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15 Best Places to Travel in January

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Juvenile king penguins in the Georgia Islands

Juvenile king penguins in the Georgia Islands

January is a fantastic time to plan a trip, and our list of the best places to visit in January can give you all the inspiration you need to put your vacation plans in motion.

From the tropical warmth of the Southern Hemisphere to the winter wonderlands of Europe, or even the unique icy edges of Antarctica, January is a time when we all want to make a fresh start.

What better way to kick off a new year than with a new experience? The following list brings many fantastic places you can visit in January, and there is something for every traveler.

Overview

  1. 1. South Africa
  2. 2. Australia
  3. 3. Portugal
  4. 4. Galapagos
  5. 5. Spain
  6. 6. Antarctica
  7. 7. Switzerland
  8. 8. Tanzania
  9. 9. India
  10. 10. New Zealand
  11. 11. Egypt
  12. 12. Thailand
  13. 13. Brazil
  14. 14. Vietnam
  15. 15. Peru
  16. Plan your trip for January

1. South Africa

Rhinoceros mother and calf in Kruger National Park, South Africa

Rhinoceros mother and calf in Kruger National Park, South Africa

Temperatures:  Low 60° F | High 79° F

Highlights: Warm weather, water sports, wildlife, culture, beaches

Other recommended travel times: February | March  | May | June | August | September

South Africa is an incredible combination of classic African scenery, captivating wildlife, and unique urban expression culture shaped by diverse traditions. Each city radiates a different character and the coastline gives way to rugged cliffs and colorful coral reefs.

With golden beaches, legendary surf breaks, and wide-open plains on which rhinos, elephants, and lions roam, the rainbow on the national flag embodies the true diversity of South Africa in how the colors shine bright separately but are at their most memorable when experienced as a whole.

Learn more:  South Africa Tours & Vacations | South Africa Travel Guide

2. Australia

Airlie Beach of the Whitsundays in Australia

Airlie Beach of the Whitsundays in Australia

Temperatures: Low 54° F | High 97° F

Highlights: Hot weather, culture, water sports, scenery, Great Barrier Reef, beaches

Other recommended travel times: February | March | April | October | November | December

In Australia, you should always expect the unexpected. The scenery's exceptional beauty stems from a landscape of extremes with unique ochre plains that give way to shimmering blue waters.

Home to the world’s oldest cultures and ancient natural beauty, urban splendor, and contemporary spirit, Australia bounds beyond its reputation as a gorgeous destination.

A dreamscape accentuated by some of the world’s quirkiest wildlife spans ancient rainforests, the Great Barrier Reef, islands framed with powdery-white sands, red desert, and celebrated winelands.

Learn more: Australia Tours & Vacations | Australia Travel Guide

3. Portugal

Coastal town of Azenhas do Mar in the municipality of Sintra, Portugal

Coastal town of Azenhas do Mar in the municipality of Sintra, Portugal

Temperatures: Low 43° F | High 59° F

Highlights: Culture, scenery, cuisine, museums, historical towns

Other recommended travel times: May | June | July | September

Portugal is an adventure of preserved traditions, cinematic landscapes, and inextricable discovery. The cities maintain a drama dating back centuries, and the Atlantic Coastline offers enticing views of rolling waters and craggy cliffs.

Stone-built villages, enchanting towns, and fairytale castles create an unparalleled ambiance, unlike anywhere else in the world. Food and wine are simply beautiful with incredible flavor and traditional dishes, while history remains an integral part of the nation, from cobblestone lanes to Roman ruins and fascinating clifftop castles.

Learn more: Portugal Tours & Vacations | Portugal Travel Guide

4. Galapagos

Marine iguana on the rocks in San Cristobal, Galapagos Islands

Marine iguana on the rocks in San Cristobal, Galapagos Islands

Temperatures: Low 84° F | High 70° F

Highlights: Wildlife, seclusion, water sports, marine life

Other recommended travel times: March | May | September | October

The Galapagos Islands act as a collective archipelago, but each island possesses its own distinctive character. From imposing volcanoes to idyllic beaches, you will find some of the world’s most exotic wildlife reserves.

The inspiring combination of protected land and sea will surprise with some islands devoid of any vegetation at all, while others overflow with green.

The isolated and fragile ecosystem has grown to mythological proportions, where black-rock and white-sand beaches support giant tortoises while shimmering blue waters offer views of penguins and iguanas.

