25 BEST Places to Travel in January

It’s a brand new year, and winter is in full swing across North America. We share the best places to travel in January. January is an excellent month for those looking to embrace winter at a ski resort or escape to somewhere warm like the Beach. Destinations such as the Dolomites, Laos, Nicaragua, Switzerland, Kenya, Montana, British Virgin Islands, Vietnam, Costa Rica, and The Maldives have ideal weather in January.

It’s the perfect month whether you want to go on safari in Africa, sunbathe in Southeast Asia, or explore the ancient world. As avid snowboarders, it’s our favorite time of year to explore winter destinations, and we always travel in search of fresh powder. If it involves hot chocolate, mulled wine, and lots of white fluffy snow, it’s a yes for me. Of course, if you want to escape winter, we understand there are plenty of great beaches and tropical destinations with warm weather.

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 more people are planning their summer travel and fewer people travel. Here are some of the best places to visit in January.

The Best Places to Visit in January

The Dolomites, Italy

Natasha Cheers With TrentoDOC At An Apres Ski Bar In Dolomites

The Italian Dolomites are undoubtedly some of the most dramatic mountains in the world. Of course, it also helps that they’re in Italy so that the food can keep up with all that beauty. If you’re after sweeping views, delectable food, and charming alpine villages, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better spot for skiing than the Dolomites.

It’s a tremendous choice for those who prefer a relaxing ski holiday, as the region is heavy on sunshine, groomed intermediate runs, and spas. Madonna Di Campiglio is the jewel of the ski and winter scene in the Trentino region. It’s a well-known resort that hosts many Italians looking for solid skiing, dining, and relaxation in a posh environment. It still holds on to its claim to fame as the summer vacation spot of Austrian Royalty and Princess Sissi. The town has all the charm of a classic European mountain town.

Madonna Di Campiglio is nearly car-free, and an evening stroll after a day on the slopes is easy. We spent our evenings window shopping while checking out 19th-century architecture with a cappuccino. 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 if you love skiing, winter hiking, tobogganing, and cozying up around the fire.

30 Important Italy Travel Tips to Know Before You Go

British Virgin Islands

Deadman's Bay British Virgin ISlands

There’s hardly a better time to head to the Caribbean than January. Holiday crowds from December are starting to peter out, and the weather remains gorgeous. There’s no shortage of beautiful islands in the Caribbean, yet the British Virgin Islands stand out. Cane Garden Bay’s shoreline and Anegada Island’s white sand beaches are breathtaking. Then there’s The Baths National Park—it’s like something out of a dream with its boulders and sea pools.

Which may just be one of the most stunning beaches in the world. To soak in the beauty of these islands, hopping on a yacht or taking a boat tour from the nearby U.S. Virgin Islands is a great option. And if you prefer a more laid-back vibe, lounging by the beach or a swanky hotel pool is always on the menu.

Grindelwald, Switzerland

A Mountain Hut At The Grindelwald First Ski Area
Grindelwald First in January / Best Places to Visit in January

Grindelwald is a little mountain village not far from Interlaken. This small Swiss town provides access to multiple ski areas and plenty of winter activities. High above Grindelwald lies the Bernese Alps and a famous mountain face. That mountain is Eiger’s notorious North Face, one of the most well-known mountain faces in the world.

The village has a long main road and plenty of accommodation options for the many tourists who journey up the valley from Interlaken. The village lacks the charm of the surrounding villages, such as Gimmelwald, Murren, or Wengen. Still, it does provide amazing access to the mountains – great for skiers and those after a solid European winter holiday. Grindelwald is especially great if you want to go up Jungfraujoch or enjoy Grindelwald First and the many experiences you can have.

18 BEST Places To Visit In Switzerland


Vang Vieng, Laos At Sunset On The River

Visiting Laos in January means prices are dramatically reduced, the weather is amazing, and there’s so much to see and do. Not that the prices are ever that high in Laos, but there’s a reason that it remains a popular backpacker destination. Laos is rich in natural landscapes and a vibrant culture that makes for a true adventure in Southeast Asia. Vang Vieng operates as the country’s hub and is famous for its sweeping landscapes and parties along its river.

