Whoever says vacationing in January, immediately thinks of skiing. And even though that’s a safe bet this time of year, not everyone’s a fan of winter sports. Of course you could decide to go to the Alps or some other ski destination anyway because your friends absolutely want to get on those slopes – you’d be a great friend but you wouldn’t have much to do, apart from eating and drinking too much and maybe hanging out in the spa. But what if this year, you decided to finally accept the fact that you’re a horrible skier? What if you went somewhere else completely?
Because even though winter sport destinations might be the obvious choice this month, there’s much more out there to explore at the beginning of the year. There are cold climates with natural wonders, hot climates with beautiful beaches and everything in between. Thanks to our wonderful planet, there’s always a variety of different seasons to explore, making sure you’ve got plenty of options to choose from. But where to begin? We asked around and found the best destinations for your ski-free holiday.
1. Vietnam, Laos and other destinations in Southeast Asia
Let’s face it, many of us only think about visiting South-East Asia during the summer months. It seems like the logical choice as that’s often the time of year we’ve got the most time off and well, why not? What we tend to forget by doing so, however, is the local climate. When you visit from May to let’s say October, you’re in the midst of the local raining season, meaning you’ll probably get wet at least once a day. Now, during January, however, the weather’s sunny and dry – perfect to do some sightseeing and beach hanging, if you ask us. Moreover, there are probably a lot less tourists so you won’t get crowded as often!
2. Canary Islands
Looking for a destination closer to home? The Canary Islands are a great option if you want to escape those never-ending, greyish winter months that are so common in Western Europe. Here, temperatures might not be tropical but you’ll be a lot less cold anyway and it’s the perfect weather if you enjoy long hikes and surfing holidays. And as they’re so close by, you could easily visit for a long weekend in order to quickly recharge your batteries – and vitamin D levels.
3. Troms og Finnmark
Have you ever heard of Troms og Finnmark, the northernmost region of Europe? It’s located in Norway, so you might expect tons of snow, but you don’t go there for the skiing or winter sport facilities. Instead, it’s all about the natural wonder that is the aurora borealis, aka the Northern lights. Even though the phenomenon is pretty unpredictable and you’ll have to be patient in order to see it, January is the perfect time to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime wonder. There are plenty of different kinds of accommodation, so it’s up to you how adventurous you want to go.
4. Japanese Alps
Yes, we’re talking Alps. And yes, it’ll be cold. But hear us out. Contrary to the Alps we usually talk about, the Japanese Alps aren’t all about getting on the slopes and becoming the most active version of yourself. Of course your ski-loving company could get what they’re looking for but it’s also the perfect place to enjoy a soak in an olsen or hot spring bath. And if you go over to Jigokudani, you could even spot some snow monkeys enjoying the same ritual. Enjoying a winter holiday in an ever-so snowy yet culturally very different destination is the perfect change of scenery for a January break if you ask us.
Even though Hungary is quite a great destination to visit during the summer months as well, a winter break will let you enjoy some of its capital’s greatest attractions: the spring baths. Sure, they’re open during the other seasons as well but there’s nothing like diving into the hot outdoor pools when it’s minus something – talking about a temperature shock. Make sure to make the most out of the city’s cultural scene as well, by going to the many museums and the opera. Oh and of course, don’t forget to order a hot chocolate in one of Budapest’s beautiful old cafés.