Where to Travel in January 2024
Where to go on holiday in January
Start 2024 with renewed spring in your step, pack the suitcases and head out to explore some of the world's far-flung places that are best visited at this time of year. You may have made a New Year's resolution to discover more of the world and January makes a great time to do so. Celebrate in style in Iceland or take some time out from it all surrounded by the desert in Jordan. Or perhaps take some time to enjoy the sun-kissed beaches of Zanzibar.
To help you decide where to go in January 2024, we've put together our selection of New Year destinations and top experiences to enjoy, as well as a guide to the best beach breaks and wildlife spots at this time of year. You'll also find our choice of recommended tours.
Top Destinations and Experiences in January
Nile River cruising in Egypt
January means mild to pleasantly warm weather in Egypt, which is perfect for sightseeing and even better for a leisurely cruise on the River Nile with sightseeing included. You can expect clear blue skies that make the best backdrop for Egypt's incredible ancient sites and there's plenty of sunshine for a beach holiday at the Red Sea resort of Hurghada. Bear in mind this is peak season in Egypt, especially close to New Year's, so book early for better availability.
Recommended tour: Jewel of the Nile →
The snowy delights of Finland
January is the perfect month to escape to Finland for a wintery adventure. Snows are still thick, perfect for husky sledding, snowmobiling and reindeer rides. And the dark night skies are still perfect for seeing the magical display of the Northern Lights. It's going to be cold, so remember to wrap up warm, but Finnish Lapland makes the perfect winter destination for adults and children alike!
Recommended tour: Lapland & the Arctic Circle →
The crisp dark nights of Iceland
Iceland in January is going to be chilly, but it's one of the best months for visiting the Land of Fire and Ice. This is mainly because it's amongst the best time of year to see the Northern Lights, with long, dark nights making them easy to spot. And there's no better place to relieve the cold temperature than the warm waters of the famous Blue Lagoon! Stay for New Year and you'll be treated to fireworks displays across the island.
Recommended tour: New Year's Land of the Northern Lights →
Uncover the delights of Kerala
The south of India experiences its best weather from December to February, which makes January a great time to visit. It's cool and dry with temperatures that are still warm enough to make use of the gorgeous beaches in Kerala. In this part of India you can also cruise the tropical backwaters and immerse yourself in the local culture with colourful Kathakali performances and, of course, delicious cuisine.
Recommended tour: Captivating Kerala →
Best City Breaks in January
Well outside of the main tourism season, visiting Rome in January allows you to experience all of the Italian capital’s main attractions without the crowds. Have the iconic Trevi Fountain to yourself and skip the queues at St Peter’s Basilica, then dive into one of the many pizzerias and sample this much-loved dish in its home country. Temperatures are also quite mild, and considerably warmer than northern European cities.
January marks the middle of South Africa’s summer, with travellers from all over the world flocking to Cape Town to take advantage of the city’s balmy weather and natural attractions. Most tend to head to Table Mountain or the rugged coastline, where you’ll find beautiful beaches and plenty of watersports. But the city itself also offers the famous Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, as well as restaurants, shops, galleries and fantastic nightlife.
During January, the city of Hong Kong enters carnival mode thanks to the arrival of Chinese New Year. With epic parades, fireworks over Victoria Harbor and more, this is without doubt one of the world’s greatest celebrations. January is also still shopping season, making this an ideal time to hit the stores and bag a bargain. Just be sure to book your accommodation in advance to experience Hong Kong at this time.
Following Sydney’s world-famous New Year’s celebrations, the first month of the year is an excellent time to visit Australia’s most popular travel destination. The city still has a festival vibe, with music festivals, art shows, outdoor cinemas, markets and more to keep you entertained. And that’s not even counting Sydney’s main attractions, such as the glorious harbour, iconic Opera House and wealth of fantastic beaches.
Best Festivals in January
Every month of the year holds its own unique offering of special events and festivals. If you're struggling to decide where to travel in January, then it can be worth considering which events you could take in whilst on your trip! January kicks off the calendar with worldwide parties that ring in the new year. There's plenty more happening elsewhere, but here's our selection of the best festivals that take place around the world.
New Year's Eve
Where? Reykjavik, Iceland
Technically this worldwide-celebrated event starts in December but any New Year's holiday will fall across January and there are plenty of amazing places to join in the fun. In Iceland you can watch the impressive fireworks display over the country, in Jordan you can celebrate with local Bedouins in Wadi Rum or in Morocco you can unwind in coastal Essaouira.
Harbin Ice Festival
Where? Harbin, China
In January the northern city of Harbin in China becomes a winter wonderland, with the annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival. Gigantic sculptures artfully carved from blocks of ice stand beside monumental frozen buildings and compete for awards. With fireworks displays, fairground rides and neon lights at night, it's the perfect event for adults who never quite grew up.
