The best places to travel every month of the year
With the whole world to choose from, it can be hard to decide where to plan your next trip.
Whether you’re heading on a beach break or a city escape, we’ve broken it down with our month-by-month guide of where to travel when.
From celebrating Holi in India to witnessing the Great Migration in Kenya, this is our round up of the best places to travel every month of the year.
Costa Rica’s dry season runs from mid-November to April, with most areas warm, dry and sunny during these months. This time of year is also great for wildlife spotting: spinner dolphins and common dolphins usually make an appearance between November and May. Humpback whales tend to hang around the central Pacific and are most likely to be spotted from December to March.
The Guanacaste Coast is particularly pleasant around this time of year. Stretches of golden sandy beaches are excellent spots for swimming, surfing and snorkeling, while the Rincón de la Vieja National Park is dotted with volcanoes that are great for hiking. With its abundance of sunny weather and natural beauty, Costa Rica is steadily gaining popularity as a January escape.
From December to March, Finnish Lapland is prime territory for snowmobiling, ice fishing and dogsledding. Whether you’re on a quest to find Father Christmas, bask in the midnight sun, hit the slopes or go in search of the Northern Lights, February is a great time to visit.
In Swedish Lapland, visitors can share stories over fika (the traditional Swedish coffee and pastry) or wander through rows of enigmatic pine trees. The village of Abisko, close to the Norwegian border, is also one of the best places in the world to view the Northern Lights. With wintery weather, wonderful wildlife and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, Lapland is a don’t miss destination.
India sees pleasant temperatures between November and March, when it is still sunny but not too humid. The world renowned Holi festival tends to fall some time in March each year, so spring is the perfect time to experience India’s vibrant culture. Holi is one of the most enjoyable festivals in India, welcoming the arrival of spring and summer and signifying the triumph of good over evil.
During the celebrations, festival goers take to the streets with coloured paint powder and water balloons, as everyone douses each other in colour and water in honour of the tradition. Music, dance and traditional sweets are also all part of the celebration, making for an incredible experience.
Gaining popularity as an alternative destination to Japan, South Korea is a diverse country full of futuristic cities, traditional villages and picturesque islands. From late March to mid-April, South Korea’s streets are brought to life with the blossoming of thousands of cherry trees.
For the best cherry blossom views, visit Seoul’s Yeouido Spring Flower Festival or Busan’s Jinhae Gunhangje Cherry Blossom Festival. On Jeju Island, Seongeup Folk Village showcases the pastel colours in an authentic and charming way. With warm weather, clear skies and beautiful springtime flowers, South Korea is one of the best places in the world to visit during April.
Irresistible cuisine, beautiful coastline and over two thousand years of history to discover: it’s no surprise that Italy is high up on every traveller’s bucket list. Italy is a year-round destination, but summers can become very hot and crowded, so the spring shoulder months are the perfect time to visit. With the sun still shining and the crowds not yet fully formed, May is one of the most pleasant months in Italy. The major cities such as Rome, Florence and Venice are the best places to visit in May – the Amalfi Coast is best saved for the summer months, when it really comes into its own.
May is also a real treat for foodies visiting this luscious country; asparagus comes into season in May and is best enjoyed al dente with a splash of oil and lemon juice. In Rome, the local delicacy of asparagus with fava beans and pecorino cheese is simply delightful. Oenophiles can rejoice too, with May being the month of ‘Cantine Aperte,’ or Open Cellars. On the last Sunday in May, Puglia’s wineries open their doors to greet visitors with tastings, guided visits, historical anecdotes and art and entertainment showcases. Walking amongst the vines, smelling the warm spring air and enjoying the local hospitality are all wonderful ways to while away May in Italy.
Peru is known across the world as the home of Machu Picchu, but it also has a wonderful melange of culture, food and traditions to discover. May to October is the best time to hike the Inca Trail and visit world wonder Machu Picchu, as there are fewer crowds and the weather is much drier. The Ausangate and Choquequirao trails also become walkable from June to September, as the weather conditions are fairly adverse outside of these months.
June, July and August are typically the busiest times at Machu Picchu, and it’s easy to understand why. From May to October, you’ll have the highest chance of clear blue skies, nights are cool and there is very little chance of rainfall. There are also a number of native Indian festivals in Cusco between these months, some of which fall in June, so travellers can experience the true heritage of this fascinating country.
Endless safari opportunities, white sandy beaches and turquoise waters running along the entire coastline – there’s not much that Kenya doesn’t offer. In this vast and varied landscape, you can experience some spectacular game. There’s nothing quite like witnessing the infamous Great Migration in all its glory. Often dubbed the ‘Greatest Show on Earth,’ the Great Migration sees thousands of wildebeest migrate across Kenya’s Masai Mara between July and October.
