cut off from the already remote Far East. Yet, unlike so many remote Russian cities out here, Yakutsk roars with optimism and gusto. Despite its extreme weather, the locals love the winter and even have Permafrost Museum.

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

 Genghis Khan Statue in the snow
Ulaanbaatar's famous Genghis Khan Statue in the snow © Crystal Tai/Lonely Planet

Often described as the world's coldest capital, Ulaanbaatar is an enormous city of pulsating commerce, heavy traffic, sinful nightlife and bohemian counter-culture. As Mongolia’s cultural, political, economic and social hub it is the logical base for excursions into the countryside. First however, take the time to explore its excellent sights and museums, fill up at some great restaurants and soak in the eclectic vibe. But wrap up warm; nostril freezing temperatures are the norm from December to February.

The South Pole, Antarctica

piece of glacie crashing into the sea
Piece of a Perito Moreno glacier crashing into the water © Bernhard Staehli/Shutterstock

The average temperature on Antarctica's polar plateau is -49.4°C or -56.0°F but wind chills can send mercury plummeting to -110°C. It is possible to visit the South Pole between November and January with flights taking off from Punta Arenas, Chile. You’ll probably visit the Ceremonial Pole and the Geographic Pole to take your ‘hero pictures’ and there is a small visitors centre next to the official research building. Sometimes a tour of parts of the station are possible, depending on staffing.

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This article was first published June 2012 and updated November 2020

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