Ancient glaciers, sprawling mountain ranges and islands beyond islands beyond islands. Taking in the unbelievable surroundings of these outdoor ice rinks is as exhilarating an experience as you can find. Recent research from Booking.com found that almost three quarters of Canadians (73%) expect to appreciate the simple experiences like spending time outdoors or with the family while on vacation, once we all feel safe to travel again. Simple, pleasure-related endorsements such as hiking (94%), clean air (50%), and nature (44%) on Booking.com have increased since the start of the pandemic*, indicating that the great outdoors will be the star of the show this year, and hopefully beyond. Getting in some exercise in crisp outdoor air is one of the most powerful mood boosters. Lace up your skates and pop on your toque because we’re about to remind you about the wild wonders that winter gives to us.
Lake Louise in Banff
Skate through an ice castle at Lake Louise
The glacier-fed Lake Louise is as spectacular during the winter as it is in summer. Cleared daily of any new snow, this natural skating rink offers a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains. The rink has a handmade ice castle that skaters can glide through. Fairmont Château Lake Louise is just steps away from the rink and offers skate rentals in the main lobby.
Lac de Joux in Switzerland
Lac de Joux is Europe’s largest outdoor skating rink
When Lac de Joux freezes over, Europe’s largest free outdoor skating rink is open for business. Lac de Joux spans 9.5 km squared and once the lake rarely freezes over, dedicated skating areas are marked where the ice is safe to skate on. Vendors set up shop along the shore selling hot chocolate and snacks for warm-up breaks. Located on the shores of Lac de Joux, Hostellerie la Baie du Lac has an on-site restaurant and bar where you can grab a bite to eat after your day perfecting your crossovers.
Lake Vänern in Sweden
Lake Vänern is perfect for Nordic Skating
The largest lake in Sweden, Lake Vänern is ideal for Nordic skating, which is, recreational long distance skating on natural ice. Lake Vänern is home to a staggering 22,000 small islands, so skaters opt for long distance trails to maximise the sights and range of different routes they can take in. City centre hotel Stadshotellet Lidköping is a 5-minute walk from the lake. Take advantage of the hotel’s free sauna to really full circle your healthy, heart-pumping getaway.
Sokolniki Park in Moscow, Russia
This outdoor rink is the favourite of many Moscow locals
Just outside of Moscow’s city centre, Sokolniki Park is a green space popular with locals that, during winter, turns into a 5,400 square meter ice rink. The ice is lined with towering trees and decorated with twinkle lights and a large TV screen, making it Moscow’s most colourful and modern outdoor ice rink. Less than 3km from the park, Cosmos Hotel offers an on-site spa with massage services – the perfect post-skate pampering to melt those sore, hard worked muscles.
Yosemite National Park in California, U.S.
The iconic Half Dome and Glacier Point are the amazing, natural eye candy that skaters take in
The Half Dome Village Ice Rink is located inside Yosemite National Park and offers unobstructed views of two of the park’s most famous landmarks: the Half Dome and Glacier Point. When you need a moment to sit and relax, you can warm up at the rink-side fire pit, gazing towards the same amazing views. Winter Wonderland is a cosy holiday home located in Yosemite West. It’s a 40-minute trip to the rink, but the tree-lined mountain roads you’ll take there make for a picturesque, memorable trip.
Travellers can easily find the Booking.com properties that have implemented new health and safety measures (such as hygiene, sanitisation, and physical distancing) as this is now clearly indicated on a property’s page. Over 14 million listings on Booking.com have implemented these measures, working with the global travel leader to help make it safe and comfortable for everyone to explore the world once it is safe to do so.
* Based on endorsements left on Booking.com as part of post-stay reviews. Insight based on endorsements that saw the biggest increase in monthly usage between 1st April 2020 and 11th September 2020, compared to the average monthly endorsements between January 2019 and February 2020.