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The Best Places to Travel in Europe in January

Come January, the holiday season is over, and you may be a few pounds heavier and a few (hundred) dollars lighter. You might be sick of traveling, too, if you had to make your way through jam-packed airports and bumper-to-bumper traffic to see friends and family this holiday season. That said, if you stop traveling in December, you’ll miss out on some magical experiences. Winter is an amazing time to visit Europe so you can take advantage of cheaper prices, fewer crowds, and picturesque winter wonderlands . You may have to brave colder temperatures, but that can be part of the fun. Bundle up in warm jackets, hats, scarves, and mittens and enjoy snowy activities, including sleigh rides and ice castle tours in some of Europe’s most fascinating cities and landscapes. Then, take a break from sightseeing and warm up in cozy restaurants and interesting museums. Book a winter getaway at one of these best places to visit in Europe in January.

Rovaniemi, Finland

Rovaniemi is the perfect destination for a wintry vacation filled with snowy fun. Get around on a snowmobile, a dog sled, or a reindeer sleigh, and try some winter sports including snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or ice fishing. Rovaniemi is also a great walking city, and there are several walking tours and museums to experience to learn a little more about this Finnish town. Consider buying the Culture Pass, which gets you into three attractions for one price. With this pass, you can learn about the history of Lapland and Arctic research at Arktikum, get to know northern contemporary art in the Korundi House of Culture, and familiarize yourself with the northern forests at Science Centre Pilke.

Take a Hurtigruten Cruise along the stunning Norwegian coast this January for a unique winter vacation. The cruise line offers trips that take you to the Arctic Circle and North Cape, where you’ll take in picturesque winter scenery. Plus, there’s a chance you can even catch a glimpse of the northern lights. Be sure to check out Oslo, where you take a fjord cruise or learn about Nordic history at the Viking Ship Museum. Try cross-country skiing or sledding at Korketrekkeren. While you’re there, visit Frognerseteren, an old-fashioned cafe that has views of the Oslofjorden and serves apple pie, hot chocolate, and, of course, Norwegian waffles.

The Canary Islands

If you want to skip the wintry wonderlands and go for a warm island vacation in January, try the Canary Islands, which share Africa’s climate but are actually part of Spain. While on the islands, you hike on volcanoes, like the famous Mount Teide on Tenerife. You can also try tackling Roque de los Muchachos, which reaches almost 8,000 feet in elevation (but it gets cold in the winter, so bundle up if you plan to reach the top).

While it might be a little too chilly to enjoy the beaches, there are plenty of other activities on the islands. Take time to go off-roading on sand dunes and enjoy the local Canarian cuisine.

A New Year's swim on the first day of the year is a Canary Island tradition in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Be sure to also check out the Canary Islands International Music Festival, which happens in January and February.

Vienna, Austria

This city is famous for its Christmas markets, but you can enjoy its unique history and culture in January without the holiday crowds. Stop into a local cafe to experience Viennese coffee house culture and warm up with a toasty beverage after a day of touring the city. If you’re in Vienna for the New Year, try following the Silvesterpfad, a New Year’s Eve trail which takes you to different stages with live music. Stop and enjoy a glass of mulled wine or champagne while you prep for the coming year.

Bavaria, Germany

Southern Germany is lovely throughout the year, but it turns into a snowy wonderland during the winter months. Think about basing yourself in Munich, an urban center that is walkable and offers several nearby day trip options. Consider traveling to Salzburg, Austria or visiting Munich Residenz, the former home of the royal family and the largest city palace in Germany.

January may be the best time of year to visit the nearby famous Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria. This castle is known as the inspiration for Cinderella’s castle at Walt Disney World, and it’s going to look even prettier covered in snow.

London, England

Take in this historic city in January and skip the holiday crowds. You can wander down quiet streets and visit museums like the Tate Modern (which features modern art) or the National Gallery, which has works from da Vinci, van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Michelangelo.

During the day, visit historic sites like the Tower of England (where you can view the Crown Jewels) or Westminster Abbey. Then warm up in a cozy pub with a pint and some fish and chips.

Gstaad, Switzerland

January is the best time to visit western Switzerland. There’s tons of great skiing, with runs to fit every level — from beginners to experts. You can even try night skiing at Rinderberg, which stays open late with floodlit slopes. Each year, the nearby town of Château-d’Oex hosts a nine-day hot air balloon festival, and the snow-capped mountains make a perfect backdrop for the hundreds of colorful balloons that decorate the sky.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Consider ringing in the new year in the party city of Amsterdam. You can visit fascinating museums during the day and enjoy the city’s vibrant nightlife in the evenings.

Each January, Amsterdam is filled with art installations for the Amsterdam Light Festival, which lasts until January 19. There are 30 different light installations to explore around the city. Then, you can try ice skating at Ice Amsterdam at Museumplein, or celebrate National Tulip Day on January 18, where you can pick up a tulip in Dam Square.

Monte Carlo, Monaco

January offers a taste of the famous Formula 1 Grand Prix (held every May) with the Monte-Carlo Rally, held at the end of January. Even though it’s not as exciting as the main event, this race still brings parties and excitement to the city.

While in Monaco, be sure to check out the iconic Monte Carlo Casino, made famous in the James Bond films and books. Stop by the Oceanographic Museum to learn about marine life, or go shopping at the Metropole Shopping Centre and Fontvieille Shopping Centre.

Sierra Nevada, Spain

If you want great skiing without the frigid temperatures, try the southernmost ski region in Europe in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Spain. This resort area has 65 miles of trails with lots of routes for beginner and intermediate skiers.

Be sure to check out the beautiful Alhambra in nearby Granada. The walled palace dates back to the 13th century, and it was home to King Charles V and Queen Isabel during the 16th century.

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The 15 Best Places to Visit in Europe in January

Best Places to Visit in Europe in January

With all the excitement of Christmas and New Year’s , it’s easy to be so overwhelmed with everything going on that you completely forget what a great month January is for traveling . At this time of year, many of Europe’s most charismatic cities are deserted, meaning you can visit the iconic museums and see the famous landmarks without having to fight your way through crowds. 

There’s no way around it – most of Europe is pretty chilly in January. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Ancient fairytale villages look even more magical when they’re covered in a light dusting of snow, and remote ski resorts provide a dynamic alternative if you want to get away from cosmopolitan life.

Whether you want to lounge on a sun-kissed beach and forget that winter even exists or embrace the enchanting season and explore medieval towns while feeling like you’re the only person in the world, January is a great time to travel throughout Europe. To help you plan the perfect winter escape, we’ve put together a fantastic selection of warm-weather destinations and winter wonderlands for you to check out!

Don’t forget to check out our web story: The 15 Best Places to Visit in Europe in January

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase or booking through one of our links we may earn a small commission (don’t worry, it’s at no extra cost to you).

The 15 Best Places in Europe to Visit in January

1. tenerife, canary islands.

Best Cities to Visit in Europe in January: Tenerife, Canary Islands

The Canary Islands is one of your best options if you’re looking for warm European destinations in January. The volcanic archipelago is located closer to northwestern Africa than it is to mainland Spain, giving it a wonderful climate all year round. In January, temperatures rarely drop below 60°F (15°C), and they can often go as high as 70°F (21°C). If there’s a Calima sandstorm, temperatures can even spike up to a boiling 90°F (32°C).

Not only are the Canary Islands a fabulous place to visit in January because of the weather, but this special time of year is also when you’ll find the biggest Christmas celebrations. While Christmas Day is certainly acknowledged, the main festive event takes place on the eve of Epiphany (January 5).

What Places to Visit in Europe in January: Tenerife, Canary Islands

Tenerife is a fantastic place to be at this time of year when cities throughout the island come to life in preparation to welcome the three kings. In Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the island’s capital city, the three kings arrive by helicopter and parade throughout the streets on camels, handing out gifts and sweets to children who have been well-behaved all year!

2. Belgrade, Serbia

Must Visit Places in Europe in January: Belgrade, Serbia

If New Year’s is your favorite celebration, spend January in Belgrade, Serbia. Not only will you be able to celebrate the typical New Year’s Day on January 1, but you’ll get to celebrate the beginning of the Serbian New Year on January 15, too.

Serbia is a largely Eastern Orthodox country that uses the Julian calendar as its liturgical calendar. This means locals in Belgrade celebrate Christmas Day on January 7 and New Year’s Day on January 15. They still celebrate on January 1, like the rest of the world, but they also get a second big party two weeks later.

Where to Vacation in Europe in January: Belgrade, Serbia

Because Christmas falls so late in Serbia, Christmas markets still abound in the first half of January. Republic Square, the main square in Belgrade, is where you’ll find one of the city’s best Christmas markets. Wander around the cute wooden huts and pick up all kinds of festive treats and souvenirs. 

On January 4, Serbian families traditionally burn oak branches on a big fire. Head to St. Sava Temple after sunset and see the unique Christmas Eve custom for yourself. 

3. Santorini, Greece

Best Places to Visit in Europe in January: Santorini, Greece

The Greek Islands are magical places to visit. But in summer, their alluring charm is tainted by the swarms of visitors which descend on the archipelago. If you want to experience the islands at their best, visit them out of season, when the sleepy coastal towns are mostly full of a small number of residents.

Out of all the islands, Santorini is one of the best European destinations in January. The Aegean jewel is pleasantly mild at this time of year, with temperatures ranging from lows of 48°F (9°C) to highs of 57°F (14°C). It may not be the warmest place in Europe, but the island hardly gets any rain and is bathed in plenty of sunshine throughout the month.

Best Cities to Visit in Europe in January: Santorini, Greece

Because so few people visit Santorini in January, it’s an excellent time to take in the most iconic sites. Spend lazy days on the island’s golden beaches, explore the ancient site of Akrotiri, check out the Thera ruins, and watch the sunset from a cute seafood restaurant by the sea.

4. Auvergne Region, France

Must Visit Places in Europe in January: Auvergne Region, France

If this time of year typically leaves you feeling gloomy, mix things up a bit and plan an alpine adventure. France’s Auvergne Region is one of the top locations in Europe for all kinds of adrenaline-pumping winter sports.

There’s the Mont-Dore Ski Resort for fast-paced skiing down soft snowy slopes, as well as Chastreix-Sancy for cross-country skiing if you fancy a bit of a challenge or don’t want to take things too fast just yet.

Where to Vacation in Europe in January: Auvergne Region, France

For something even tamer, consider snowshoeing across one of the trails that surround Puy de Dôme. This is the highest peak of the ancient Auvergne volcano range and rewards visitors with spectacular views. 

If you really want to get your heart racing, consider dog mushing or snow kiting. Both of these extreme winter sports are available in Le Lioran and Prabouré, respectively. 

5. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Best Cities to Visit in Europe in January: Amsterdam, the Netherlands

There are loads of amazing festivals going on throughout Europe at this time of year, and you’ll find one of the most spectacular and spellbinding in the Netherlands . One of the best places to visit in Europe in January, Amsterdam hosts its remarkable Light Festival in winter.

This spectacular 53-day event begins at the start of December and continues until the end of January, giving you plenty of opportunities to check it out. No matter how many incredible Christmas lights you’ve seen before, you’ve never seen anything quite like what Amsterdam has to offer during its festival.

Best Places to Visit in Europe in January: Amsterdam, the Netherlands

National and international artists flock to the city for the chance to show off their mind-bending work. Sculptures of all shapes, sizes, and designs are scattered throughout the city center and along the dreamy canals, all illuminated with the most wonderful lights. From giant butterflies floating on the canal to bizarre space-like objects that seem to hover in the sky, this festival will leave you questioning your eyes!

Experience the Amsterdam Light Festival

6. The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Must Visit Places in Europe in January: Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Iceland is at the top of many people’s bucket lists and if you’ve always wanted to go, consider booking flights for January. Although this is the darkest and coldest month of the year (Iceland only gets six hours of daylight, and temperatures typically drop as low as 30°F/-1°C), it’s also one of the quietest.

Hordes of people travel to Iceland to spend the holidays there. After New Year’s has come and gone, the place is practically empty, making it an excellent time to see the sights and explore. 

What Places Have Shoulder Season in Europe in January: Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Now is the time to trek through solid ice caves and hike over stunning rugged glaciers. It’s also the best month to relax in the steamy Blue Lagoon and snap unique selfies without a bunch of other people in the background.

Another added bonus is that January is a fantastic time to spot the Northern Lights. With wonderfully clear skies and plenty of dark hours, you’ve got a great chance of seeing this natural phenomenon.

7. Lapland, Finland

Best Places to Visit in Europe in January: Lapland, Finland

When it comes to where to go in Europe in January for a truly magical experience you’ll be telling people about for the rest of your life, you can’t go wrong with Lapland. While countless families flock there in December for the chance to celebrate Christmas with Santa, this place is shockingly quiet in January, making it a great spot to go for some peace and quiet.

With temperatures ranging between 16°F (-9°C) and 40°F (4°C), you’ve got to be able to brave the cold. But if you wrap up warm, you’ll have the chance to stay in a one-of-a-kind ice hotel. Lapland’s ice hotels are even more whimsical and majestic than you can imagine.

Best Cities to Visit in Europe in January: Lapland, Finland

Almost everything, from the walls and the floor to your bed and sofa, in your room will be made entirely out of ice. Thankfully, you’ll be given some super-soft animal furs and sleeping bags, so you don’t freeze at night! 

See the Lapland Northern Lights

8. Paphos, Cyprus

Where to Vacation in Europe in January: Paphos, Cyprus

Cyprus is absolutely packed with fascinating historic and mythical places to visit. If you’re interested in Greek mythology, you’ve got to take a trip to Aphrodite’s Rock in Paphos. This eye-catching natural wonder rises from the waves and is said to be the birthplace of the goddess of love. If you’re up for it, you can climb to the top of the rock and snap some amazing pictures of the surrounding landscape. 

If you’ve got zero interest in Greek mythology, Paphos is still worth visiting. This is the low season for the city, making it blissfully quiet. Popular sites that are usually buzzing with visitors are almost completely empty at this time of year, giving you the chance to admire ruins that date back as far as the Roman Empire, as well as the Tombs of the Kings, which was created in the 4th century.

Must Visit Places in Europe in January: Paphos, Cyprus

January is surprisingly mild in Paphos, with plenty of sunshine at highs of around 60°F (15°C). This weather is perfect for laid-back beach days without having to worry too much about getting burned. If you’re wondering where to go in Europe in January, Paphos is well worth a visit!

9. Zell am See, Austria

Best Cities to Visit in Europe in January: Zell am See, Austria

Definitely one of the best places in Europe to visit in January, Zell am See in Austria boasts some of the very best skiing opportunities on the continent. The perfect choice for total newbies, amateur skiers, and intermediate ones, the slopes here are a little more gentle than most other resorts, but they’re still plenty of fun.

Zell am See has a pretty low base at 2,500 feet, and the highest ski lift only takes you 6,600 feet into the sky. But if you’re just getting started with skiing, it’s ideal. January is one of the coldest months in the resort, so you can be guaranteed a fresh, thick layer of snow almost every day.

Best Places to Visit in Europe in January: Zell am See, Austria

What makes Zell am See extra special is its idyllic location at Lake Zell. When you’re riding the ski lift to the top of the slope or zooming down it at high speed, you’ll be rewarded with astounding views you won’t be able to take your eyes off. 

10. Lerwick, Scotland

Must Visit Places in Europe in January: Lerwick, Scotland

If you want to carry on the party that Christmas and New Year’s started, make plans to visit Lerwick, the main port in Scotland ’s Shetland Islands. Each January, this usually sleepy city comes to life with one of Europe’s biggest and most impressive fire festivals.

Known by the unusual name of Up Helly Aa , this one-of-a-kind event takes place on the last Tuesday in January and celebrates the local Viking heritage. More than 1,000 locals dress up in costumes that are unbelievably accurate and hurl genuine burning torches into a traditional Viking longship.

What Places Have Shoulder Season in Europe in January: Lerwick, Scotland

As well as the main event, the festival also includes live performances of traditional music. It’s great fun to see locals dressed in period clothing dance just like their ancestors would have done centuries ago. 

There’s also a dramatic torch-lit procession that precedes the torch throwing. The whole thing has a really eerie, Pagan feel, but it’s something you won’t experience anywhere else in the world! 

11. Tromsø, Norway

Best Places to Visit in Europe in January: Tromso, Norway

Spotting the Northern Lights is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most people. If you’ve got some vacation time to use at the start of the year, make plans to visit Europe in January. There are many different places you can spot the spectacular natural light show at this time of year, including Tromsø in Norway .

Most of the city is still in the polar night season in January, when the sun never rises above the horizon. This means most of your trip will be in darkness, giving you the best possible chance of spotting the Northern Lights. 

Best Cities to Visit in Europe in January: Tromso, Norway

Even if you don’t manage to see the stunning show, January is still an excellent time to visit Tromsø. The icy-cold weather at this time of year creates the ideal conditions for all kinds of fun winter sports and activities. 

Fill your to-do list with snowmobiling, dog sledding, snowboarding, skiing, whale watching, and whatever else takes your fancy. If the low temperatures get to be too much for you, you can always hide away in one of the city’s many public saunas. 

Search for the Tromsø Northern Lights

12. Snowdonia National Park, Wales

What Places Have Shoulder Season in Europe in January: Snowdonia National Park, Wales

Get a head start on Valentine’s Day and plan a romantic getaway with your partner to the Snowdonia National Park in Wales. While the rest of the world celebrates Valentine’s Day on February 14, Wales celebrates it on January 25.

On this special day, known locally as St. Dwynwen’s Day, it’s tradition to give your special someone a Welsh love spoon to show them how much they mean to you. In the days leading up to the holiday, you’ll find these cute spoons in all the shops in the local area, so you won’t have to look far.

Where to Vacation in Europe in January: Snowdonia National Park, Wales

There are plenty of phenomenal things to do in the Snowdonia National Park during your visit, too. There are many stunning winter walking trails, the world’s fastest zipline, white water kayaking, horseback riding routes, and mountain biking treks, all of which are running throughout January.

13. Zermatt, Switzerland

Best Cities to Visit in Europe in January: Zermatt, Switzerland

Zermatt is one of the top spots for stretching your legs – it’s surprisingly walkable, even in the middle of winter. This makes it one of the best places to go in Europe in January, whether you’re planning on exploring the city or staying on the outskirts and discovering everything that nature has to offer.

As well as some of the finest snowboarding and skiing opportunities in Europe, Zermatt is also home to fantastic routes for snowshoeing. The scenery you’ll walk through is absolutely enchanting. Make sure you keep a lookout for the famous Matterhorn peak that stands proudly in the distance. 

What Places to Visit in Europe in January: Zermatt, Switzerland

If you’d prefer to move vertically instead of horizontally, the city also boasts some epic ice climbing. Ride the Swiss cable car all the way up to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. Here you’ll find a phenomenal place with 14 icy glaciers, 38 rugged mountain peaks, and some of the most spectacular views you’ve ever laid eyes on.

14. Istria, Croatia

What Places Have Shoulder Season in Europe in January: Istria, Croatia

Istra is one of the few hidden gems that remain a well-kept secret in Europe. The biggest green oasis of the North Adriatic, this stunning vacation destination is the perfect place to visit if you’re craving some winter sunshine.

The weather may be a bit on the cool side in January (temperatures range between 45°F (7°C) and 55°F (13°C), but the blissfully blue skies and warm dazzling sunshine more than make up for it. When there’s absolutely no breeze, these temperatures can feel surprisingly warm and perfect for a day at the beach. 

Where to Vacation in Europe in January: Istria, Croatia

Most find the sea a little too cold for swimming at this time of year, but there are plenty of other things to do in Istria. Like a lot of places, January is the low season for this city, making it one of the best European destinations in January if you hate jostling in crowds.

Streets that are usually overflowing with people, such as the coastal avenues in Rovinj, are beautifully peaceful at this time of year, giving them a totally different vibe from the one most people experience. Amazing archaeological sites, such as Pula Arena, are also all but empty in January! 

Best Places to Visit in Europe in January: Malta

Malta is one of the best places in Europe to visit in January if you want somewhere with stunning sandy beaches, fascinating historical sites, and lively festivals you won’t be able to resist. At this time of year, the weather is warm and sunny, with lows of 48°F (9°C) at night and highs of 61°F (16°C) in the middle of the day. Rain is almost unheard of in January, but you can be sure of plenty of sunshine.

Valletta is one of the best cities to visit in Europe in January. This sleepy medieval town hosts its International Baroque Festival during this month which is something you’ve absolutely got to experience. During this annual 15-day event, all kinds of talented performers from around the world show off their talents at the ball. Expect to see people in lavish costumes performing shows that wouldn’t look out of place centuries ago.

What Places to Visit in Europe in January: Malta

As well as the fun festival, January is also an excellent time for hiking. As the weather is mild, you don’t need to set off early in the morning. Instead, you can follow the most popular routes, such as the Girgenti Country Trail and the Zurrieq Loop, whenever you choose to.

There you have it! The 15 best places to visit in Europe in January. What’s your favorite European destination to travel to in January?

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Best Places to Visit in Europe in January

Nicola is a freelance writer with an insatiable hunger for travel. She swapped her home in the UK for the sunny Canary Islands when she was just 11 and she has been based there ever since. From crawling on her hands and knees inside pyramids in Egypt to swimming with baby sharks in Bali and searching (fruitlessly!) for the Northern Lights in Iceland, Nicola takes every chance she gets to explore new places. The incredible experiences she has around the world fuels her writing and inspires her to plan even more adventures for the future.

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35 Best Places to Visit in Europe in January

Dreaming of a winter getaway? Check out this list of the best places to visit in Europe in January for an unforgettable experience!

January in Europe  is one of the coldest months in the year with the entire continent wrapped in the blanket of thick snow. The continent gets a different look during this month painted in either white and grey or white and black.

So if you are not afraid of the cold, and  planning for a European vacation , January is the most beautiful time of the year.

The days are bright with snow-covered mountains, valleys, and roads to go for snowboarding and  mountain hiking , while the nights are glamorous with exotic cultural events, festivals, and opera nights.

It is one of those times of the year to watch the dreamy snowfalls or taste the lip-smacking European cuisine sitting by the fireplace. The continent has got a lot to offer for the visitors during this time being less crowded and  extremely cost affordable  due to off tourist season.

What is the weather in Europe in January?

The entire month of January is the  coldest winter month in Europe  while the temperatures and snow keep on varying in different parts of the continent.

  • Northern Europe  is cold during January having a maximum temperature of 1 degree and a minimum of -7 degrees.
  •   Western Europe  is equally cold, having temperatures between 1 to 5 degrees.
  •   Eastern Europe  also experiences chilly weather having temperatures between 1 to -3 degrees. All of these parts have extremely shorter days ranging for few hours due to freezing temperatures.
  •   Central Europe , however, is a bit comfortable during winters where the weather is cold and pleasant having temperatures between 7 to 17 degrees. It gives you comfort from freezing and also has moderate snow. This is the warmest part of the continent during January.

So to prepare your  travel bucket list , let’s have a look at the best  places to visit in Europe in January .

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Table of Contents

Dreaming of a winter getaway? Check out this list of the best places to visit in Europe in January for an unforgettable experience!

Advantages of Traveling in January

January is often overlooked as a prime time for travel in Europe, but it’s one of the best months to embark on a city break . Whether you’re seeking cultural immersion, breathtaking landscapes, or simply a change of scenery, there are numerous advantages to visiting Europe in January. One of the most compelling reasons to go to Europe in January is the significantly lower number of tourists. 

Many people travel during peak seasons, leaving January relatively quiet and serene. This means you’ll have more personal space to explore popular attractions and landmarks without the usual crowds. 

It’s truly a unique experience to have famous sites almost entirely to yourself. Furthermore, traveling in January lets you fully appreciate each destination’s authentic charm and character. 

With fewer tourists around, locals are more likely to engage with visitors personally, offering insights into their culture and way of life. You’ll be able to immerse yourself in local customs and traditions while forging genuine connections with the people you encounter. 

Another advantage is that cities are more affordable during this time of year. Accommodation rates and flight prices often drop significantly compared to peak tourist seasons. 

