New year, new travel plans: the 10 best places to visit in January

New year, new travel plans: Want to travel straight away in 2024? We suggest all of the best places to visit in January. Let’s check out the 10 best places to visit in January.

The 10 best places to visit in January

1. Tulum, Mexico

New year, new travel plans: the 10 best places to visit in January

Tulum is one of the best places to visit in January to reset. Unwind at one of the city’s yoga and wellness retreats or visit one of the beautiful beaches such as Playa Paraiso or the Kaan Luum Lagoon.

For something more cultural, visit the well-preserved Mayan ruins to explore the rich history of the area’s ancient civilization. Afterwards, try the local cuisine of Tulum with dishes like Tacos al Pastor and Yucatan Antojitos.

Head around 45 minutes north of Tulum to the Punta Laguna Reserve, where you can go on a guided tour of a Spid Monkey Reserve. If you’re not up for jungle exploration, try a boat trip for some dolphin and whale watching. Or, why not enjoy the sunset over the Yucatan Penisula?

If you’re looking for one of the best places to visit in January for warmer weather, fascinating local culture, and plenty to do, Tulum has you covered.

2. Los Angeles, USA

Visiting Los Angeles in winter, when temperatures are averaging 20°C, is a no-brainer. If you don’t fancy living it up in Beverly Hills or dining at the iconic Spagau on the Sunset Strip, you can always idle your days away on the beaches of Venice, Malibu or Santa Monica.

January is also a great time to head out on one of the city’s hiking trails. The Charlie Turner Trail in Griffith Park is a great hike that provides scenic views of the city and a glimpse of the Hollywood Sign. The less adventurous might fancy star gazing at the Griffith Observatory. Or how about a trip around the iconic lot at Warner Bros studios to relive the history of Tinseltown?

3. Phuket, Thailand

One of the oldest cities in Thailand, Phuket has a lively city centre and stunning views of the surrounding islands and sea. In January, Phuket is warm and dry with temperatures averaging around 27°C, so expect plenty of sunshine.

With such fantastic weather, outdoor adventures are a must. Hike up to Kata Viewpoint for incredible views of the Andaman Sea or spend the day wandering around Phuket’s Old Town.

The city also has some excellent markets, including the massive Naka Market and Chillva Market, which are both open in the evenings. Try the local fish dish Gaang sôm blah, for a taste of what’s caught locally or O-Tao, a traditional fried seafood dish that usually contains oysters and has been enjoyed by locals for thousands of years.

Visiting Phuket is a great way to start your year off. Feel the heat, explore a vibrant and fascinating city, and embrace the stunning local beaches and nature across the island.

4. Malé, The Maldives

Get away from the cold and head out to the sunny islands of the Maldives, where temperatures average around 27ºC. In general, The Maldives and Malé are all about relaxation. Try a new activity such as snorkelling, jet skiing or a cooking class. Not your thing? Simply sit back and enjoy the views of the incredible waters.

But you don’t have to spend all your time in Malé at the beach or in the water. Visit local markets in the morning or spend the day island hopping. For a taste of the city’s history, visit the Old Friday Mosque (also known as Hukuru Miskiy) which dates back to 1658 or the National Museum which has artefacts dating back to the 12th century.

Visiting Malé is a great option for those looking for the best countries in January for warmer weather. The Maldives might certainly have a reputation as a luxury destination but going in January is a smart strategy. You’ll avoid the busiest parts of the tourist season, maybe get a great deal and enjoy excellent weather.

5. Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania

Searching for the best holidays in January for animal lovers? In the first few months of the year, thousands of wildebeest gather in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area of Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. January is calving season, so you can expect to see young wildebeest taking their first steps into the world.

January is also an excellent time of year for bird watching in Ngorongoro and you might also spot gazelles, zebras and more on your safari trip. The days are warm, averaging around 28°C, and you’ll usually get about 10 hours of daylight. If you aren’t as keen to get up close and personal with the local wildlife, take the time to explore the area’s natural features. The Ngorongoro crater is the largest and one of the oldest volcanic formations in Africa and is abundant in incredible geological features.

Then for something different, visit the nearby city of Arusha. Africa is easily one of the best places to visit in January for any adventure but a trip to Ngorongoro offers so much in terms of exploration.

6. Hill Country, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s Hill Country is one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the world. The rolling hills and mountains are a spectacular sight, best enjoyed either by hiking or on the iconic railway that snakes its way through the heights of Hill Country.

