Where to Travel in January

Where to Travel in January

January blues, be gone. Whether you’re craving a sun-soaked escape or seeking a snow-powdered getaway, here’s a bucketful of inspiration on where best to kick-start 2023

that time of year again. The decorations have been tucked
back into their hiding places, we’re trading evening tipples for herbal teas, and the
fitness regime is all systems go. Let’s be real: there’s no better
time to hit refresh than when the festive season comes to an end –
resolutions and goals, we’re looking at you. With that in mind, we
can’t help but start planning our first getaway for 2023. Aside
from sating your wanderlust, holidaying in January means avoiding both peak-season crowds
and price inflations. So, grab your favourite carry-on and chart
your course to one of these lesser-trodden landscapes to start the
new year in style.

Beat the blues: 21 must-visit destinations for January

Bad Gastein, Austria

Bad Gastein


There’s something distinctly Wes Anderson-eque about this elegant Austrian
town. Once a favourite of European royalty, who found its curative
waters and restorative mountain landscapes suitably de-stressing,
it’s now where in-the-know Austrians and Germans head to hit steep,
relatively empty slopes and carve up scenic cross-country routes.
Bad Gastein is higher than most Austrian
resorts, so you can count on the powder to be fresh – considerable
snowfall is expected across the region for the 2023 season. Try
Blonde Beans
, a Swedish-owned café serving coffee made from
Malmö-roasted beans and Gastein mountain water. The sticky homemade
kanelbullar (cinnamon buns) are an added bonus. You’ll find the
café across the street from the train station. Stay at architect
and hotelier Ike Ikrath’s Hotel Miramonte for sweeping valley views, a
private Aveda spa and 36 elegant yet intimate bedrooms.

nightfall at the dolomites italy

The Dolomites


Nestled in the heart of Northwest Italy, this area is famed for
its dreamy yet dramatic landscape – think lakeside lodgings against
a backdrop of jagged-tooth mountain peaks. Though it would hardly
be a new year’s extravaganza without a day or two on the slopes,
we’re heading here largely for the thriving cultural scene. Between
ski runs, be sure to refuel in one of the area’s many romantic
restaurants or bars. To soak up 360-degree views of the fairy
tale-like surrounds, bed down in a cosy cabin. Chalet Dolomit is our personal favourite. FYI:
at just over a two-hour drive away, Vienna makes for the perfect
day trip.

sheep on track in kinsale ireland


County Cork, Ireland

After weeks of festive feasting, we’re well and truly ready to
recharge and reset. Enter, Kinsale. This lesser-trodden Irish harbour town
is home to artisan boutiques and rustic restaurants serving
farm-to-table menus. There’s no better feeling than gulping
lungfuls of fresh country air, so we suggest dusting off your
walking boots and exploring on foot. For a proper ramble, we’d
recommend going a little further afield. Just outside of town
you’ll find spectacular green spaces, where you’ll be able to stomp
to your heart’s content.


Argentina and Chile

Patagonia’s spectacular scenery is a bucket-list worthy travel
experience. Be it a visit to the mammoth Perito Moreno glacier,
travelling to Ushuaia, aka “the end of the world”, or spending the
day whale-watching, this is a trip that’ll stick with you forever.
Insider tip: it also makes for a fantastic alternative honeymoon



If Amsterdam hasn’t been popping up left, right and
centre in your social feed all winter, we’re assuming you’re on a
digital detox. Yes, this place is hardly off the beaten track, and
can attract more than its fair share of teenage visitors, but it
remains one of Europe’s most magical destinations – and for good
reason. To get to grips with the city and discover some of its
best-kept secrets, we’d recommend hiring a bicycle and peddling the
length of its three main canals, Herengracht, Prinsengracht and
Keizersgracht. Be sure to make pit stops at the Van Gogh
and the Anne Frank House.

nicaragua colourful streetscape january


Central America

Nicaragua is not as crowded as its neighbouring Central American
countries. Immerse yourself in the azure tranquillity of the
Caribbean Sea on the east coast, or the crashing waves of the
Pacific on the west. Be sure to leave room in your luggage to take
home some of the country’s world-famous coffee and chocolate

Gabon, Africa


Central Africa

On the west coast of Central Africa, Gabon is a country of
wildlife-filled parkland framed by sandy beaches on one side and
thick rainforests on the other. Just over 10 per cent of the
country is dedicated to protected parkland. Loango National Park is the most popular, known as “Africa’s
last Eden” for its patches of dense forests interspersed with
lagoons and white-sand beaches. Visit the colourful city of
Libreville to enjoy vibrant street markets, modern restaurants and
buzzy bars, and take a boat to spend the day on nearby
Pointe-Denis, a sandy peninsula perfect for sunbathing and
watersports. Go in January for some winter sun and to catch a
glimpse of sea turtles – they nest between November and

sayulita palm trees mexico



Sat on the southern end of Nayarit state, this sleepy fishing
village is blessed with views of both the Sierra Madre Occidental
mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Though its colourful markets are a
must for some stellar retail therapy, we’re pegging Sayulita as
Mexico’s best spot for surfing. Local beaches
offer waves so dramatic that many renowned pros from the likes of
Santa Monica and the Gold Coast make an annual pilgrimage here.

