National Geographic Travel names top winter trips of 2017

From the wintry fairylands of Russia and old Quebec City, to sun-soaked escapades in Tonga and Sri Lanka, National Geographic Travel has curated a list of the best winter trips of 2017.

On their list of top 10 places to visit this season, editors go beyond perennial favorites such as Florida and the ski slopes of Vail or Whistler Blackcomb to offer up travel ideas that include the beaches of Sri Lanka and the budget-friendly ski hills of Bulgaria.

If you're looking for some travel ideas this winter, consider some of these destinations recommended by the experts at Nat Geo Travel:

Quebec City for holiday cheer
With fairy lights adorning every doorway and tree, old cobblestone streets and Chateau Frontenac looming large at every turn, Quebec City whisks visitors to the bygone era of Dickensian Christmases of the old world. The city also hosts the largest winter carnival of its kind in the world, which this year takes place January 27 to February 12.

St. Petersburg, Russia for winter lovers
The city's architecture is stunning to begin with, but add a layer of soft powdery snow to the peaks of the ornate Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, the Winter Palace and the Hermitage and the city transforms into a living fairy tale, frozen in time. "Add ice on the Neva River (and on dozens of smaller frozen rivers and canals), and the winter scene is downright magical."

Bansko, Bulgari for sport aficionados
Skiers on tight budgets will want to consider the slopes of Bansko, Bulgaria, one of the best bargain winter sports destinations in Europe. But don't expect black diamond runs or the glitz of Zermatt, caution editors, as the budget-friendly option is a no-frills, low-cost experience.

Galle, Sri Lanka for the warm weather
The Dutch colonial town of Galle in Sri Lanka may not be top of mind for beach goers, but the palm-fringed town on the Indian Ocean makes for an ideal base for surf and sand day trips, point out Nat Geo Travel editors.

Tucson, Arizona for food
While Arizona may be known for its golf, spas and resorts, according to Nat Geo Travel the popular winter tourist destination is also a hotbed of good, cheap, local eats. Think Sonoran dog, a bacon-wrapped hot dog stuffed in a roll and smothered in pinto beans, salsa, onions, tomatoes, mayonnaise and mustard. Travelers on a budget will eat well if they like Mexican fare, with no shortage of taquerias and diner fare.

Tonga for the adventure
Located between Fiji and New Zealand, the island of Tonga is expensive to reach for US travelers, but cheap to explore. Adventure seekers looking to escape civilization can look forward to jumping off shipwrecks, swimming in an underground lake and discovering pristine beaches and coral atolls.

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