Where To Go & When
Deep into January, at roughly half-way into winter, is a time when a lot of people romanticise about holidays.
Quite often there is no definitive time to go somewhere – many want to avoid Europe’s sultry sweltering beaches in August, while for others it’s the only time of year to go, when party season is in full swing and the beach bars are at their busiest.
So here are 12 months holiday destinations for each month of the year – whether that’s for out-of-season sunshine, a brilliant city break or for somewhere completely different, at its most beautiful.
Not the best month for city breaks in Europe so why not avoid the overcrowded slopes by taking your ski break in the Swiss Alps in January. Alternatively accommodate the weather and go on a cultural break during the low-season – Florence, for example, is cold and rainy at this time of year, but is a great time to have its stunning museums almost to yourself.
For guaranteed warmth you’re in for a longer trip: Chile and Peru, Laos and Vietnam are all good at this time, as are the Maldives, Zanzibar, South and East Africa. Or for something a bit different, Mali on the edge of the Sahara. March Stock up on some early summer warmth. For a beach holiday, the Cayman Islands and Turks & Caicos are ideal, with long stretches of white sand and turquoise seas. If you’re looking for a luxury break – the desert outside Abu Dhabi is just the right temperature and should you want to explore further afield consider the cultural heritage sites and beaches of Sri Lanka or Hua Hin (Thailand) and enjoy dry, sunny days. For a busy city break this is a great time for Mumbai – relatively dry and cool at this time – brash, chaotic, and completely unique. Closer to home, Venice is gloriously romantic.
Find your inner karma around the world – for yoga, sightseeing or simply getting a winter tan try Goa, Kerala or Sri Lanka. For city visits, take in Miami offering some South Beach cool, or maybe Mexico City which needs February’s cooler temperatures. Beach lovers should head to Australia the West Indies or perhaps even to Venezuela. If you’re not desperate for some sun by now the skiing is good in Banff (Canada) and Jackson Hole (USA) amongst others.
Stock up on some early summer warmth. For a beach holiday, the Cayman Islands and Turks & Caicos are ideal, with long stretches of white sand and turquoise seas. If you’re looking for a luxury break – the desert outside Abu Dhabi is just the right temperature and should you want to explore further afield consider the cultural heritage sites and beaches of Sri Lanka or Hua Hin (Thailand) and enjoy dry, sunny days. For a busy city break this is a great time for Mumbai – relatively dry and cool at this time – brash, chaotic, and completely unique. Closer to home, Venice is gloriously romantic.
Southern Europe is starting to warm up: beat the summer crowds in the Mediterranean at this time and Mallorca, Sicily and the Turkish coast are all fantastic. For city breaks, Paris is unbeatable in April, while in Beirut you can ski in the morning and sunbathe in the afternoon.
Further afield, the climate is just right for a road trip in South Africa’s glamorous Plettenberg Bay – or through California. If you’re looking for a beach break, St Lucia’s Caribbean waters and white sands will be perfect.
Tuscany’s hill towns and countryside are lovely at this time and Crete is a delight without the crowds. In Portugal, the Algarve weather is perfect and you’ll have it almost to yourself to explore the beautiful coastline and Moorish villages. For a romantic city break Istanbul is ideal, with its glittering mosques, smart hotels and beautiful vistas.
A little further afield, the Atlantic winds have eased and Cape Verde (a mini-Galápagos) is excellent. Closer to home it’s getting warm enough to enjoy the Scottish Highlands before the midges arrive. For the holiday of a lifetime, French Polynesia in the South Pacific won’t disappoint: the air is fresh, the flowers are beautiful and temperatures range from 21-31°C just now.
Head north for long, warm days and midnight sun – Stockholm and St Petersburg are particularly beautiful right now. Explore Cork and the southern Irish Coast in the driest month of the year there, or if it’s time for a romantic city break head for Prague, with its skyline of gothic spires and narrow cobbled streets and bohemian lifestyle.
