1- South Africa
South Africa! Amazing food and wine, beaches, hotels. Sensational scenery, from the Garden Route and Western Cape to the Little Karoo. Completely thrilling wildlife encounters on safari, staying at the most incredible lodges; or along the coastline, in knock-out villas. January is one of the best months for all those things.
Rajasthan is spectacular in January. It’s pleasantly warm, the holiday crowds have vanished and you can dance through its palaces as if on your own private Bollywood set. Don’t miss the jewels in its crown – pastel-hued Jaipur, turquoise-speckled Jodhpur and romantically golden Udaipur – but leave room in your itinerary for a few forgotten treasures: serene Jal Mahal or the lost city of Bhangarh.
The coast of Mexico is everything the British winter is not: light, colour, exoticism; warm and spicy and exuberant. Parties on the beach, yoga under the trees, a dip in dappled-light cenotes. We fell for the cosmic vibes of Tulum, and the little barefoot island of Isla Holbox, off the tip of the Yucatán Peninsula.
Thailand is heavenly in January. Yes, it’s peak season, but the mayhem of the Christmas and New Year parties are over; Bangkok is just about as pleasant as it’s ever going to get, and the islands on the south-western, Andaman Coast are just lovely: Koh Phi Phi, Phuket, Koh Lanta.
There are so many things to see in the coast of Brazil!So many thousands of miles of empty, golden sand, striped with the shadows of palm trees and lapped by surf or turquoise waters. Beautiful people drinking caipirinhas at the coolest beach parties. The kind of places that really get our travel clichés rolling.
Head on up the Gold Coast to Byron Bay, Australia or the Whitsundays, or the Great Barrier Reef, or indeed anywhere else along the east coast – the good times just keep rolling. January is the best month to go, after the crowds of December and when the weather’s hot but not too hot. Food, drink, beaches, private islands… They do everything big and bold and in style.
Nicaragua! Quite possibly the Central American country that has it all: tropical rainforests and untouched beaches, fringed with palms, distant cloud-capped volcanoes, and recently some extraordinarily special eco-lodges. January has the double blessing of being the month with the best temperatures everywhere!
Every year in Sweden the Ice hotel is rebuilt from huge slabs of ice. It’s a special place to stay and includes one night wrapped in reindeer skins on an ice bed (an amazing experience!). You can fortify yourself with vodka shots at the ice bar. It’s challenging, isn’t it?
Tanzania! Consider putting yourself to the test by tackling Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. January marks the beginning of the first dry season of the year with warm temperatures and largely clear skies in the morning and evenings, ideal for scaling Kili’s dizzying heights.
We could not forget about Switzerland! Swiss Alps state it all. Stay up somewhere in the mountains. Once you are above 1000m (normally), you are above the fog and it is sunny and much warmer, and amazingly beautiful! Plus all those winter activities will be added to your leisure! Happy traveling, friends!