Whether you’re looking for some winter fun or a dose of much-needed sun, January offers the chance to begin the year in style. From Northern Lights breaks in Scandinavia to luxury beach breaks and safaris, our specialists have picked out their top itineraries for that perfect post-Christmas break.
Scandinavia and the Nordics
For that quintessential winter break, look no further than Scandinavia and the Nordics. Here, Swedish and Finnish Lapland host dogsled rides and snowmobile safaris all under the Northern Lights; look to Tromso for some of the best viewing of this spectacular natural phenomenon. Alternatively, look to Iceland or the remote Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard for some authentic cold-weather adventure.
Head for the beach
For a dose of winter sun, head to the Caribbean for some white-sands relaxation. Or, make the most of Costa Rica’s dry season, when the reduced humidity makes exploring jungles and cloud forests ideal – best combined with the country’s gorgeous beaches. Rains now a distant memory, the beach-fringed islands of the Maldives are also a great option, while closer to home, Tenerife and Madeira are both great choices.
Adventures in the Far East
Over in Asia, Thailand impresses with excellent weather, while Chinese New Year – celebrated between January 21st and February 20th – is best taken in with the festivities held in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. The latter is especially enticing for its cool, dry outlook. Similar jubilation can be found with Vietnam’s colourful Tet Festival – generally held on the same day. Expect dragon dances, feasts and those all-important fireworks. It’s also a fantastic time to take in Cambodia's temple icons, the beaches of Malaysia and Myanmar’s ancient cities and colonial charm.
In Africa, Tanzania is a good option. Equatorially warm and dry without being uncomfortably close, January is perfect for safaris and ascents of Kilimanjaro. But, it’s perhaps the country’s wildebeest calving season that’s most impressive, when these majestic beasts migrate back to the grasslands of the Serengeti in astonishing numbers. For a spectacular wildlife alternative, head to Ecuador's Galápagos Islands for an island-hopping adventure, swimming with seals, rays and sharks, and spotting rare species from marine iguanas to Darwin's finches.
Off the beaten track in Patagonia
While it's the height of summer in South America, it's also the wettest for many Andean countries. However, January is superb time to visit the southern region of Patagonia, which straddles Argentina and Chile. Head off the beaten track to explore endless hiking trails, or head to one of the big-hitting national parks – Torres del Paine and Fitz Roy are two of our favourites.