bruges belgium christmas market



Fitness bunnies look away: this place is Belgium’s answer to
Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, making it a dream destination for
chocoholics. With twinkly light-plastered streets, jewel-coloured
facades and medieval architecture galore, there’s plenty to fall in
love with here. It’s the city’s tasty gastronomic boutiques,
however, that we’ll be making a beeline for. We’re talking
chocolate in flavours you didn’t even know existed, in all kinds of
intricate shapes and styles. If you weren’t already keen,
syrup-drizzled waffles and extra-large mugs of hot chocolate are
pretty much the Bruges equivalent of a green juice and acai

Strasbourg, France



Itching for a weekend getaway? Look no further than the
crossroads of culture that is the serene city of Strasbourg. Thanks
to its charming blend of French and German heritage, we’re ranking
this as the most romantic retreat France has to offer – outside of
the obvious, Paris. Picture a landscape peppered by medieval houses
overlooking the Rhine River – it hardly comes as a surprise that
Beauty and the Beast was set here. Stroll the snow-dusted streets
and be sure to take time to browse the many gift shops stocking
local sweet treats. Top tip: stay at Régent Contades, a hotel and spa that makes
braving the frosty air worthwhile.

Edinburgh, Scotland



If, like us, you’re saving sun-worshipping for the warmer
months, you’ll want to schedule in a trip to the Scottish capital
of Edinburgh. A five-hour train journey from Kings
Cross, the much-storied city is framed by imposing granite
buildings and peppered with cobbled alleys you’ll want to get lost
in. Not only rich in history, Edinburgh is home to a diverse and
ever-evolving cultural scene. Looking for some retail therapy?
Visit George Street – and leave with bags brimming with souvenirs.
A slower vibe can be found within the jazz bars of the Old Town.
We’re making Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel our base for a
romantic weekend, partly for its stylish and snug interiors, but
largely for the hotel’s spa. Treat yourself to a signature facial
or seaweed body wrap.

Plovdiv, Bulgaria



Proudly flaunting its status as the oldest city in Europe, Plovdiv’s convoluted history –
stretching back over 6,000 years – can be seen in disparate
imperial buildings, from ancient Roman and Persian ruins to the
decadent Balkan and Ottoman architecture that lines the city’s
streets. Explore the remnants of past empires as you wander through
Plovdiv’s old town. Visit the iconic Roman amphitheatre, built
around 90 CE and only discovered after a landslide in the 70s, and
the 600-year-old Dzhumaya Mosque next door, or climb the ruined
fortress of Nebet Tepe for views across the city. Where to stay?
Hotel Boris Palace makes for a sumptuous boutique
stay, complete with a rooftop terrace offering panoramic views
across the old town.

Malton, North Yorkshire
Photo credit: Wirestock Creators // Shutterstock.com


North Yorkshire, UK

There’s a lot to love about Malton, the unofficial food capital
of Yorkshire, where you’ll find stellar local produce alongside
wheelbarrows-full of traditional character. Taste your way around
town with a trip to Talbot Yard Food Court. The former stableyard features
an impressive selection of artisanal suppliers, most of whom follow
a “Made in Malton” ethos. Hit up Bluebird Bakery for oven-fresh
bread, Food 2 Remember for premium-quality meat and The Groovy Moo
for whatever-the-weather gelato. Then, flit between Atom Retro for
60s clothing, Hare & Wilde for Scandi-inspired homeware and
Cosy Cottage Soap for organic skincare.

Bodo, Norway



Right at the northernmost tip of Norway’s railway system, Bodø
is the gateway to the Arctic Circle. Almost entirely destroyed
after a Luftwaffe bombing in the Second World War, the city has
been gradually rebuilt as a cultural hotspot in Nordland county.
One for nature lovers, Bodø is brimming with flora and fauna. Known
as the Sea Eagle Capital, the city has the world’s most dense
concentration of white-tailed sea eagles. Drive along the
Kystriksveien Coastal Route on Highway 17 to witness the region’s
glacial beauty. It’s the perfect basepoint for expeditions into the
dramatic landscape, glimpsing the northern lights and escaping into
the Arctic wilderness.

Koh Tonsay, Cambodia

Koh Tonsay


As far-flung Southeast Asian islands go, Rabbit Island (as Koh
Tonsay is more commonly known) is easily accessible, being just a
30-minute boat ride from Kep, but it remains a haven for those
seeking the simple life. Days are best spent alternating between
lounging in hammocks and dozing in sun-bleached sun loungers,
before gorging on fisherman’s fare. Evenings are for swapping
jet-setting tales or, more commonly at weekends, warming up the
vocals and blaring out ear-splitting renditions of cult favourites
from a pop-up karaoke bar.