July is the beginning of peak season for migration crossings in Kenya and is when most river crossings take place. From July to October, herds of wildebeest, zebras and gazelles make their way from Tanzania’s Serengeti to Kenya’s Masai Mara, so this time of year is when you’ll have the most chance of seeing a river crossing. Kenya’s Masai Mara is also prime territory for the Big Five, so you’ll also be able to spot lions, buffaloes, leopards, elephants and rhinos. With July providing cooler weather during the height of Kenya’s dry season, it’s a wonderful time of year to go in search of animals congregating at waterholes and river banks.
Papua New Guinea
A largely undiscovered land, Papua New Guinea is a diverse country that is home to fascinating culture and some of the world’s most awe-inspiring landscapes. Papua New Guinea is also one of the world’s best diving destinations, with the pristine waters of the Solomon and Coral Seas teeming with marine life. With over 800 local languages and tribal traditions kept alive in villages across the country, this really is one of the most fascinating places in the world.
The months between May and October are the drier and more pleasant months to visit, so August is the perfect month to journey to this hidden corner of the globe. Coinciding with festivals and celebrations, August is also a great time to visit for travellers who want to get involved in the local revelry. In August, the Enga Cultural Show is a must-visit celebration. Here, the highlight is the Sili Mili Mud Dancers, whose black-painted faces and human hair wigs are truly astonishing. Visit during the summer months, and you’ll find a wealth of things to discover in this mesmerising island nation.
Ireland’s high season is July and August, so although the weather is at its warmest during these months, the crowds can become overbearing. September and October rival spring as the best time to visit, as the weather is still pleasant but the crowds tend to disperse during this time of year. Autumn is also a particularly picturesque time of year to visit Ireland, with post summer sunsets painting the sky orange and affording breathtaking views in every part of the country.
In September, city streets experience a peaceful lull and the winding country lanes are as quaint as ever. This is the perfect time of year to explore one of Ireland’s scenic trails, such as the Ring of Kerry or the Causeway Coast. At the turn of the summer season, the country comes to life with bright autumnal leaves, so it’s also one of the most beautiful times of year in Ireland. With September bringing the start of oyster season, it’s the perfect time for foodies to delight in the local delicacy of oysters paired with Guinness by the waterfront in Galway or Cork.
A vibrant melange of colourful medinas, breathtaking mountains and expansive desert, it’s no surprise that intoxicating Morocco is high on many travellers’ bucket lists. As summer temperatures are extremely hot, the best time to visit beautiful Morocco is during autumn. In October, the climate is warm and sunny so it’s a great time to explore cities, climb mountains or sleep out in the desert. October is also a good time of year to wander the souks of Marrakech, as the heat of summer has subsided.
The mountains and desert really come into their own in October, so it’s a wonderful time of year for nature enthusiasts to make the pilgrimage here. Mild weather makes it the best time of year to hike the Atlas Mountains, and cooler temperatures make the Moroccan Sahara a comfortable place to be. October to April is the best time to truly enjoy sleeping out under the stars, as temperatures are too cold in winter and the sun too intense in summer.
Hidden gem Bhutan lies in the Eastern Himalayas, nestled between India and Tibet. The sole surviving Himalayan Buddhist Kingdom, this incredible country is a land filled with festivals and folklore. The climate dry and sunny between October and May, and the country comes to life in November with an array of colourful festivals. Bhutan’s most rural and historic region Bumthang is home to quaint farming villages, an intricate dzong (fortress) and two national parks and does a great job of playing host to the annual Jambay Lhakhang Festival.
Every year, in mid-November, this celebration is brought to life at the aptly named Jambay Lhakhang temple. Built in 7th century AD by a Tibetan king named Songtsen Gampo, this is one of the oldest temples in the kingdom. Today, the Jambay Lhakhang festival is one of the most renowned celebrations in Bhutan, paying homage to Guru Rinpoche – the saint who brought Buddhism to Bhutan. This five day festival involves unique masked dances, rich pageantry and a captivating fire ritual. There’s nothing quite like experiencing the magic of Bhutan, and November is the best time of the year to do so. Temperatures can dip below freezing if you visit towards the end of November though, so be sure to pack a couple of extra layers just in case.
When you’re thinking about where to travel in December, your first inclination may be to head to one of Europe’s sparkling Christmas markets. While there’s no denying that Christmas in Europe is magical, lesser explored Colombia has a whole Christmas themed world of its own waiting to be discovered. During December, the UNESCO World Heritage city of Cartagena is illuminated by light, with nativity scenes, decorations and holiday celebrations all culminating in a spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks display.
The streets are lined with Christmas markets in December, so keen shoppers can pick up a handful of colourful handicrafts to take home as souvenirs. The city itself is one of South America’s best kept secrets, with rainbow coloured houses found scattered along cobbled streets. Cartagena is a city made for exploring, and with December offering a dry climate and cooler temperatures, there’s no better time to explore it. Wind your way through the historic centre, refuel your energy with fresh juicy fruit and coconut candies, or take in the skyline from one of the city’s many rooftops. Whatever you choose to do while you’re there, Colombia is an incredible place to explore in December.
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