Think of no crowds, no line-ups, and a chill vibe where you can go about your merry way as slowly as you wish. Explore some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world, visit stately temples, browse vibrant night markets, take a cruise on the Mekong, or enjoy the sunny weather on a lounge patio with an exotic cocktail in hand.


Snow Mountains Near Big Sky In Montana In The Winter

Head to the Big Sky Country after some excellent skiing and snowboarding in the United States. It’s our pick over the far more popular and expensive Colorado. You can find a wide range of winter activities to enjoy, such as cross-country skiing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, or backcountry skiing. The state also has some fantastic ski resorts, many relatively quiet and unheard if you want to escape the crowds.

If you’re after a premier resort, Big Sky has seen huge development over the last few decades and is arguably now one of the best resorts in North America. The skiing skews towards intermediates at the resort, but the Lone Peak Tram to the resort’s highest point offers some of the biggest lines in a ski resort. If you’re after a more relaxed holiday, check out the town of Whitefish for an old-school ski resort that delivers on the goods. It’s also not too far from Fernie, British Columbia, one of the best ski towns in the world.

The Maldives

A Spa At The Le Meridien Maldives

The series of coral atolls spread across the Indian Ocean is an enticing getaway with white sand beaches, turquoise water, and tropical weather. The water here is home to abundant marine life so diverse that snorkelers can rejoice in close encounters with rays, sharks, whales, and a dizzying number of fishes. To make it only better, some of the world’s most luxurious resorts sit on top of these atolls with indulgent water villas and beach bungalows.

In the middle of the dry season, there’s not much rain to worry about, meaning it’s also not that humid. There’s plenty of sunshine to fill your vacation, and 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. Spend your days relaxing on an overwater bungalow, scuba diving in one of the best places in the world, snorkeling with family, and enjoy spicy Maldivian cuisine under the stars.

For some resort suggestions in the Maldives, check out the Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, Six Senses Laamu, Soneva Jani, Kudadoo, Cheval Blanc Randheli, and JW Marriott Maldives Resort and Spa.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Maldives?


Alleys of Chefchaouen
Chefchaouen in January / Where to Travel in January

Morocco makes for a tremendous introduction for travelers to the MENA region. Morocco is a land of sand and coastline. Desert landscapes and mountains dominate the country’s interior, and its cities serve as culture hubs. The medina streets of Marrakech and Fez are a dusty labyrinthine of marketplaces that have long fascinated travelers. However, more standout destinations include the blue city of Chefchaouen, the towering sand dunes of the Sahara Desert, and the historic coastal city of Essouraia.

Morocco has mild winters as the country largely enjoys an arid desert climate. 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. It’s perfect for exploring some of the city’s top sights and 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, making you feel cool even in the sun. The sun feels nice and warm on the Mediterranean coast, and ocean dips by the seaside town of Essouraia are ideal. If you plan on heading into the desert or to the blue city of Morocco, Chefchaouen, still bring a jacket as nighttime temperatures might drop to 8 °C and below.

35 Fun and Interesting Facts About Morocco 

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 it’s 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. It’s the only city where you can ski, explore a grand palace, window shop, and savor a strudel all in one day, making it the perfect place to visit in January if you like winter.

There are plenty of things to do in Innsbruck, with the Austrian Alps at your hotel doorstep and a city rich in history. In many ways, everything we love about Austria is packed into a modern and historical city. The fact that you can be in a beautiful medieval old town and then in the heart of the Alps within minutes is not something found everywhere in the world.

30 BEST Things to do in Austria

Hokkaido, Japan

Snowboarding in Furano / Best Places to Visit in January

Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, receives polar storms that blow over from nearby Siberia. You will not be working on your sun tan here, but it does make for sublime ski conditions in January. The island is renowned for its legendary dry snow or powder, making it one of the best regions in the world for snowboarding and skiing.