Lower costs mean your budget can stretch further, allowing you to splurge on unique experiences or indulge in local cuisine without breaking the bank. January is also ideal for outdoor enthusiasts as several European countries offer stunning winter landscapes perfect for skiing or snowboarding. 

From picturesque alpine villages nestled amidst snow-capped mountains like Zakopane in Poland or Chamonix-Mont-Blanc in France , there’s no shortage of breathtaking vistas awaiting adventurers. If you appreciate art and culture, visiting museums and galleries becomes an absolute treat during this time. 

With fewer visitors jostling for space, you’ll have uninterrupted access to renowned masterpieces at places like The Louvre Museum in Paris or The British Museum in London. Take your time, savor the beauty, and truly absorb the artistic creations without feeling rushed. 

January is an underrated gem when it comes to deciding to visit Europe. From the tranquility and personal space to the affordability and unique winter landscapes, it’s clear that this month presents countless advantages for travelers. 

So why not break away from the conventional travel seasons and embark on a city break in Europe this January? You will be satisfied by the abundance of places to go in Europe during this time, offering experiences that are absolutely one of the best. 

Are you planning your travels? Here’re my top travel resources!

I’m a serial planner both in life and in travel – I have bucket lists, things to do, see, and everything. So, I always love when my life is sorted easily using tools and resources that would make my general planning a little smoother and easier. Therefore, in my many years of traveling the world, I’ve seen myself returning to these travel resources repeatedly. And here I am, sharing my tips to make your life easy and breezy so you can stress less, travel heaps, and focus on the fun part of travel!

  • Booking.com  – I book all my hotels through this website and don’t honestly use anything else. They always have the best prices, in my opinion.
  • Airbnb  – If I’m traveling long-term to one destination, I book my flats through Airbnb.
  • Skyscanner  – The best place to find cheap flights on flexible dates. I use this a lot to score cheap flights within Europe!
  • SafetyWing  – Always travel insured! Never leave your home country without one. It is worth the extra money, I promise you!
  • GetYourGuide  – Hands-down, the best place to find cool and unique tours if you don’t feel like winging it, and go straight to a local expert. I use this a lot in new destinations to get acquainted with the area!
  • My Pretty Wild World Travel Diary (coming soon)  – A book you can write down your travel plans, create itineraries, track down your budget, and dot down memories along the way! A handy book you can keep and read later to revisit memory lane.
  • Pretty Wild World Travel Planning Printables (coming soon)  – Are you a nut like me when it comes to planning? Yes? Good. My travel planning resource in one zip file is an easy-to-use printable planner that comes with tips that helps you plan your travels during the planning stage, a pre-flight checklist, an itinerary planner, and so on.

Top 35 Best Places to Visit in Europe in January

1. ghent, belgium.

Best places to visit in Europe in January: ghent, belgium, architecture

Ghent is a beautiful city of  Belgium  that is famous for its edgy historical architecture from the medieval era giving the city a small-town look that is beyond beautiful. It is not a famous tourist destination compared to other cities of Belgium and is more of a  hidden gem . It is one of the  picturesque places  to visit in Europe in January.

The climate during this time is extremely cold, having temperatures between 2 to 6 degrees. Ghent receives very little sunshine in January, and the weather is either cloudy or rainy. One of the mysterious winter attractions in Ghent is the Winter Wonder Castle which is also called the count’s castle.

You can spend the daytime exploring its history and surrounding areas, explore the  city of Ghent  through boat rides, go skiing in the ice skating rink, take the carriage rides in the city streets like royals, visit the museums, the great butcher’s hall, take the canal boat tours and many more entertaining activities.

The nights are beautiful with winter pop-up bars, Zebrawoods winter festival, having luxurious beers at The brewery, trying the handcrafted meatballs, burgers, Lebanese  cuisine , etc.

Learn more about Ghent and Belgium: Places to Visit in Belgium , Things to do in Ghent , Day Trips from Ghent , Things to do in Brussels

2. Malta – one of sunniest places to visit in Europe in January!

Places to Visit in The Mediterranean Valetta Malta

Malta is the warmest country in Europe  which is known for its coastal beaches and warm weather in January in Europe. It is a Middle Europe  Mediterranean destination , and hence it is the warmest place in  Europe in January  due to the extremely comfortable climate with temperatures ranging between 13 to 16 degrees.

The Valletta International Baroque Festival is organized during this time celebrating the annual event for 15 days starting from talented performances to the Baroque-themed ball. The colorful event is an eye treat for all visitors in  Malta  in January. You can also spend the day trekking through the offbeat areas, enjoy the beautiful sunset in the evening at Dingli cliffs.

Also, pay a visit to the mysterious hypogeum, enjoy some warm sunshine on the lovely  beaches , a taste he Maltese pastizzi with hot coffee or tea, try out the traditional Mediterranean cuisines indulge yourself in the luxurious treatment at Myoka Spa, visit St. John Cathedral and enjoy Mediterranean cruising in the  picturesque local destinations . The destination can be awarded for having the best weather in Europe in January.

Read more about Malta: Places to Visit in Malta , Things to do in Malta , and Day Trips in Malta

monaco, monte carlo, france

Monaco is one of the best places to visit in January Europe.

Monaco is a western  European destination  that has varying climatic conditions in January with sometimes temperature dropping to 7 degrees while most of the time it remains pleasantly cool between 12 to 15 degrees.

The weather is most comfortable to explore the  beautiful attractions  of Monaco unless you are interrupted by rainfall, which is quite common here in January turning the climate extremely cold.

Some of the best attractions to enjoy here are Monte Carlo Casino, Prince’s Palace, the gorgeous Musee Oceanographic, Monaco Cathedral, Les Jardins Saint-Martin overlooking the Mediterranean sea, Opera nights at Opera de Monte Carlo, and many more.

If the temperature is pleasant, you can even visit the lovely beaches of  Monaco  like Larvotto Beach, Baie du Soliel beach, Plage Garmagilla Beach, Plage Mala Beach, Plage Paloma beach, and lots more to spend some quality time under the sun aloof from the summer tourist crowds.

Read more about Monaco: Places to Visit in Monaco , Thing to do in Monaco , and Day Trips from Monaco

4. Oslo, Norway

The Royal Palace, Oslo, Norway

Oslo, Norway , is undoubtedly one of the best winter destinations in Europe, and January is a great month to visit this stunning Scandinavian city. With its picturesque landscapes, enchanting fjords, and delightful blend of modernity and history, Oslo offers a unique experience for travelers seeking a memorable winter getaway. 

During January, Oslo transforms into a wonderland of snow-covered streets and beautiful parks. The city takes on a serene ambiance as locals and visitors embrace the season’s magic. 

One of the sunniest places in Norway during this time, Oslo allows you to enjoy crisp winter days with just the right amount of sunlight. There are numerous places to visit in January while exploring Oslo. 

Start your journey at the iconic Vigeland Park, where over 200 sculptures by Gustav Vigeland are displayed among majestic snow-covered trees. This open-air museum celebrates art and offers breathtaking views across Oslo. 

For those looking to delve into history and culture, visit the Viking Ship Museum. Here, you can witness awe-inspiring Viking vessels impeccably preserved for centuries. 

The museum provides an intriguing glimpse into Norway’s rich maritime heritage. Another must-visit location is Akershus Fortress, which overlooks Oslofjord. 

This medieval castle boasts incredible architecture and offers panoramic views of the surrounding area. Walk along its walls and feel transported back in time as you imagine centuries-old battles fought within these walls. 

If you’re interested in contemporary attractions, explore Aker Brygge. This vibrant waterfront district has trendy shops, delectable Norwegian cuisine restaurants, and lively bars offering warmth amidst the winter chill. 

In addition to its cultural offerings, Oslo embraces winter sports during January. Whether you’re an experienced skier or just starting out on cross-country trails, there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities such as skiing or ice skating. 

The famous Holmenkollen Ski Jump is also a must-see, offering breathtaking views and an insight into Norway’s passion for winter sports. Oslo, Norway, should be high on your list of places to visit in Europe in January. 

With its majestic winter landscapes, cultural treasures, and abundant opportunities for outdoor activities, this city offers a perfect blend of history, adventure, and natural beauty. So pack your warmest clothes and get ready to embrace the enchantment of Oslo during this magical time of year. 

5. Copenhagen, Denmark

The Little Mermaid Copenhagen, Denmark

If you’re looking for the best winter destination in Europe, Copenhagen should definitely be on your list. 

January is the coldest month in Denmark , but it also offers one of the best winter experiences in the world. With its charming streets dusted with snow and cozy cafes serving hot drinks, Copenhagen truly comes alive during this time of year. 

One of the best things about visiting Copenhagen in January is that you can avoid crowds and long queues. Unlike other popular European cities, which are bustling with tourists year-round, Copenhagen experiences a quieter period during winter. 

This means you can easily explore attractions like Tivoli Gardens and Christiansborg Palace without feeling overwhelmed by crowds. January is also great to enjoy some of Copenhagen’s best food. 

The city is famous for its culinary scene, boasting numerous Michelin-starred restaurants and trendy eateries. From traditional Danish dishes like smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches) to innovative Nordic cuisine, there’s something to satisfy every palate. 

When exploring the city’s cultural attractions, January offers an advantage, too. The National Museum of Denmark and Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek are two must-visit museums where you can delve into Danish history and art without battling hordes of tourists. 

For those seeking outdoor activities, Copenhagen has plenty of options during winter. You can rent ice skates and glide across frozen lakes or join locals for a refreshing dip in one of the city’s many open-air winter baths. 

Copenhagen should be high on your list if you’re looking for the best European places during winter. In January, this vibrant city offers one of the best winter experiences with its picturesque snow-covered streets, delicious food scene, cultural attractions free from crowds, and plenty of outdoor activities. 

6. Lapland, Finland

Reindeer in a winter forest in Finnish Lapland

Lapland  being extraordinarily beautiful in winter is one of the reasons why you should visit this place in January. The weather is completely freezy here having extremely lower temperatures between -9 to -12 degrees with minimal sun.

The beautiful location of  Finland  is like a dream to the travelers offering a series of winter activities like riding the sled by huskies and reindeer, snowshoeing,  skiing , snowboarding, and ice fishing.

The snow-covered location looks like a paradise having beautiful structures, roads, trees, and everything dipped in snow. Try the exotic  Finnish sauna  in the freezing climate, explore the  magical northern lights , go for snowshoe hiking through the forest areas, visit the ice hotel, go ice climbing, tank riding, and whatever you have dreamt of doing with the snow. It is a perfect destination for snow-addicted people.

Read more about Finland:  Places to Visit in Finland , Winter in Finland , The Best Finland Guide

7. Helsinki, Finland

TOP THINGS TO DO IN HELSINKI

Helsinki , the capital of Finland, is a charming destination to visit in January. Despite being located in the northernmost part of Europe, Helsinki offers a truly magical and unique winter experience. 

In fact, many travelers consider January to be one of the best times to visit this stunning city. One of the main reasons Helsinki is an ideal place to visit in Europe during winter is its picturesque snow-covered landscapes. 

The city transforms into a winter wonderland, with its streets adorned by twinkling lights and cozy cafes offering warm drinks and delicious Finnish pastries. The pristine white snow blankets the parks and waterfront areas like a soft, serene quilt, creating postcard-perfect scenery that will leave you in awe. 

Moreover, Helsinki experiences relatively mild temperatures compared to other European cities during this time. Though it can get chilly with temperatures hovering around -5°C (23°F), it’s still considered quite bearable when properly dressed for the weather. 

In fact, Helsinki is known as one of the sunniest places in Northern Europe during January, making it an even more attractive destination for those seeking some winter sunshine. When visiting Helsinki in January, be sure to embrace the local tradition of ice swimming. 

Many Finns participate in this invigorating activity by plunging into icy waters through holes cut into frozen lakes or at designated swimming areas along the coast. It may sound extreme, but it’s a popular way for locals to boost their immune systems and enjoy a refreshing experience amid nature’s icy embrace. 

Aside from embracing winter activities like ice skating or wandering through snowy parks, plenty of indoor attractions and cultural experiences are available throughout Helsinki. Visit museums such as the Ateneum Art Museum or Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art to indulge your artistic side or explore historical sites like Suomenlinna Fortress – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – which showcases Finnish history dating back several centuries. 

Traveling to Helsinki in January also offers the advantage of finding some of the best deals on accommodation and flights. With fewer tourists compared to the peak summer season, you can benefit from lower prices and avail yourself of special offers at hotels and restaurants. 

This allows you to indulge in Helsinki’s vibrant culinary scene, trying traditional Finnish dishes like reindeer stew or salmon soup without breaking the bank. Helsinki is a fantastic place to visit in Europe during January. 

From its picturesque snowy landscapes to its unique winter activities, Helsinki offers a truly immersive experience combining natural beauty and cultural exploration. So, if you’re looking for one of the best European winter destinations, Helsinki should definitely be on your list! 

8. Tallinn, Estonia

tallinn, historic center, estonia

Tucked away in the Baltic region, Tallinn , Estonia’s capital, is a hidden gem that comes alive in January. Despite being one of the lesser-known countries in Europe , Tallinn is a captivating place to visit during this time of year. The city’s medieval charm blends harmoniously with its modern vibes, creating an unforgettable experience for any traveler. 

When you wander through the cobblestone streets of Tallinn in January, you’ll be greeted with breathtaking city views. The snow-covered rooftops and ancient architecture create a picturesque scene that seems like a fairytale. 

As you stroll through the Old Town, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The well-preserved medieval walls and towers tell stories of centuries past and invite you to immerse yourself in history. 

January is a fantastic time to visit Tallinn if you’re looking for one of the sunniest places in Europe during winter. While it may be chilly outside, the clear skies offer an abundance of sunshine that adds warmth to your explorations. 

The crisp air invigorates your senses as you traverse Kadriorg Park and Palace, where stunning gardens await amidst snow-dusted landscapes. Take a moment to embrace nature’s beauty before heading to Pirita Beach for a refreshing seaside walk. 

One must explore the vibrant Christmas markets in Europe during winter, and Tallinn’s market is no exception. Early January still sees remnants of these enchanting markets lining Town Hall Square with festive lights and wooden stalls selling local crafts and delicious treats like piparkoogid (gingerbread) and mulled wine . 

Indulge your taste buds while experiencing true Estonian hospitality from friendly locals. For those seeking cultural experiences unique to this time of year, visiting Tallinn also means delving into Kumu Art Museum or enjoying performances at the Estonia Concert Hall. 

Immerse yourself in the country’s rich artistic heritage, showcased through various exhibitions and shows. The contemporary art scene in Tallinn is thriving, and January provides an opportune moment to appreciate the creativity of local artists. 

Tallinn, Estonia, is undoubtedly one of the best places to go if you seek a memorable European destination in January. From its captivating views of the city to its vibrant Christmas markets and cultural experiences, this hidden gem offers delights for every traveler. 

Whether exploring the medieval Old Town or indulging in local delicacies, Tallinn will leave a lasting impression on your heart. So pack your winter gear and embark on an adventure to this charming Estonian capital that promises to be a true winter wonderland. 

9. Paris, France – a romantic place to visit in Europe in January!

is paris safe for travelers? louvre, architecture, buildings

Paris, France, the City of Light, is a must-visit destination for travelers looking for the best winter experience in Europe. With its charm and iconic landmarks, Paris in January is like stepping into a fairytale. 

Whether you’re strolling along the Seine River or taking in the breathtaking views of the city from atop the Eiffel Tower, there’s something truly magical about this winter destination in Europe. One of the best cities to visit in Europe during January, Paris offers a unique blend of culture, history, and gastronomy. 

The Louvre Museum beckons art enthusiasts with its vast collection of masterpieces, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Take a leisurely walk through Montmartre’s charming streets and visit Basilique du Sacré-Cœur for panoramic city views. 

January is one of the best times to visit Paris to escape the crowds that typically flock to this iconic city. The streets are quieter, allowing you to explore at your own pace without feeling overwhelmed by tourist masses. 

Plus, you can fully immerse yourself in the authentic Parisian experience with fewer people. If you’re looking for a unique way to discover Paris in January 2023, consider taking a leisurely stroll through one of its picturesque parks or gardens. 

Jardin des Tuileries is perfect for enjoying a cup of hot chocolate while marveling at statues and fountains adorned with glistening frost. Alternatively, head over to Parc des Buttes-Chaumont and take a scenic walk around its hilly terrain while enjoying breathtaking views over the city. 

Regarding culinary delights, January offers an abundance of cozy cafes and bistros where you can warm up with classic French dishes like boeuf bourguignon or coq au vin. Indulge your sweet tooth with mouthwatering pastries from famous patisseries such as Pierre Hermé or Ladurée. 

And, of course, a visit to Paris in winter would only be complete with sipping on a steaming cup of chocolat chaud at a charming cafe. For those seeking a touch of romance, a leisurely boat cruise along the Seine River is an absolute must in January. 

As you glide past iconic landmarks like Notre Dame Cathedral and the Louvre, you’ll witness the city’s beauty illuminated by twinkling lights, creating a truly enchanting atmosphere. If you’re looking for the best European winter destination, Paris in January should be at the top. 

With breathtaking views, cultural treasures, and delectable cuisine, this city offers an unforgettable experience for travelers seeking charm and romance. So bundle up and embrace the magic that awaits you in Europe’s most captivating capital city. 

10. Nice, France

top 10 best beach cities in europe. Nice, France.

January unveils many enchanting destinations to explore in the picturesque landscape of Europe. As we navigate this wintery wonderland, one city that beckons with its undeniable charm is Nice, nestled on the glamorous French Riviera . 

Renowned for its stunning beaches , vibrant culture, and mild Mediterranean climate, Nice presents an alluring option for those seeking respite from the cold even in winter. Throughout January, Nice experiences relatively mild temperatures compared to other European cities. 

With average highs hovering around 14°C (57°F) and lows around 6°C (43°F), it offers a pleasant escape from the harsh winter conditions elsewhere. This makes it one of the warmest places in Europe during this time of year. 

While you may not be basking in tropical heat, Nice’s moderate climate creates an atmosphere conducive to exploration without excessive layers of clothing. Strolling along the Promenade des Anglais is a quintessential experience while visiting Nice in January. 

This iconic boulevard stretches along the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea and boasts breathtaking views. Take leisurely walks or rent a bicycle to soak up the serene coastal beauty while enjoying fresh sea air on your skin—an invigorating way to start your day. 

Venturing into Old Town (Vieux Nice) is another must-do activity during your visit to this charming city. Lose yourself amidst narrow cobblestone streets with pastel-colored buildings adorned with wrought-iron balconies overflowing with vibrant flowers. 

Explore bustling markets such as Cours Saleya and indulge in local delicacies like socca—a savory chickpea pancake—and freshly caught seafood. January is also an opportune time for art enthusiasts as Nice houses several world-class museums worth exploring. 

The Musée Matisse showcases an extensive collection dedicated to renowned French artist Henri Matisse—providing insight into his life and artistic journey. For contemporary art lovers, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMAC) exhibits a diverse range of works by internationally acclaimed artists. 

As you immerse yourself in the cultural delights of Nice, visit the iconic Colline du Château. Although the castle no longer exists, reaching its ruins offers unparalleled panoramic views of the city, coastline, and majestic mountains. 

Take a leisurely hike or an elevator ride to enjoy this breathtaking vantage point that captures the essence of Nice’s allure. In January, Nice emerges as one of Europe’s best cities for those seeking respite from harsh winter climates. 

Whether exploring its coastal beauty, embracing its vibrant culture in Old Town, delving into art museums, or marveling at stunning vistas from Colline du Château—this French Riviera gem promises an enchanting escape. So why not add Nice to your European itinerary and bask in the city’s sunshine-filled ambiance? 

11. Munich, Germany

35 Best Places to Visit in Europe in January

Munich, Germany , is a city that truly comes alive in January. Known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and Oktoberfest, Munich offers an array of experiences for travelers visiting Europe in January. Despite the chilly temperatures, this city always captivates visitors with its charming architecture and lively atmosphere. 

One of the best things about Munich in January is its magical winter markets. The most famous one is the Tollwood Winter Festival at Theresienwiese. 

This bustling market features an enchanting combination of food stalls offering mouthwatering traditional German delicacies like bratwurst and glühwein (mulled wine) and unique handcrafted goods created by talented local artisans. The festive ambiance with live music performances and dazzling lights makes it a must-visit spot during this time of year. 

For those seeking cultural immersion, Munich boasts an impressive array of museums and art galleries perfect for exploring in January. The Alte Pinakothek houses a magnificent collection of European masterpieces from renowned artists such as Rembrandt and Botticelli. 

Meanwhile, the Deutsches Museum offers fascinating science and technology insight through interactive exhibits catering to all age groups. A visit to Munich would only be complete with diving into its rich beer culture. 

While Oktoberfest may be over by January, there are still plenty of beer halls where you can raise a stein or two. Hofbräuhaus is unquestionably one of the best places to experience authentic Bavarian beer. 

This historic establishment has been serving up frothy brews since 1589 and continues attracting locals and tourists with its lively atmosphere. If you want to escape the winter chill for a while, why not visit SEA LIFE Munich? 

Located at Olympiapark, this underwater wonderland allows visitors to explore marine life from all corners of the globe without leaving the city. From awe-inspiring shark tunnels to interactive touch pools, SEA LIFE Munich is a great destination for families and animal lovers. 

Every trip to Munich in January would be complete with a visit to the stunning Nymphenburg Palace. Surrounded by sprawling gardens, this former summer residence of Bavarian rulers is an architectural marvel that showcases the grandeur of the past. 

Take a leisurely stroll through its opulent halls and learn about the fascinating history of the Wittelsbach dynasty. Overall, Munich truly shines as one of Europe’s best winter holiday spots during January. 

With its charming markets, cultural attractions, lively beer scene, and captivating landmarks, this vibrant city has no shortage of things to see and do. So pack your warmest attire and prepare for an unforgettable adventure in one of Europe’s most captivating destinations! 

12. Berlin, Germany

Berlin, Germany

Regarding European cities to visit in January, Berlin , Germany, should be on your list. Known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and thriving arts scene, Berlin offers a unique experience that is truly captivating. 

Visiting Berlin in early January means you’ll experience the city during its festive period. The Christmas markets might still be open, allowing you to indulge in delicious traditional treats and shop for unique handcrafted gifts . 

The city’s streets are beautifully adorned with twinkling lights and decorations, creating a magical atmosphere that adds a touch of enchantment to your January vacation . One of the highlights of Berlin in January is the annual International Green Week trade fair. 

This event showcases the best of global food and agriculture and attracts visitors from all over the world. It’s an excellent opportunity to sample delectable cuisines from various countries and learn about sustainable farming practices. 

If you’re up for some winter sports activities, Berlin’s surrounding areas offer fantastic opportunities for skiing or snowboarding. With several ski resorts nearby, such as Wittenberg or Feldberg in the Black Forest region, enthusiasts can hit the slopes and enjoy some exhilarating winter fun. 

Berlin has an array of museums and landmarks for those interested in history and culture that will captivate your attention. The iconic Brandenburg Gate is a must-see attraction that symbolizes unity and peace in Germany . 

Stroll along Unter den Linden boulevard towards Museum Island, where you can explore world-class institutions like the Pergamon Museum or Alte Nationalgalerie. January might be considered the coldest month in Berlin; don’t let that deter you from exploring this remarkable city. 

Bundle up in warm clothing and embrace the chilly weather as you wander through cozy cafes offering hot chocolate or mulled wine – perfect ways to warm yourself up. Visiting Berlin in January offers one of Europe’s best experiences. 

This city truly has something for everyone, from its festive atmosphere and winter activities to its historic landmarks and cultural treasures. So, grab your coat, embrace the cold, and embark on an unforgettable journey in one of the most captivating destinations in Europe. 

13. London, United Kingdom

35 Best Places to Visit in Europe in January

London, United Kingdom, is one of the best cities to visit in January. Despite the chilly weather, this iconic city offers a unique and magical experience during this time of year. 