Phu Quoc


While island-hopping through Southeast Asia remains a common
gap-year plan, Phu Quoc has remained relatively free from
overexcited teens seeking full moon parties. More than half of the
island was named a Unesco Biosphere Reserve in 2010, meaning most
travellers make the pilgrimage here for rare birds and wildlife
rather than beer, bongs and house music. Duong Dong is the largest
town on the island and has its fair share of high-end hotels.
Meander down to Duong Dong Market to see brightly coloured food
stalls selling freshly caught seafood and zingy tropical fruit
juices. In the afternoon, head to Dinh Cau Rock, a temple perched
atop a collection of boulders at the mouth of the Duong Dong River.
Hop over 29 stone steps to reach this Buddhist shrine, built in
1937 to honour Thien Hau, the goddess of the sea. Stay until the
evening to watch the sunset from the temple’s terrace, overlooking
the Duong Dong fishing harbour and Dinh Cau beach.

yamba, new south wales, australia


New South Wales, Australia

Sitting in the north of NSW and at the mouth of the Clarence
River, the sleepy fishing town of Yamba remains virtually undiscovered. But what
it lacks in tourist footfall, it makes up for in community spirit.
Take the Yamba Surf Lifesaving Club. Formed in 1908 (making it one
of the oldest surf clubs in the world), it continues to go from
strength to strength today. In the same way, the town’s
centuries-old sugar cane and oyster industry remain Yamba’s beating
heart. Bed down at The Surf Yamba. The intimate 12-room boutique
hotel oozes a stylish Scandi-style aesthetic. Picture wicker
chairs, earth-toned furnishings, hints of blush detailing and a
smattering of Italian terrazzo tiles. Mornings should start with a
gentle paddle in its plunge pool on the rooftop terrace, where,
with each lap, you’ll soak up sweeping views across Main Beach.

Ito, Japan



Who doesn’t love a beach holiday? Okay, this might not be a
seaside getaway as you know it, but this lesser-visited city on
Japan’s Izu Peninsula has theatrical coastal views made for sunset
strolls, which more than makes up for its lack of stylish beach
bars. Before sundowners at KAI Anjin ryokan, there’s lots to pack in. There are
the Barbie-pink gardens of Komuroyama Park to ogle, eight onsens in
which to bathe and Mount Omuro or the Jogasaki coastline to hike.
The brave can geotag themselves on Jogasaki Suspension Bridge,
which floats above an 18m drop.

Fort Lauderdale, US

Fort Lauderdale

Florida, US

Bordered by picture-perfect Palm Beach and seriously sexy Miami,
the no-frills coastal city of Fort Lauderdale has long served as a pit-stop
destination. Recently, however, thanks to a fresh breed of
creatives setting up shop, the city has undergone something of a
renaissance, with independent galleries, design-driven hotels and
edgy art studios cropping up along its sun-kissed coastline. Art
enthusiasts will want to carve out time to visit Sarah Glass
, a woman-owned pottery studio dedicated to creativity
and community. Those looking to get their hands dirty should book
onto one of the studio’s workshops. Settle in at Pillars Hotel, where airy bedrooms showcase art
deco furnishings and sparkling sea views. Find a space at the
palm-fringed pool, which is surrounded by plush, pin-striped
loungers, before moving onto cocktails at the sultry in-house
Secret Garden restaurant.

Campeche, Mexico



Situated in the country’s south-east, Campeche has long
attracted day-trippers to its sorbet-coloured streets, but its
appeal has gone up a gear lately, with the refurbishment of
18th-century guesthouse Las Lupitas. Both honouring the port city’s
history and showcasing contemporary style, the five-key boutique is
a stylish independent base unlike anything else on the local
accommodation landscape. Head to Campeche Botanical Garden, where
narrow passageways flanked by rare tropical plants lead to a
beautiful central fountain – the perfect spot at which to curl up
with a good book. Find your seafood fix at Marganzo
, whose burnt-orange facade is bordered by
oyster-white columns and windows are laced with potted plants.
Inside, you’ll find buttercup-yellow walls, chequered tile floors
and tables topped with abstract-print cloths. The menu includes the
likes of shrimp soups, cod tacos and crab salad.

Breckenridge, Colorado US


Colorado, US

Sitting just below the Rocky Mountains’ Tenmile Range,
Breckenridge looks something like a spaghetti western town dropped
into an Arctic idyll, with its colourful, saloon-style storefronts
surrounded by snow-capped peaks. Gravity Haus offers the full ski-in, ski-out
experience. Located below Peak 9, this alpine lodge has all the
cosy touches of a superb ski stay (open hearths and wood-panelled
walls included), plus a Japanese-inspired onsen spa to soothe sore
legs post-slopes. Fancy yourself a black-run baller? Test your grit
on the adrenaline-inducing Peak 6. Spanning five peaks of the
Tenmile Range, Breckenridge Ski Resort offers a diverse terrain
suitable for all abilities, but is best known for having some of
the most difficult downhills in the US.

This article was updated on 29 December 2022. It contains
affiliate links, which means SUITCASE may earn a small commission
if you click through and book.

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