Many of the island’s resorts set records for the most snow in a season despite a shorter season than their North American and European counterparts. If you are after the island’s famous powder for skiing, the best time to visit Hokkaido is between December and March. January is high season at some resorts, but you likely won’t be too bothered unless you’re at the famous Niseko United Ski Resort. Excellent resorts to visit include Rusutsu, Furano, and Kiroro.

Any trip to Hokkaido is not complete without a visit to the fascinating city of Sapporo for some delectable food. A typical winter day in January involves plenty of snow, a bowl of hot ramen, and soaking in one of the many Japanese bathhouses or onsens. Any avid skier or snowboarder should add this trip to their bucket list.

Cape Town, South Africa

things to do in cape town 2020

One of the best countries to visit in December is South Africa! In particular, the Western Cape, a staggeringly gorgeous part of the world, enjoys beautiful weather in December. Cape Town is a city too beautiful for its own good. One can get easily lost in the depths of nature, grab a bite from a food truck, check out an art gallery, peruse a local market, or enjoy fine dining.

There are many things to do in Cape Town; making the most of your time is tricky unless you have a full year. We have spent more than three months in South Africa’s hippest city, and feel we’ve barely scratched the surface of the city’s offerings. When you want something more relaxed, head to Constantia to sip delicious Pinotage wine while overlooking the tip of Africa.

January in South Africa means Summer. Cape Town enjoys plenty of sunny days and warm temperatures with a daytime average of 25°C. It’s a good time of year to hit the beach, surf, or stroll along the V&A Waterfront.

Banff National Park, Canada

A Snowy Lake Louise In Banff National Park In The Winter

Banff National Park is the crown jewel of Parks Canada and arguably one of the most beautiful destinations in the world. The park is famed for its endless pine forests, wildlife, dramatic peaks, glaciers, and stunning alpine lakes. It is a tremendous destination to visit no matter the season, and in the winter, visitors can choose from three ski resorts in Banff. The views from Lake Louise ski resort are arguably the best from a ski resort in the world.

January in Alberta is anything but warm; the average temperature is about -10 °C during the day and even cooler as the sun sets. Expect snow, fog, and a few sunny days, so bring a warm, packable down jacket and bundle up! If heading to the ski resort is not your thing, there is still plenty to do in Banff National Park in the winter. Hop on a dog sled, tackle gorgeous cross-country trails, learn how to snowshoe, or spot the Northern Lights – if you’re lucky. You can do all this while taking in some of the most gorgeous landscapes.


Safari Clothing in Masai Mara National Reserve

A safari in the famous plains of Kenya’s Masai Mara National Park is a classic adventure. Undeniably, the Masai Mara National Reserve is one of the most well-known parks in Africa. My first thoughts of safari in Africa were of Kenya and its wide-open grasslands. The fact that Kenya is home to the original safari and the Masai Mara is the industry’s epicenter should be no surprise.

A Masai Mara safari will ensure visitors have incredible game viewing all year round. Every day, we went out into the park and saw something incredible. I was amazed watching hyena pups sniff our car tires, elephants rub against our tent poles at night, and a pride of lions kill and devour a zebra. Despite being one of Africa’s most popular spots to go on safari, the reserve blew us away.

January marks the height of the summer in Kenya, with high temperatures hovering around 30°C. This means it’s a great time to spot wildlife while on safari as the animals congregate toward watering holes. The landscape is still stunning, with green effects lasting from the previous month’s rains. Because of the nice weather, you may see several other tourists on safari in the Masai Mara or enjoy the coastal breeze on Diani Beach.

10 Helpful Kenya Travel Tips to Know Before You Go


A Gorgeous Beach In Oman

Oman is another extraordinary country to check out if you want to escape the cold. The Middle Eastern country on the tip of the Arabian Peninsula enchants visitors with incredible landscapes, culture, and food. Culture permeates Oman, and it remains authentic despite being surrounded by the grandiose dreams of its neighbors. Muscat is an enticing city with few skyscrapers, old markets, forts, and traditional homes.

