1. 1. Victoria Falls, Zambia
It’s got to come at the top of the list: the ‘Smoke That Thunders’ beats Niagara hands down. Come here in the rainy season (December to March) and you’ll be soaked to the bone by the spray. Return in the dry season (April to October) for a better view of the sheer drop below.
3. 2. Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska
The blue hues of the Mendenhall Glacier are incredible, but aren’t best seen when covered in fresh powder. Head here during early May for longer days, light and photo ops, or come back in September to view the black bears nearby. They’ll be visiting Steep Creek to feed on salmon.
5. 3. Blue Lagoon, Iceland
Located in a lava field, Iceland’s Blue Lagoon is possibly its most visited attraction. With its healing waters reaching a blissful 37–39 °C, it’s one to check out at any time of year. That said, summer offers plenty of sunshine; while winter’s rather a more brooding, steamy affair…
7. 4. Lapland, Finland
Home of Santa (or Joulupukki), Lapland’s the quintessential Christmas destination. Go dog sledding or stay in an igloo; but remember it’ll be dark. In summer, the Midnight Sun means endless light and more cloudberries: yes, cloudberries! The weird little fruits appear in July.
9. 5. Arctic Tundra, Greenland
There are more reasons to go to Greenland twice than to see cute and cuddly Arctic foxes. But come during the summer, and the Arctic foxes are cute and cuddly, and in winter – well, you get the idea. Different colours because of the tundra; cute and cuddly they remain. Win–win.
11. 6. Edinburgh, Scotland
Come to Edinburgh during August and you’ll experience the (somewhat spurious) warmth of a Scottish summer, all wrapped up with the city’s world-famous festivals. Hop back in winter, however, and you’ll experience German Christmas markets, and a cracking NYE street party.
13. 7. Hitachi Seaside Park, Japan
Though beautiful at pretty much any time of the year, head to Hitachi during spring to see incredible carpets of “baby blue-eyes” flowers (or nemophilia). Come back in autumn, and the very same hillsides will be covered with hundreds of fiery kochia plants and cosmos flowers.
15. 8. Mathura and Vrindavan, India
Come for the Festival of Colours, or Holi, in the area where the festival has its origins. On March 17, there’s a week-long coloured-powder party! Come back in August, and you can join in on Janmashtami – it marks the day of Krishna’s birthday, in the town where he was born.
17. 9. Mutianyu, Great Wall of China
One of the most popular places to visit the Great Wall, come here in autumn to coincide with the Red Leaf Festival (pretty self explanatory) in Beijing, just 70km away. Travel in May instead, and you’ll be better prepared for the Great Wall International Marathon. Phew.
19. 10. Michoacan, Mexico
In October, you’ll find millions of monarch butterflies in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, Michoacan, having made their way for the winter from Canada. Come back in April for Mexico’s biggest Semana Santa celebrations, at their best in Uruapan and Patzcuaro.
21. 11. Stetind Mountain, Norway
Make your way to the spectacular Stetind Mountain in summer, and you’ll experience the Midnight Sun. Come back again in winter, and you’ll be dazzled by the Northern Lights.
23. 12. New York, United States
Central Park’s on many a tourist’s bucket list, but you have to hit up NYC more than once to do it justice. You could go in spring, summer, autumn or winter, and the seasons will offer their own charms. But let’s be honest: Miracle on 34th Street has sort of swayed us towards snow.
25. 13. Olkhon Island, Russia
The largest of Lake Baikal’s islands, Olkhon’s as special in summer as it is during winter. Its northern coast is known to be a fantastic spot for swimming in the sunshine, but come back in winter, and you may find that the lake’s warm, blue waters have completely frosted over. Chilly.
27. 14. Sapporo, Japan
In May, cherry blossom (or sakura) season takes place in Sapporo, and one of the best places to see them is in the city’s Odori Park. Come back here in winter, however, and you’ll be able to check out the incredible ice and snow sculptures at the renowned Sapporo Snow Festival.
29. 15. Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
Known as some of the world’s most beautiful spots for swimming, Plitvice Lakes are nothing short of wonderful in the summer; but they are crowded. Travel in winter instead, and there’ll be virtually no other holidaymakers (bar the people that have read this post, of course…).
31. 16. Porthcurno, England
Surf’s up: Cornwall’s one of the world’s best spots for hitting the waves, and has some of Britain’s finest beaches. Porthcurno, for example, has won countless awards, but take note – those sandcastles you grafted this morning won’t be there this afternoon. The sand’s engulfed every six hours.
33. 17. Yosemite National Park, United States
In spring, the Yosemite Falls kick in as the snow melts, with the crashing torrents flowing down the mountainsides right through until August. But by winter, they’ve accumulated frost along the way, turning the park into an almost deserted winter wonderland.
35. 18. Valencia, Spain
Valencia’s the daddy of frenzied festivals. In March, a celebration commemorating Saint Joseph takes place, with all the city’s neighbourhoods creating fallas – or cartoon-like monuments – before burning them. And in August? It’s ‘La Tomatina’ time, of course.
37. 19. Stockholm, Sweden
In summer, hop a ferry ride around the Stockholm Archipelago, sampling titbits of smörgåsbord from your own Swedish summerhouse. In winter, watch the sunset at around 3 o’clock, ice skate on its frozen lakes, and tuck into freshly baked Swedish apple cake.
39. 20. Zermatt, Austria
It might be the winter sports capital of the world, but Zermatt has plenty to offer up to its summer visitors. By ski, snowboard, toboggan or snowshoe, you’ll not quickly forget the Matterhorn scenery; but hiking, climbing and paragliding in summer? It offers a whole new perspective.
41. 21. Stonehenge, England
Finally, Stonehenge: two solstices; two seasons. One generally has more, erm, druids and stuff.
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