Looking for sunshine destinations, head south and try Croatia, Italy’s Amalfi Coast or Cyprus or further afield Malaysia’s palm-fringed beaches are also a great option. Explorers would love Ningaloo in Western Australia – one of the most remote, pristine and least visited of all Australia’s coral reefs – or for the trip of a lifetime, now is a great time to head to Peru and Machu Picchu.
While you won’t get a tan in Iceland the long summer days and bright nights make Reykjavik a great destination just now. Or consider Puglia (Italy) on the Adriatic or Corsica in the Mediterranean for excellent hotels, Michelin-star restaurants and great watersports.
Outside Europe, Bali is a picture-perfect tropical island with a spiritual culture; the Seychelles offers outstanding accommodation coupled with perfect beaches and abundant wildlife. Explorers should look at Vancouver Island (Canada) – rugged and wild, offering whale-watching and waterborne – or Kenya’s awe-inspiring wildebeest migration first-hand during July and August.
Holiday season and it seems as if the whole of France is on the Côte d’Azur – join them on its beaches and at chic restaurants for a very glamorous holiday or try the East coast for sand and surf. Sardinia offers a dazzlingly beautiful holiday destination or in Ibiza explore the restored farmhouses, unspoilt sandy beaches and remote rocky coves.
Further afield, explore Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula with the Mayan Riviera – home to some of the most impressive archaeological sites in the world, as well as world-class snorkelling and scuba diving, beautiful white beaches and tropical jungle. And you can’t go wrong in Kerala, the Indian state known as “God’s Own Country”.
In Beijing the city’s temperature is just right for a visit to take in all its sights. In Argentina, Buenos Aires is warming up, while closer to home Barcelona is a very popular city destination. In the eastern Mediterranean the sun is still shining, the sea is still warm and the UNESCO Heritage Sites and beautiful beaches in Malta make it an ideal late-summer sun destination.
Set your sights on the Maldives – a tropical paradise just perfect for snorkelling and divers. You can get some excellent off-season deals after the end of the monsoon season. Adventurers should look to book a ticket to Zambia where you can go on a river safari along the Zambezi.
In southern Europe the sun is still shining – the weather in Turkey and Cyprus is just perfect right now! The sea has had all summer to warm up and the cities are less sweltering. India is just starting its tourist season. If you’re not hankering for the last of the sun, Boston and New England is a perfect spot to see nature in all its autumn colours.
The perfect time for a city break to New York City or New Orleans – fantastic in the run-up to Christmas. Or how about Cape Town’s chic hotels, vineyards, surfing beaches and pristine coastline, long haul with no jet-lag – a wonderful option; while Hong Kong offers a mix of British colonial history with a rich Chinese culture and a great destination for pre-Christmas shopping.
For a longer trip head off for New Zealand, with the city sophistication of Auckland and the natural wonders of North and South Islands. Vietnam is sunny and warm, and the white beaches are less busy than neighbouring Thailand’s just now. Oman’s glorious mountains, spectacular deserts and thousand odd miles of seaside are also perfect right now. Plus, the ski season is just beginning in Aspen, Colorado…
Want a sunshine break over the Christmas holidays? Baja California, off Mexico’s Pacific Coast, has stunning beaches and luxury resorts, with remarkable sealife. Belize is also perfect with its coral reefs, varied wildlife, Mayan history and the low-key but smart resorts. Relatively low humidity levels in Cambodia (for Siem Reap and Angkor Wat) make it a good destination for this month, while nearby Laos and the historic mountain kingdom of Luang Prabang is also excellent right now.
Hot city destinations include Melbourne and Miami, but don’t forget about the European Christmas Markets – Berlin is freezing but beautiful with a traditional market. But if it’s a skiing holiday you want, visit the French Alps later in the month: Courchevel 1850 is still its glitziest resort but there’s plenty of choice.
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