The nation has embraced its rich heritage of frankincense and trade with a wealth of natural and historical sights to be seen. Resulting in a country that’s enchanting to travel through with plenty of hidden pockets left to explore. To make things better, the country has excellent infrastructure for tourists with reliable roads, plenty of hotels, tour operators, dive shops, and activities. January is a fantastic time to visit Oman, but if you want to learn more, read about the best time to visit Oman.

35 FUN & Interesting Facts About Oman

Costa Rica

in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is also a green powerhouse, one of the most amazing natural destinations in the world. It was the first country to go a full year on 100% renewable energy and still operate at around 99%. The country has prioritized preserving its natural habitats, with large swaths of protected wilderness zones or national parks. As home to some of the world’s lungs with rainforest

With cheap and direct flights from the US, visitors can take in many wildlife, stunning coastlines, and pristine rainforests. It’s little wonder why Costa Rica has become a hot travel destination in the last decade. Getting into the “Pura Vida” lifestyle is easy, thanks to the gorgeous beaches, friendly locals, and stunning natural landscapes.

January is the perfect month for visiting Costa Rica because of the reliable weather. It brings sunny days on the country’s Caribbean and Pacific Coasts and is still very much the dry season (or what locals call Verano, which means ‘summer’).

24 Costa Rica Travel Tips To Know


Best Time to Visit Egypt

The mighty Nile has been the lifeblood of Egypt since the beginning of civilization. Along its fertile banks, surrounded by the sands of the desert, ancient Egypt prospered. Thousands of years lure visitors in with the remains of breathtaking monuments, a rugged coastline teeming with coral life, and a culture that has evolved over millennia. There are so many amazing places to visit in Egpyt.

Egypt is the gift of the Nile, so there is no better way to explore than a cruise down the Nile. You’re transported to a pastime as you cruise down the Nile. Egypt is among the best places to travel in January because of its near-perfect weather — comfortable, warm days and cool evenings/nights. You won’t have to wake up at dawn to beat the day’s heat. Check out other great months to visit Egpyt in our post about the best time to visit Egpyt.

Egypt is one of the best countries to visit in January. Even though it’s winter, the average temperature of 22°C is pleasant and great for exploring ancient sites. Conversely, the temperature can drop to around 9° C at night, so it is always a good idea to pack a travel jacket.


Best places to travel in January

Tropical rainforests, virtually untouched beaches, stunning scenery, and incredible weather… what more could anyone want out of an escape from winter in North America? How about incredible natural attractions, including lakes and active volcanoes? How does embarking on outdoor adventures sound? 

I’m talking about visiting incredible natural wonders, including Ometepe Island, Apoyo Lagoon Natural Reserve, Cerro Negro Volcano, San Juan del Sur, Somoto Canyon National Monument, and Bosawas Biosphere Reserve, which is one of the largest rainforests in the Americas.

If you like warm weather with an average temperature of 25°C and little rain, Nicaragua might be the place to travel to in January. I think we may have forgotten to mention the incredible surf that lies along the country’s Pacific coast, with far less crowded lineups than in Costa Rica.


Boats Along River In Ninh Binh, Vietnam
Ninh Binh / Best Places to Visit in January

Vietnam has so much to offer any traveler who ventures to it. It is a mix of chaos and calm from the contrasts of Hanoi to the mountainous regions of the Northern Highlands to beautiful Ha Long Bay. At one moment, you could find yourself cruising through the endless creeks and rivers of the Mekong Delta and, at the next, sitting beachside at Hue or Nha Trang.

Most visitors’ first exposure to Vietnam will be the electrifying chaos of Hanoi or Ho Chi Min. However, with just a bit of exploration, visitors will find magnificent vistas, warm people, and a peaceful way of life. The food may be the real show-stopper in the country as it has arguably one the best food cultures in the world and some incredible dishes to be enjoyed.