Colombo is the capital city of Sri Lanka and an ideal start or ending point for a trip around the country. January temperatures average around 27°C and offer ideal conditions for hiking. When you hop off the train, you can immerse yourself in Sri Lankan culture at the temples, museums, and giant Buddhas that can be found throughout Hill Country. Hike up Little Adam’s peak on the way from Nuwara Eliya to Ella.

You can zig-zag your way through Hill Country by train or on foot visiting many incredible sites, such as Uduwale National Park (and it’s a beautiful herd of elephants). There’s also Buduruwagala or you could leave the heights of Hill Country and head for the coastline. Top tip: relaxing on Mount Lavina Beach is a great way to end your trip.

In terms of food, dishes like Kiribath, Lamprais, and Kottu should all be on your list. With its incredible mix of stunning landscapes, culture and of course, agreeable weather, Sri Lanka‘s Hill Country is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in January.

7. Val d’Isere, France

If you’re looking for snow, It’s hard to beat France and its magnificent alpine resorts like Val d’Isère. As one of the highest ski resorts in France (the village is between 1600 and 1800m), snow is almost guaranteed. As part of the Espace Killy, which connects with the neighbouring resort of Tignes, it’s consistently ranked as one of the best ski areas in the world.

Of course, this also makes it one of the most popular and more expensive ski areas to visit. January though is a much quieter month, so you can expect cheaper flights and accommodation. Don’t expect total quiet though. After a day of skiing, you can party at iconic Apres Ski venues like La Folie Douce and Cocorico or famous nightclubs like Dick’s Tea Bar and Doudoune Club.

To get there, take a transfer from Geneva or Lyon or you can try a direct flight from London to Chambery Airport. (The only catch is flights are only able to land if the weather is favourable.)

Additionally, the town of Bourg-Saint-Maurice at the bottom of the mountain has a Eurostar terminal for direct trains from London on the weekend. It also has fast connections to Paris on the TGV, making travel by rail a great option for those who are trying to reduce their air miles in 2024.

8. Kiruna, Sweden

If you’re looking for a picture-perfect winter wonderland, look no further than Kiruna, in the north of Sweden. It’s easily one of the best places to visit in January in Sweden thanks to the Kiruna Snow Festival.

You’ll find a host of fun activities, from ice skating and sleigh rides to folk parties and singalongs. The festival’s highlights are its unique events like the International Snow Sculpture Competition and the Snow Blower World Championships (just as fun as it sounds). January is also a fantastic time to experience the Northern Lights.

Whilst Kiruna does have an airport, you shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to reach this Arctic destination by train. If you time it right, you can see both sunrise and sunset over the stunning snowy landscape of Sweden as you journey through the northernmost part of the country in its most scenic season.

9. Lake Bled, Slovenia

If you’re looking for another spot for some winter fun in Europe, say hello to Slovenia. Sandwiched between Italy and Croatia, this country boasts some truly breathtaking scenery, including the magical Lake Bled.

While many choose to visit in the summer, Lake Bled is actually one of the best places to visit in January for an affordable ski holiday. It’s surrounded by the magnificent Julian Alps and is within easy driving distance of several major Slovenian ski resorts, including Vogel and Kranjska Gora.

Prefer a calmer activity? Stick to staying on the shores of Lake Bled itself. It’s a real-life winter wonderland by January, with photogenic scenery everywhere you look. As it’s outside of the peak tourist season, you can look forward to walking around the lake and the charming town of Bled in peace.

10. Montreal, Canada

Montreal looks like something out of a fairy tale in winter, with pristine snow-capped houses from its colonial past and the frosted trees of the beautiful Mount Royal Park. The city is an incredible winter destination with a fascinating history, all of which you can enjoy whilst strolling through the beautiful snow-lined streets. Mount Royal is the best place in Montreal for fun winter activities. Think ice skating on Beaver Lake or snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

The average temperature ranges from -4°C to -12°C during January. If you can’t stick it out above ground, then head down to the Underground City for some light shopping in this impressive shopping centre. Be sure to also check out the Notre Dame of Montreal, a strikingly faithful replica of the one in Paris, as well as the more contemporary Biosphere.

Visiting Montreal in winter is a fantastic option for anyone looking to combine an incredible city break with a few winter sports.

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