London is a winter destination worth exploring because of its rich history, vibrant culture, and endless attractions. One of the best winter experiences in London is witnessing the city’s transformation into a winter wonderland. 

The streets are adorned with twinkling lights, and famous landmarks such as Buckingham Palace and Tower Bridge are beautifully illuminated. Take advantage of visiting Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, where you can enjoy ice skating and thrilling rides and indulge in delicious festive treats. 

If you’re looking for indoor activities to escape the cold, London has an abundance of world-class museums and galleries. The British Museum is a must-visit, housing many artifacts worldwide. 

The Tate Modern allows contemporary art enthusiasts to admire incredible works by renowned artists. And remember the iconic Madame Tussauds wax museum – get up close and personal with lifelike wax figures of your favorite celebrities! 

January is also an ideal time to explore London’s vibrant theater scene. With fewer tourists in January, you’re likelier to snag tickets to popular shows like “The Lion King” or “Phantom of the Opera.” Additionally, many theaters offer discounted rates during this off-peak season. 

For those seeking retail therapy or seeking sales after Christmas season splurges, London’s shopping scene won’t disappoint either. Oxford Street is known for its vast shops catering to every taste and budget. 

If you’re looking for luxury brands and designer labels, head to Harrods in Knightsbridge or Selfridges on Oxford Street. A visit to London would only be complete with indulging in traditional British cuisine. 

Warm up with hearty dishes like fish and chips or shepherd’s pie at cozy pubs scattered throughout the city. Treat yourself to afternoon tea at one of London’s elegant tea rooms, where you can savor finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream, and various exquisite teas. 

London is one of the best places in Europe to visit in January. From its stunning winter scenery to its diverse cultural experiences and shopping delights, this historic city has something for everyone. 

Whether you want to explore iconic landmarks, immerse yourself in art and history, catch a theater performance, or enjoy British cuisine, London will captivate your senses during winter. Take advantage of this incredible opportunity to discover one of the world’s greatest cities in all its wintry glory! 

Read more about London and the UK: Places to Visit in the United Kingdom , Things to Do in London , Day Trips from London

14. Edinburgh, United Kingdom

castles in the united kingdom edinburgh castle scotland

Regarding picturesque European destinations, few can rival the enchanting city of Edinburgh, United Kingdom. This historic Scottish gem offers many attractions and experiences, making it one of the best places in Europe in January. As winter casts its spell over the city, a magical atmosphere descends upon the cobblestone streets, creating an unforgettable holiday experience. 

One of the highlights of visiting Edinburgh in January is the opportunity to immerse yourself in its vibrant festivities. The city comes alive with various monthly events and celebrations, including the world-famous Hogmanay festival. 

Hogmanay is a traditional Scottish New Year’s celebration that attracts visitors from around the globe. Join locals and revelers as they gather on Princes Street for a spectacular street party, complete with live music, dancing, and a mesmerizing fireworks display. 

If you plan your visit to Europe in January, explore some of Edinburgh’s iconic landmarks. Start by discovering the imposing Edinburgh Castle that proudly sits atop Castle Rock. 

From this vantage point, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the city below and beyond. As you explore further, go down the Royal Mile – a charming street lined with quaint shops, cafes, and historic attractions such as St Giles’ Cathedral and The Real Mary King’s Close. 

Edinburgh offers an array of intriguing museums and galleries for those seeking artistic inspiration or cultural enrichment during their European adventure in January. The National Museum of Scotland showcases fascinating artifacts that tell stories from across history. 

Meanwhile, art lovers will solace at venues like The Scottish National Gallery or The Fruitmarket Gallery. Every visit to Edinburgh would be complete with indulging in its culinary offerings. 

Warm up with hearty dishes at traditional Scottish pubs or sample local delicacies at one of many fine dining establishments scattered throughout the city center. Exploring Edinburgh’s vibrant farmers’ markets is a must for foodies looking for something unique during their European escapade. 

From fresh produce to artisanal crafts and delectable treats, these markets offer a delightful sensory experience. Regarding weather, it’s important to note that January in Edinburgh can be quite chilly. 

Bundling up in warm clothing and layers is essential, as temperatures can drop below freezing. However, this wintry climate adds to the city’s charm and creates a perfect backdrop for cozying up in quaint cafes or exploring the stunning Arthur’s Seat – an extinct volcano offering panoramic views of the city. 

Edinburgh truly stands as one of Europe’s best winter destinations, and visiting it in January allows you to witness its unique allure firsthand. Whether captivated by its rich history cultural events, or simply seeking a charming place to escape during the colder months, Edinburgh promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you yearning for more. 

15. Bucharest, Romania

Europe in January

Bucharest , Romania, often referred to as “Little Paris,” is a hidden gem that offers one of the best experiences for those who visit in January. With its stunning architecture, vibrant culture, and rich history, Bucharest is one of the best European cities to visit during this time of year. 

Whether you are seeking a winter wonderland or an urban adventure, Bucharest has something for everyone. One of the best things about visiting Bucharest in January is the charm and beauty of its winter landscapes. 

The city transforms into a picturesque wonderland with snow-covered streets and parks. Stroll through Herastrau Park and enjoy the serene atmosphere while taking in breathtaking views of the frozen lake. 

For more adventure, head to Cismigiu Park, where you can go ice skating or indulge in hot mulled wine from the nearby stalls. If you’re a skiing enthusiast, you’ll be pleased to know that Romania offers one of the best ski resorts in Europe – Poiana Brasov. 

Located just outside Bucharest, Poiana Brasov is easily accessible and provides excellent ski opportunities with its well-groomed slopes and stunning mountain views. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert skier, this place is perfect for enjoying your January vacation. 

Aside from its natural beauty, Bucharest also boasts a vibrant cultural scene that appeals to art enthusiasts and history buffs alike. Explore some of the city’s impressive museums, such as the National Museum of Art, or immerse yourself in Romanian folk traditions at The Village Museum. 

Remember to indulge in traditional Romanian cuisine at local restaurants where you can savor mouthwatering dishes like sarmale (cabbage rolls), mici (grilled minced meat rolls), and cozonac (sweet bread filled with nuts or chocolate). January is also one of the best times to visit Bucharest to experience its bustling nightlife without dealing with large crowds. 

The city offers many bars, clubs, and live music venues where you can dance the night away or simply unwind with a drink. The Old Town area, with its narrow streets lined with historic buildings, is a hotspot for nightlife and offers a unique atmosphere combining tradition and modernity. 

Regarding accommodation and travel in Bucharest during January, you can find some of the best deals. Many hotels offer discounted rates during this off-peak season, allowing you to experience luxury at a fraction of the cost. 

Additionally, fewer tourists mean shorter queues at popular attractions and a more authentic city experience. Bucharest in January offers one of the best European winter experiences. 

With its charming winter landscapes, cultural richness, and vibrant nightlife scene, it’s no wonder why this city is becoming increasingly popular among travelers seeking an unforgettable winter getaway. So pack your warm clothes and get ready to explore all that Bucharest offers during this magical time of year! 

16. Zakopane, Poland

buried, skis, skier

Zakopane, Poland, is one of the best cities to visit in Europe in January. This charming town at the foot of the Tatra Mountains offers a unique winter experience that attracts tourists worldwide. Zakopane is a haven for winter enthusiasts with its breathtaking landscapes, vibrant culture, and exciting outdoor activities. 

January is the perfect time to visit Zakopane as it transforms into a winter wonderland. The town is covered in snow, creating a picturesque setting straight out of a fairy tale. 

The Tatra Mountains are ideal for skiing and snowboarding, offering well-groomed slopes for beginners and experienced thrill-seekers. Strap on your skis or snowboard and enjoy some of Europe’s best winter sports. 

Aside from skiing, there are plenty of other activities to indulge in during your visit to Zakopane. Take a scenic hike through the snowy trails or ride an adventurous sled down the slopes. 

If you’re up for a challenge, try ice climbing on frozen waterfalls or test your skills at snowshoeing through the pristine wilderness. Zakopane also offers an opportunity to immerse yourself in Polish culture and traditions. 

Explore Krupówki Street, lined with quaint wooden stalls selling local crafts and traditional delicacies. Indulge in hearty Polish cuisine like pierogi (dumplings), kielbasa (sausage), and oscypek (smoked cheese). 

Warm up with mulled wine or hot chocolate as you stroll around this charming town. Zakopane provides nature lovers access to stunning national parks such as Tatra National Park and Pieniny National Park. 

Embark on guided tours or witness breathtaking vistas of frozen lakes, towering peaks draped in snow, and majestic waterfalls partially frozen against serene backdrops. Zakopane should undoubtedly be on your list if you plan a city break in January. 

Experience the magic of this winter wonderland and enjoy the best Europe offers during this enchanting time of year. Whether you’re an adventure seeker looking for thrilling activities or simply want to soak in the beauty of nature, Zakopane promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you with memories to treasure for a lifetime. 

17. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague, Czech Republic Prague, the charming capital city of the Czech Republic, is a truly magical destination in January. 

With its fairytale-like architecture and rich history, this city offers a unique and enchanting experience during the winter months. Known as one of the best places to visit in Europe in January, Prague is sure to captivate you with its beauty and charm. 

January is a great time to visit Prague for several reasons. Firstly, the city is less crowded compared to other peak tourist seasons, allowing you to explore its iconic sites without feeling overwhelmed by crowds. 

It’s also an excellent opportunity to score some of the best deals on flights and accommodations since it’s considered off-peak travel season. Despite being early January, when temperatures can drop quite low in Europe during winter, Prague offers a delightful experience. 

Wrap up warmly as you stroll through the cobblestone streets lined with picturesque buildings adorned with snow. The Christmas decorations might still be up in some areas, creating a cozy and magical atmosphere. 

One of the best things about visiting Prague in January is witnessing its charming Christmas markets. While many European cities close their markets after December 25th, Prague keeps them open until early January. 

Here, you can indulge in delicious local food like Trdelník (a sweet pastry) or savor a warm cup of mulled wine while browsing through unique handicrafts. If you seek cultural experiences, visit Prague’s museums or galleries. 

The National Museum and the Museum of Communism are just two examples that offer fascinating insights into Czech history and culture. Additionally, explore Prague Castle- one of the largest castles worldwide and provides breathtaking views over the city. 

Regarding European weather in January, it’s important to note that while temperatures may drop below freezing point, it doesn’t deter visitors from enjoying Prague’s charms. The city is well-prepared for winter, with many indoor cafes, restaurants, and shops to warm up in. 

Just dress appropriately in layers and embrace the chilly weather as part of the experience. Prague is undeniably one of the best winter destinations in Europe. 

Visiting this enchanting city in January allows you to explore its historical sites without fighting through crowds, enjoy the magical atmosphere of Christmas markets, and indulge in Czech culture and cuisine. So, if you’re looking for a city break during the winter months, Prague should be at the top of your list! 

Hold up! Have you thought about the importance of travel insurance?

Remember this:  anything can happen. Travel is fun, but your health is more important; thus, I always, always, always recommend getting insured during the duration of your trip. I have benefitted from having one multiple times, and it has been covered for thousands of euros!

The latest one is not necessarily “health” related – it was during the peak of the unspeakable terrible C that consumed the world. I was living in Vietnam when I received an email from SafetyWing (my travel insurance) that if I want they’ll fly be back home to Finland as the world goes through a global emergency alert. I flew back fully covered, and dealing with  SafetyWing  was a breeze despite the roar of people in contact with them trying to get back home.

I can’t highly recommend them enough. Otherwise, I rarely get sick; hence I don’t always need to head to a hospital, but knowing that I have travel insurance makes me feel safe at the very least.

Read my post about  why you should get travel insurance  for more information. Otherwise, you can get a free quote from  SafetyWing  – they’re the best, in my opinion.

18. Ljubljana, Slovenia

ljubljana, smarna gora, city

Ljubljana  in Slovenia is freezing cold in January having a maximum temperature of 2 degrees and a minimum of -5 degrees. The beautiful location  Ljubljana  is packed with entertaining events and activities for tourists in January provided they have no issues with freezing weather.

January is one of the best months to visit Ljubljana due to its fun-filled environment and gorgeous winter sceneries. Starting from a fun Ice skating at i-Lucky Land to enjoying the influential opera event of Placido Domingo.

Spend fun times with family watching the ice skating and enjoying Russian circus “Moscow Circus on Ice,” visiting the  musical festival  Ment Ljubljana, and trying out the adventurous cable car dinners over the snow at Krvavec Ski Resort, Ljubljana is among the exciting destinations to spend your winters in January.

Ljubljana is also one of the  cheapest destinations in Europe .

Read more about Ljubjana and Slovenia: Places to Visit in Slovenia , Pretty Castles in Slovenia to Visit , and Day Trips from Ljubljana

19. Venice, Italy

Gondola near Rialto Bridge in Venice, Italy

The most  romantic  location of Venice becomes one of the cheapest places to visit in January in Europe due to a very less tourist crowd. January is a little bit cold in  Venice , but it is comfortable if you have the right set of woolen garments. The temperature ranges from 3 to 6 degrees and sometimes even drops to 0 degrees.

This is an excellent time for travelers to enjoy its chilly grey atmosphere accompanied by some hot chocolates for extreme pleasure. The location is also perfect during this time for winter photography and takes a casual walk through the streets. You can experience luxurious accommodations at cheaper prices.

The mornings are beautiful in Venice Beach watching the people taking dips in the freezing water, watching the Italian people celebrate Epiphany and Befana with La Befana’s good witch doll.

Join the feast of Saint Anthony’s day and explore the local attractions like Palazzo Ducale, walkthrough Ponte Dei Sospiri, take the Gondola ride at Canal Grande, etc. while the nights are beautiful concerts at Teatro La Fenice and visiting the strategically beautiful riverside  restaurants .

Learn more about Venice and Italy: Things to do in Venice , Day Trips from Venice , Top Places to Visit in Italy

20. Florence, Italy

most visited tourist attractions in europe florence cathedral florence italy

Florence , Italy, is a destination that should definitely be on your radar if you’re looking for the best places to visit in Europe during winter. Known as the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence offers one of the best cultural experiences you can find. And January is actually one of the best times to go! 

I know what you might think: “But isn’t January the coldest month?” Yes, it is chilly in Florence during this time of year, but trust me when I say it’s worth braving the cold for all this magnificent city offers. One of the best things about visiting Florence in January is that you’ll experience its renowned art and architecture without navigating through hordes of tourists. 

The famous Uffizi Gallery and Accademia Museum, home to Michelangelo’s David, are much more enjoyable when you don’t have to fight through crowds just to catch a glimpse. Moreover, January is also an ideal time for exploring Florence’s charming cobblestone streets at your own pace. 

Take leisurely strolls along the Arno River and marvel at iconic landmarks such as Ponte Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti with fewer distractions. You’ll have more space and time to truly appreciate their beauty and historical significance. 

For those seeking a cozy escape from the cold, Florence offers some delightful indoor activities, too. Warm up with a cup of delicious Italian hot chocolate at one of its charming cafés, or treat yourself to traditional Tuscan cuisine at a local trattoria. 

Indulging in hearty dishes like ribollita (a delicious vegetable soup) or bistecca alla Fiorentina (Tuscan-style steak) will surely warm your body and soul. And let’s remember shopping! 

Florence is renowned for its high-quality leather goods and designer fashion outlets. In January, many stores offer enticing discounts during their winter sales, making it the perfect time to score some stylish finds at a fraction of the usual price. 

If you are planning a trip to Europe in January and are seeking a destination that offers both cultural richness and a chance to embrace the winter season, Florence should definitely be on your list. With fewer crowds, stunning architecture, delectable cuisine, and enticing shopping opportunities, this jewel of Italy is ready to enchant you during your winter escape. 

21. Pisa, Ital y

man-made structures in europe leaning tower of pisa

Pisa is one of the best destinations to  visit in January in Europe

Pisa in  Italy , which is world-famous for its leaning tower experience cold weather in the month of January with temperatures between 7 to 10 degrees and can drop up to 3 degrees at night. Pisa may not be the warmest place in Europe in January; still, the location enjoys quite a good amount of sunshine, which is a pleasure for the  European winters .

Pisa is such a breathtaking location with its picture-perfect tourist destinations and  historical heritage sites  that it adds a different flavor every month of the year in terms of its weather influencing the scenic beauty.

Some of the best attractions to explore in Pisa are –  Leaning Tower , Banks of the Arno, Piazza Dei Miracoli, Battistero, ski in the districts of Tuscany and  ski resorts , enjoy the Opera nights and Tuscany winter festivals and Carnevale, visit the Santa Maria della Spina, take a stroll at the Guelph tower, explore the beautiful Mezzo Bridge and many  attractive tourist destinations .

Learn more about Pisa and Italy: Things to do in Pisa , Day Trips from Pisa

22. Rome, Italy

St. Peter's Basilica

If you’re planning a trip to Europe in January, Rome should definitely be on your list of must-visit destinations. Known as the Eternal City, Rome offers a unique blend of ancient history, stunning architecture, and mouthwatering cuisine that will leave you awe-inspired. January is a great time to visit Rome for several reasons. 

Firstly, the city is less crowded than the peak tourist season, so you can enjoy some of the best attractions without long queues or overwhelming crowds. Plus, you’ll have more space and time to explore at your own pace with fewer tourists. 

One of the best places in Europe to visit in January is undoubtedly Rome. The city boasts mild winter temperatures perfect for exploring its picturesque streets and iconic landmarks. 

While it may not be beach weather, you won’t have to worry about extreme cold or snowstorms. There’s plenty of options regarding things to do in Rome during this time of year. 

You can start by exploring the historic Colosseum and Roman Forum – two attractions that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. Stroll through cobblestone streets with charming cafes and boutique shops in neighborhoods like Trastevere or Monti. 

Winter sports enthusiasts will also appreciate that January is one of the best times to hit European ski slopes. Although Rome doesn’t offer ski resorts nearby, it’s well-connected with other winter destinations in Italy, such as Cortina d’Ampezzo or Livigno, where you can enjoy thrilling downhill runs or even try snowboarding. 

But let’s remember the culinary delights that Rome has to offer during this season! Indulge yourself with authentic Italian cuisine – from piping hot bowls of pasta carbonara and delicious thin-crust pizzas topped with fresh ingredients to decadent pastries like cannoli or tiramisu – your taste buds are in for a treat. 

Rome is an incredible European city to visit in January. With its rich history, beautiful architecture, and delectable food, you will surely have a memorable experience. 

So pack your warm clothes, explore the ancient ruins, savor Italian delicacies, and immerse yourself in the charm of this timeless city. Rome awaits you with open arms! 

23. Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy

Ah, Positano, Italy! Nestled on the Amalfi Coast, this charming coastal village is a warm winter escape that should be at the top of your list when considering places in Europe to visit in January. 

Known for its stunning cliffside views and colorful buildings cascading down to the turquoise waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea, Positano is a slice of paradise even during the coldest winter months. In January, while most of Europe shivers in bone-chilling temperatures, Positano enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate. 

With average highs reaching around 15°C (59°F) and lows hovering around 9°C (48°F), it’s best to pack some layers to stay comfortable throughout your visit. The warmer winter weather makes it an ideal time to explore this picturesque town without the summer crowds that usually flock here. 

Positano is one of the best places to visit in Europe in January because of its unique charm and tranquility. Stroll along narrow cobblestone streets with boutique shops selling local handmade crafts and stylish fashion. 

Take leisurely walks on scenic pathways offering breathtaking coastline views and vibrant bougainvillea-covered houses perched precariously on cliffs. While exploring this enchanting European city in January, visit Fornillo Beach. 

While swimming might not be on your itinerary due to cooler temperatures, you can still take peaceful seaside walks along its shoreline or bask in the serenity offered by this less crowded spot. When hunger strikes after a day of exploration, indulge in authentic Italian cuisine at one of Positano’s many charming restaurants. 

Treat yourself to fresh seafood pasta dishes or traditional Neapolitan pizza while enjoying panoramic sea views from cliffside terraces. If you’re looking for retail therapy or want to immerse yourself in local culture, explore the weekly markets held in Piazza dei Mulini. 

From fresh produce to handmade crafts and souvenirs, these markets offer a vibrant atmosphere where you can experience the true essence of Positano. If you plan your visit to Europe in January 2023, Positano in Italy should be high on your list of places. 

With its warm winter climate, stunning coastal views, charming streets, and delectable cuisine, this European gem is a delightful escape from the cold. So pack your bags and embark on an unforgettable adventure to this picturesque village on the Amalfi Coast. 

24. Barcelona, Spain

spain, barcelona, arc de triomphe

Barcelona is one of the best places to  visit in europe  in January,

Barcelona in  Spain is one of the best places to visit in January  if you are thinking about where to go in  Europe in January.  It has not too warm climate nor too freezy being very much comfortable for the tourists to enjoy Europe in January. While the daylight temperatures range between 10 to 13 degrees, at night it can drop to a maximum of 5 to 7 degrees not below that saving you from the freezing weather.

The tourist rush is also less during this time, having  reduced flight fares  and  hotel prices . Barcelona can also be referred to as one of the cheapest places to travel in January in Europe. There are lots of winter attractions for the tourists to enjoy in January like  visiting Gaudi’s main pieces , enjoying events like “Three Kings Parade,” and “Els 3 Tombs & Sant Antoni festival”.

You can take casual daylight walks through the Ramblas and Barri Gotic, explore the Barcelona Aquarium, and visit Museo Picasso and many entertaining locations.

Spain  being the warmest country in Europe and among the hot European countries in January helps you have a comfortable winter vacation in Europe. Whether you are looking for the  best European cities to visit  in January or the best places in Europe to visit in January, Barcelona is a must inclusion in both lists.

Read more about Barcelona and Spain: Places to Visit in Spain , Things to do in Barcelona , Day Trips from Barcelona

25. Costa del Sol, Spain

Nerja, Costa del Sol, Andalusia

Located on the stunning southern coast of Spain, the Costa del Sol is a beloved winter destination for travelers seeking a warm and sunny escape. This region boasts mild temperatures in January, making it an ideal place to visit in Europe if you’re looking for the best winter getaway. With its beautiful beaches , vibrant cities, and charming towns, the Costa del Sol offers many attractions and activities that will make your trip memorable. 

Malaga is among the best places to visit along the Costa del Sol in January. This lively city welcomes tourists in January with its pleasant climate and cultural festivities. 

Stroll along the bustling La Malagueta beach promenade or explore the historic center’s enchanting narrow streets. Take advantage of visiting iconic landmarks such as Alcazaba, a Moorish fortress offering breathtaking views of the city, or Picasso Museum, where you can admire works by one of Spain’s greatest artists. 

Marbella is another must-see destination on the Costa del Sol during January. This glamorous city attracts visitors from all over Europe seeking warm winters and luxurious experiences. 

Wander through Puerto Banus Marina, lined with extravagant yachts and high-end boutiques, or relax on one of Marbella’s pristine beaches . For those seeking tranquility amidst natural beauty, head to Sierra Blanca Mountain Range or explore Old Town Marbella with its quaint Andalusian architecture and charming squares. 

If you’re an avid golfer, Estepona will captivate you with its numerous golf courses against breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea and Sierra Bermeja Mountains. Embrace your adventurous side by visiting Selwo Adventure Park, where you can encounter exotic animals from around the world in a natural environment. 

If you’re traveling to Europe in January 2023 hoping for sun-drenched relaxation, look no further than Fuengirola. This coastal town offers long sandy beaches, perfect for a leisurely stroll or basking in the sun. 

Discover the vibrant atmosphere of Fuengirola’s lively promenade lined with bars, restaurants, and shops. Be sure to visit Bioparc Fuengirola, a unique zoo that immerses you in different ecosystems and allows you to observe animals up close. 

The Costa del Sol is undoubtedly one of the best winter destinations in Europe, especially during January. With its warm weather, picturesque landscapes, and an array of attractions to explore, this region caters to all tastes and interests. 

Whether you’re seeking relaxation on pristine beaches or looking for cultural experiences in vibrant cities like Malaga and Marbella, the Costa del Sol will surely provide an unforgettable vacation experience. So pack your bags and get ready to enjoy some of the best that winter offers in this sunny paradise along Spain’s southern coast. 