If you’re seeking an exotic destination with nice, dry weather that’s not too cold or too hot, stunning scenery, fewer crowds, and an abundance of world-class attractions, Vietnam is the perfect choice for a vacation in January. Whether you want to go hiking on Cat Ba Island or visit one of the largest caves on earth at Hang Son Doong, you’ll never be without something to see and do in Vietnam.

Bali, Indonesia

what to wear in bali - uluwatu pool

Bali is an island destination that hardly needs an introduction. Bali is a vibe. Most importantly, it’s an island of many contrasts. Bali, a Hindu island, contrasts with Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim nation and conservative in values. So, traditional Balinese culture is starkly different from their neighbors. It’s often referred to as the “Island of the Gods,” and anyone who’s spent time on the island can attest to why.

The island has some staggering landscapes thanks to its towering volcanos, terraced rice fields, hidden waterfalls, ancient temples, and dramatic coastline. Although January is considered the rainy season in Bali, that doesn’t mean it rains every second of every day. Sure, it rains, but when it does, the showers come in fast-moving tropical downpours that clear up quickly to reveal sunny skies and temperatures hovering around 27°C. Stick around the beaches to enjoy pink and orange cotton candy skies in January.

The best part about traveling to Bali in January is that it’s the height of the low season, which means the tourist crowds are virtually gone. You won’t have to deal with crowded beaches and attractions, a problem in Bali. You’ll also score pretty good deals on flights and accommodations around the island. Our two favorite spots in Bali are Uluwatu for its gorgeous surf spots and Ubud for its tremendous yoga studios.

14 Amazing Bali Waterfalls You Need to Check Out


Belize - Best places to travel in January

In Central American countries during winter, Belize has been a go-to for many snowbirds for years and a delightful budget honeymoon destination. In January, daytime temperatures average 25°C, which means it’s nice enough to spend your days at the beach or exploring the fascinating natural wonders that the country has in abundance. 

The country is also known for being home to one of the biggest barrier reefs on earth, and it and many other underwater wonders can be explored with scuba diving and snorkeling excursions. The Great Blue Hole, Lamanai Archaeological Reserve, Hol Chan Marine Reserve, The Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center, Xunantunich Mayan Ruins, and Actun Tunichil Muknal are some of the notable attractions around the country. 

New Zealand

Wild Lupines In Front Of The Famous Church In New Zealand

New Zealand is awe-inspiring at any time of year, but with mild temperatures, plenty of sunshine, and little rain, January is one of the best times to visit the country. If you’re seeking to tackle some of the country’s famous hiking trails, this is the month. One thing that is certain about New Zealand is that it’s a dramatic country with black-sand beaches, thermal springs, towering mountains, aquamarine lakes, and sandy covers.

Drive around the countryside admiring the stunning landscapes, immerse in Maori culture, watch incredible sunsets, and explore the many beaches, lakes, mountain trails, and forests. Do you care to do some surfing, skydiving, ziplining, or bungee jumping? Ultimate adventures await!  It’s not just nature in New Zealand either, as Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch are cities worth exploring.

Dubai, UAE

Camels On The Beach In Dubai

It’s quite hot in Dubai most of the year, but in January, you’ll find that the temperatures are just high enough to make it comfortable. Daily temperatures average between 15°C and 25°C, with the sun shining for over 10 hours each day, so getting rained out isn’t much of a worry!

By now, I’m sure you’re aware of the opulence that this flashy city is known for.  Expect extravagance around every corner. I’m talking about huge luxury malls, stunning manicured beaches, elaborate amusement parks, and ultra-modern architecture like none you’ve seen anywhere else.

Dubai has a dizzying number of attractions, restaurants, and opulent hotels. Those hotels know how to treat their guests thanks to the country’s famed Arabic hospitality. Some top attractions include Burj Khalifa, Adventure Waterpark, Dubai Miracle Garden, Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, The Dubai Fountain, and Ski Dubai, an indoor ski resort.

The end result of all this opulence can sometimes feel a bit sterile, and the country’s soul is all about money. With that in mind, we’d suggest heading to other Middle Eastern countries, such as Egypt, Oman, or Jordan.

