This year’s Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games have taken over a winter destination that is unlikely to have been on the well-travelled tourists’ radar before: South Korea. Surrounded in the Taebaek Mountains, PyeongChang is the ideal wintry spot for adrenaline-fuelled ski jumping and alpine skiing.
Here’s a short guide of things to see and do in PyeongChang, as well as some of the host cities that have gone before.
2018 – PyeongChang, South Korea
Whether or not you come to enjoy the skiing, it’s easy to find places of interest in PyeongChang. As a year-round destination, winter (December-February) is best for skiing, sledding and ice fishing, while the Lee Hyo-seok Cultural Festival takes place during August and September to celebrate the poet’s work with performances and parades.
PyeongChang is also famed for the Odaesan National Park, its trails criss-crossing the magnificent Taebaek Mountains. When visiting the several Buddhist temples, don’t miss Woljeongsa Temple with its impressive 9-story octagonal pagoda.
2010 – Whistler, Canada
The 2010 Paralympic Games actually stretched over a 120 km area, with the mountain resort of Whistler as a key site. Thrill seekers can slide down the world’s fastest ice track in a bob-sleigh whilst keen skiers can book a private ski lesson from an Olympic Athlete! But despite the snowy Christmas-card look, Whistler is a year-round destination where summer visitors now outnumber those during the ski season. They are drawn by the area’s incredibly scenic hiking, biking and other adventure activities.
2006 – Turin, Italy
Turin is Northern Italy’s elegant, alpine city where you can indulge in far more than just skiing. There’s a feast of baroque architecture, art nouveau cafes and museums to enjoy. Foodies can savour risottos, meats and plenty of truffles; all-time staples from Piedmont’s long history of traditional cuisine. And don’t forget the chocolate – be sure to try Turin’s speciality Gianduja, chocolate with hazelnuts made there since Napoleonic times. Meanwhile, skiers love to stay in the Olympic village and can try out some night-time skiing on the same floodlit runs that athletes skied on during the 2006 Games.
1964, 1976 – Innsbruck, Austria
Two-time host to the Games in 1964 and 1976, Western Austria’s Innsbruck is a favourite destination for winter sports enthusiasts who come for skiing as well as ski jumping, bobsleighing, ice skating and ice hockey. With over 260 km of immaculate slopes, Olympia Skiworld offers the chance to ski in the tracks of champions. Non-skiers have plenty to enjoy too in the many sports centres, cinemas, galleries, theatre, a zoo and no less than 24 museums. There are also plenty of excursions from Innsbruck to Munich, Salzburg and Bavaria’s beautiful castles.