26. Madrid, Spain

madrid, spain, building

If you’re looking for the perfect time to visit Madrid , Spain, January is one of the best times. Although it may be winter in Europe , Madrid offers a relatively mild climate during this time. 

While other parts of the continent may be covered in snow and freezing temperatures, Madrid provides a warm winter getaway that is hard to resist. Despite being the capital city of Spain, Madrid retains a friendly and laid-back atmosphere that is particularly enjoyable in January. 

As you explore the city’s charming streets, you’ll notice fewer crowds than peak tourist seasons. This means shorter lines at popular attractions such as the Royal Palace or the Prado Museum. 

You can take your time appreciating famous masterpieces without feeling rushed or overwhelmed. One of the great advantages of visiting Madrid in January is its bustling cultural scene. 

The city offers one of the best theater performances, concerts, and art exhibitions during this period. With various venues hosting lively events throughout January, you can find something captivating to attend each night. 

For those seeking outdoor activities, Madrid also boasts several stunning parks perfect for leisurely strolls or invigorating jogs. The Retiro Park is particularly enchanting during winter with its tranquil lake and leafless trees that create a unique ambiance. 

You can even rent a rowboat on a sunny day and enjoy some peaceful moments on the water. And let’s remember food! 

Spanish cuisine is renowned worldwide for its delectable flavors and tapas culture. In Madrid, you’ll find countless charming restaurants serving traditional dishes such as paella or patatas bravas alongside modern culinary creations by innovative chefs. 

Remember to pair your meal with sangria or local wine for an authentic experience. If you’re searching for an unforgettable European destination in January, look no further than Madrid. 

With its mild weather conditions compared to other parts of Europe, an abundance of cultural events, beautiful parks, and mouthwatering cuisine, this vibrant city offers one of the best winter getaways you can find. So pack your bags, and get ready to immerse yourself in the warmth and charm of Madrid! 

27. Alicante, Spain

Urban landscape, view of the Mediterranean city of Alicante, Spain

When choosing a destination in January, Alicante, Spain, is undoubtedly one of Europe’s best places to travel. While some may think of sunny beaches and warm weather when they think of Alicante, visiting this coastal gem in January can offer a unique and captivating experience. Contrary to popular belief, January is an ideal time to visit Europe to avoid the crowds of tourists that flood popular destinations during peak seasons. 

In Alicante, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the city and its charming streets without feeling overwhelmed by hordes of visitors. You can take leisurely walks along the tranquil promenade or venture into the narrow alleys of Barrio de Santa Cruz without jostling through throngs of people. 

But what about the weather in Europe in January? Well, fear not! 

While much of Europe may face harsh winter conditions during this time, Alicante enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate even in winter. With average temperatures ranging from 12-18°C (54-64°F), you can enjoy pleasant strolls along the beach or sip coffee at one of the cozy outdoor cafés that dot the city. 

If you visit Alicante in January, visit one of its fascinating historical sites – Castillo de Santa Bárbara. Sitting atop Mount Benacantil, this imposing castle offers one of the best panoramic views of the city and its surroundings. 

You can take a leisurely hike up or an elevator ride for those who prefer a more relaxed approach. Alicante truly shines as a destination in January with its pleasant weather and less crowded atmosphere than other European countries. 

Whether you’re seeking relaxation on sandy beaches or exploring historical landmarks like Castillo de Santa Bárbara, this Spanish gem has it all. So pack your bags and embark on an unforgettable January vacation – Alicante awaits! 

28. Mallorca, Spain

Cala Figuera Mallorca Balearic Islands Port

Mallorca , Spain – a gem in Europe in January When it comes to dreamy holiday spots, Mallorca always shines brightly on the radar. And guess what? 

January is one of the best times to go! While the rest of the continent might be shivering in winter’s grip, this Balearic island offers a delightful escape with its mild and sunny climate. 

Mallorca should be at the top of your list if you’re looking for the best deals and fewer tourists in January. One of the best things about visiting Mallorca in January is exploring its pristine beaches without fighting for a spot or contending with throngs of tourists. 

Imagine strolling along golden sands that stretch as far as your eyes can see, with turquoise waters gently lapping at your feet. Playa de Palma is a fantastic beach in January; it boasts crystal-clear waters and a promenade lined with charming cafes where you can warm up over coffee. 

Apart from its stunning coastline, Mallorca offers an array of enchanting towns and villages just waiting to be explored. Make sure to visit Palma de Mallorca, the capital known for its impressive Gothic cathedral, La Seu. 

Wander through its narrow winding streets adorned with vibrant architecture and stumble upon hidden gems like quaint cafes and boutique shops. Another must-visit place on this sunny island is Sóller, nestled amidst mountains and boasting picturesque landscapes. 

Take a ride on the vintage Sóller train for spectacular views and immerse yourself in the cozy charm of this town. When traveling to Europe in January 2023 or any other year, Mallorca is one of the best places to visit. 

Whether you want to bask under warm winter sunrays on pristine beaches or explore charming towns steeped in history, this Balearic beauty has got you covered. So pack your bags, grab your sunglasses, and get ready to embark on a delightful January vacation in Mallorca. 

29. Lisbon, Portugal

Is Lisbon worth visiting? In this post, lets discover its historical significance, picturesque landscapes, vibrant nightlife, gastronomical delights, and more!

Ah, Lisbon – the vibrant capital of Portugal. This city offers one of the best European experiences; in January, it’s no exception. 

In fact, January is a fantastic time to visit Lisbon . Sure, it may be the coldest month in this part of Europe, but fear not! 

The weather in January can still be quite pleasant for those who are prepared. One of the best things about visiting Lisbon in January is that you won’t have to deal with heavy crowds or long lines at popular attractions like the Tower of Belém or Jerónimos Monastery. 

You can explore these iconic landmarks without feeling rushed or overwhelmed by tourist crowds. Despite being winter, Lisbon still offers one of the mildest climates in Europe during this time of year. 

While it may not be beach weather, temperatures typically range from 10 to 15 degrees Celsius (50 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit), making it perfect for strolling through charming neighborhoods and enjoying outdoor activities without freezing your toes off. Another reason why Lisbon is one of the best places to visit in January is its rich cultural scene. 

The city boasts numerous museums and galleries you can explore at your leisure. From modern art at the Museu Coleção Berardo to historical artifacts at the National Museum of Ancient Art, there’s something for everyone’s taste. 

If you’re a food lover like me (and honestly, who isn’t?), you’re in for a treat when visiting Lisbon in winter. The city is known for its delicious cuisine and warm hospitality all year round. 

Enjoy this quieter season by indulging yourself in traditional Portuguese dishes like bacalhau à brás (a codfish dish) or pastéis de nata (custard tarts). And don’t forget to pair your meal with a glass of port wine – after all, Portugal is famous for it! 

Lisbon is one of the best European cities to visit in January. You’ll experience its rich cultural heritage, enjoy mild winter temperatures, and savor authentic Portuguese cuisine without the usual crowds. 

So, if you’re planning a winter getaway, consider adding Lisbon to your list of must-visit destinations. Trust me; you won’t be disappointed! 

30. Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal old town view with Douro river

Regarding winter destinations in Europe, Porto , Portugal, is one of the best things you can do in January. Let me tell you why. First of all, Porto is known for its stunning architecture and charming riverside views. 

Imagine strolling along the Douro River, with its picturesque colorful buildings and iconic Dom Luís I Bridge towering above you. It’s truly a sight to behold. 

January is the best time to visit Porto because you can enjoy this beautiful city without the crowds that usually flock here during the peak tourist season. You will have more space to explore at your own pace and find some of the best deals on accommodation and flights during this time. 

It’s a win-win situation! In terms of weather, Porto may not be one of the sunniest places in Europe during January, but it still has a certain charm that makes up for it. 

Pack your warmest winter coat and get ready to embrace the crisp air as you wander through Porto’s narrow streets lined with cozy cafes and inviting restaurants. And don’t forget to try some of their famous port wine while you’re here – it’s an absolute must! 

There are plenty of attractions to keep you busy in Porto during January. Explore historic landmarks like São Bento Railway Station with its stunning tiled walls or venture into Livraria Lello, one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. 

If you’re looking for retail therapy, head to Bolhão Market, where you can find fresh produce and local delicacies. To sum it up, if you’re planning on traveling to Europe in January and looking for a great place to visit, Porto should definitely be on your list. 

With its charming atmosphere, beautiful architecture, and fewer crowds compared to other times of the year, January is a fantastic time to experience all this Portuguese gem offers. So grab your coat and prepare for an unforgettable city break in Porto! 

31. Azores, Portugal

Mountain landscape with hiking trail and view of beautiful lakes, Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel Island, Azores, Portugal.

If you’re looking for the best places to travel in Europe in January , the Azores should definitely be on your list. Situated in Portugal, this group of islands is a hidden gem that offers stunning natural beauty and a unique charm. January is a fantastic time to visit the Azores as it is the coldest month, making it less crowded with tourists. 

The Azores is known for its breathtaking landscapes and outdoor activities. From hiking through lush green valleys to exploring volcanic craters, there is no shortage of adventures here. 

One of the best places in Europe to satisfy your wanderlust, this archipelago boasts picturesque lakes and hot springs that offer relaxation amidst nature’s wonders. One must-visit spot in the Azores during January is Lagoa das Sete Cidades. 

This twin lake surrounded by rolling green hills will leave you awe-struck with its beauty. The contrasting colors of blue and green are mesmerizing and make for a perfect photo opportunity. 

Additionally, don’t miss out on visiting Ponta Delgada, the vibrant capital city of the Azores, where you can explore historic churches charming streets, and indulge in delicious local cuisine. In terms of weather, while January may be one of the coldest months in Europe overall, the Azores enjoys milder temperatures due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. 

Although rain showers are common this season, they often create enchanting misty landscapes that add to the island’s allure. So embrace your adventurous spirit and visit Europe in January by exploring one of its sunniest places – the beautiful Azores! 

32. Santorini, Greece

top day trips from santorini greece naxos

Santorini is just like a paradise in  Greece  painted all in white, which is a coastal island on the banks of the Aegean Sea. The royal blue water of the Aegean sea contrasted with the whitish  isle of Santorini  is something straight out of heaven. The destination has pleasant cold weather in January ranging from 10 to 14 degrees and comparatively warmer, unlike the freezing European destinations.

It is not the  warmest place in Europe  in January but receives a burst of good sunshine for seven long hours. January is off tourist season, and hence it is an excellent time to explore the painted locations of this coastal island.

It offers various luxurious winter activities for tourists like staying in the cave villa overlooking the beautiful Aegean Sea, visiting the painted white village of Oia and its historic homes.

Explore the glamorous winter restaurants, shops in the town of Fira and take a cable car ride over the Aegean sea, visit the blue dome of Firostefani, view the stunning Aegean sea from Imerovigli, trek to the highest point of Mount Profiti Ilas, rake a stroll on the Red and Black beach and lots of activities to spend the  winter days .

Read more about Santorini and Greece: Places to Visit in Greece , Things to do in Santorini , Day Trips from Santorini

33. Athens, Greece

The Acropolis, Greece

Athens , Greece, is one of the best places to visit in January. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and mild winter weather, it offers one of the best European city breaks in Europe during winter. The city is surprisingly less crowded than the peak tourist season, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a more peaceful and authentic experience. 

One of the highlights of visiting Athens in January is exploring its ancient ruins without being jostled by large crowds. The iconic Acropolis, home to the Parthenon and other magnificent structures from ancient times is usually much quieter during this time of year. 

You can take your time absorbing the grandeur and significance of these historical landmarks without feeling rushed or overwhelmed. Aside from its historical sites, Athens has a vibrant cultural scene with numerous museums and art galleries. 

On a rainy day or when you want to take a break from sightseeing, you can visit one of these cultural institutions. The National Archaeological Museum is particularly renowned for housing an extensive collection of artifacts showcasing Greece’s fascinating past. 

Another advantage of visiting Athens in January is that you can enjoy a more affordable trip compared to other months when prices tend to skyrocket. Flight deals and discounted hotel rates are often available during this off-peak season. 

Plus, with fewer tourists, you’ll have more flexibility when choosing accommodations and dining options. If you are considering a trip to Europe in January 2023 and want to make the most of your visit, consider Athens a top destination. 

Whether you are captivated by its ancient history or simply want to immerse yourself in its vibrant culture, this Greek city has plenty to offer all year round. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Athens! 

34. Crete, Greece

top day trips from santorini greece crete chania

Crete , Greece, is one of the best places to visit in Europe in January. Known for its stunning beaches, ancient ruins, and rich cultural heritage, Crete offers a unique experience during this time of year. While some may shy away from traveling to Europe in winter, January is a great time to explore this beautiful island. 

One of the best things about visiting Crete in January is the lack of crowds. Unlike the busy summer months when tourists flock to the island, January offers a more tranquil and peaceful experience. 

You can wander through the charming streets of Chania or Heraklion without battling throngs of tourists. This allows you to fully immerse yourself in the local culture and truly appreciate the beauty of Crete. 

Another advantage of visiting Crete in January is that it’s one of the warmest places in Europe during this time. While other European cities might be blanketed with snow or experiencing freezing temperatures, Crete enjoys mild weather with average temperatures ranging from 15-20 degrees Celsius (59-68 degrees Fahrenheit). 

It’s perfect for those who want to escape the winter chill and enjoy outdoor activities like hiking or exploring archaeological sites. If you’re looking for a city break in January, visit Heraklion, which is not only Crete’s largest city but also home to numerous historical landmarks. 

Explore the ancient ruins at Knossos Palace and marvel at its rich Minoan heritage. Stroll along Venetian walls or visit the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, which houses an impressive collection dating back thousands of years. 

If you plan to travel to Europe in January, take advantage of exploring Crete, Greece. With its mild weather and fewer crowds compared to peak tourist seasons, it’s one of the best places on the continent during this time. 

Whether you’re fascinated by history or simply craving a relaxing beach getaway, Crete offers a perfect mix of cultural heritage and natural beauty. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and immerse yourself in the enchanting charms of Crete. 

35. Stockholm, Sweden

Aerial panorama of Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm is a city that truly shines in the month of January. The city is covered in a blanket of pristine snow and the crisp winter air creates a serene and peaceful atmosphere. For those seeking a winter wonderland experience, Stockholm is the perfect destination.

One of the reasons why Stockholm is a great place to visit in January is the plethora of winter activities available. Visitors can enjoy ice-skating on the stunning natural ice rinks, skiing in the beautiful parks, and even trying their hand at ice fishing. There are also several winter festivals taking place in the city including the Stockholm Light Festival, which is a breathtaking display of light installations set across the city.

Another reason why Stockholm is a must-visit in January is its unique culture and history. The city is home to world-renowned museums like the Vasa Museum, which offers insight into the rich maritime history of the region. There are also numerous art galleries and theatres for culture enthusiasts to indulge in. The city’s old town, Gamla Stan, is a must-visit for any history buffs as it is a well-preserved medieval city center and the birthplace of Stockholm.

For foodies, Stockholm is a heaven for gastronomic delights. During winter, warm and hearty food is paramount and Stockholm has plenty to offer, from traditional Swedish meatballs to spicy gingerbread cookies and mulled wine. The city has a wide range of dining options, including Michelin-starred restaurants and street food markets, all of which are guaranteed to satisfy even the most discerning of palates.

Overall, Stockholm is a stunning winter destination and deserves a spot on anyone’s travel list. From its natural beauty to its unique culture, the city has so much to offer and is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in January in Europe.

How to prepare your trip to Europe in the winter?

Europe around this time of the year is cold and regardless of where you’re heading to, you must dress properly for the weather to avoid getting sick from the weather. Here are our top posts to help you stay warm while exploring these beautiful destinations:

  • What to Pack for Winter in Europe + Printable Ladies Packing List!
  • Travel Jacket: Best Lightweight Winter Travel Jacket for Women
  • Top 10 Best Women’s Winter Shoes for Travel
  • Top 10 Best Men’s Winter Shoes for Travel

Tips for Travelling to Europe in January

Weather considerations in europe in january.

January is often overlooked as an ideal time to explore Europe, but it’s one of the best times to visit. Sure, the weather may not be as warm as during the summer, but if you’re looking for the best European cities to visit without throngs of tourists, January is the perfect time. Let’s dive into some weather considerations for your European adventure in January. 

When it comes to weather in January, it’s essential to keep in mind that Europe experiences diverse climates across its regions. In Southern Europe , countries like Spain and Portugal can offer surprisingly mild temperatures compared to other parts of the continent. 

Alicante, in Spain, often referred to as one of the warmest places in Europe during winter, boasts agreeable temperatures around 15-17 degrees Celsius (59-63 degrees Fahrenheit). Imagine strolling along beautiful beaches and enjoying some of the city’s best views without heavy winter clothing! 

Moving further eastward towards Greece, Athens, and Crete are among the sunniest places in Europe during January. With average temperatures hovering around 13-15 degrees Celsius (55-59 degrees Fahrenheit), these destinations offer a pleasant escape from colder climates. 

Picture yourself wandering through ancient ruins like the Acropolis or basking under gentle rays of sunshine on a charming Greek island. However, it’s important to note that not all parts of Europe experience such mild conditions in January. 

Northern European countries like Norway or Sweden have considerably colder climates, with temperatures often dipping below freezing point. So, if you plan on exploring these regions during this time of year, be prepared with appropriate clothing and gear to stay comfortable and safe. 

So whether you opt for a warmer place like Alicante or embrace colder landscapes up north, there are plenty of amazing places to visit in January across Europe. Check specific weather forecasts for your chosen destinations and pack accordingly to enjoy your European adventure during this unique time of the year. 

Essential clothing and gear to battle European winter

When traveling to Europe in January, one of the most important considerations is packing the right clothing and gear to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable trip. The weather during this time can vary greatly across European cities, ranging from chilly temperatures to downright frosty conditions. 

So, it’s essential to be prepared with appropriate attire. Firstly, make sure to pack plenty of warm layers. 

This includes thermal undergarments, thick sweaters or fleeces, and a good winter coat. Wear a hat, scarf, and gloves to protect your extremities from the cold. 

Waterproof boots with good traction are also crucial for navigating icy streets or snowy terrains. Layering is key as it allows you to adjust your clothing to fluctuating temperatures throughout the day. 

Additionally, investing in a sturdy umbrella or raincoat is advisable as January tends to be a wet month in many European cities. Having reliable rain gear will help keep you dry and protect your other belongings as you explore popular tourist spots or stroll through charming cobblestone streets. 

Another essential item for your travel wardrobe is comfortable footwear. Opt for shoes that are not only warm but also practical for walking long distances. 

Consider bringing insulated and waterproof boots that offer style and functionality, ensuring your feet stay dry and cozy while exploring European cityscapes. Remember accessories such as sunglasses (yes, even in winter) since snow glare can be intense on sunny days. 

Also, consider packing a travel-sized umbrella or foldable poncho that can easily fit into your bag if you visit places known for their frequent rainy spells. By packing these essential clothing items and gear suitable for Europe’s winter climate in January, you’ll be well-prepared for any weather conditions that may come your way during your travels across the continent. 

Adjusting travel plans for shorter daylight hours

Adjusting your travel plans to accommodate shorter daylight hours is crucial in January. As winter envelopes Europe, the days grow shorter, giving you fewer daylight hours to explore. 

However, fret not, for there are several ways to make the most of this enchanting time of year. One way to adapt your itinerary is by planning your activities accordingly. 

Aim to visit indoor attractions and museums during the early morning and late afternoon hours when natural light is still available. You can experience Europe’s cultural wonders without wasting precious daylight. 

Museums such as the Louvre in Paris or the British Museum in London are ideal for immersing yourself in art and history. Additionally, consider prioritizing outdoor activities that can still be enjoyed even with limited daylight. 

For example, embarking on scenic walks or hikes during midday can provide breathtaking views while making daylight most available. Exploring winter destinations in Europe, like Switzerland’s picturesque alpine towns or Austria’s snow-covered mountains, can be a feast for the senses during January. 

Furthermore, it’s essential to be mindful of safe transportation options during reduced daylight. Plan your journeys accordingly and avoid traveling long distances during late evening hours when visibility may be compromised. 

Opting for public transportation rather than driving allows you to relax and enjoy the scenery without worrying about navigating unfamiliar roads in limited light. Adjusting your travel plans for shorter daylight hours in January doesn’t mean sacrificing experiences; it presents an opportunity to discover Europe’s charm from a unique perspective. 

Embrace this time by exploring its indoor marvels and indulging in outdoor adventures that showcase its winter beauty. Whether marveling at historical sites or relishing warm winter delicacies at vibrant markets, Europe in January is undeniably a great place and time to visit – so make sure it’s on your list! 

Prepare for possible early closing times of many establishments

Now that we’ve covered the essentials of traveling to Europe in January, you need to remember the possibility of early closing times for many establishments. While this may not be a concern during peak tourist season, it becomes more relevant during the quieter winter months. 

So, let me shed some light on why this happens and how you can best prepare for it. January is one of the best times to visit Europe if you prefer a less crowded experience. 

However, with fewer tourists in January, some businesses and attractions may adjust their operating hours accordingly. It’s common to find that museums, shops, and even restaurants might close earlier than usual or have limited opening days throughout the week. 

This is especially true in smaller towns or off-the-beaten-path destinations. To navigate these potential obstacles smoothly, it’s essential to plan ahead and do your research. 

Check the official websites or contact establishments directly before your visit. They often update their opening hours online or have automated phone systems that provide up-to-date information regarding closures or changes in schedule. 

When exploring Europe in January – whether wandering through ancient streets or enjoying breathtaking views of the city – consider that cities like Paris, Rome, and Barcelona usually have a vibrant nightlife scene, even during winter. However, certain areas may shut down earlier than usual due to reduced foot traffic. 

In addition to being aware of early closing times, another tip is to prioritize sightseeing and activities during daytime hours when most places are open. This way, you can make the most of your trip without missing out on any must-see attractions! 

Whether you’re visiting renowned museums like the Louvre in Paris or exploring historical landmarks such as Rome’s Colosseum – ensure you plan accordingly to enjoy these incredible sights while they’re open. By considering these factors and planning ahead, you’ll be well-prepared for early closing times and ensure you make the most of your visit to Europe in January. 

Remember, although your itinerary may require more flexibility, the rewards of experiencing Europe during this time are worth it. So embrace the opportunity to explore captivating destinations with fewer crowds, immerse yourself in local culture, and create unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime! 

What are my favorite travel must-haves?

As a frequent traveler, I’ve learned a lot throughout my years of travel, and there are five items that I always carry with me regardless of where I go and how long the trip is. Here are my five travel must-haves!

  • Warm packable jacket  – I always carry a light jacket, even when heading to warm countries. There hasn’t been a time I never used it, especially in airports and planes.
  • Transparent toiletry bag  – I often bring a carry-on if I’m only traveling within Europe for a few days. Life is so much easier to go through security checks with a transparent toiletry bag.
  • Kindle Paperwhite  – I love a good read and always take my Kindle everywhere. It keeps me entertained during long flights and waiting times.
  • Powerbank  – I don’t know how I could travel without one! Having a power bank saved me a ton since I carry a lot of electronic devices with me.
  • Travel Adapter  – I never leave my luggage without a travel adapter! I carry one with me all the time. It is just one of that travel-must haves that doesn’t hurt to have in your bag at all times.

So, planning your visit to Europe in January?

January is a fantastic time to explore Europe, with its unique charm and various destinations that offer unforgettable experiences. Whether seeking a winter wonderland or escaping the cold, Europe has something to offer for every traveler in January. From the sun-soaked cities of Alicante and Mallorca in Spain to the vibrant cultural hubs of Lisbon and Porto in Portugal, there is no shortage of amazing places to visit in January. 

Athens, Greece, is one of the best cities to consider for a city break in January. With milder temperatures than other European destinations during this time, Athens offers a pleasant escape with its rich history and archaeological wonders. 

