Sooner or later, your exams and papers will be behind you and there will be a vacation before the second semester starts. Do you already have plans for it? Would you like to travel to a less known country, but still not so far and preferably in Europe? Maybe you prefer to travel in the spring or summer, but actually there is no bad time for travelling. If you have already visited the Alps countries, you might be interested in the following ski destinations:
Another country where students can enjoy great slopes for affordable prices is Georgia. The most popular and the biggest ski resort with 57km tracks is Gudauri, but you should also check Bakuriani, Goderdzi, Hatsvali and Tetnuldi. In your time off the slopes, you can enjoy hot mineral springs or a glass of Georgian red wine. The cuisine will also be of great interest for you as you can often try some homemade dishes from the Middle East region. If you are an adventurer who wants to see something different, then why don’t you hit the road to the Caucasus? Surely, you won’t be bored in a country with rich, authentic traditions and beautiful nature. Don’t miss to spend some time in Tbilisi as well. It’s a city where different traditions and cultures meet and you will have the chance to see churches, mosques, synagogues and other temples within walking distance from each other. This cultural diversity has its roots in the geographical position of Georgia as a meeting point between Asia and Europe, the West and the East.
If you are dreaming of beautiful mountains and amazing ski slopes, than you should visit Bulgaria in the winter. The biggest ski resorts are Borovets, Bansko and Pamporovo, offering ideal ski conditions at affordable costs. If this type of vacation isn't your passion, you could visit some nice and cosy mountain villages and huts covered with snow, or just choose to spend your time in the city. There is a big mountain over 2000 metres high right next to the capital Sofia, where you can do a daytrip and go skiing as well (even at night). At the end of January and the beginning of February you can see a widely spread Bulgarian custom: Kukeri - people wearing masks perform special rituals and dances to scare the evil ghosts.
Located in the Pyrenees between France and Spain, Andorra is a small mountainous country. Although it is home to several top winter resorts, Andorra isn’t the first country you think of when it comes to vacation plans. With beautiful Romanesque churches and sky-reaching peaks, it’s definitely an appealing destination for nature lovers. You should keep in mind that the ski passes might be quite expensive for you as a student, but usually there are some good discount offers you can take advantage of. If you would like to enjoy the mountains away from the most touristic parts, you can do snowshoeing or ski touring.
Did you know that you could see the northern lights in Estonia? That’s right - you don't have to go to the super expensive countries like Norway or Iceland to watch the phenomenon. If you are looking for a cosy winter romance, Estonia is the place to be with a lot of snow, low temperatures and long nights. In a cold winter you can experience something you probably haven't before - the Estonian ice roads. They are a special landmark of the country and open for travellers in the daylight. Don't worry - they are reasonably safe and there haven't been serious traffic accidents or cars sunk in the water. Besides them you can enjoy some beautiful natural winter landscapes like snow covered forests or frozen waterfalls. You should also choose to spend some time in Tallinn - you will find the city the most charming in the winter and have the chance to see more locals than tourists in the city centre.
If you aren't a winter person at all or you're just in the mood for warmth and sun, Cyprus wouldn't be a bad idea. It is among the contenders for the Europe's southernmost point and has usually more than 300 sunny days. Does the chance to see the country without the summer tourist crowd and walk only with a t-shirt on in February sound appealing? In the winter you will meet more local people than tourists, take advantage of the normal off-season prices and enjoy some beautiful places in peace. The island is separated into Greek and Turkish parts and has an interesting culture, besides the beautiful sea landscapes. It's one more reason why it's worth to visit Cyprus in the winter - you will enjoy cooler temperatures which makes the sightseeing more pleasant.
Pack your backpack and have a great adventure this winter! And if travelling turns to be your passion (or already is) you can always consider a semester or year abroad!