Harbin, China

Best places to travel in January

Not everyone wants to travel somewhere warm and tropical during winter to escape cool weather. Some people like to go where it’s snowy and cold. If you’re one of those people, Harbin, China, is one of the best places to experience an ultimate winter wonderland. 

The city’s nickname is Ice City, and its claim to fame is hosting the International Ice and Snow Festival each January. While the festival, which features incredible snow and ice sculptures, is the biggest draw to the city in January, there are many other reasons to visit! Saint Sophia Cathedral, Bingxue Big World, Zhongyang Pedestrian Street, and Sun Island are just some of the top attractions. If you love skiing, Yabuli Ski Resort is the place to head to.


Koh Samui

Head to Thailand for tantalizing food, wonderful people, and lovely beaches. Destinations like Phuket, Bangkok, Khao Lak, Koh Samui, and Chiang Mai have ideal weather in January. It’s a great time to snorkel around Phuket, lay on the beaches of Khao Lak, or enjoy the jungle mountains. It’s one of the best times of year to travel around the country and explore all it has to offer. The weather is generally warm and dry across the country and rarely too hot.

As the weather is stable across the country, January is a great time to visit some of the lesser-traveled mountainous regions in the North. It’s hard to pick a better time to visit the “Land of Smiles,” but this does mean traveling during peak season with slightly higher prices and crowds.


Dog Sledding — Winter in Norway — Frozen LAke

There’s no reason to avoid European winters! It’s one of our favorite seasons for travel and a fantastic time to visit Norway, where you’re almost guaranteed to see the Northern Lights and enjoy some snowy days. Norway’s dramatic landscapes and many winter activities will entertain you for weeks. It’s a great time for winter adventures across the country.

Northern Lights Cruise - Norway
Nordlys over Arnøya, Skjervøy

Mush a dog sled across a frozen lake, snowshoe from mountain hut to hut, spot whales off the coast, ski down a fjord, or spend cozy days in a winter cabin. Winter in Norway comes with plenty of charms, and if your dream trip has been to see the Northern Lights, there is likely no better trip than to Northern Norway. We have been to the country twice in the winter and left wanting more both times.


taj mahal

India is a bucket list destination for many travelers. However, given the country’s ridiculously hot climate, it’s best to avoid it for most of the year. With that in mind, most travelers will visit the country from October to March when temperatures are milder. January weather in India still remains humid, with temperatures in Delhi hovering around the low 30s C or 80s F.

There is no shortage of things to explore as India is a subcontinent. However, be warned, don’t head to India expecting a relaxing holiday, as it’s anything but, as the country will challenge every preconceived notion you may have. The classic tourist route is the “Golden Triangle,” but we highly recommend breaking away from the route and heading to calmer destinations. That said, don’t skip the Taj Mahal, as it’s truly breathtaking and lives up to the hype as one of the most famous landmarks.

The Best Places to Travel in January – FAQ

Best Skiing in Canada

Where in Europe is warm in January?

The warmest European destinations are Sicily, The Algarve, Ibiza, and Crete. You have Cyprus, Gran Canaria, and Southern Turkey in the greater European area. While most of Southern Europe enjoys mild winters, warm weather rarely characterizes them.

Where are the best countries to visit in January for warm weather?

Some of the best places to visit in January for warm weather are the Maldives, South Africa, Oman, Brazil, Hawaii, India, and Costa Rica.

Where are the best places to visit in January for a ski trip?

From Europe to Hokkaido, there are many amazing places to go for skiing and snowboarding. We recommend Utah, Austria, Western Canada, and Hokkaido!

Where are the best countries to visit in January for cold weather?

Canada, Norway, Italy, and Japan are some of the best countries to visit in January for chilly weather. Or you can go for the big one and check off the continent of Antarctica on a cruise.

Where to Go by Month?

Things to do in Japan
Hokkaido in the Spring

Plan For Your Trip

About Natasha Alden

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, across 7 continents, 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.

Leave a Comment