January brings about the same emotions every year. You start off thinking that it won’t be too bad and that you can concentrate on the new resolutions you have made. Then, as the month continues to drag on and summer seems further and further away, thoughts inevitably turn to how you can escape the cold days, dark nights and (whisper it quietly) endless Brexit chat for at least a little while.
It’s at this time that travel companies begin to tempt you with some fantastic destinations that are perfect for a winter break. And who would we be, here at TravelQuest, if we didn’t throw some of our own recommendations into the mix?
The mistake that some make is thinking everybody is looking for warmer climes, but that’s not the only reason why people want to travel at this time of year. So, along with a couple of scorching suggestions, we’ve also included some ideas if your trip is motivated by something else.
If you’re looking for anywhere warmer than the UK, the Canary Islands can offer temperatures around 20 degrees that will be welcome but not overwhelming. With national parks to explore, beautiful landscapes to uncover, delicious food to sample and pristine beaches to lie on, this Spanish archipelago with African influence appeals to a wide range of travellers.
Plus, you can further tailor your holiday by choosing which island you visit carefully. Families with young children may like one of the busier options like Gran Canaria or Tenerife, whilst romantic couples might prefer the tranquil, remote surroundings of La Gomera.
Maybe you want to travel further afield and enjoy a longer break? If that is the case, consider the ever-popular destination of Mexico. This is a country that can offer a very different experience depending on where you go. Obviously, Cancun gets the most attention from beach-loving Brits, but areas like Bacalar, located further south towards the border with Belize, can provide a similar backdrop but without the crowds.
Or, if you’re looking for a more authentic Mexican experience, consider the west coast instead. Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan both offer colonial towns to explore and typical cuisine to savour.
If you like it hot, hot, hot then the Maldives will take you from rainy skies to ‘hot dog thighs’ and have you laying by a picturesque pool in no time. With average temperatures in the 30s and little to do other than soak up the sun, these scattered isles are the perfect choice if you need to hit the reset button and escape the daily routine for a bit.
If you’re wanting more of a city break than a beach break, whilst still basking in 30-degree heat, Singapore is a great option. The Singapore Flyer, Gardens by the Bay and Singapore Zoo are all great attractions to enjoy and, when the heat gets too much, you can step inside one of the air-conditioned malls for some retail relief. You may even catch any lingering New Year sales. Travelling at this time of year will also mean you could be in town for fantastic religious events like Chinese New Year (5th February 2019) and Holi Festival (20th – 21st March 2019).
If you’re not too worried about the weather and you simply want to experience a destination without the summer crowds, Prague can provide everything you need. In June and July, the cobbled streets of the Czech capital are streaming with tourists, but winter sees far fewer groups. With a light frosting, Prague is arguably even more romantic at this time of year and cheaper prices will mean more to spend on the excellent local beer.
Many people say that you should see New York at least twice in your life; once during the summer and once in winter. The Big Apple, although not quiet, is far less busy at the beginning of the year and there is always the chance you might get some snow. Ice skating in the park, more chance of scoring Broadway tickets and discounted meals in the city’s top restaurants during Restaurant Week (21st January – 9th February 2019) are just some of the perks when visiting at this time and provide a huge contrast to the experience during peak season.
If you want a higher chance of snow, travelling inside the Arctic Circle is a good bet. Tromso, in northern Norway, is a charming city and one of the best places in Europe to see the Northern Lights. Other activities include husky sledding, reindeer feeding and staying in a traditional Sami tent. Between October and April, the Arctic region experiences very few hours of daylight, giving Tromso a magical feel and providing something that can only be experienced this far north.
Strangely, Japan doesn’t instantly come to mind when you think of snowy destinations, but parts of the country are further north than some areas of Russia, so snow is definitely on the cards. Plus, from January until March, a number of different ice festivals are held all over Japan, featuring amazing ice sculptures and eye-catching illuminations. For a higher chance of falling flakes, head to northern cities such as Sapporo (Sapporo Snow Festival 4th – 11th February 2019) and Asahikawa (Asahikawa Winter Festival 6th – 11th February 2019).
If you would like to talk to the TravelQuest team about planning your winter holiday, you can call us on 0800 021 3237. Alternatively, you can visit our Ipswich or Woodbridge travel agents.
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