6 Best Places to Travel in January
Published on: August 16th, 2017
Last modified: November 2nd, 2023
Taking a trip in January is one of the best ways to look forward to the year ahead, hopefully one full of incredible travel adventures. Coincidentally, January is also one of the best times of year to enjoy some of our favourite spots across the world.
We’ve asked our expert travel designers to share their top January travel destinations, from the lush rainforests of Colombia and the incredible wildlife of Tanzania to the serene snowscapes of Iceland and Antarctica. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, family fun, cultural immersion or simply sunny skies, here are the best places to go in January.
All across the captivating country of India, January brings cooler temperatures and clear skies. This is the perfect time of year to visit Rajasthan, which boasts not only bustling cities like Udaipur and Jodhpur, but also a rural landscape of majestic mountains and desert dunes. Outside the cities explore the Thar Desert, discover ancient temples and go on exciting expeditions to spot leopards and tigers.
Our travel designer Leanne has travelled extensively throughout the country. She recommends staying at JAWAI, a secluded safari camp in Rajasthan, or at Sher Bagh, which stands out for its nostalgic luxury and conservation efforts in Ranthambore.
Need to know: Visit Jaipur on 14th January for the annual Kite Festival, which inundates the Pink City’s skies with colour.
January is the middle of summer in the Southern Hemisphere, which makes it one of the best times to visit Antarctica. The conditions are optimum for enjoying this one-of-a-kind environment on a Cape Horn cruise or doing a fly-in cruise from Chile. While in Antarctica you can try camping out on the ice, kayaking or, for the brave, an ice swim.
Wildlife expert and travel designer Lily has visited this polar paradise more than once, and highly recommends a luxury Antarctica cruise. Book a cabin on the Sylvia Earle or Greg Mortimer, both purpose-built vessels that combine comfort with state-of-the-art navigation.
Need to know: January is when the White Continent has the longest days, less wind and relatively warm temperatures – around 1ºC (34ºF). It’s also the prime time for spotting adorable penguin chicks and seal pups.
Spain has long been a favourite choice for summer holidays, but it’s arguably even more charming in the winter. Although the country’s beach resorts will be closed for the season, the southern region of Andalusia is particularly pleasant in January, with iconic cities like Córdoba, Granada and Seville offering mild weather and fewer crowds.
The grand Hotel Alfonso XIII is among our favourite properties in Seville’s historic centre, with emblematic architecture and a Michelin-starred tapas bar. The superbly elegant Mercer Sevilla is also a top choice, with a decidedly more minimalist feel and only a dozen rooms.
Need to know: January is one of the best times to visit Spain if you’re primarily interested in culture and sightseeing. Here the holiday season also spills over into early January, with Three Kings Day celebrated on the 6th.
Colombia is relatively warm all year round, but January falls right in the middle of its dry season. This month brings fantastic weather for enjoying the country’s gorgeous beaches, incredible mountains, buzzing cities and charming small towns.
The coastal city of Cartagena is among the best places to travel in January, along with Barichara. Here, stay at Casa Barichara and take advantage of the lovely weather to enjoy some thrilling outdoor adventures nearby. Or settle into the cosy Casa Oropéndola, nestled high in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta with amazing views of the sea.
Need to know: Our favourite museums are the Museuo do Oro (Gold Museum) and Botero Museum in Bogota
If you’re wondering where to travel in January, Iceland might not have crossed your mind. But in the colder months this country turns into a real winter wonderland, complete with pristine snow, magnificent ice caves and natural hot springs where you can warm up and wind down.
Our travel designers can’t get enough of Deplar Farm, where traditional Icelandic style merges with modern luxury in a delightfully remote location. Then there’s the unparalleled wellness experience of The Retreat at Blue Lagoon, with its legendary geothermal spa. Pack your warmest clothes and prepare for a truly magical experience in the Land of Fire and Ice.
Need to Know: January brings clear skies and long nights with as little as three hours of daylight. It’s also one of the best times to see the northern lights in Iceland.
Tanzania is world-famous for the breathtaking drama of the Great Migration – but January offers its own stunning spectacle. This is calving season in the southern Serengeti, which means you’ll get to see newborn wildebeest before the herds begin their annual journey. Although it’s part of the wet season, this is still a great time to visit Tanzania for wildlife viewing.
Our travel designer Jamey is one of our Tanzania experts, and can confirm that it’s well worth the trip. If you’re still deciding where to travel in January, consider heading to Mwiba Lodge or the mobile Wilderness Usawa Camp to start your year with an unforgettable adventure.