Learn more: Galapagos Islands Vacations & Tours | Galapagos Travel Guide

5. Spain

Zahara de la Sierra in the province of Cádiz, Spain

Zahara de la Sierra in the province of Cádiz, Spain

Temperatures: Low 43° F | High 64° F

Highlights: Culture, scenery, wine, cuisine, museums, historical towns

Other recommended travel times: March | May | June | September | October

Spain is a masterful mixture of land, sea, and culture as the vibrant cities reflect centuries of cultural evolution. From museums displaying masters of their forms to preserved medieval towns, your surroundings showcase their connection to Moorish architecture and Christian representation.

Small countryside villages shine with whitewashed homes, and lush hills give way to vines and countryside beauty. From Barcelona to Madrid, Santiago to San Sebastian, Seville to Cap de Creus, Spain is an eclectic destination for art lovers, foodies, oenophiles, active explorers, and those looking for the perfect coastal views.

Learn more: Spain Tours & Vacations | Spain Travel Guide 

6. Antarctica

Crabeater seals on ice floe in Antarctica

Crabeater seals on ice floe in Antarctica

Temperatures: Low 32° F | High 43° F

Highlights: Snow, wildlife, scenery, water sports, scientific excursions

Other recommended travel times: November

Antarctica is the only place on earth that envelops you in remote wilderness and the drama of the natural elements shaped by snow, ice, water, and rock.

By land and sea, the exploration of Antarctica is the ultimate adventure as you take in the surreal extremes of the mountain ranges and coastlines that are home to a multitude of unique wildlife.

Emperor penguins, Weddell seals, and enormous whales only scratch the surface of the natural wonder adding to the pancake ice and marine mists, each possessing their own distinct rhythms during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer.

Learn more: Antarctica Tours

7. Switzerland

The Glacier Express in Switzerland

The Glacier Express in Switzerland

Temperatures: Low 28° F | High 45° F

Highlights: Snow, culture, scenery, museums, historical towns, snow sports, horseback riding

Other recommended travel times: April | June

Expected tradition meets surprising avant-garde in Switzerland, a place where the glacial alps sweep down into the lush valleys. Chocolates, clocks, and watches have their place as artisan masterpieces, but beyond the essential traditions, the country offers a refreshing combination of rural charm, customary towns, and contemporary chic.

Lavish castles and delectable vineyards, the spice of folkloric towns, and the flavors of celebrated melting cheese represent the journey of a lifetime, especially for snow sports in winter set beneath the reputable peak of the infamous Matterhorn.

Learn more: Switzerland Tours & Vacations | Switzerland Travel Guide

8. Tanzania

Pride of lions in Eastern Sere

Pride of lions in Eastern Serengeti, Tanzania

Temperatures: Low 50° F | High 84° F

Highlights: Warm weather, wildlife, scenery, beaches

Other recommended travel times: March | July | August | October | November

Let the wildlife take center stage in Tanzania in January when warm summer in the Southern Hemisphere brings smaller crowds but huge rewards. The diversity of the natural splendor across the country could take you from the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro to the soft golden shores of Zanzibar’s beaches to find coral gardens and colorful fish.

Tanzania is an escape for adventurers, romantics, safari-goers, or those looking for a relaxing coastal getaway. Look for stampeding wildebeest or lounging lions or dive into crystal-clear waters with each encapsulating Tanzania’s endless allure.

Learn more: Tanzania Safaris & Vacations | Tanzania Travel Guide

9. India

Amber Fort near Jaipur in Rajasthan, India

Amber Fort near Jaipur in Rajasthan, India

Temperatures: Low 46° F | High 69° F

Highlights: Culture, museums, palaces, historical cities, scenery, cuisine

Other recommended travel times: February | March | April | May | September | October

Tradition and the modern world offer an unforgettable clash of cultures in India. The Taj Mahal may be the country’s most iconic image, but India abounds with rich heritage and a long history of cultural encounters.

India is a treasure trove of historical proportions with lush national parks, alluring wildlife sanctuaries hosting tigers or elephants, gold-sand beaches, and a seemingly endless collection of spiritual centers. January offers surprising snowy encounters in the Himalayas and perfect tropical warmth along the southern canals.

Learn more: India Tours & Vacations | India Travel Guide

10. New Zealand

View of Lake Wanaka and surrounding mountains from Roy's Peak Track in New Zealand

View of Lake Wanaka and surrounding mountains from Roy's Peak Track in New Zealand

Temperatures: Low 77° F | High 54° F

Highlights: Warm weather, water sports, culture, scenery, hiking

Other recommended travel times: February | March | June | July | August | December

January is the heart of the Southern Hemisphere’s summer, underscoring New Zealand’s zest for adventure amid the surreal natural landscape.