Explore iconic sites like the Acropolis and Parthenon while enjoying fewer crowds at this time of year. Another excellent choice is Crete, Greece’s largest island. 

Known for its stunning beaches and picturesque landscapes, Crete remains one of the sunniest places in Europe, even during winter. Enjoy mild temperatures, explore ancient ruins such as Knossos Palace, or simply relax on beautiful beaches without fighting for space. 

Traveling to Europe in January can provide a unique and memorable experience. Whether you embrace the winter charm or seek warmth in sunny destinations like Alicante or Crete, plenty of amazing places await discovering. 

The best part is that January is also one of the best times to visit these destinations due to fewer crowds and more affordable prices. So pack your bags and prepare for an incredible adventure as you explore some of Europe’s best places this winter season! 

Plan your trip to Europe: Monthly breakdown

  • Europe in January
  • Europe in February
  • Europe in March
  • Europe in April
  • Europe in May
  • Europe in June
  • Europe in July
  • Europe in August
  • Europe in September
  • Europe in October
  • Europe in November
  • Europe in December

Plan your trip to Europe by season

  • Winter in Europe: Top 21 Winter Destinations in Europe
  • Spring in Europe: Top 15 Spring Destinations in Europe
  • Summer in Europe: Top 14 Best Summer Destinations in Europe
  • Autumn in Europe: Top 15 Fall Destinations in Europe

Europe by Experience

  • Northern Lights Holiday: Top 10 Destinations to Spot Aurora Borealis
  • Where to See the Midnight Sun: Top 8 Places Where the Sun Never Sets
  • 25 Beautiful Castles in Europe That Would Inspire Your Wanderlust
  • 30 BEST Fairytale like Towns in Europe (That Will Tickle Your Wanderlust)
  • Top 20 Cheapest Countries in Europe to Visit for Budget Travelers
  • Top 10 BEST Destinations for New Year’s Eve in Europe
  • Christmas in Europe: Top 15 MAGICAL Ideas for Christmas
  • 26+ Best National Parks in Europe You Must Check Out!
  • Top 25 Best European Foods You Must Try!
  • Top 15 Best Road Trips in Europe
  • 30 BEST Places to Visit in Europe
  • 26 Most Romantic Destinations in Europe
  • Top 10 Party Destinations in Europe to Experience

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Dreaming of a winter getaway? Check out this list of the best places to visit in Europe in January for an unforgettable experience!

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About me

Evan Kristine a.k.a Pretty Wild World is a professional travel blogger with over 10 years of experience in content creation. Originally from the Philippines, she's been living in Finland for 15+ years working as a chef and entrepreneur in Tampere, Finland.

She's an expert in Finland travel and explores the country often sharing her insights and tips in this blog and social medias. She also splits her free time either going for weekend getaways in Europe or galavanting to different European destinations on her holidays. All her useful Europe travel guides are also in this blog!

Evan Kristine is also the food blogger behind at The Kitchen Abroad and on her free time, she enjoys decorating her 75m2 apartment and shares her experience over at Solía Avenue .

A true master of her own life and despite her busy schedule juggling life as a chef, blogger, and entrepreneur, she still finds time to read 50+ books a year and indulge in several hobbies like hiking, working out, yoga, and painting.

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24 Best Places To Visit In Europe In January (2024)

Last Updated on March 13, 2024 by Nicole

January is a fantastic time to take a European holiday. In many places, Christmas markets are still open and Christmas decorations linger in the early part of the month. However, the overall craziness of Christmas time has passed. It is low season in most places, so you should be able to find great flight and hotel deals for a fantastic vacation in Europe. In addition, the most popular attractions will see fewer crowds and will be more enjoyable to explore. In Europe, you have the best of both worlds. You have the choice of cold destinations, some with winter sports for a snowy winter getaway and warm weather spots where you can enjoy a warm January holiday. From all the wonderful possibilities, where should you go? Here are 24 of the best places to visit in Europe in January.

This post may contain affiliate links. That means that I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you buy something through my site. This helps me run my website and produce the articles that I hope you find helpful.

Other Destinations In Europe

Many places may still have Christmas markets open and Christmas lights up in early January. For a list of both warm and cold places with amazing Christmas celebrations that you may want to check out, please see  24 Best Places To Visit In Europe For Christmas .

If you are not sure about your timing, consider 22 Best Places To Visit In Europe In February .

If you are looking for the best snow and winter destinations in Europe, please see 17 Best Snowy Winter Wonderlands To Visit In Europe .

For those looking for the best sunsets in Europe, please see 28 Best Places In Europe For Most Beautiful Sunsets .

For those hoping to find inexpensive European destinations regardless of the season, please see:

  • 27 Best Cheap Cities In Europe For A Fantastic Vacation ; and
  • 22 Best Cheap Countries To Visit In Europe .

After reviewing this article, you may be curious about other destinations in January. Here are the  24 Best Places To Visit In The USA In January .

Best Places To Visit In January In Europe

I have asked some of the best travel bloggers and industry experts where are the best European destinations for a January vacation. They include cities, towns, mountain ranges, and beaches all over Europe offering both warm and cold weather. Whether you wish to explore historic city centers, lounge on beaches, discover beautiful natural beauty, or stay active through skiing or other outdoor adventures, there is something for everyone.

In the following article, the best things to do in each destination are described, as well as how best to get there. In addition, the expected weather is set out so you can properly pack. If a travel blogger stayed in a fantastic hotel or other accommodation, their recommendation is included. Finally, any annual events or festivals are provided in case you can organize your trip to participate in these special events.

best places to visit in Europe in January

Tenerife, Spain (Canary Islands)

By Lara from The Best Travel Gifts

One of the best beach destinations to visit in January in Europe if you are looking for a sunny days is Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands. With pleasant temperatures, Tenerife is one of the warmest places in Europe during the winter months.

Besides discovering Tenerife’s beaches and enjoying the sun, there are plenty of incredible things to do on this island. The easiest way to explore is to rent a car, but you can also book tours to some of the most popular attractions, such as National Parque El Teide. 

The National Park includes Volcano El Teide, the highest point in Tenerife, and the whole of Spain (12,188 ft). There is a cable car to take you to the top from which you will have a stunning view over the island. If you are lucky, you can even see the other Canary islands as well, such as Gran Canaria. 

Make sure you also take some time to hike and explore other areas of the Park. For a bit of excitement, book an Quad Safari tour . The volcanic landscape is simply fascinating. For

Another beautiful national park for hiking is Parque Rural de Anaga in the north. You do need a car to get there, but it’s well worth the drive. Alternatively, book a guided tour and explore this stunning part of the island.

Two other towns worth exploring are Garachico and the Unesco World Heritage listed town of San Cristobal de La Laguna. San Cristobal offers colonial architecture and its’ linear layout of its streets – created in the 15th Century without protective outer walls – combine to give a remarkable feel to this ancient university city. If you don’t have a car, you can take a tour and explore both pretty towns.

You can expect pleasant average temperatures between 65 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The best place to stay is the south of the island because it has the most sun hours and the least amount of rainfall.

Best Way To Reach Destination

It’s only a fifteen-minute drive from Aeropuerto de Tenerife Sur (TFS) to Costa Adeje, a town in the south.

Hotel Recommendation

Lara says, “Costa Adeje is a popular town in the south. During the summer, Tenerife and Costa Adeje can feel extremely touristy due to the large crowds, but in January it’s actually a pleasant place to stay. Especially if you skip the large hotels and stay at a cute boutique hotel, such as B&B Villa Boutique Tenerife.”

best European destinations to visit in January

Lapland, Sweden

By Ellie from El On The Move

What better place than to experience a true winter wonderland than in Lapland. Located in the Arctic Circle and part of Swedish Lapland, Kiruna is one of the best January holiday spots in Europe. It is the most northern town in Sweden, and it feels like it is in a world of its own.

Kiruna developed because of a very large iron mine and apart from the mine and the town itself, there is nothing but snow, forest and wilderness.  

The best activity is dog sledding in the Lapland countryside. Being pulled by a team of dogs in the snow with utter silence surrounding you allows you to be able to appreciate the stunning nature. You can choose to drive your own sled or be driven by a guide, relax and enjoy the views.

No trip up north would be the same without searching for the Northern Lights. The Northern Lights can be seen from Kiruna town but the lights are best when far away from any light source.

For example, some of the best Northern Lights that you might see are are when you driving between towns as there is no light at all. Tour companies offer Northern Light tours , but any place with low light is an opportunity to see them.

January in Kiruna is a great time to visit as it is still during the polar night (at least the first week or so). The polar night means there is a full day of sunset or sunrise colours across the whole sky. The colours are incredible and the short daylight hours means more darkness to see the Northern Lights.

January is one of the coldest months of the year. You can expect lots of snow and 10°F – 17°F (-30°C) is very normal. So make sure you pack extra warm clothes with high percentage wool base layers. High quality layers make such a difference.

Kiruna is accessible by flight from Stockholm. The flight is about 1.5 hours. They run multiple times a day in the winter season. There is also an overnight train from Stockholm that offers incredible scenery throughout Sweden.

Ellie says, “Kiruna is home to the world’s first Ice Hotel. The rooms are carved from Ice and kept at a balmy -5°C inside the rooms. When sleeping in an ice room you are provided with reindeer skins and a very warm sleeping bag.

The rooms are changed each year and created by ice artists from all over the world, so it is a very special experience. They also have warm rooms if the thought of sleeping in -5°C is not for you. The hotel is based overlooking the Tourne River which is completely frozen so it offers some lovely views.”

best European cities to visit in January

Catania, Italy (Sicily)

By Ingrid from Ingrid Zen Moments

Sicily  is Italy’s largest island, with a vast history, strong local culture, and incredible food scene. It is no wonder thousands of tourists flock here every year. If you love old towns packed with history, but also beautiful nature, Sicily should be on your Italian bucket list.

Visiting Sicily during the winter months is a great time to enjoy your trip without the torrid temperatures you get during summer, but also without the crowds and for very cheap prices.

Catania is the main city to visit on Sicily’s eastern coast, set at the foot of Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe. It is a fantastic city to explore for a European January vacation. The city was founded by Greeks almost 2800 years ago and today is an open-air museum, where one can still see the remnants of Greek culture on a stroll around town.

Castello Ursino dates from the 13th century and is one of the main tourist attractions in town. Today, it hosts a museum with artifacts from Catania and its region. The Greek/Roman Theater of Catania is another important sight you shouldn’t miss during your visit.

From Catania, you cannot skip visiting Mount Etna or a day trip to the picturesque and bohemian city of Taormina . Once the favorite destination for poets and writers from all over the world, Taormina will charm you with its beautiful narrow streets and impressive architecture.

For those looking for an AMAZING 12 day road trip in Sicily that takes you from one end of the island to the other while seeing incredible history, beautiful beaches, and fantastic natural beauty, please see Best 12 Day Itinerary In Sicily .

The average temperature in Catania in January ranges from 50°F – 59°F.

Reaching Catania is easy both from inside of Italy, but also from other European capitals. Catania–Fontanarossa Airport is less than 3 miles (5 kilometers) away from the main city center and can be easily reached by car or by public transportation.

Ingrid says, “While choosing an area to stay in Catania could prove to be challenging, you could never go wrong with a hotel or apartment in the old city center, along the seafront, or anywhere close to Corso Italia. They all come with advantages and disadvantages, but from there you will not only be close to most of the tourist attractions but will also be in a great area with fantastic restaurant choices.”

January is best time to visit Istanbul in Europe

Istanbul, Turkey

By Sasha from Mog And Dog Travels

Spanning the continents of Europe and Asia, the historic city of Istanbul is one of the best European cities to visit all year round. However, travellers who decide to take a city break in Istanbul in January will be rewarded with wonderful and unique experiences. 

With the summer tourist crowds gone, January is a much more peaceful time to explore this mammoth city. You avoid the long queues that usually snake around the major tourist attractions in Galata and the historical area of Sultanahmet. Low season also makes Istanbul a much more budget-friendly destination, with reduced prices for hotels, flights and tours. 

Make sure to visit the Hagia Sophia – a 1500-year-old UNESCO World Heritage site that was once at the centre of the Roman and Ottoman Empires. Take your time to marvel at the ornate and amazingly preserved mosaics on the upper floors and ceilings of the building.

You can then cross Sultanahmet Square to the Blue Mosque. Another architectural wonder that was built in the 17th Century and decorated with over 20,000 handmade ceramic tiles. Take a tour of both to make sure that you don’t miss anything!

Any winter trip to Istanbul should include a tour of the city’s amazing gastronomic scene. January is a great time to sample sahlep , a rich traditional Turkish drink only consumed in the winter months and made from orchid root, milk and cinnamon. Available in cafes and restaurants all over the city, it’s the perfect antidote to the chilly weather outside. 

January is also the best time to visit Turkey’s largest ski resort at Mount Uludağ, just 2.5 hours outside of Istanbul. It offers a range of activities including downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding and sledding. It also has the longest cable car ride in the world, the Bursa Teleferik, which offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.

January is the coldest month in Istanbul, with daytime temperatures ranging from 39°F to 47°F. Whilst it does rain quite frequently, there will be many days when the weather is bright and sunny.

The fact that many of Istanbul’s main attractions are covered also makes it a great place to visit in January even when the weather is unpredictable.

January is also when Istanbul is most likely to experience snowfall. While this is usually very light (only 2-4cm (1.5in) at most), the sight of the city’s mosques and churches covered in snow makes for stunning photographs. 

Most visitors to Istanbul will fly into Istanbul Airport. This is normally a 45-60 minute drive from the city centre, though during rush hour this can take much longer. 

Sasha says, “There are a number of popular areas to stay in Istanbul and accommodation ranges from cool apartments to luxury hotels and budget hostels. Louis Appartements in Galata, just a few minutes from the metro station and close to many cafes and restaurants, has comfortable, gorgeous suites and an amazing roof terrace with views of the Galata Tower.”

most beautiful places to visit in Europe in january

Crete, Greece (Greek Islands)

By Angela from Fitting In Adventure

Walk the paths of many mythological stories on Crete, one of the best European destinations for a January getaway. Surrounded by quaint shops and restaurants, this lesser known Greek Island is sure to leave your adventurous soul fulfilled whether you dive into its history and mythology, or the more current music culture. 

History lovers will be in heaven since Crete’s history predates the ancient Minoan civilization by more than four millennia.

The island of Crete’s Palace of Knossos is where the legend of the Minotaur was born. Constructed by Daedalus, the labyrinths purpose was to house the minotaur.

Legend has it that the Cretan King then demanded that Athens send seven young men and seven young women to be fed to the minotaur as a tax. This continued until Theseus killed the minotaur. While visiting the Palace of Knossos you will wonder the ruins and view the legendary throne room of King Minos. 

Take a trip up Mount Ida. Mythology states this is where Zeus was raised. Also called Psilorertis, this is where Zeus’ mother Rhea hid him from his father Cronos. Cronos was known to eat his children to prevent them from overthrowing him in the future. Make sure to visit the cave of Dikteon Andron where Zeus was born. 

Visiting in the off-season will help you avoid many of the crowds typically associated with summertime in the Greek islands.

With the average temperature in the high 50s, you will miss the muggy summer months making it the perfect time for wandering and hikes. You will want to return again and again to enjoy the clearest coastline in Europe. 

Fly into Athens and grab a ferry or cruise to head over to the island of Crete. Crete also has two international airports – one in Heraklion the capital and the other in Chania – from where you can pick up a rental car and explore the island.

best places to travel to in Europe in January

Paris, France

By Kelly from Girl With A Passport

If you’re in search of one of the best cities to visit in Europe in January, then look no further than Paris.  As the capital of France, the city of light is known for its incredible food, world-class museums, and refined culture. 

If you plan your visit for January, you’ll love Paris even more since you’ll enjoy cheaper hotel prices, better deals on flights, and less crowded attractions. Accordingly, you can quickly and easily visit places like the Louvre without the hordes of tourists. Plus, staff at many of the city’s busy restaurants and hotels will be a lot less stressed – and infinitely more polite – since they don’t have to cater to as many people. 

While you’re in the city and have the place all to yourself, be sure to visit amazing works of art at the Louvre. These include the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, the Seated Scribe, and Liberty Leading the People. If you can, try to time your visit for a Wednesday or Friday evening when the museum is open late. 

Next, take in a vibrant cabaret show at places like the Moulin Rouge or the Crazy Horse before attending a classic opera performance at The Opéra-Comique. 

Finally, ascend the Arc de Triomphe for unparalleled views of the city before retreating inside Laduree for some well-deserved macarons and afternoon tea in Paris . 

Whatever you do though, be sure to dress warmly since average temperatures in January only reach a high of 46°F  and a low of 37° F. You’ll also want to bring a warm jacket, rain coat or umbrella since the city can receive an average of nine days of rain throughout the month. 

Kelly says, “When you want to retreat into warmth, consider a suite inside the Exe Panorama hotel.  Rooms here are well-priced and sit inside a lovely, Haussmann-style building that is only a five-minute walk from the Cadet metro station.”

January is best time to visit Hallstatt in Austria in Europe

Hallstatt, Austria

By Nadine from Le Long Weekend

The fairytale village of Hallstatt is a dream to  visit in winter . Surrounded by snow-dusted mountains, on the edge of a beautiful lake, it lives up to its lofty reputation as one of the most beautiful villages in the world. It is certainly one of the best winter escapes in Europe.

Although small, there are plenty of things to do in Hallstatt. Take a walk up to the Skywalk platform where you’ll be awarded with incredible views over the village, lake, and mountainous region beyond.

Visit the Altaussee Salt Mine to learn about the history of the town and its industrial past. This is also a fun activity if visiting with kids, as there are rides and a light & sound show that will delight all ages.

And discover the creepy Bone House at St Michael’s Church where you’ll see the collection of around 1200 human skulls – some of which are painted in symbolic patterns and arranged into family groups.

Nearby, there are many places to enjoy winter sports too.

Visiting Hallstatt in January is the best time as you’ll still have the magical festive decorations to enjoy, but you’re more likely to see it under a blanket of snow.

Bundle up and wander the bucolic streets, getting lost in the maze of alleyways and staircases. Pop into warm cafes for streaming mugs of punsch or hot chocolate when you get too chilly.

With daily highs only reaching 42F, January is the snowiest month, with snowflakes falling 19 days of the month.

The closest International airport is in Salzburg. You then drive just over an hour the rest of the way, or take the train & ferry.

Nadine says, “Stay at the lakeside Boutiquehotel Strand Hallstatt to wake up to magical scenes (complete with resident swans) each morning.”

best destinations to travel to in Europe in  January

Gozo, Malta

By Suzanne from Meandering Wild

Gozo is a small island located off the north coast of Malta. Gozo, along with its larger neighbour Malta and the small island of Comino, form this small southern Mediterranean island state. It is halfway between the south coast of Italy and the coast of Tunisia in Africa. It is a beautiful spot and one of the best January trips you can take in Europe.

In the centre of Gozo are a number of historic sites. The main town on the island is Rabat and sitting over the town is the Cittadella. This is an ancient building with large walls surrounding the ruins of ancient buildings and the Old Courts of Law and the Old Governor’s Palace.

A short drive from Rabat is The Blessed Virgin of Ta’Pinu Basilica. This beautiful church can be seen from the surrounding landscape between the villages of Gharb and Ghammar. 

Gozo has its own UNESCO World Heritage site which Is found at the the Ggantija Temple. It was built between 3600 and 3200BC and even today, the huge slabs of limestone that made up the temple can be seen.

January is the perfect time to visit Gozo as it is quiet and calm with very few tourists. After the festivities of Christmas, the island relaxes and does not have any significant celebrations.

In January, Gozo’s temperature is between 48 and 59 degrees Fahrenheit, with only about 7 days of rain. The sea temperature is a cool 63 degrees but with a good wetsuit this means that it is not too cold for  swimming, snorkelling or diving .

Gozo is reached initially by an international flight into the main Malta International Airport near Valetta.  An hour drive takes you to the ferry at Cirkewwa. This ferry runs almost continually and within 45 minutes, you will be on Gozo. 

Suzanne says, “One of the nicest places to stay is the coastal village of Marsalforn and this is a short 20 minute drive from the ferry at Mgarr. In the village, there are a number of hotels, with Hotel Calypso on the waterfront being the largest in the town.”

best places to visit in January in Europe

Prague, Czech Republic

By Veronika from Travel Greekery

Prague is a beautiful destination to visit any time of year. The spire-adorned jewel on the banks of the Vltava River should be on top of everybody’s bucket list. However, in January, with the possibility of snow, it is a magical fairytale city that is one of the best winter vacation spots in Europe.

When visiting Prague, one shouldn’t leave out the top sights. Those are Prague Castle, a unique castle complex featuring structures spanning centuries, the charming Charles Bridge, and the Old Town Square with the unique Astronomical Clock. The whole Old Town and Lesser Town Quarters are simply too beautiful for words.

It’s going to be cold in January, so you should cozy up in Prague’s many cute cafés in between all the sightseeing. Museum-goers will love the newly reconstructed National Museum at the top of Wenceslas Square. It currently even houses a whale skeleton.

January is a quiet time of year to visit Prague. You can have it practically to yourself, without the usual crowds of tourists. Some Christmas markets last until January 6th, but after that, things quiet down. 

For a fantastic three day Itinerary, including a beer spa where you can drink delicious unlimited beer while soaking in hot hops, please click here .

You’re quite likely to experience snow in January. It’s typically one of the coldest month. Based on averages, the warmest it could be is 0.8°C (33.4°F) or it might go as low as -4.9°C (23.2°F). 

If it snows and you want to enjoy the freshly fallen snow, don’t wait until the next morning! The snow melts fast in the city and turns into slush.

On the other hand, the quiet streets in Prague’s city center become absolutely magical with fresh snow. Only rarely does snowfall turn heavy. You’re most likely going to experience a light dusting.

Prague is easily accessible. Fly to the Václav Havel International Airport and take a bus, a combination of a bus and the subway, or a taxi.

Veronika says, “The Mosaic House is a great accommodation option near the center of Prague, offering a variety of different room styles for every budget. If your flight from Prague is early in the morning, I can recommend the new  Airport Prague Hotel .”

best European destinations to visit in January

Mallorca, Spain

By Joanna from The World In My Pocket

Mallorca is one of the most popular summer destinations in Europe, with many people choosing it for the gorgeous beaches and the guaranteed warm weather. However, Mallorca is great place in Europe for a January holiday as well, especially if you are looking for a relaxing spot.

Mallorca offers something for every type of traveller. While most of the touristy resorts close down for the winter, the cities and villages around the island continue with their daily lives. You can find very affordable accommodation in stunning hotels or traditional fincas if you travel to Mallorca in January.

One of the best things to do in Mallorca is to explore the beaches. In January, you won’t be able to sunbathe as the weather is too cold, but you will be able to explore all the beautiful beaches and coves without any other people around. Places such as Cala Pi or Cala Mesquida, which are packed in the summer, are now empty.

Walking in the Cala Mondrago National Park is a lovely experience in the winter months, as you will find free places to park, as well as no other people on the trails.

If you enjoy hiking, consider going to the Sierra de Tramuntana mountains. In summer, it is way too hot to attempt the long trails. In January, the temperature is just right.

Another great thing to do in Mallorca is to go shopping in the local markets. Each village and town has its own market day. Small local producers gather in the main square and sell their homegrown fruits and vegetables, as well as cheese, sobrasada, or sundried tomatoes. 

Another great thing to do in Mallorca in winter is go hiking in the Sierra de Tramuntana mountains. In summer it is way too hot to attempt the long trails. In January, the temperature is just right.

The weather in Mallorca in January is mild, with an average daily temperature of 56 degrees Fahrenheit and around 5 days of rain. But don’t worry, there are plenty of  things to do in Mallorca even when it rains .

Most airlines still operate winter flights to Mallorca. The airport is located only a couple miles away from Palma de Mallorca. It is well connected by local buses to the city centre. There are also plenty of car hire companies at the airport if you want to explore the island and not base yourself in Palma.

