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Skating With a View at These Great Rinks

by Debra Bokur

Dec 16, 2019

Evgeniya Biriukova | Dreamstime.com

Travel Tips

Gliding across a sparkling, frozen surface is one of winter’s greatest pleasures, especially if there’s a fabulous view to drink in before you get to the hot cocoa with marshmallows part of the day. If you’re traveling this winter, consider exploring the following ice-friendly locations. No need to pack your skates — rentals are available.

 

On the lawn of City Hall in Cardiff, capital of Wales, the Admiral Ice Rink at Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland features a clear roof to protect skaters from the elements while allowing wonderful views of the starry sky. Adjacent to the ice is the brand-new Big Wheel ride, open-air Alpine Ice Trail and the Sur La Piste bar with drinks, treats and hot food. The Winter Wonderland is open until Jan. 5, 2020.

 

Europe’s largest skating rink can be found in City Park of Budapest, Hungary, near Heroes Square. In the background, the ancient towers of Vajdahunyad Castle add atmosphere, while live music plays most nights. Heated changing and refreshment areas provide a warm break.

 

No strangers to snow and ice, residents of Finland’s capital city tame the environment of Helsinki’s central Railway Square for the Ice Park Helsinki, boasting a whole calendar of seasonal events, themed parties and live music. Open until late March 2020, the rink also offers refreshments at Ice Park Café, with a menu offering warm cinnamon buns, treats, mulled wine and hot chocolate spiked with rum.

 

Ice Festival at lake Louise in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. Photo: Akshay Thaker | Dreamstime.com

 

Each year, skaters at Lake Louise in Banff are treated to a hand-carved ice castle at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. In the background, the craggy, snow-topped peaks of the Canadian Rockies and the form of Victoria Glacier are visible. Warming huts with gas fires and refreshments are located on the lake’s perimeter. Don’t fret about the possibility of bumpy lake ice: The skating surface is cleared and smoothed daily. For added beauty, the annual Ice Magic Festival (Jan. 15–26, 2020) brings artists from around the world to create remarkable ice sculptures.

 

In Vienna, Austria, the remarkable Vienna Ice World includes an illuminated ice path through City Hall Park. The enormous rink measures more than 29,000 square feet, including a Sky Rink skating ramp for more adventurous skaters. Refreshments ranging from organic punch to steaming hot tea are available, along with plenty of pre-heated rental skates and lockers for visitors.

 

For the ultimate in locations, the skating rink at Le Grand Palais des Glaces in Paris bears the distinction of being the world’s largest indoor ice rink. By day, natural light pours through the intricately paned glass ceiling. At night, the space is transformed into a spectacular light show where skaters can practice pirouettes to music. And just beyond the glass? That’s right: Paris is waiting.

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