The World’s Best Winter Photography Locations
There are three main ways to survive winter with your sanity intact. First, you can uproot your life and move somewhere warm (not always a practical option). Second, throw yourself into a passion project. And third, learn to love the arctic chill. Our recommendation is to combine the latter two: grab your favorite camera(s), book a trip, and up your winter photography game. In no particular order, here are the top 10 best winter photography locations around the world.
1. Bruges, Belgium
Going to Bruges is as close as we’ll ever get to living in a fairytale. Bruges is a small, canal-based city near the coast of Belgium. Its quaint storefronts, short buildings, and water features make it perfect fodder for photographers. While you’re there, don’t forget to stop and eat some chocolate.
2. Harbin City, China
Harbin City has a reputation for being one of the coldest cities in China. In a brilliant act of public relations (and perhaps desperation) Harbin City used this title to rebrand themselves as the Ice City. Its residents and visiting artists dedicate themselves to creating larger than life ice sculptures annually from December to March. The official start date of the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival is January 5th. However, the sculptures are huge and impossible to hide so you can also check them out during construction.
3. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague a sprawling Edinburgh with less nature and more city to explore. It’s one of the most well-preserved cities in the European Union post-World War II and boasts many notable photo opps from the astronomical clock, Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, and Old Town Square.
4. The Swiss Alps, Switzerland
Find somewhere that isn’t breathtakingly beautiful in the Swiss Alps. Go ahead, we dare you. This mountain range is internationally known for both its beauty and as a winter sports destination. Whether you’re there for action shots or dramatic landscape photos, the Swiss Alps is one of the best winter photography locations.
5. Banff, Alberta
We love our Canadian neighbors for a myriad of reasons: poutine, incredibly livable cities, gorgeous natural landmarks…poutine. We also admire their ability to embrace outdoor activities in below-freezing temperatures. What better place to do that than Banff, Canada? Banff is a resort town in Alberta that’s conveniently located in Banff National Park. When you’re not out shooting, you can hike, bike, ski, sightsee, and explore the area’s natural hot springs.
6. Tromsø, Norway
Tromsø, Norway is about 217 miles (350 kilometers) north of the Arctic Circle and boasts access to both the Alps and a handful of fjords. It’s also home to the world’s northernmost university, botanical garden, and planetarium. If you don’t care about any of those things, it’s also objectively beautiful. Tromsø is above the auroral zone and you can catch glimpses of the aurora borealis from just outside the city.
7. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming/ Montana/ Idaho
Shoutout to the first national park in the United States. Yellowstone is great for landscape, animal, sealife, and bird photography (they’ve got it all, folks). If you’re lucky and plan a trip in conjunction with a fresh snowfall, you can even take a snow coach or snowmobile tour thus expanding your winter photography locations.
8. New York City, New York
Yes, we know that as Brooklynites we’re naturally inclined to include New York City on this list. That said, we stand by it. Whether you’re shooting in Central Park or the Lower East Side, NYC looks a little bit softer (and cleaner) with a layer of snow. Make sure you visit when the holiday lights are still up and glistening to give your winter photography an extra glow. This is also a perfect time to perfect your bokah skills.
9. Svalbard, Norway
Do you love bears? Does the thought of going to a tourist trap fill you with sadness? Then let us recommend Svalbard, Norway for your winter photography needs. Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean that boasts seven national parks and twenty-three nature reserves. As a result, it’s incredibly well preserved and exists without many of the normal societal staples we enjoy on the mainland. For example, rather than driving over paved roads, natives and visitors use snowmobiles, aircraft, and boats for transportation. Adventure thy name is Svalbard.
Yes, we are including all of Scotland. While it’s beautiful all year long, there’s something particularly dramatic about the landscape’s gothic architecture and sweeping hills when they’re covered in snow. If you’re looking for shots ripped from the pages of a Charles Dickens novel, head to Edinburgh. The city has been the capital of Scotland since the 15th century and it hasn’t changed much since then. If you’d rather commune with nature, you can go almost anywhere in the countryside to find landscapes worth braving the freezing cold.
That concludes our roundup of the Top 10 Best Winter Photography Locations Around The World. If you’re interested in going on a journey to one of these locations (or want to take advantage of the natural beauty near your home) we highly recommend the equipment listed below.
Do you have any other locations you love to shoot during the winter months? Let us know in the comments.