Iceland best winter destinations

Thingvellir National Park , Iceland

By Paulina from UK Everyday

If you want to visit one of the most unique UNESCO World Heritage sites look no further than Iceland in January. In Thingvellir National Park, you can walk between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates that are drifting apart from each other by 0.8 inches (2 cm) every year. All the cracks are shaping a beautiful canyon that is home to many amazing attractions.

One of the best things to do in Thingvellir National Park is a short hike to Oxarafoss Waterfall. This famous movie location from “Game of Thrones” attracts many visitors so exploring it in January will allow you to avoid the crowds. It is only a 6-minute walk to the waterfall from Oxarafoss Parking which makes it a perfect place to visit even during the colder months.

There are various hiking paths in Thingvellir National Park that provide excellent views. One of them is a 20-minute walk from Oxarafoss Waterfall to Hakið Visitor Center. It is a perfect spot to admire the second largest lake in Iceland –  Thingvallavatn. 

Thingvellir National Park covered with white snow looks incredible. If you decide to visit Iceland in January, you will have amazing light for your pictures. The Golden Hour in Iceland lasts much longer during winter than in any other location around the world.

Wintertime is the  best time to visit Iceland  as you can also see the Northern Lights or explore ice caves.

The average temperature in January is between 26.6 F and 37.4 F. You can expect beautiful sunny days, but also heavy snowing a few hours later. The weather in Iceland is very unpredictable so make sure to be ready for every situation.

When purchasing your plane ticket, choose Keflavik Airport. It is just a 1-hour drive from Thingvellir National Park and less than 40 minutes drive from Reykjavik.

Paulina says, “You can find plenty of accommodations in the capital such as Freyja Guesthouse & Suites or Black Pearl Apartment Hotel.”

best warm winter destination in Europe

Albufeira, Portugal (The Algarve)

By Linn from Amused By Algarve

One of the best European beach vacations in January is the quaint town of Albufeira on Portugal’s Algarve coast. Not only is it one of the most popular destinations in the Algarve, it’s also one of the most beautiful with the white village spilling onto the beach between cliffs.

With over 300 days of sun in the year and beautiful warm temperatures, this is a wonderful destination in January for a warm weather getaway that avoids the summer crowds. Albufeira is also centrally situated for exploring the rest of the Algarve.

There are endless  things to do in Albufeira . It has one of the most picturesque beaches in Portugal where you can do water sports like parasailing and surfing.

Go on a kayak or paddleboard tour to explore the mesmerizing coastline where you can discover hidden beaches and sea caves. Take a boat tour to the world-famous Benagil Cave, or explore the inland on a buggy or jeep tour.

January is also the best time to go hiking because the temperatures are not too high. Head to Marinha beach and take on the stunning Seven Hanging Valleys Trail. Wander across golden cliffs, and discover massive sinkholes, sea-carved arches, and unique rock formations.

Make sure you wear good hiking shoes and a hat to protect yourself from the sun – even in January it can get hot on a clear day.

Winter temperatures can reach high 60s Fahrenheit (20-25 degrees celsius).

The closest international airport is Faro airport. You can take a bus or train to Faro city where you have to transfer to a bus. (The train to Albufeira stops 7 km outside the city, so the bus is your best option.)

Alternatively, there are transfers from Faro airport to Albufeira that you can take. Also, Check with your hotel to see if they offer free airport pickup.

Linn says, “A wonderful place to stay in Albufeira is the Vila Gale Cerro Alagoa. You can indulge in the pool or take the short walk to the beach depending on your mood.”

best winter destinations in Europe

Riga, Latvia

By Lowri from Many Other Roads

Riga is a city in Latvia that is perfect place for a European city break in January. Not only is it incredibly budget friendly but it is off the beaten path for many travellers. Riga is filled with cobbled stone streets and lots of historic sites to explore. There are also many great bars that serve delicious food on a budget.

There are lots of amazing things to do in this unique European city.

Latvia is one of the cheapest countries in Europe and this means you can enjoy some of the best food without breaking the bank. The restaurant ‘Milda’ serves traditional Latvian dishes such as potato pancakes, bread soup, and black bread with cheese at an affordable price.

If you want to see the most incredible views over the city, stop by the Panorama Riga Observation Deck. This is a circular terrace and observation deck belonging to the Latvian Academy of Sciences. It costs about 6 euros to visit and is absolutely one of the best spots in Riga. 

Riga is full of amazing buildings, but the best is the Three Brothers. This group of buildings are not only pretty but are the oldest dwellings in Riga. The buildings can be found in Maza Pils Street near Central Dome Square. 

January is the best time to visit as it has snowy winter conditions, without the crowds for the Christmas markets. Riga has cold winters with temperatures ranging from -2°C to -6°C (28°F to 21°F) so make sure you pack properly before going.

The most popular way to arrive into Riga is by Riga International Airport. It takes about 15-30 minutes to reach from the airport to the City Centre. Taking a bus from the Airport is the cheapest option. However, buses don’t run at night so if you arrive late, you will have to get a taxi. 

Lowri says, “Riga is full of amazing hotels so you have plenty of options. For a stay that is truly unique, book a stay at the elegant Hotel Gutenbergs. There is something so special about this hotel and breakfast is included too!”

best European cities to visit in January

Florence, Italy

By Jaclyn from Resting Beach Face

Florence, dubbed the birthplace of the Renaissance, is a place to immerse yourself in history, art architecture, delicious food and wine, all the while being surrounded by welcoming locals. While Florence may be a city, it has a small-town feel and much calmer than other equally tourist-centric locations.

When in Florence, you will notice that the city is filled by pedestrians who stroll the streets to window-shop, enjoy a fabulous meal, or spend the day in a piazza people watching.

Florence is the capital of Tuscany, which is famous for rolling hills and vineyards. It is a perfect home base for short day trips to the countryside where you can take a cooking class at a gorgeous village or even help harvest grapes or olives for the season. Florence has no shortage of culture, of all varieties, and is still a bit of a hidden gem .

Take a tour of the Palazzo Medici and learn how the Medici family boosted the Renaissance; how Michelangelo was discovered; or, why Hitler decided not to destroy the Ponte Vecchio.

Next, visit the Basilica of Santa Croce. The exterior is exquisite and the interior is home to the tombs of some of the most influential Renaissance artists and scholars, including Galileo, Michelangelo and Machiavelli.

Finally, find your way to Piazzale Michelangelo which offers one of the best views of Florence and of the Duomo.

January is one of the best times to visit this European city. It offers lots of events to enjoy. January 6th is a national holiday called The Epiphany. This is where the Befana brings small goodies to those who have behaved during the year and the Three Wise Men will parade the streets. In addition, the city is illuminated with colorful lights pointed at some of Florence’s best-loved monuments.

On alternate weekends between January 7-24, the famous Pitti Palace is the center of the fashion world. In addition, throughout January, you will also find farmers markets, Organic and Artisan Markets, and an Antiques Fair held on various weekends.

The average temperature in Florence in January is 52 F, however there is a possibility of sleet and snow. Keep that in mind and pack some layers.

However, Italy in general is very fashionable so try to stay stylish while staying warm! Generally, you should carry a travel umbrella and a packable rain jacket with you as you never know when there will be a downpour or flurries.

You will fly into the Florence airport (FLO). There is a new tram line that can take you from the airport to the city center. This is the easiest and cheapest way to reach Florence. Uber and Lyft do not operate in Florence.

best winter destinations in Europe in January

Besançon, France

By Caroline from Veggie Wayfarer

A wonderful place for a European holiday in January to escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life and to simply sit back and relax can be found in the  Eastern France Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region , more specifically in the Jura and Doubs department. The region is synonymous for good wine, authentic little villages untouched by the spoils of over-tourism and Comté, the salty cheese that takes its name from the region.

Learn all about the history of the local salt production in the UNESCO classified sites of Saline Royale Arc-et-Senans and the Salins-les-Bains salt museum.

Alternatively, head out to Arbois to have a delicious wine tasting in the Domaine de la Pinte vineyard. Try your hand at the famous Yellow Wines from the Jura, the  MacVin  digestif or a delicious dessert wine that goes by the name  Vin de Paille .

January has an average temperature of 45°F. The upper Jura region is known to get a lot colder at times with an average snowfall of 62 centimeters. It is the quintessential getaway for lovers of outdoor winter activities including cross-country skiing, snowshoe hiking, snowboarding and even dog sledding.

With daily trains running between Besançon and Paris, getting to the Jura and Doubs department is an absolute breeze.

Caroline says, “Base yourself out of Hotel le Sauvage in Besançon to be close to both the slopes and the wonderous activities in the city.”

best greek islands to visit in January in Europe

Santorini, Greece (Greek Islands)

By Mary from Be Right Back by Mary

When thinking about Santorini, you usually think about going to the beach, tanning, and watching incredible sunsets while sipping on a cocktail by the sea. But this Greek Island has lots to offer for a European getaway in January.

January in Santorini offers some of the warmest temperatures in Europe. In addition, you are guaranteed peace and quiet as the island is deserted by the majority of tourists who prefer to visit during the hot summer months. The cost for a trip to Santorini is definitely a lot lower during the off season, so it is the perfect place if you are looking for a cheap and sunny escape. 

Another worthy visit is Pyrgos village which is built on a hill. You have to walk up a good number of stairs to reach Pyrgos castle. This activity can be painful in the summer but it is perfect for January’s temperatures. At the top, you’ll find one of the best 360° views of the island.

Finally, there is a nice walk which takes you from Fira to Imerovigli, a lovely town along the Caldera. The walk is easy and about 1.25 mile long. It takes about 30 minutes to complete. On your way, you can make a detour to go check out the Rock of Skaros. 

January in Santorini offers warm temperatures with peaks at 15°C (59°F) and an average of only 11 days of rain.

There are international airports on Santorini and Mykonos. There are also ferries between the Greek Islands. The cheapest alternative is to fly into Athens and take the ferry from there.

Mary says, “One of the best things to do in Santorini in January includes staying at a luxurious hotel on the Caldera. A good number of the  best hotels in Fira ,  including the famous cave hotels, have beautiful views of the Caldera and include a hot tub. However, these can be quite pricy during the summer.

January is the best time to experience luxurious Santorini without having to break the bank. Hot tubs are also a great addition as the sea is too cold for a swim at that time of the year.

Athina Luxury Suites is the perfect option.”

best European cities to spend time in January

Pecs, Hungary

By Richard from RJ On Tour

Pecs is a fascinating city with an interesting history in the south of Hungary near the Croatia border. The city of Pecs was founded by the Romans and also occupied by the Ottoman empire, thus it has some remarkable sites to visit. The area is famous for its wine and food and the restaurants serve some great options, including iconic Hungarian dishes like Goulash.

There are lots of  things to see and do in Pecs , from visiting sites to enjoying a hike in the nearby hills. In January, Pecs is quiet, thus it is the best time to visit all the historic sites when they are empty. The most popular attraction is the Sopianae, a Unesco World Heritage Site. Basically, it is an early Christian burial site from the 4th century.

The Mosque of Pasha Gazi Kasim is currently a church, however it used to be an Ottoman Mosque during their occupation in the 16th century. Visiting Mosque of Pasha Gazi Kasim is interesting as you learn history and see the unique decor inside. This building is the finest example of Turkish and Ottoman architecture in Hungary.

Pécs Cathedral is also a fantastic place to visit. It is the most prominent building in the city and has four towers. You can visit the inside of the cathedral too, which is colourful with lots of decorative features. They display the history of the site very well throughout the building. You can also climb the cathedral’s tower which offers fantastic views across the city and nearby countryside.

The climate in January is cold and typically ranges from 24.8F to 34.9F. There is an average of 5 days of rain, so it is pretty dry compared to other European cities .

The nearest international airport to Pecs is Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport. From there you can get a direct train into Pecs, which takes two and a half hours. Alternatively, you can drive which takes 2 hours 15 minutes.

Richard says, “There are many apartments and hotel options in Pecs, however Corso Hotel is a centrally located four-star hotel. It is known for its large and modern rooms and delicious food.”

best places to travel in January in Europe

Gibraltar, United Kingdom

By Emma from Travel On A Time Budget

Gibraltar, the tiny British Overseas Territory that borders Spain on its southern shores, is one of the best European escapes in January. It might only be 2.6 square miles, but there’s plenty to do.

Most of the top things to do in Gibraltar centre around “The Rock”.  This is hardly surprising since at almost 1,400 foot, it’s impossible to go anywhere without staring up and seeing it.

A cable car goes to the top where you can snap incredible photos out across the sea. It’s then a short walk down to St. Michael’s cave, where there are massive stalagmites rising up from the floor and stalactites hanging down from the ceiling. 

Part of the draw to the Rock is the chance to see Gibraltar’s famous monkeys. The Barbary macaques can be seen along the pathways of the nature reserve or viewed at Apes’ Den.

For history lovers, there are places in the Rock to visit to learn about Gibraltar’s history. The 18 th  century Great Siege Tunnels formed part of the defence of Gibraltar from France and Spain during the Great Siege. There are also World War 2 tunnels where military equipment was stored and troops stayed for protection.

Gibraltar also has beaches where you can relax after your sightseeing. Camp Bay has a lido and areas where children can swim. Even in January, you can get warm weather.

Average temperatures can reach 61 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees centigrade) although there may also be rainy days and chilly evenings.

It’s also a really easy place to reach as it has its own airport that is easily walkable from the centre.

Emma says, “There are a range of places to stay in Gibraltar. The Holiday Inn Express is a reasonably priced option about 15 minutes’ walk from the main town. For those who want to stay somewhere a bit different, the Sunborn is a hotel on a yacht in the marina. There’s a swimming pool and fabulous views of the rock from the sundeck.”

best European winter destinations

Borovets, Bulgaria

By Abi from I’m Going On An Adventure

For many people, January is their least favourite time of year. The weather is at its’ worst and all the joy from Christmas is over. However, one of the best ways to lift those winter blues is a European getaway in Borovets in Bulgaria. It’s the cutest little ski resort with stunning views, great runs and a fantastic vibe.

The main reason to go is for the snow and to enjoy the snowy mountain ski runs. The town has some fun slopes with varying levels of difficulty and is really, really cheap in comparison to most other ski resorts in Europe. It is a fantastic place to start learning how to ski or snowboard.

Borovets has some other fun winter activities such as riding snowmobiles through the mountain forest and enjoying a relaxing spa day at the gorgeous Rila Hotel or Yastrebets Hotel. However, in winter most people visit for the skiing and it has been built up around this.

It’s easy to rent the skiing and boarding equipment from the town, plus the ski passes are easy to find. There’s only one main gondola to take you up to the top and it’s there at the bottom where you can buy lift tickets. A day pass is very reasonable and a week’s pass will be discounted.

It’s also a great location for families. It’s easy to grab a sled and toboggan down the smaller slopes, and there’s horseback riding too. In addition, there are a selection of shops to wander around and purchase some souvenirs.

There’s loads of traditional Bulgarian restaurants with open log fires serving delicious meals such as melted blue cheese and cauliflower roasted potatoes, cheese fondants, hearty soups and local red wine.

The nightlife is energetic with lots of small bars and karaoke to enjoy. There’s a few local games which are played at the pubs such as one where you need to try and bang a nail into a log – which is really quite funny. Most evenings, there’s some sort of event running, so it’s a great place for everyone!

Don’t forget to give night skiing a go too. The slopes light up and the main run is open. It’s even better when it starts snowing!

It’s best to go towards the end of January to allow for as much snow as possible. The temperature drops to 2/-4 degrees (35 / 19 Fahrenheit) in January so it’s so important that you arrive prepared – warm clothes and thick socks.

Borovets is easy to reach but it does require a taxi or shuttle to take you from the airport to the town. You can book these at the airport but it’s easier to arrange beforehand.

The closest airport is Sofia international which has regular flights all year round. The transport takes around 1 hour 15 minutes and is a beautiful drive through the mountain roads (once you pass the city).

Abi says, “There are some fantastic hotels in Borovets, depending on budget you can stay in the luxury Rila Hotel right in front of the slopes or a more budget friendly accommodation further down the hill such as Villa Park Guesthouse. Just be wary the further down you are, the harder the hike to reach the slopes.”

best warm winter destinations in Europe in January

Ayia Napa, Cyprus

By Lina from World of Lina

Another one of the best European escapes in January is the lovely town of Ayia Napa on the island of Cyprus .

Ayia Napa is located on the southeast coast and is mainly known for its many beautiful beaches. In the resort town, you can find fantastic restaurants serving fresh seafood and at night, you can enjoy cocktails and other drinks at the many pubs and bars.

Right at the heart of the town, you’ll find Ayia Napa monastery, a charming monastery partially built underground. Inside is a museum that houses historic exhibitions about Cyprus.

The harbor is another one of the must-see places as it offers amazing views over the Mediterranean Sea. Sit back and relax in one of the many cafés and enjoy a good cup of coffee or a refreshing drink.

Just a bit outside of Ayia Napa, at Glyko Nero Beach, is the famous ‘Love Bridge’. This rocky arch was entirely created by mother nature and is, for sure, one of the most amazing natural attractions in Cyprus. It’s even possible to walk out onto it, but you have to be very careful.

Ayia Napa is a good destination in January because you can enjoy the warm winter sun without it being too hot.

Temperatures are usually between 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit – perfect for sightseeing.

The closest airport is Larnaca International Airport which is accessed by most international airlines. It will take you approximately 40 minutes to reach Ayia Napa by car.

Lina says, “The resort town is full of hotels ranging from luxury to affordable. Some of the best addresses include Limanaki Beach Hotel, Nissi Beach Resort and Cosmo Napa Boutique Hotel.”

best places to visit in Europe in January

Dublin, Ireland

By Pamela from The Directionally Challenged Traveler

Dublin, the capital city of Ireland , is a charming European city to visit in January. Located on the east coast of Ireland, Dublin has a variety of things to offer travelers. 

Temperatures in January are on the cool side. If you’re a bit chilly, there are plenty of pubs to warm you up with a drink or snack. Hidden gems like The Church combine history, culture, live music, and delicious food.

Even in the colder months, there are plenty of  things to do in Dublin . History buffs can explore Dublin Castle, Trinity College, or even the Leprechaun museum for glimpses into Dublin’s past. Dress in layers and explore the beautiful sites including Christ Church Cathedral, Ha’penny Bridge, and the beautiful architecture along the River Liffey.

At the end of January is the Temple Bar Trad. It’s an Irish music and culture festival featuring some of the best musicians in Ireland. There are also street parades, craft fairs, open-air concerts, and art shows.

One of the best things that you can do in Dublin is a musical pub crawl. This takes you from pub to pub with a band of Irish musicians. It is fun and a pretty cool experience. For a rundown of the best and worst attractions in Dublin, please see The Best And Worst Most Popular Attractions In Dublin .

Average temperatures in Dublin range from -2°C to 11°C.

Most visitors fly into Dublin International Airport (DAA) directly and drive 20 minutes to the city center. Alternatively, you can also fly into Shannon Airport (SNN) and drive through the countryside to the city. It’s about a 2 1/2 hours drive from Shannon to Dublin.

Pamela says, “A great hotel located in the heart of Dublin is The Schoolhouse Hotel. It dates back to 1859 and has been a witness to the history of the city, including Dublin’s Easter 1916. The boutique hotel is also home to a Gastrobar for hungry visitors.”

best warm winter city in Europe in January

Malaga, Spain

By Milijana from World Travel Connector

Malaga in southern Spain is one of the sunniest places in Europe in January. It is perfect for a European city break in January or winter staycation in Spain.  

The beautiful city of Malaga is the capital of Costa del Sol. Costa del Sol, meaning Coast of the Sun, is famous for lots of sunshine and fantastic sandy beaches. 

Malaga beaches are some of the best in Spain and Europe overall. Although the sea temperature is not ideal for swimming in January, the sandy beaches in Malaga are a perfect place for sunbathing and enjoying delicious tapas with a glass of sangria in  chiringuitos  (traditional beach restaurants) in winter.

On top of that, Malaga is a modern Mediterranean city full of great restaurants (including nine Michelin star restaurants), traditional tapas bars, and bodegas. Tapas bar hopping is one of the  best things to do in Malaga . 

You might be surprised, but the city is rich with museums. There are more than 30 museums in Malaga. In addition, Malaga is the birth town of Pablo Picasso. Consider strolling through the museums and admiring the artwork of Pablo Picasso, especially in the colder months when there are no crowds to block your view.

For some fun, decompress in traditional Arab baths, take day trips and visit traditional Andalusian white villages in the area, or hike jaw-dropping El Caminito del Rey . 

Daily average temperature in January is 63° F, but can reach 72° F during the day.

Malaga-Costa del Sol International Airport serves Malaga. The airport is the largest in southern Spain and one of the busiest. It connects Malaga with many Spanish and international destinations. 

Milijana says, “Book a room in the 5-star Vincci Selección Posada del Patio with a rooftop swimming pool in the center of Malaga to have a fabulous winter vacation in the capital of Costa del Sol.

Best places to visit in Europe in January

Turin, Italy

By Natalie & Robson from The Best Of Turin

Turin is the capital of the Piedmont region in Northern Italy and one of several fantastic places to visit in Piedmont . It is one of the largest cities in the country and is surrounded by the impressive Italian Alps. It offers a rich history, incredible architecture, outstanding museums, delicious food. Although it has all these great attributes, it’s still under the radar for many international tourists.

What makes Turin a great European destination to visit in January?

The answer is easy. You can combine a winter city break with snowy slopes and winter sports in Turin.

When in Turin, you must visit the Royal Palace to learn about the Savoy Dynasty and how Turin became Italy’s first capital. Also, it has over 10 palaces and royal residences that are UNESCO heritage sites. Most of these palaces are open to visitors and are within the city or its’ surroundings. The most impressive ones would be Venaria Reale, Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi and Palazzo Madama.

Once you are done with the historical sites, you can visit some of Turin’s museums like the Egyptian Museum – one of the largest collections in the world – or the Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile, which pictures the important industrial past of the city.

Food is another big thing. Take time to stroll around the Porta Palazzo Market, one of the biggest open-air markets in Europe. Then, savor a nice meal at Mercato Centrale, known for serving the best local ingredients and traditional recipes paired with the world-famous Barolo wine from the region.

A stop at Valentino Park for the best views of the Po River is a must too. If it’s snowing, go there anyway. The park looks like a fairytale when covered in snow.

Talking about snow, Turin is only one hour and 40 minutes by train from Bardonecchia, one of Italy’s best-known ski resorts. The resort has 49 pistes and 21 ski lifts located 2,750 meters above sea level. 

January is a good month to hit the slopes, as snow is guaranteed. Bardonecchia is a small mountain town that gets busy in winter. So staying in Turin is an excellent option as the city has more hotel choices. You can easily go for a day trip to the mountains. When in Turin, you will be surrounded by the snowcapped mountains all the time, offering fantastic views.

January is the coldest month in Turin, the average highest temperature in the city is 45ºF, and the lowest is 27ºF. It doesn’t snow much in Turin, so consider yourself lucky if it snows and the city is covered in white. In the mountains, it will be colder and snow is abundant.

Getting to Turin is easy. The city has a small international airport – Torino Airport, which is connected to the city by public transportation. Another option is to fly to Milan, which has 3 international airports. There are different ways to travel from Milan to Turin , including driving one hour. You can also get from Milan to Turin by train or bus.

Natalie & Robson say, “Regarding where to stay in Turin, the options are endless. You can book a room at a luxury hotel like Hotel Principi di Piemonte, or in a mid-range accommodation like Opera35 Suite&Studio. For budget travelers, the Hotel Tourist is a good option.”

best cities to visit in Europe in January

Lisbon, Portugal

Located in the south of Portugal, Lisbon is a popular destination in Europe in January for anyone looking to escape grey damp weather and Christmas season melancholia. 

Spend  four days in Lisbon  exploring the highlights and main landmarks of the city. Some of the best things to do in the city include visiting the Alfama district, known as the oldest and most charming district of Lisbon. You will recognise the neighbourhood by the authentic orange coloured roofs.

