When you think of glamping, you might think of elegantly furnished safari tents with their canvas flaps pinned back, alfresco meals at a table under a canopy of twinkle lights, and days spent frolicking in the great outdoors. Dump several feet of snow on this scene and suddenly all that communing with nature doesn’t sound fun at all.
But winter is really when glamping shines. In a pod, tree house, glass-walled igloo, or geodesic dome, you’ll be completely immersed in nature, but you’ll stay warm and surrounded by creature comforts—even if a storm is raging around you. The quiet, snowy landscapes still offer plenty of opportunities to romp around, and you can cook your s’mores at night by a wood-burning stove. As for stargazing? Many places feature huge windows or skylights so you can recline on a fluffy bed to look for shooting stars or—if you’re lucky—the Northern Lights. Feeling the hygge yet? Check out these eight glamping retreats around the world that might be even better in the winter.
Modern Pod Rental
This whimsical pod rental in central Sweden looks like something out of a fairy tale. Its large windows let in plenty of sunshine during the day, and at night the wood-burning stove and underfloor heating keep things snug. The seating area turns into a double bed, and with additional twin bunks, the pod sleeps four. After a day of exploring the trails through the surrounding forest, cook some camping favorites in the communal kitchen before returning to that wood-burning stove and a good book.
Surrounded by 100 acres of boreal forest in the Alaskan wilderness, these fiberglass igloos are modeled after those used on polar expeditions and at polar research stations—so they can certainly handle an Alaskan winter. Each of the 15 igloos has comfortable beds, a full bathroom, and a 16-foot-wide window on its roof, enabling guests to watch for the aurora borealis at night. It’s a perfect place to do so, because the camp is located under the auroral oval, the atmospheric region where the aurora borealis is brightest. A large on-site yurt serves as a home base and restaurant, and guests can also book mushing and snowmobiling tours.
- Location: The Golden Circle, Iceland
- Book now: buubble.com
Another way to spend a winter night under the stars is by booking a tour with the Icelandic company Buubble, which includes a night in one of its fully transparent bubble accommodations. Each heated “room” has a double bed, ventilation systems that keep the interiors fresh and dry, plenty of extra blankets, and unencumbered views of the surrounding landscape. Bathrooms and kitchen facilities are located in a nearby cabin.
The company offers two tours, the Golden Circle Iceland Tour, which visits Thingvellir National Park, Geysir Hot Spring, Gullfoss Waterfall, and the Secret Lagoon, and the South Coast Tour, which stops at Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss Waterfalls and Black Sand Beach. Tours have limited availability and book up fast!
On a small slope at the foot of the Swiss Alps, WhitePod Hotel’s 19 geodesic domes enjoy fantastic views of the surrounding mountains and the valley below. Most feature a wood-burning stove, plenty of knotty wood furniture, and fresh white linens, but there are also four suites, each with its own distinct style, such as the tree-filled (yes, you read that right—trees inside the room) Forest Suite or the Japanese-inspired Zen pod complete with soaking tub. Guests at the hotel have access to private ski slopes and miles of hiking and snowshoeing trails around the property; they can relax at the end of the day in an 1800s-era wooden chalet that includes a restaurant, fireplace, and Swedish spa.
Montana Tree House Retreat
An outdoor adventurer’s dream, this tree house is set on seven acres of private woodland close to Glacier National Park and Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort. The two-story, 500-square-foot tree house is accessed by a spiral staircase that wraps around a Douglas fir tree. There are two deck areas—one on each floor—and a full kitchen. The cabin sleeps up to four: a master suite with a queen-size bed and padded bench couches in the common area that can serve as additional beds. Sure there’s Wi-Fi, but you might not need it: When you’re not out enjoying the snow, you might find that rather than scrolling through Instagram, you’d prefer to curl up with a mug of tea and take in the winter wonderland from your lofty vantage point.
Possibly because the Northern Lights are common in Finland, there are a number of glass-igloo hotels and camps throughout the country—including the well-known Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Saariselkä. But Levin Iglut is a particularly intimate and utterly luxurious choice. Open from September through April, the 27 igloos on the property all enjoy clear views of the sky.
Most have a double bed piled with fuzzy blankets, as well as a sofa bed, heated floors, a small kitchen, and a bathroom. But opt for one of the three suite igloos, and you’ll also be able to indulge in some sky watching from a private terrace with an outdoor hot tub. When not snuggled up and watching for the Northern Lights, you can go cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, or book a reindeer sleigh ride or an ice fishing trip.
Glamping outfitter AutoCamp is best known for transforming retro Airstreams into stylish glamping accommodations in scenic areas throughout the United States. One of its newer locations (opened in 2022) is the AutoCamp Catskills in New York, roughly three hours north of New York City. On site, guests can choose from one of 65 Airstreams, each outfitted with heating, a petite but fully functional kitchen, a full bathroom complete with toiletries from skincare brand Ursa Major, and a small skylight perfectly placed above the bed for stargazing while cozy under the covers.
Although the Catskills are a classic summer getaway destination for New Yorkers, wintertime brings its own special charms. Nearby, travelers can ski, snowshoe, or hike on Hunter Mountain. And afterwards, AutoCamp’s Clubhouse, which is outfitted with comfy sofas, a fireplace, and plenty of board games, makes for an ideal place to wind down and warm up.
Le Hobbit at Entre Cîmes et Racines
Yes, this enchanting dwelling with round windows and door is inspired by the Hobbit houses of The Lord of the Rings. One of 14 quirky spaces at Entre Cîmes et Racines in Québec, Le Hobbit sleeps four in two double bunk beds. There’s no electricity or central heating here, but a wood-burning stove keeps the stone and beautifully carved wood interior comfortably warm even in winter. And you may not see it under the snow, but the house features a living roof, covered with different plants and grasses. With nine miles of roads and trails, a maze, and three streams on the property, there’s plenty to explore, even in the snow—that is, when you don’t have your nose stuck in another volume of Tolkien.
This article was originally published in 2019 and most recently updated on November 19, 2023, with current information.