14 Best Places to Visit in January (IN THE WORLD)

So it’s a brand new year, and you are looking for the best places to visit in January. We got you covered! Whether you are seeking warm or cold, skiing in the Alps, or soaking up the beaches in Asia, we are delving into our favorite places to travel to during January.

Being a winter snow bunny and a powder chaser, January is one of my favorite times of the year to explore winter destinations. I’m there if it involves hot chocolate, mulled wine, and lots of white fluffy snow.

That being said, January is also a great time to travel if you seek fewer crowds and cheaper prices. Families with children are back in school, and summer is nowhere near, meaning fewer people travel. Here are some of the best places to head for a January vacation.


The Best Places to Visit in January


Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy

Dolomites

This is the jewel of the ski and winter scene in the Trentino region. It’s a well-known resort famous for hosting many Italians looking for solid skiing, dining, and relaxation in a very posh environment. It still holds on to its claim to fame as the summer vacation spot of Austrian Royalty and Princess Sissi. The town is a beautiful little gem set at the base of the Dolomites and has all the charm of a mountain town.

The town is nearly car-free, and it’s easy to take an evening stroll after a day on the slopes. We spent our evenings window shopping while checking out the 19th-century architecture with a cappuccino in hand. Charming wooden homes line the streets at the foot of the Dolomites. It is easy to see why the resort town is well cherished in Northern Italy and a great spot to travel to in the winter season.


Grindelwald, Switzerland

Travel Switzerland

The little mountain village provides perfect access to two ski areas and numerous hiking trails. High above Grindelwald lies the Bernese Alps and a famous mountain face. That mountain is Eiger’s notorious North Face – yup, the clothing company you have probably heard of is named after a mountain in Switzerland.

Wengen - Jungfrau

The village has a long main road and plenty of accommodation options to handle many tourists who journey up the valley from Interlaken. The village lacks the charm that the surrounding villages have, such as Gimmelwald, Murren, or Wengen, but it does provide amazing access to the mountains – great for skiers and those after a solid European winter holiday.


Northern Idaho

Silver Mountain Idaho

If you’re into skiing or snowboarding and after good winter vacation, I suggest heading to the potato state instead of Colorado like the rest of the Southern United States. Idaho has some fantastic ski resorts, many relatively quiet and unheard of.

The powder? Oh, it’s sublime and sticks around for quite a while during January. We were snowboarding in Idaho well into April, so there’s no doubt there will be snow. Head to Sandpoint for the cutest mountain town by the frozen lake.


The Maldives

Maldives
Kurumba Maldives

One of the best places to visit in January is not a place at all but a group of islands and atolls. The Maldives is not a spot in the world to be missed. Who wouldn’t want to escape dreary winter weather and exchange it for a tropical paradise?

The Maldives are not at their hottest in January. January is frequently the coolest month of the year across the islands – but we’d say it’s still pretty damn hot.

Overwater Maldives

In the middle of the dry season, there’s not much rain to worry about. It’s also not that humid. It’s sunny too, with nine hours of sunshine a day – any clouds that might be in the sky get blown away by winds from the northeast.

Average daytime temperatures are 30°C, the sea temperature is a balmy 28°C, and it’s pretty dry… So, all in all, January is a good time to visit the Maldives.


Sri Lanka

Tuk Tuks in Sri Lanka

January in Sri Lanka is typical – 27°C in the capital, Colombo, which is hot. The average temperature across the island is 31°C, and the sea has a temperature of 28°C.

sri lanka

The whole country is basking in the sunshine, with high humidity, though we’d say it’s a good time to visit Sri Lanka. Head inland to Kandy for cooler temperatures; nearby Nuwara Eliya is 20°C, for example. It’s an area that sees a little rain, too, even though the country is not yet in monsoon season (that’s later, from April to June).


Morocco

What to wear in Morocco

Thanks to Morocco being mainly desert, January is never what you’d consider properly cold. Okay, so the nighttime temperatures might drop to about 8 °C in some places (like the Sahara), but it’s nothing like many other northern hemisphere countries.

Morocco Travel Tips

The average daytime temperature for Marrakech, for example, is 19°C. There’s also plenty of sunshine and little rainfall, meaning you’ll have great weather that isn’t too sweltering; perfect for exploring some of the city’s top sights. It’s a good time of year if you don’t like the heat or crowds.

The rest of the country features a nice breeze from the Atlantic ocean, so you feel nice and cool even in the sun. That said, the sun feels nice and warm on the Mediterranean coast.


Innsbruck, Austria

Things to do in Innsbruck

There aren’t many cities in Europe quite like Innsbruck. It’s coined the title “Capital of Alps,” and easy to understand why once you set foot in the city. The impressive Nordkette Mountain Range towers over the city, and nature never feels far away.

things to do in innsbruck

It’s the only city where you can ski, explore a grand palace, window shop, and savor a strudel in one day. Making it the perfect place to visit in January. There are plenty of things to do in Innsbruck with the Austrian Alps and a city rich in history.

In many ways, everything we love about Austria is packed into a modern and historical city. We love that you can be in a beautiful medieval old town and then in the heart of the Alps within minutes with cowbells ringing and fresh Alpine air.


Hokkaido, Japan

Furano Ski Resort

Hokkaido is Japan’s northern island. The large island receives polar temperatures that blow over from nearby Siberia. You will not be working on your sun tan here, but it does make for sublime ski conditions.

The island is renowned for its legendary dry snow or powder, making it one of the best regions for snowboarding and skiing. If you are after the island’s famous powder for skiing, the best time to visit Hokkaido is December to March.