St George Castle is also a must-see both for the history and the incredible 360° views it offers of Lisbon and the Tague Estuary Natural Reserve, the largest wetlands in Portugal. To avoid waiting in line at the castle, tickets can be purchased online in a few minutes.

Another fun thing to do in Lisbon is rent electric scooters and travel through the city to the Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge and the Jeronimos Monastery, a World Unesco Heritage Site.

In the winter months, a fair number of European destinations are very quiet with shops closed and restricted hours for museums. However, Lisbon is bustling all year round. Everything is open and the city feels alive! At the same time, the city doesn’t feel overcrowded at this time of the year, which means you won’t be waiting in long lines for each museum.

One of the main reasons for Lisbon being one of the best European cities to visit in January is, of course, the weather. With temperatures going as high as 60°F (16°C), and only about 7 days of rain, January is a great month to visit for anyone looking for a dose of sunshine.

The closest airport is Lisbon airport. Lisbon airport is very easy to navigate both at arrivals and departures. The heart of the city is only about a 30 minute drive with taxis, buses or ubers waiting for you. 

Mary says, “If you are in Lisbon for a special occasion and are looking for a romantic hotel, Casa Balthazar is the place to be!”

January is the best time to visit many European destinations. If they offer winter sports and outdoor activities, you will be able to enjoy all that is offered. On the other hand, if they do not, and it is low season, whether it is busy cities or beautiful beach destinations, you will get fantastic flight and hotel deals. In addition, you will only be sharing restaurants and attractions with locals without the fierce summer crowds.

Europe has many wonderful places to visit in January. Where are you going?

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21 European Cities That Are Even More Charming in Winter

By Caitlin Morton

Arctic Treehouse Hotel Rovaniemi Finland

There’s nothing quite like visiting Europe in winter. While most travelers start researching tropical beaches and faraway islands the second the temperatures start to drop at home, we find ourselves dreaming about snow-dusted cobblestones and charming Christmas markets more often than not.

Aside from the holiday rush, most major European cities are refreshingly crowd-free and inexpensive during the winter months—and they offer both outdoor adventures and cozy experiences well worth traveling for. (Seriously, how good does a warm mug of real hot chocolate in a riverside Belgian café sound?)

Whether you want to plan a vacation for the end of this year or are already looking ahead to 2024, these photos of Europe in winter will have you booking your next trip in no time. Read on for 21 European cities—and a few villages, if we’re getting technical—that will help you make the most of the coldest season.

This gallery has been updated since its original publish date. All listings featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. If you book something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Bruges Belgium

Bruges, Belgium

Europe’s best-preserved medieval city is also one of its most bewitching, especially during the holiday season . Let’s start with its light displays, when every tree and storefront seems ablaze with twinkle lights (just look up as you wander the cobbled streets). When your fingers start going numb, warm up with mugs of Belgian hot chocolate in the historic Craenenburg Cafe .

Vienna Austria

Vienna, Austria

Vienna is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe , and that’s a fact no matter the season. But we’re particularly fond of the Austrian capital in the winter, when you can double down on hot chocolate and sachertorte, watch free outdoor simulcasts of the opera (loads of people attend, even when it’s freezing), listen to classical holiday concerts, and snap photos of Schönbrunn Palace and St. Charles Church covered in snow.

Venice Italy

Venice, Italy

Venice has become notoriously overrun during peak season—just see its frequent attempts to limit tourist numbers for proof. But come wintertime, the city actually lives up to its La Serenissima (“The Serene”) nickname. The canals are quiet and shrouded in mist, hotels give discounted rates, and you can actually visit St. Mark’s Basilica without a stranger’s selfie stick poking you in the eye.

Tallinn in winter

Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn practically overflows with charm, thanks to its turreted castles and a lovely location on the Baltic Sea. The city has one of the best-preserved historical centers in Europe, with many of its medieval churches and merchant houses falling under UNESCO protection . The views of the city center from Toompea Castle are beautiful no matter the season, but they pop even more under a layer of snow—in fact, they make those cold, Baltic winters downright bearable.

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Zagreb, Croatia

With its cobbled streets, old city quarter, and baroque architecture, Zagreb has everything you would expect from a Central European capital—plus a few extra-special perks come wintertime. The city erupts with yuletide cheer during its annual Advent in Zagreb festival, complete with 25 Christmas markets, ice skating rinks, and glittering lights galore. Fill up on homemade sausages and brandy, then schedule a day trip to nearby Plitvice Lakes National Park to see the 16 terraced lakes and waterfalls completely frozen over—an imagination-defying landscape that simply must be seen in person.

Interlaken

Interlaken, Switzerland

Interlaken is the unofficial adventure capital of Switzerland, and its  winter activities are much more varied and unique than in other major cities. Sure, you can go skiing and snowshoeing here. But you can also go paragliding (or skydiving) down snowy mountains, book an hour at a curling rink, or take a winter kayaking tour on Lake Brienz.

Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt

Nuremberg, Germany

Germany is known around the world for its Christmas markets —but few compare to Nuremberg’s centuries-old Christkindlesmarkt, complete with gingerbread, handmade gifts, and horse-drawn carriage rides. But don’t think that Nuremberg’s wintry appeal starts and ends with the holidays. Travelers can enjoy grand-dame hotels and dozens of Michelin-starred restaurants well into the new year.

Prague

Prague, Czech Republic

When a dusting of snow coats St. Charles Bridge and Old Town’s church spires, the whole of Prague transforms. But the city also has some of Europe’s best Christmas markets —outside of Germany , at least—where even the most jaded traveler will succumb to the trdelník (fried dough) and mulled wine sold in festive stalls. 

Arctic Treehouse Hotel Rovaniemi Finland

Rovaniemi, Finland

Finnish Lapland is a winter wonderland like no other, perhaps best exemplified in the region’s capital city of Rovaniemi. Aside from being perhaps the best place to spend Christmas (the town claims to be the official hometown of Santa Claus, after all), Rovaniemi is packed with reindeer farms, husky sledding, ice skating rinks, and Northern Lights safaris that make it a must-visit for adventurous families. If you’d prefer something a little less festive and a little more pensive, book a few nights at the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel . Here you can sip glogg by the fire, eat cloudberry ice cream and smoked salmon, and take in views of the snow-blanketed forests from your warm bed.

Amsterdam Light Festival

Every late November/early December through January, the Amsterdam Light Festival brings some illumination to the Dutch capital, courtesy of light installations from all over the world. The 12th edition of the festival will launch on November 30, with the theme “LOADING…Revealing Art, AI and Tech” promising more creative pieces of art than ever. While the city does draw considerable crowds during the holiday season, the tourist numbers tend to drop with the temperatures, so the later winter months are prime for enjoying snow-shrouded canal views and cozy restaurants in peace. And we swear: Dutch food , hearty with lots of bread and potatoes, is even more satisfying on cold days.

Edinburgh in winter

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh ’s Hogmanay Festival—a three-day bacchanal celebrating the New Year, with outdoor concerts, fireworks, and dancing Scots —is reason enough to book a trip to the city. Not much of a partier? Shop for some cashmere, then curl up with your new scarf and some whisky at the speakeasy-style Panda and Sons . You can also work up a sweat skiing in Pentland Hills Regional Park or walking among the winter-flowering plants at the Royal Botanic Garden.

Ilulissat Greenland

Ilulissat, Greenland

Greenland ’s western town of Ilulissat draws tourists for several reasons: the UNESCO-listed Ilulissat Icefjord, dog sledding, relative accessibility (you can fly there from Iceland or Denmark), and its proximity to iceberg-filled Disko Bay. The biggest crowds descend during summer—chasing that midnight sun, no doubt—but Visit Greenland strongly recommends coming in winter: “The stunning silence of a thick snowy terrain, speckled by a few howls of the Greenlandic dog, is an experience everyone should try at least once in their lives.” You’ll also avoid high hotel prices and swarms of mosquitoes, which are surprisingly populous in Greenland during the summer months.

Europe in Winter Budapest Hungary

Budapest, Hungary

Winter is, hands down, the best time to visit Budapest . Seeing the Hungarian Parliament surrounded by ice drifts on the Danube could make even the strictest of beach bums embrace the cold. And you’re sure to find all of those grand cafés, museums, and thermal baths infinitely more welcoming after spending a few chilly hours exploring the city.

Paris in winter

​​Paris is always a good idea. During the winter, it's an even better idea—especially when you see how Parisians enjoy a snow day . The City of Light becomes especially dazzling with its twinkle lights on the Champs-Elysées and over-the-top Christmas displays at Galeries Lafayette . Most magical of all? The notorious lines to get into the Eiffel Tower and Louvre shrink to a fraction of their usual lengths. Just wear your chicest winter coat —it gets cold.

Tivoli Gardens Copenhagen

Copenhagen, Denmark

When you visit the birthplace of hygge (basically the Danish concept of “coziness”), you better believe your winter vacation is going to be inviting. That lovely feeling can be found throughout Copenhagen , from pastry shops to inviting hotels . Don’t feel like you have to stay indoors to enjoy the season, though. Those Michelin-starred restaurants, Tivoli Gardens , and canal views are certainly worth bundling up for. And is it just us, or do the buildings of Nyhavn look even more colorful against a snowy background?

Ljubljana Slovenia

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Slovenia ’s capital city is a real-life fairytale setting, come sunshine or snow flurries. Visit during December to see the Baroque architecture surrounded by Christmas lights ; or dodge the crowds and book a trip after the holidays, when you’ll have tons of room to stroll the pedestrian-only Old Town and sip coffee by the riverside cafés. You can also add Lake Bled and the Julian Alps to your itinerary, as Ljubljana makes the perfect base for Slovenian day trips.

Christmas at Somerset House London

Christmas in London has timeless appeal—chalk it up to the decorated Georgian townhouses, lively pubs, and a dash of Dickensian charm. But the winter months that bookend the holidays have their own charms, as well. Visitors can go ice skating at Somerset House, then warm up with some museum visits and afternoon teas. Be sure to slot out a couple of day trips to nearby cities like Cambridge and Bath, where you can admire the impossibly charming streets dusted in snow and hole up in even more cozy pubs.

Reykjavik in winter

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik is the northernmost country capital in the world—it doesn’t get much more wintry than that. A key souvenir, and the final reward of a must-do shopping experience, is a traditional wool Icelandic sweater (head to the Kolaportid Flea Market to snag one of your own). Other cold weather activities on offer include whale watching, bathing in geothermal pools (or traveling to the Instagrammable Blue Lagoon, a 40-minute drive away), and strolling by colorful houses and Viking sculptures, such as the notorious resemblance of Leif Erikson.

Tromso Norway

Tromsø, Norway

Located some 250 miles above the Arctic Circle, Tromsø is an idyllic home base for chasing the Northern Lights. (If you’re going to be freezing up in Scandinavia, you might as well get to cross an astronomical wonder off of your bucket list.) Even if you don’t get to peep the aurora, you can still enjoy the world’s northernmost botanical garden and the strikingly modern, glass-facade Arctic Cathedral.

Best Places to Travel in December Salzburg at Christmas

Salzburg, Austria

Classic Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart, sits divided by the Salzach River: Its pedestrian Old City lines the left bank, and the (slightly) newer side is on the right. For a hotel stay involving gingerbread cookies, fluffy beds, and views of falling snow, look no further than Hotel Goldener Hirsch .

Stockholm Sweden in winter

Stockholm, Sweden

​​ Northern Lights , check. Christmas markets in the heart of the Old Town, check. Cozy cafés and fika ? Double check. Stockholm may get more travelers in the summer, but we'd argue it’s made to be experienced in the winter. Christmastime is the best time for a visit, when local restaurants offer traditional Christmas buffets called julbord —smorgasbords of cured fish, liver paté, sausage, cabbage, and more. If you’re looking to photograph the city frosted in snow, though, plan your trip for January or February.

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travel europe in january

73 BEST Places to Visit in Europe in January [2024 UPDATE]

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January is a great time to visit Europe if you want to avoid the crowds and enjoy some of the best attractions that the continent has to offer at an affordable price. From stunning mountain landscapes to charming old towns and vibrant cities, here are 73 best places to visit in Europe in January .

Do you have travel insurance for your winter trip to Europe??

If you plan on traveling to Europe this winter, I highly recommend getting travel insurance . I used to travel Europe without it, but after a trip where the airlines lost my luggage AND my flights got canceled and I ended up sleeping on an airport floor, I never travel without it now. SafetyWing is ridiculously affordable (we’re talking $42/month of travel affordable ), so it’s silly NOT to get it.

In this post, you’ll find some of the best places to travel in Europe in January for warm weather in addition to the best spots for skiing and winter spots. You’ll even get the lowdown on Europe in January weather for every spot on this list and some awesome travel tips for your journey!

I’ve also included some lesser-known areas ( be sure to check out Norway and Finland if you want to see the northern lights this January! ) that you may have never heard of before.

Happy Travels!

Best Places to Visit in Europe in January for Romance

If you’re thinking about going on a winter honeymoon or simply want a romantic getaway in Europe, consider these top destinations!

1. Paris, France – undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for romance

Paris is easily one of the best places to visit in Europe in January

If you’re looking for a romantic European city to visit in January, look no further than Paris . The city is still decked out in holiday decorations, and the Christmas markets are still open ( at least for the first week of January ).

Plus, there are great shopping sales to be had during the bi-annual sale season that takes place in January. And if you’re lucky, you might even catch some snow! Best of all, flights and accommodations are usually much cheaper this time of year.

You also won’t have to share precious lawn space with other tourists while you watch the evening Eiffel Tower light show! So if you’re looking for a winter getaway, Paris is easily one of the best places to visit in Europe in January 2022. Just be sure to pick up some souvenirs !

2. London, England – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for iconic sites and romance

London isn't just among the best places to visit in Europe in January, it's also among the best cities to visit in Europe year-round

The capital of England and the heart of the United Kingdom, London is high on our list of the best places to visit in Europe in January! Known for its sophisticated vibes and historical significance, London offers a plethora of winter attractions to explore including The Tower of London , Buckingham Palace, and the British Museum.

And if you’re a Harry Potter fan… have you ever considered exploring Hogwarts in the snow? Plus, January is the best time to score deals on hotel prices and flights in an otherwise insanely expensive European city .

London hosts endless concerts and shows throughout the month including ongoing Christmas carols as well as popular operas and plays. It also has some really fun British souvenirs to check out!

If you can brace against the cold with a smile, then London will surely be one of your favorite cities in Europe this winter.

3. Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

travel europe in january

This magical city is encompassed by the gorgeous Vltava River and is overflowing with fairytale-like architecture. Visit the historic castle, take a boat ride down the river, and enjoy traditional Czech cuisine all during your winter trip to Český Krumlov.

In particular, I recommend the trdelník (a sweet cinnamon pastry slathered with chocolate hazelnut spread) and svíčková, a tender beef dish served with bread dumplings and cranberry sauce – perfect for the festive winter months!

In January, the locals celebrate Three Kings Day with parades and festivities, making it the perfect time to visit if you want a unique experience.

In my personal opinion, Český Krumlov is one of the best places to visit in Europe in January.

4. Rome, Italy – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for romance

Rome comes alive in the winter when most of the tourists have left making it one of the best best cities to visit in Europe in January

We’ve all seen the pictures of the 6-hour wait to get into the Colosseum … but, doesn’t that primarily happen in the summer months? YES!

Come January, many of Rome’s main tourist attractions including the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Saint Peter’s Basilica have shorter wait times and lower ticket prices. Plus, the weather is still mild and it’s not peak season for tourists anymore so you won’t be battling for elbow space at the Trevi Fountain.

Plus, Rome is known for its incredible cuisine. When you’re there in January ( because let’s be real. you WILL be visiting ), be sure to try the traditional Roman dishes like carbonara and cacio e pepe.

Honestly, any form of cheese, pasta, bread, pesto, gelato… you get it… is going to be incredible, but we recommend seeking restaurants and cafes outside of the main squares even in the winter months since you’ll find less touristy options and better quality products. Ciao!

5. The Hague, Netherlands

travel europe in january

Situated on the Netherlands’ far western coastline, The Hague is best known for being the seat of government and home to the Dutch royal family. But in January, the city transforms into a winter wonderland filled with ice skating rinks, festive markets, and cozy cafes.

Be sure to check out Madurodam, a miniature city made up of iconic Dutch landmarks, all decked out in twinkling lights! While the weather can seem a bit harsh the farther north in Europe you travel, The Hague is actually quite beautiful come wintertime.

Plus, you can always warm up with a mug of Dutch hot chocolate… if you haven’t tried Dutch sweets yet, be sure to check out the food section of my article on the best souvenirs in Amsterdam !

6. Bruges, Belgium – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for medieval architecture

Not only is Brues one of the best places to visit in Europe in January by popular demand, it's also one of my favorite placed in all of Europe

Oh, man… Bruges ! One of my personal favorite cities in all of Europe. Adorned with medieval architecture, ornate squares, and cozy taverns, January is the perfect time to explore this charming city.

Bundle up for a stroll along the canals while you look at all of the festive lights before warming up with some delicious Belgian chocolate or waffles.

While there typically won’t be many boat vendors ready to provide a tour of the canals, you just may get lucky and see one or two still in operation!

At this time of the year, the individual vendors decide whether or not they want to run, so you may come across someone who’s ready to go regardless of the temperature. Be ready with cash on hand, as all sales are on the spot! Souvenirs from Belgium are also often paid for with cash, so keep this in mind if you’re thinking about picking something up off the street.

Bruges isn’t just one of my favorite spots in Europe, it’s also easily one of the best places to visit in Europe in January by popular opinion.

7. Lucerne, Switzerland

Lucerne is gorgeous year-round, but the massive price break tourists get on accommodations puts it on the list of best places to visit in Europe in January

Ever seen the iconic photograph of the flower-studded bridge with swans swimming under it in a seemingly perfect utopia? Yup, that’s Lucerne!

Often identified for its old town and mountainous surroundings, Lucerne is best known for its Chapel Bridge and Water Tower which was built in the 13th century. In January, the cold weather adds a romantic touch to the city as it’s blanketed in snow since there’s no end to the cozy opportunities to be had.

Warm up at one of the numerous spas offering incredible massages or beauty treatments, or treat yourself to a luxury villa overlooking Lake Lucerne. Whatever you do, if you’re wondering what the best places to visit in Europe in winter are, don’t miss Lucerne if you decide to visit Switzerland!

8. Annecy, France

Annecy is well deserving of its spot on this list of best places to visit in Europe in January

If you’re looking for a charming European town to visit in January, look no further than Annecy, France . This fairytale-like town is located in the Alps and offers stunning views of the snow-capped mountains surrounding Lake Annecy.

There’s also some great hiking to be had in the area ( La Tournette is a popular mountain to brave for alpine enthusiasts ) and the food is amazing (a mix of French, Swiss, and Italian flavors). Plus, Annecy is a very expensive town year-round, so it’s best to take advantage of the fantastic travel deals available to tourists in January.

Annecy is easily one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for tourists looking for all of the fairytale town romance with none of the tourists! And it’s close to some of the best wine regions in the country .

✈️ Pro Tip: be sure to check out Hotel Les Grillons on the eastern side of Lake Annecy in the small town of Talloires… it was truly one of the best hotels I’ve ever stayed at in my life!

9. Copenhagen, Denmark – one of the best places to visit in Europe in December/January for romance

When it comes to the best places to visit in Europe in January, Copenhagen surely doesn't disappoint with its stunning Nyhvn Harbor

Touch down in Denmark ! This vibrant port city is known for its stunning architecture, cozy cafes, and amazing shopping. Did you know that Copenhagen has actually been referred to as the “happiest city in the world?” Well, now you know!

Plus, January is the best time to catch some beautiful winter scenery along Nyhavn Harbor. There’s a good chance you’ve seen pictures of this canal lined with vibrant buildings in many travel magazines and websites throughout your travel research. And with good reason! It’s gorgeous, to say the least.

But, the downfall of the summer months is that you can never find even a good spot to stand because there’s always someone or something trying to get around you. Hello, January! Tourists have moved on and many locals have limited their fishing for the year so it becomes much quieter of a city, but equally if not more beautiful.

If you want to see a culturally vibrant city without all the tourists, then Copenhagen is absolutely one of the best places in Europe to visit in January!

10. Zaandam, Netherlands

Zaandam is eaasily one of the best places to visit in Europe in January if you want to see the windmills

Ah, Zaandam. Easily recognized around the world for housing the historic neighborhood of Zaanse Schans where some of the world’s last windmills are still in operation, this Dutch town is the perfect escape from the busy city of Amsterdam.

Reachable in just 30 minutes by train from the Dutch capital, this small city is also known for its beautiful canal-lined streets and charming architecture. January brings the best opportunity to view Zaandam’s famous ice sculptures, which are illuminated and on display throughout the town during the month.

Warm up with a mug of advocaat ( a traditional Dutch winter drink that closely resembles egg nog with the addition of brandy ) while you explore the beauty and history of Zaandam as its one of the best places to visit in Europe during winter.

11. York, England

travel europe in january

Ever heard of a Yorkshire pudding? Well, it’s from York. And York is absolutely one of the best places in the U.K. and for sure one of best places to visit in Europe in January 2022. Why?

Well, York, England is known for its well-preserved historical architecture as it used to be the Roman capital back in 71 AD ( known then as Eboracum ).

But today, you can walk around and explore the beautiful York Minster, the second-largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe, or take a stroll down The Shambles, one of the best-preserved medieval streets in Europe.

And if you want a break from all the sightseeing, drop into one of the local pubs for a pint and incredible conversation. But, couldn’t you do all of this in the summer months? Yes! That’s what is so great about Yorkshire.

Practically everything that you can do in the summer months is also open and available in the winter months! But, at a much more affordable rate and with far fewer tourists making it the best place to go in January in Europe!

12. Dinant, Belgium

travel europe in january

Perfectly etched into the side of a mountain, the town of Dinant is best known for its beautiful cathedral and the citadel overlooking it.

January is a great time to explore the town’s quaint streets and cozy cafes, as well as partake in some winter sports at the nearby ski resorts. As the native town of the infamous Adolphe Sax, Dinant is quite historic and stunning to witness.

Easily recognized for its vibrant buildings lining the Meuse River, be sure to take a stroll over the Charles de Gaulle Bridge for some epic photos of the city’s dramatic layout. If you’re looking for the best places to visit in Europe in January 2022, do your best not to skip Dinant as its truly a remarkable city in Belgium .

13. Ghent, Belgium

travel europe in january

On the northwestern side of Belgium, Ghent is known for its charming medieval architecture, canals, and delicious Belgian food. January is the best time to visit because it’s off-season and less crowded, plus you can see Ghent illuminate during its annual Light Festival in mid-January.

Popular among tourists who love fairytale canals and cobblestone streets, Ghent is often called the “Venice of the North” ( along with numerous other cities in Europe ).

January brings chilly temperatures and far less sunshine, but it’s worth bundling up for the Christmas markets and ice skating on frozen canals. And don’t forget to indulge in Belgian chocolate and beer while you’re there!

Best Cities to Visit in Europe in the Winter

If you’re more of a city hopper, these iconic European cities are sure to keep you entertained all winter long!

14. Helsinki, Finland

travel europe in january

We’re off to Finland! The Finnish capital of Helsinki lies in the far southern region of the country on its own peninsula in the Gulf of Finland.

While most travelers Finland to be a summer destination due to the icy temperatures that accompany the fall and winter months, January is actually a wonderful time to experience the beauty of the snow-covered streets, frozen lakes, and cozy cafes.

Don’t miss taking a dip in one of Helsinki’s famous ice pools, or visiting one of its many design shops and art galleries. Take a stroll down Mannerheimintie and admire the stunning architecture and Christmas lights that adorn the city during this festive time of year.

Before you go, be sure to check out the National Museum which showcases Finnish history dating all the way back to the stone age!

15. Birmingham, England

travel europe in january

Ah, good ol’ Birmingham. Easily recognized for its famous canals and colorful street art, Birmingham has become a hot spot for tourists in recent years.

January is the perfect time to visit as the Christmas markets are still up and running early in the month, plus you can catch some fantastic deals on accommodations in an otherwise high-end city.