With coastal glaciers, glistening coves, geothermal geysers, elegant bays, ancient forests, dazzling fjords, and charming cities, you could easily spend months crisscrossing the islands and still have more to experience.

Hike winding trails, cycle along craggy mountain terrain, sail shimmering waters or embrace the powerful Maori culture in one of the world’s most attractive countries.

Learn more: New Zealand Tours & Vacations | New Zealand Travel Guide 

11. Egypt

Sphinx and Great Pyramid of Pharaoh Khufu on the Giza Plateau in Egypt

Sphinx and Great Pyramid of Pharaoh Khufu on the Giza Plateau in Egypt

Temperatures: Low 57° F | High 48° F

Highlights: Cool weather, culture, historical towns, museums, scenery

Other recommended travel times: October | November

Egypt captures historical might and grandeur, an essential Mediterranean culture that has inspired civilizations for millennia. In January, the desert winter keeps your exploration cool and the deepest corners of the remote sands accessible.

A land of two religions, your experience dives into the modern pace shaped by medieval Islamic architecture while also taking you beyond the essential pyramids to find glittering tombs and ancient architectural masterpieces.

Learn more: Egypt Tours & Vacation Packages | Egypt Travel Guide

12. Thailand

Pagoda in Doi Inthanon National Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Pagoda in Doi Inthanon National Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Temperatures: Low 72° F | High 90° F

Highlights: Warm weather, culture, wildlife, beaches, water sports, museums, cuisine

Other recommended travel times: March | April | May | November | December

Thailand is the perfect destination for pristine beaches, tropical forests, colorful architecture, and bountiful cuisine.

The culture itself mirrors the climate: warm, refreshing, and generous. Aromas of lemongrass melt into a breeze spiced with sea salt, and an abundance of culinary classes represent the historic mastery of melding flavors of spicy, sweet, salty, and sour.

From waterfalls to honeycombed karsts, elegant temples to exotic island sands, Thailand is an experience that rewards you with memories specific to the local majesty.

Learn more: Thailand Tours & Vacations | Thailand Travel Guide

13. Brazil

Iguazu Falls, Brazil

Iguazu Falls, Brazil

Temperatures: Low 78° F | High 86° F

Highlights: Warm weather, culture, beaches, water sports, trekking, cuisine

Other recommended travel times: March | August | November

Exotic is the best way to describe Brazil’s unique medley of rainforests, beaches, historic culture, and cosmopolitan cities. Decorative arts exude proud histories representing integral cultures and the nation’s greater heritage.

The entire country pluses to a distinctive rhythm with world-class art museums, eclectic cuisine, idyllic coastlines, and immersive jungle explorations. In January, you can experience the heart of the Southern Hemisphere’s summer to enjoy the legendary scope of Brazil’s biodiversity to find scarlet macaws, thundering waterfalls, and white-sand beaches.

Learn more: Brazil Tours & Vacations | Brazil Travel Guide

14. Vietnam

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Temperatures: Low 79° F | High 61° F

Highlights: Culture, historical towns, scenery, museums, beaches, water sports

Other recommended travel times: March | April | November

Vietnam is a marvelous representation of staggering natural wonder and complex cultural heritage, megacities roaring with life, and hill-tribe villages brimming with tradition.

Exotic landscapes and compelling customs can create deep sensory connections with limestone islands soaring above crystalline waters or small restaurants sizzling with the sounds of authentic cuisine.

The tropical winter month of January offers a perfect cool climate to plunge into oceanic waters, travel evergreen hills, visit marble temples, or witness the glowing green paddy fields.

Learn more: Vietnam Tours & Vacations | Vietnam Travel Guide

15. Peru

Temperatures: Low 74° F | High 80° F

Highlights: Warm weather, culture, scenery, beaches, wildlife, ancient ruins

Other recommended travel times: January | February | June | November

January is the heart of the summer for the Southern Hemisphere and a great time to visit Peru no matter the kind of adventure you want to have. While the Andes and the Amazon can be rainy, closing down the Inca Trail or keeping the jungle lush, the crowds are often smaller.

The scenery is colorful and bright. The sun is warm and, even around the rainy season, prevalent. January can unveil great treasures across Peru, whether looking for beaches or untamed wildlife, the desert landscape or Incan ruins.

Learn more: Peru Vacations & Tours | Peru Travel Guide

Plan your trip for January

Cape Winelands, South Africa

Cape Winelands, South Africa

January is a fantastic time to travel around the world and you can find the right destination for you no matter the type of vacation you want to experience. Zicasso’s Travel Blog is also a great source for finding new insights into select destinations. Thinking of planning a trip? You can speak with our team for free by filling out a Trip Request or by calling 1-888-265-9707.

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