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Northern Lights, Iceland

January

Where to travel in January

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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.

For that quintessential winter break, look no further than Scandinavia. 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. Russia’s St. Petersburg is also best seen when there’s a bite to the breeze.

But, 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 Maldives is also great option – as is Australia whose summer is in full swing. Steer towards the south for vineyards, beaches and city greats.

In Asia, Thailand and Indonesia impress 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 Myanmar’s ancient cities and colonial charm; just be sure to book well in advance.

Lastly, 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.

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