The 2018 Winter Olympics has definitely been a talking point over the past month. With some memorable highlights, from the bare-chested Tongan athlete and snowboarding triumphs of Chloe Kim and Billy Morgan, to a fantastic gold medal performance from Lizzy Yarnold, a brilliant display of ice skating prowess, and Britain’s total medal tally of one gold and four bronzes, this Olympics was definitely one to watch. And it’s not even over yet – the Winter Paralympics have just started, and Britain definitely have some opportunities for success!
Many people are content to simply watch the Olympics on the television, curled up in the warm while athletes barrel through snow and ice, but if you’d like to engage more with Winter Olympic history, you could do so with your next holiday.
There are a number of former Winter Olympics host cities that still offer a fantastic venue and attractions to make a truly memorable getaway at any time of the year:
Pyeongchang (2018 host city)
Where better place to start than the current Winter Olympics host city? This South Korean destination, having only just hosted the Olympics, will be rife with opportunities to explore the fantastic venues that played host to some of the most amazing athletes in the world.
Additionally, visiting Pyeongchang isn’t limited to visiting the Olympic venue; there is also the Alpensia Resort, where you can recreate the performance of the snow sport athletes on the resort’s slopes, and the Lee Hyo-seok culture village to find out more about the area itself.
Sochi (2014 host city)
While Sochi’s claim to fame is largely being a beach resort on the Baltic Sea, since its role as the Winter Olympics host in 2014, it is now considered much more of a destination for a winter vacation. With the stunning Iceberg Skating Palace and the Rosa Khutor Ski Resort, there will be more than enough snow for you to enjoy a winter sport filled holiday.
However, if you’re looking to head out to Sochi for alternative activities, there is the opportunity to attend the Sochi Grand Prix in September, when the winter venue is transformed into a racetrack.
Vancouver (2010 host city)
Vancouver is a beautiful city to visit, no matter the time of year, but it is made even better through it’s long-standing association with winter sports, courtesy of the Canadian climate and its part in hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Grouse Mountain, from December through to March, is the place to go for the downhill ski season, but the fun doesn’t stop when the snow thaws. The resort offers mountain activities all year round and gives you great access to the other events and activities that Vancouver has to offer: Stanley Park, the Vancouver Aquarium, the Celebration of Light in July/August, a musical fireworks exhibition and the Pacific National Exhibition in August/September.
Turin (2006 host city)
The Winter Olympics at Turin were the third time that Italy had hosted either a summer or winter games and where the mass start biathlon, team sprint cross country skiing, snowboard cross and team pursuit speedskating debuted.
There are 16 ski resorts located in Turin, so you can take your pick when deciding where to carve up the slopes. If you’re looking for less high-octane activity, Turin also hosts a huge chocolate festival once a year, called CioccalaTò, which is centred around the Piazza San Carlo. There’s also the National Museum of Cinema to explore, as well as a huge number of cultural sites, and other festivals throughout the year, including the Torino Jazz Festival (May-June) and the Torino Film Festival (November).
Nagano (1988 host city)
The Japanese city of Nagano evolved as a temple town around one of Japan’s most popular temples, Zenkō-ji. It is well known as a popular destination in both summer and winter, with the stunning snow resort Nozawa Onsen, which we mentioned in our hidden gem ski resorts blog.
On top of the excellent snow sports facilities, Nagano also boasts the Jigokudani Monkey Park which is home to the wild snow monkeys who join bathers in the hot springs. The Hakuba Happoone Winter Resort and Hot Springs is an excellent place to visit to soak away the tensions from a day on the slopes or, in the summer months, the ache from walking around the beautiful Kamikochi mountain range and Karuizawa Shiraito Falls.
Nozawa Onsen town also hosts the annual Dosojin Fire Festival in January, and in late spring it’s impossible to miss the arrival of the cherry blossoms, known as sakura, which you can appreciate fully at Matsumoto Castle.
If you’re tempted to head away to one of these fantastic Winter Olympics destinations, don’t forget to store your valuables in a safe place while you’re away. There’s no safer place than CitySpace storage for all the precious items you can’t take away with you.