Need to know: January promises excellent birdwatching across the country, including flamingos at Lake Manyara.
Where to Stay
Deplar FarmIn a remote valley in the middle of the Troll Peninsula, Deplar Farm is perhaps the most unique place to stay in Iceland. Once a working sheep farm, this sprawling property with its grass roof may look traditionally Icelandic on first glimpse, but its luxurious transformation into an opulent lodge soon becomes apparent. There are 13 en suite rooms that accommodate up to 28 guests, including cosy family options. The rest of the farm is home to a fabulous indoor-outdoor salt water pool and bar, a sauna, gym, dining area, spa, lounge area and more. How you experience this incredible landscape depends on the time of year you visit. During the winter, opt for the heli-ski package to fly up onto the surrounding peaks then slalom down virgin runs to the ocean accompanied by expert guides. You can also go cat skiing, hot spring hopping, snowmobiling, whale watching and even surfing (for the brave). End the day back at the lodge, under the glow of the Northern Lights with a little luck. Long summer days bring fabulous fly fishing on exclusive beats and the chance to join a local captain at sea, returning to Deplar to eat your catch. Hiking guides can lead you on trails along endless valleys and dramatic cliffs dotted with waterfalls or perhaps kayak down dramatic rivers and out at sea. Other activities include horse riding, mountain biking and day trips out to nearby islands.
Sylvia EarleThe Sylvia Earle honours highly accomplished marine biologist, oceanographer and explorer Dr Sylvia Earle. As the first female chief scientist of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the vessel pays tribute to Dr Earle’s long-standing conservation efforts for marine protected areas and ocean wildlife.
Hotel Alfonso XIIISteeped in history, the Hotel Alfonso XIII was constructed by order of the King as luxury lodging for the international VIPs attending the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition. This grand structure quickly became an emblem of the city centre and has been continuously used as a hotel until the present day, although Franco’s regime necessitated a name change to the Andalusian Palace while under his rule. To this day, you’ll find that it is the city centre’s only true, luxury property. Typically Andalusian in style, the hotel expresses the region’s mixed Moorish and Castilian founding influences with authentic and detailed features. Each of its 151 bedrooms including its 19 suites are unique in design, falling into three style categories: Andalusian, Moorish, and Castilian. Alongside its exalted, majestic architecture, Hotel Alfonso XIII is also notable for its large pool, which sits amidst lush gardens. This makes it a rare urban sanctuary and one of the only locations where being in Seville during the heat of high summer will be thoroughly enjoyable. By the pool you’ll find an al fresco restaurant that turns itself into a twinkling vision after dark and serves Spanish and international delicacies. You can also eat in the sumptuously-tiled gallery surrounding an arched interior courtyard where you can take your breakfast and coffee. If you fancy something truly epicurean, the atmospheric Ena tapas bar is manned by Michelin-starred chef Carles Abellán of Barcelona. Afterwards, discuss the highlights of your meal to the accompaniment of live piano music at Bar Americano. In terms of location, you’ll find that you really couldn’t be better placed to discover Seville. Hotel Alfonso XIII sits right on the edge of the old – pedestrianised – quarter, meaning that you can benefit from arriving to the hotel by car and walking five minutes to outstanding historic sites such as the Cathedral de Seville, the Alcazar, Puente de S. Telmo, and Plaza de Espana.
Casa OropéndolaSitting 1,500 metres above sea level between dense rainforest and coffee fields and with views across the Caribbean, this is the perfect place to switch off and reconnect with nature. The lodge has been built in harmony with its natural surroundings and there is a strong focus on protecting the environment and preserving the local culture. The decor is inspired by its location with timber-clad walls, natural colours and wicker furniture. There are just four rooms which are simple but comfortable, all featuring a hammock positioned by the window so you can make the most of the extraordinary views. There is a large living room with a fireplace leading out onto the decking where you can gaze out across the forest and over the ocean. The dining area features floor-to-ceiling windows and here you will enjoy delicious Colombian cuisine made using local organic produce such as coffee, cacoa and honey as well as herbs, fruits and vegetables picked from the garden. Guests staying at Casa Oropéndola will receive three meals a day as well as snacks, local fruit, fresh juices, coffee and tea and picnic lunches for when you are out on excursions. The surrounding cloud forest results in an incredible variety of flora and fauna and there are countless walking trails right on your doorstep. There is plenty to do at the lodge including cooking classes and yoga, but there is also a lot to be said for simply sitting back and taking in this very special environment.