Bikaner Camel Festival
Where? Bikaner, India
Every year the Rajasthani town of Bikaner becomes a colourful playground for the beloved camel. Affectionately known as the 'ship of the desert' in India, camels participate in races, dances, sports and neck shaking competitions. Over the course of two days there's also an array of cultural performances with folk dances, puppet shows and musical displays.
Where? South Africa
Cape Town's most vibrant and largest carnival kicks off on the 2nd January and lasts for more than a month. Also known as the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival, Kaapse Klopse originated in the 19th century, when slaves enjoyed their one day of the year off. Since then it has grown to an epic parade of costumes, singing and dancing through the streets of Cape Town.
Best Beach Destinations in January
Beach weather graces destinations around the world in January, perfect for spending the start of the year somewhere warm and sunny - from North Africa to Asia. The southwest coast of Sri Lanka is still dry with plenty of sunshine and numerous beach resorts to choose from. In the Middle East, temperatures around the Red Sea are pleasantly warm with consistent sunshine. If you're looking for a city and beach combo then consider Cape Town - it's the middle of summer at this time of year in South Africa and there are miles of sandy beaches to choose from.
This popular tropical island is hot and dry in January, with temperatures sitting in the high 20s (degrees centigrade). The sandy shores are drenched in sunlight, with spectacular sunsets a common sight. You may go days without seeing a single cloud in the sky and at night this means romantic star gazing on the beach. Off the south coast of the island diving is particularly good at this time of year too.
January is a great month to visit Egypt. Temperatures in this desert country are warm, but the stifling temperatures of summer are still a few months away. This makes it the perfect month not only for sightseeing, but also for lounging by the sea in Hurghada or Sharm el Sheikh. Many of our tours combine Egypt's ancient treasures with a beach break, so you can enjoy the best of both worlds in January!
Peak tourist season is in full swing at the beach resorts of Goa and the state of Kerala, and for good reason - the weather is perfect for enjoying sun, sea and sand along the Arabian Sea. Think clear sunny days and comfortable temperatures with humidity at its yearly lowest. These climatic conditions also mean it's great for exploring the rest of the region and its attractions like Munnar & Periyar.
With the monsoon rains largely gone, you can take your pick of idyllic islands and pristine coastline across Southeast Asia. From Krabi in Thailand to Phu Quoc in Vietnam, and Sihanoukville in Cambodia, there's plenty to choose from. The weather is mostly cool and dry, so the rest of these countries are ripe for exploration, perfect for combining a bit of culture and adventure with your relaxing beach break.
Best Wildlife Destinations in January
Rains are covering much of southern Africa so the scenery may be beautiful and lush, but this makes wildlife a lot harder to spot - not ideal if you're planning a safari holiday. However, the equatorial location of East Africa means countries such as Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania are experiencing a mini dry season, which is perfect for safaris. In the Amazon, the wet season means higher water levels making more waterways accessible, ideal for cruising, while India's national parks are the place to go for wild tigers.
A secondary, reasonably dry season hits East Africa from mid-December to mid-March and with the wildebeest of the southern Serengeti beginning their calving season, it's a great time to visit Tanzania for a safari adventure. The drier conditions will mean the bush has thinned for better wildlife spotting opportunities and with thousands of wildebeest being born each day, you're almost guaranteed to spot the creatures and the predators they may attract.
It's the warm and wet season in the Galapagos, which means low winds and calm seas ideal for those that suffer from sea sickness. There's plenty happening in terms of wildlife, with adult marine iguanas becoming more brightly coloured on Espanola Island, green turtles arriving on the shores to lay eggs and birds at their most active. The warmer water temperatures also make it an ideal time for snorkelling, with clear waters and plenty of marine life.
The dry season in Costa Rica brings with it huge concentrations of bird species including herons, ducks, spoonbills and numerous other water birds, particularly around the Nicoya Peninsula on the Pacific Coast. Hawksbill turtles are still nesting at Tortuguero National Park, while leatherback turtles nest on the Pacific Coast at Playa Grande and the northern Guanacaste province. The great weather also means great outdoor adventures.
The compact size of Sri Lanka means the wildlife that exists on the island can largely be seen year-round, though the months between December and March are a particularly good time to see wild leopards in Yala National Park. At this time of year the southern region is hot and dry, which means sparser vegetation and conditions that encourage the nocturnal creatures to head out at dawn and dusk looking for food and water. Be ready with your binoculars.
Recommended Tours and Holidays for January
If you still can't decide where to travel in January, then why not check out a selection of our recommended tours for the month! From New Year celebrations in Jordan to safari adventures in Tanzania, we're sure to have the right trip for you!