Snowfall is abundant away from the island’s coast and blankets much of the countryside and mountains. Many ski resorts in the region set the records for the most snow in a season, despite a shorter season than their North American and European counterparts.

Places like Furano, and local resorts around Sapporo, open their doors to skiers and snowboarders. January is high season at some resorts, but you likely won’t be too bothered unless you’re at Niseko.

Ski conditions are superb, and the region is culturally fascinating, with an abundance of delicious Japanese food. A typical day here involves powder, a bowl of hot ramen, and soaking in one of the many volcanic onsens.


Cape Town, South Africa

things to do in cape town 2020

If there is one city in the world I am dying to return to, it’s Cape Town. It’s a city too beautiful for its own good. Where one can get easily lost in the depths of nature and still have dinner at any sushi, tapas, or bistro, they want at night. There are so many things to do in Cape Town it’s hard to optimize your time there unless you have a full year. We spent two months there and felt we barely scratched the surface of what the city has to offer.

eating in cape town

We like to think we hit many tourist hot spots and were still able to delve a little deeper into the city. Cape Town will enchant you with activities like climbing the iconic table mountain to sipping some delicious Pinotage while overlooking the tip of Africa.

January in South Africa means Summer. Cape Town has barely any rain, blue skies, sunshine, and rising temperatures; the daytime average is 20°C. It’s a good time of year to hit the beach; the Atlantic Ocean is about 19°C is a comfortable temperature, so no surfers need to put on their wetsuit quite yet.


Banff National Park, Canada

Things to do in Banff in the winter

Banff National Park is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the world. Have you logged onto Instagram lately? In case you missed it, Banff, Alberta, has been the hot place to go for the past few years. Imagine vast mountains, beautiful blue lakes, and a charming Canadian small town if it sounds like the perfect place to spend Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring. That’s because it is!

Banff is also surrounded by Mt. Norquay, Banff /Lake Louise, and Banff Sunshine to form SkiBig3. This area becomes a skier or snowboarder’s version of heaven in the winter. We spent a few weeks here mountain hopping around the Rockies in 2018 and have since moved to Canmore and call it home. It is easily one of the most beautiful towns to visit in the winter.

Things to do in Banff in the winter

However, keep in mind that it is COLD. The average temperature is about -10°C. It’s frigid. Expect snow, fog, and a few sunny days. However, if you like cold weather activities and skiing and snowboarding, it’s now full swing in January. It will be pretty quiet if you head out on a weekday too!


Kenya

Safari Clothing in Masai Mara National Reserve

When we decided to travel around Africa, we knew that a trip to Kenya could not be missed. We spent almost a month in the country, which was wonderful, from the beaches to the savannah.

Masai Mara - Mara River

January marks the height of the summer in Kenya. Meaning it’s a great time to spot wildlife while on safari. Temperatures are high, hovering around 30°C. That said, you’ll get the occasional rainfall to cool things off, but nothing too torrential. The landscape is still beautiful from the previous month’s rains. Because of the nice weather, you may see quite a few other tourists out on safari and down by the coast.


Oman

One of the best places to visit in January is the Middle Eastern country of Oman. In January, the average daily temperature in Oman is comfortable 25°C. If you think that is hot, don’t step foot here between June and September (when we did) when temperatures reach 40°C with high humidity.

Oman is a wonderful country to explore – when the temperature is right. It has stunning deserts, unique wadis, a blissful coastline, and endless mountains. Oman has you covered if you’re looking for a culturally interesting all-around holiday in January.


Costa Rica

Beach Packing List

January is dry in Costa Rica. Dry and hot. The average temperature is 27°C, with highs of something like 33°C throughout the month. Most of the time in January, the days will be filled with sunshine (66% of them to be exact) – perfect for lounging around on the beach.

Costa Rica Travel Tips

At other times, it’ll be cloudy. However, little to no rain is expected, so January is the perfect month to get out into nature. Even the evenings are beautifully balmy, so you won’t need to pack sweaters.

Summer clothes only, people; the minimum temperature in January is 21°C. This is the Central American vacation you’ll love. It’s also nice because there’s less humidity in January, a serious issue in Costa Rica. Overall, it’s comfortable and a fantastic place to visit in January.


Egypt

Egypt

Egypt is a fantastic country to visit in January, so if you’re planning to visit Egypt in January, then you’re in luck. Even though it’s winter, the average temperature of 22°C (in the daytime, at least), is pleasant. Conversely, the temperature can drop to around 9°C at night. Northern Egypt is colder, in general, and there’s more rainfall.

Egypt Travel

Cairo, for example, is pretty cloudy. In the South, destinations like Siwa receive little to no rain in January and the temperature hovers around 25°C. Coastal areas, such as Marsa Matruh, see changeable weather at this time of year.

It’s a great time to visit Egypt without being too hot and bothered, not having to cover up from the sun the whole time. If you can walk around all the ancient sites without wanting to run into the AC the whole time, then it’s a fantastic time.


Where to Go by Month?

Things to do in Japan

Plan For Your Trip

About Natasha

Natasha is the co-founder of The World Pursuit. She is an expert in travel, budgeting, and finding unique experiences. She loves to be outside, hiking in the mountains, playing in the snow on her snowboard, and biking. She has been traveling for over 10 years experiencing unique cultures, new food, and meeting fantastic people. She strives to make travel planning and traveling easier for all. Her advice about international travel, outdoor sports, and African safari has been featured on Lonely Planet, Business Insider, and Reader’s Digest.

Learn more about Natasha Alden on The World Pursuit About Us Page.

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