Often overlooked by its nearby sister city with a population nearly 9x its own (London), Birmingham has so much to offer winter travelers including ice skating rinks, annual shopping sales, and a dramatic perspective of the city’s historic past once the winter clouds really set in.

If you’re wondering where to go in January in Europe, Birmingham is a great destination to consider.

16. Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon isn't as warm as its southern counterparts, but it's still no doubt deserving of its spot on this list of best places to visit in Europe in January for its outstanding scenic overlooks and mild temperatures

Time to talk about Portugal . One of my top countries in Europe and where I’m always sending my clients in the winter months, I would absolutely call Lisbon one of the best places to visit in Europe in January.

The weather is mild with a good amount of sunshine and you’ll avoid the peak season prices that accompany the influx of tourists that come during the summer months.

Don’t forget to check out Belem Tower , spend a day at one of the nearby picturesque beaches in Cascais , enjoy some Portuguese wine, and listen to some fado music for the ultimate day in Lisbon.

Want an amazing view of the city? Check out these 19 amazing hotels in Lisbon with a rooftop pool ! The pools may be seasonal, but you’ll get free, endless views of the Portuguese cityscape right from your accommodation.

17. Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva becomes a winter wonderland putting it among the best places to visit in Europe in January

Delicately perched around Lake Geneva, this sophisticated Swiss town offers charming cobblestone streets, stunning Alpine views, and world-renowned chocolate shops. Not to mention over a dozen Michelin-star restaurants!

Discover cozy cafes serving up decadent hot cocoas, vibrant street markets, and iconic landmarks like the Jet d’Eau Fountain and St. Peter’s Cathedral. January is a great time to visit as the city transforms into a winter wonderland with snow-covered roofs and frozen lakes.

Be sure to pack plenty of layers as this town experiences frigid temperatures, but the beauty and charm definitely make it worth it.

18. Porto, Portugal – one of the best places to visit in Europe in 2023

Porto is a great stopping off point for entering the northern mountains of Portugal making it one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for winter sports

Want to indulge in Portugal’s off-season by visiting the northern parts of the country? Head to Porto! Recognized worldwide for its close relation to the Douro Valley and port wines, this stunning area is truly unique come wintertime.

Many tourists use Porto as a departure point for skiing in the Serra da Estrela Mountains , but the city has much more to offer if you’re looking for an excuse to stick around.

Explore the beautiful architecture and take a scenic ride along the Douro River, stopping for some of the best seafood in all of Europe ( the squid ink pasta blew my mind… I never thought to try it until then, and it’s highly recommended! )

It may not be wine season in Porto , but don’t be fooled, there are still plenty of wine tours you can take! If you want to know our opinions on where to go in January in Europe, take our suggestions and include Porto in your winter Portugal itinerary!

19. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is one of the most iconic cities in Europe and earns its spot as one of the best places to visit in Europe in January with its gorgeous canals

Of course, we had to include Amsterdam ! Known for its boating canals turned meandering ice skating rinks, Amsterdam is easily one of the best places in Europe to visit in January.

This city of “chaos” is well known for its adventurous Red Light District, cobblestone streets, and infamous coffee shops. And with a variety of museums to choose from – including the famous Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House – there’s plenty to do indoors as well when the temperatures are just a little too frigid.

Grab a warm and melty stroopwafel from the popular Albert Cuyp market ( yes, it’s even open in January! ), and cozy up with a hot chocolate or mulled wine at one of Amsterdam’s many charming cafes . Just be sure not to confuse a coffeeshop with a cafe .

If they ask for your ID at the door, you might be in the wrong place if you were hoping for a cappuccino! What they’ll be offering likely wasn’t the Dutch souvenir you were hoping for…

Plus, with the exciting Amsterdam Light Festival ( one of the best things to do in Europe in January ) happening throughout January along the city’s iconic canals, there’s really no better time to visit one of Europe’s best cities!

20. Oslo, Norway

travel europe in january

For Norway , we’ll start in the capital! Oslo is a gorgeous Nordic city known for its stunning architecture, including the Opera House and City Hall. In January, visitors can experience stunning light displays, ice sculpture competitions, and the Holmenkollen ski festival!

But, outside of the typical activities, visitors can also enjoy cross-country skiing, ice skating, and all types of tours right within the borough of Oslo.

Enjoy a hot mead, coffee, or herbal tea as you make your way through town before retiring to a cozy Scandinavian hotel for the evening.

21. Stockholm, Sweden

Sweden's capital of Stockholm becomes void of many tourists after the holidays making it one of the best places to visit in Europe in January if you want to score a good deal on accommodations

Sweden’s elegant and sophisticated capital city actually resides on 14 different islands across the Baltic Sea’s unique archipelago. It’s best visited during winter when its waterways freeze over and visitors can enjoy ice skating on the canals without the sky-high prices of the summer months.

During your trip, be sure to check out Gamla Stan where Stockholm’s stunning Old Town is located, along with the Royal Palace and Nobel Museum. Easily one of the most popular cities in the European Union, it shouldn’t come as much of a shock when we say it’s also one of the best places to visit in Europe in January.

Be sure to dress warm though! Just because this city is world-renowned for its beaches doesn’t mean it won’t get cold while you’re there. January brings average temperatures of around 23 degrees Fahrenheit (-5 Celsius).

22. Frankfurt, Germany

travel europe in january

Last on our list of German destinations is Frankfurt! This southcentral city is best known for its skyscrapers and finance industry. But it also boasts a rich history, with its Medieval Altstadt (Old Town) and historic sites like the Dom-Römer Quarter.

In January, Frankfurt transforms into a winter wonderland, with ice skating rinks popping up throughout the city and holiday markets filling the streets with festive cheer.

Be sure to pack some warm gloves and a hat as it’s no doubt the city will be brisk , but a winter visit to Frankfurt is a wonderful way to end the holiday season!

23. Cobh, Ireland

County Cork's Cobh is one of the best cities to visit in Europe in January

If you’re looking for a city to visit in Europe in January that is full of history and color, Cobh should do the trick. Located on an island in Cork’s city harbor , Cobh was actually the Titanic’s last port of call in back in 1912 before disaster struck.

Today, it’s known for its famous “deck of cards” houses that line Cork’s West View street with a perfect view of the Cobh Cathedral in the background. Winter is a great time to visit Cobh because you can watch the storms roll in from the comfort of one of its many pubs or bed and breakfasts lining the harborfront.

Cobh is one of the best cities to visit in Europe in the winter for its local pub scene and stunning scenery off of Ireland’s southern coastline.

24. Dublin, Ireland – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for nightlife

Dublin is undoubtedly one of the best cities to visit in Europe in the winter

If you’re looking for a lively city to explore during your January travels in Europe, look no further than Dublin ! With its rich history and culture, amazing pub scene, and hearty food, Dublin is the perfect place to spend your winter vacation.

Plus, with deals on airfare and accommodations easy to come by during the colder months, there’s no reason not to add Dublin to your list of best cities to visit in Europe this winter.

You can add it as an easy stopover on your way to a seasonal ski trip, or make it the main focus of your vacation. Either way, you’ll enjoy experiencing the never-ending chaotic city life and meeting the lively locals in Dublin .

Start planning your trip now and experience why Dublin is one of the best places to visit in Europe in January.

25. Belfast, Northern Ireland

With its close proximity to the Giant's Causeway, Belfast earns its spot on this list of best places to visit in Europe in January

Claiming its spot as one of the best cities to visit in Europe in the winter, Belfast shouldn’t be overlooked.

Known for its location nearby the popular Giant’s Causeway , this historic city has tons to offer visitors, including food and walking tours, pub crawls, and some very unique museums for art and history enthusiasts.

As the capital of Northern Ireland, it’s the perfect spot to start any European vacation and makes for a great winter stopover spot en route to some warmer cities in Europe. With its lively city atmosphere, there’s never a dull moment in Belfast.

26. Edinburgh Scotland – one of the best European cities to visit in January and February

Thanks to its medieval architecture, Edinburgh is definitely one of the best places to visit in Europe in January

Scotland’s capital is easily recognized around the world for its stunning architecture, including the historic Edinburgh Castle, as well as its vibrant culture and legendary New Year’s Eve celebration, known as Hogmanay.

The weather can be a bit brisk, but visitors are rewarded with fewer crowds and lower hotel prices. Winter visitors can also take part in the city’s famous Burns Night celebration, honoring Scottish poet Robert Burns, or attend the Edinburgh International Film Festival in late January.

You may need to bundle up for a chilly but memorable trip to Edinburgh this January as it is truly one of the best cities to visit in Europe during winter.

27. Aberdeen, Scotland

Aberdeen is one of the lesser known best places to visit in Europe in January on this list

The quaint port city of Aberdeen in the northeastern United Kingdom is a “seriously, please don’t miss this” spot on this list of the best places to visit in Europe in January. Known for its notable fishing and oil industries, Aberdeen also offers stunning views of the North Sea and surrounding countryside.

Take a stroll along the Victorian-era promenade, visit stunning castles like Craigievar or Drum Castle, or spend the day exploring Balmedie Beach. And don’t forget to sample some deliciously fresh seafood while you’re there!

The winter weather adds a crispness to the air and the city’s Christmas markets make for a festive atmosphere in early January. Plus, hotel prices tend to be lower during this time of year compared to the peak tourist season, so you can travel to even one of the most expensive countries in Europe without breaking the bank!

Aberdeen is often overlooked but it’s definitely one of the best places to visit in Europe in December/January.

Best Places to Visit in Europe in January for Christmas Markets

If the holidays are your jam, then Europe in January is the place to be. While many cities have stunning Christmas markets with unique goods, festive lights, and hot mulled wine, some are… well, more experienced than others.

Check out some of our favorite European cities for Christmas markets in early January below!

28. Nuremberg, Germany – one of the best places to visit in January for Christmas markets

Nuremberg is undoubtedly #1 on this list of best places to visit in Europe in January when it comes to Christmas markets

The Christmas market capital of the world brings us to Nuremberg, Germany! This iconic German town is best seen in the winter months, when their famous Christkindlesmarkt takes over the city center with traditional Christmas goodies , decorations, and cheer.

Which, let’s be honest… is one of the top reasons to visit Germany !

Spend some time exploring the old town, with its colorful houses and gothic churches, before indulging in some glühwein ( mulled wine… my favorite! ) and bratwurst at the market. And don’t miss the Imperial Castle, where emperors of the Holy Roman Empire once ruled.

Nuremberg is overflowing with powerful history, enchanting architecture, and gorgeous scenery. But. if Christmas markets are at the top of your priority list, then Nuremberg is without a doubt one of the best places to visit in Europe in January!

29. Munich, Germany

Munich's Christmas markets are some of the best in Germany earning its place on the list of best places to visit in Europe in January

We all know what Munich is famous for… Oktoberfest! But, unfortunately, this iconic annual folk festival ends the first week of October. So, is it still worth visiting Munich in January? Absolutely!

Munich is a beautiful city in its own right, with stunning architecture and a vibrant cultural scene. And, while there may not be an Oktoberfest to attend, you can still experience the best of Munich’s beer culture by visiting one of the many traditional Bavarian pubs.

Plus, January is prime time for winter sports in the nearby Alps or for getting lost in the old-time streets lined with local taverns designed by talented German architects.

If you’re debating between including Munich in your winter itinerary, keep in mind that it is often rated one of the best cities to visit in Europe in January.

We actually have an entire post dedicated to the best accommodations in Munich for the winter months , so that alone should speak for itself!

30. Strasbourg, France – undoubtedly one of the best places to vist in Europe in January for Christmas markets

If you're looking for the best places to visit in Europe in January, Strasbourg should be on your list

When it comes to European cities with a unique blend of French and German influences, Strasbourg is just the place! This charming city is located on the northeastern border of France and offers stunning architecture similar to that of Colmar.

As the capital of France’s Grand Est region ( also known as Alsace ), Strasbourg offers a wide variety of unique activities and winter events.

The locals are incredibly friendly, and you can find some great travel deals at this time of the year. If you visit, the local bed and breakfasts are the best spot to spark up a conversation with the locals and learn about their unique culture.

The Ill River adds to the charm as it meanders its way through the city, especially if the town’s received a beautiful backdrop of snow recently.

So if you’re looking for an interesting and affordable destination in Europe, Strasbourg is definitely one of the best places to visit in Europe in winter!

31. Dresden, Germany

travel europe in january

Situated near the eastern border of the country, Dresden is another popular winter town often recognized for its enormous and thrilling Christmas markets. But don’t let the word “Christmas” fool you as every individual of every faith is welcome to join in the celebration and enjoy the stunning displays of lights and festive decor!

Dresden is also known for its historical landmarks, including the famous Frauenkirche church and Zwinger Palace which come alive when dusted with bright white snow.

Dresden’s dramatic Baroque architecture and unique culture set its spot on the list of best places to visit in Europe in January 2023.

31. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is one of the best cities to visit in Europe in January for tourists seeking beautiful Christmas markets and local taverns

The city of Prague is known for its fairytale-like architecture, historic castles, and tasty beer. But, what about in January ? Well, Prague also turns into a winter wonderland!

With its Christmas markets open through the beginning of the month and the higher possibility of snow blanketing the city, Prague is easily one of the most popular places to visit in Europe in January.

Plus, Prague is already known for being one of the best-value cities in Europe, so by taking advantage of the winter sales and travel deals, you can experience all it has to offer without breaking the bank.

Prague happens to be one of my favorite cities in Europe at any time of the year, but in January… well, you have to see it for yourself!

33. Brussels, Belgium – often overlooked, but one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for Christmas markets

If you want insanely decked out Christmas markets, then Brussles is definitely going to be one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for you

We’re finally at the capital of Belgium! Brussels is a beautiful, bustling city best known for its neverending lively atmosphere and delicious chocolate, waffles, and beer. You can get lost down its artistic network of cobblestone streets while taking in the festive lights and do some gift shopping while you’re at it.

January is one of the best times to visit Brussels because of the winter festival that takes place in the Grand Place. The square will be filled with lights and ice sculptures, creating a magical atmosphere for visitors!

Plus, the weather may be frigid, but there are so many unique pubs, cafes, and romantic restaurants to warm up in. We actually prefer the outdoor tables with a lovely fire or heater nearby!

Those looking for some of the best Christmas markets in Europe should be sure to include Brussels on their list of best places to visit in Europe in January. With all of these amazing Belgian cities, it can be hard to know which one you should choose !

34. Colmar, France – easily one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for Christmas markets

Colmar has some incredible Christmas markets and is no doubt one of the best places to visit in Europe in January

If you’re looking for a charming European town to visit in January, Colmar, France is a great choice. Situated on the border of Germany, this small town is studded with beautiful wooden houses and Renaissance-era architecture.

Plus, it’s located along the Alsace wine route, where you can find some of the best wine estates in the region. Many of them offer discounted wine tastings in the off-season, and you can easily find cozy bed and breakfasts to truly immerse yourself in the local culture.

The town itself is like a fairytale, nestled on the Lauch river with charming bridges and historic buildings lining the water. January is a great time to visit Colmar, as you can really meet the locals and experience true French hospitality.

If you’re looking for a quiet getaway this winter, Colmar is definitely worth considering.

Best Places to Visit in Europe in January for Winter Sports

If you couldn’t spend more than a day or two in the cities before you’re aching to hit the slopes, check out some of the best winter sport towns in all of Europe!

They’re simply packed with adrenaline-pumping activities like skiing, snowboarding, paragliding, ice climbing, hiking, and more!

35. Chamonix, France – easily one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for alpine enthusiasts

Chamonix isn't only on this list of best places to visit in Europe in January, but it's also my personal favorite place in Europe

If skiing is your #1 priority this winter, then Chamonix, France is easily one of the best places to consider in 2022. This charming town is located in the French Alps and is home to some of the best skiing in the entire world .

But there’s much more to Chamonix than just its slopes – travelers can take advantage of its stunning location by enjoying activities like paragliding ( I leaped off of Mont Blanc with Absolute Chamonix Paragliding Co. ) hiking, and sightseeing.

And don’t forget the food – La Raclette and cheese fondue are two dishes not to be missed ( you get served either a melting cheese wheel or a giant pot of liquid cheese to pour over a beautiful plate of vegetables, potatoes, and freshly baked bread! )

Chamonix is my personal favorite place in Europe and I can honestly say that it is truly one of the best places to visit in Europe in January.

36. Zermatt, Switzerland – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for winter enthusiasts

At the base of the Matterhorn, Zermatt will always be one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for winter sport enthusiasts and enchanting village seekers

If you’re an outdoors/mountain/nature enthusiast like I am, then chances are you’ve probably heard of Zermatt and why it is well deserving of its place on this list of best places to visit in Europe in January.

Home to the Matterhorn, this enchanting town offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding in Europe, as well as other winter activities like tobogganing, ice skating, and snowshoeing.

And let’s not forget about the stunning views of the alps on every corner and endless hot cheese fondue peering through every window in every home.

Nestled in the mountains, Zermatt offers the perfect balance for winter travelers – an active winter escape and a cozy mountain village ideal for relaxing and indulging in delicious food.

37. Interlaken, Switzerland

travel europe in january

And we’re onto Switzerland! A land of mountains, breathtaking lakes, and Swiss chocolate, Interlaken is a must-visit during the wintertime. The best part? You can ski or snowboard at one of the many nearby resorts like Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen.

And let’s not forget about all of the cozy fondue restaurants to warm up in for the après-ski hour.

Located in central Switzerland, Interlaken is by far one of the best places to visit in Europe in January. Book a beautiful mountain chalet or stay at a cozy hotel like the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa for the ultimate winter vacation.

Just be sure to bundle up, because it can get quite chilly up in the Swiss Alps!

38. The Jungfrau Region, Switzerland

travel europe in january

Identified as the region surrounding the iconic Jungfrau mountain peak, this area is best known for its famous ski slopes, but it also offers amazing views and hiking opportunities in the summer.

January is a great time to visit for mountain enthusiasts seeking extreme winter sports opportunities, but don’t get the impression that you’ll be avoiding the tourists by visiting in the winter months like in most other places in Europe.

Come January, the Jungfrau Region is swarmed with international visitors seeking their next PR ( personal record ) on the rugged downhill slopes, but that just adds to the excitement.

Don’t let this mere fact push you away from visiting the Jungfrau Region in Switzerland, as it’s truly one of the best places to visit in Europe in winter!

Best Warm Winter Destinations in Europe

We get it, not everyone loves the snow. Some of us are beach bums! If you’re seeking a mild to warm European getaway this winter vacation, we have a few places up our sleeves that surely won’t disappoint!

✈️ Pro Tip: Almost nowhere in Europe gets hot during the winter months, so if you’re seeking temperatures in the 80s Fahrenheit or higher, you may want to consider the Caribbean or South America.

39. The Greek Islands – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for warm weather

travel europe in january

If you’re wondering why we’re referring to all of the Greek islands and not just one or two, that’s because they’re all incredible! The Greek islands offer beautiful weather in January, most notably Santorini and Mykonos. You can relax on the beaches, explore ancient ruins, and indulge in delicious Greek cuisine.

You’ll still want to pack a sweater since it cools off in the evenings, but overall the temperatures are mild and perfect for outdoor exploring.

Spend some time wandering the streets of Santorini’s iconic blue and white buildings or lounge on the beach in Zakynthos. And don’t forget to try the fresh seafood and famous traditional feta cheese on a fresh Greek salad!

40. Algarve, Portugal – the warmest place in Europe in January and February

Algarve is by far one of the best places to travel in Europe in January for warm weather

Diving more into the best places to travel in Europe in January for warm weather, the Algarve is in the top 3, no doubt.

The Algarve region in Portugal offers stunning beaches, quintessential natural rock formations such as the Benagil Caves, delicious food, and amazing wine ( which would make for an amazing Portuguese souvenir if you’re checking a bag! )

January is the perfect time to visit as it’s not too crowded ( well, in comparison to the summer months but quite crowded if you compare it to the rest of Europe ) yet still warm enough to enjoy some beach time or take a kayak ride through the gorgeous grottos.

With temperatures averaging at a high of 17 degrees Celsius and a low of around 9 (55-63 degrees Fahrenheit), pack your swimsuit and sunscreen , but also make sure to bring some layers for the cooler evenings!

41. The Azores, Portugal – one of the best places to go in Europe in January

The Azores are an outstanding destination year-round, but when winter hits and all most of the tourists leave, that's when it comes one of the best places to visit in Europe in January

Lying nearly 950 miles off the western coast of Portugal, the Azores are a hidden gem in Europe. In January, the archipelago offers mild weather and stunning natural beauty, with options for hiking, whale watching, hot springs, and more.

The ultimate winter destination for warm weather seekers looking to maintain a European style with the luxury of being on an island, the Azores are the perfect fit.

Be sure to visit the town of Ponta Delgada, the capital of the Azores, where beautiful buildings and cobblestone streets provide a charming atmosphere, as well as Furnas, where you can soak in natural hot springs surrounded by rich green landscapes.

If you want the best places to visit in Europe in January for warm weather, look no further than the Azores!

42. Sicily, Italy – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for warm weather

Sicily will always hold a special spot on the list of best places to visit in Europe in January with its amazing scenery and hospitable locals

And we’re off to Italy! Sicily sits right at the southwestern end of Italy’s “boot” and offers some of the best Mediterranean views and flavors in the region. January marks the start of the low season, so you can enjoy all that Sicily has to offer without the summer crowds ( and the summer prices at that ).

Make sure to visit Mount Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano, and sample some authentic Sicilian cuisine like arancini ( my absolute favorite… ) and granita ( kind of like a snow cone mixed with sorbet ).

Now, don’t get me wrong. The temperatures in Sicily in January will be chilly, but that just means layering up and enjoying a cozy meal inside one of the cute trattorias dotting the city!

43. Valletta, Malta

travel europe in january

This tiny island found in the Mediterranean Sea beneath Sicily is sure to wow you on a visit at any time of the year, but we prefer January. This stunning island country is recognized for its Baroque architecture, stunning views, and delightful Mediterranean cuisine.

With its warm weather and off-peak tourist season, it’s the perfect time to explore Valletta’s historical sites like St. John’s Co-Cathedral and the ancient city walls without the summer crowds.

On a winter visit to Malta, be sure to spend some time lounging on the beaches and visiting the Blue Grotto sea caves in Qrendi.

With temperatures averaging a high of 16 degrees Celsius in January (60 degrees Fahrenheit), it’s the best time to visit this little gem.

44. Bari, Italy

Bari is one of the best places to visit in Europe in January if you're seeking warmer weather

If you haven’t heard of Bari on the eastern coast of Italy, you’re in for a real treat. This incredible city is recognized far and wide for its culinary delights, specifically the fresh seafood and handmade orecchiette pasta.

But cuisine aside, Bari also has a rich history dating back to medieval times. The Old Town of Bari is filled with winding alleys and beautiful architecture, including the iconic Basilica di San Nicola (Saint Nicholas’ Basilica).

Known for its enchanting Christmas markets, Bari also celebrates the Epiphany on January 6th in grand fashion with parades and festivities throughout the city.

If you’re looking for some of the best cities to visit in Europe in the winter, Bari is no shy contender!

45. Naples, Italy – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for foodies and mild temperatures

Naples is one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for its delicious food and homey feel

Ahhh, can you smell the pizza? Naples, Italy is the birthplace of pizza and a must-visit destination in January. With mild temperatures and fewer crowds, it’s the perfect time to explore this historic city and indulge in some of the best Italian food you’ll ever have.

Yes, it may be a bit chillier with average temperatures in the low-50s, but that’s no reason not to overstuff yourself with gelato too… just bundle up! There’s also the opportunity to explore the stunning architecture of Naples’ historic center or take some day trips to nearby Mount Vesuvius!

With so much to do and see in this incredible Italian city throughout the summer months, it’s only natural that January brings a more relaxed atmosphere, allowing for a truly authentic and immersive experience.

Although this list doesn’t go in any particular order, Naples would be at the top of the best places to visit in Europe in January!

46. Barcelona, Spain – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for mild temperatures

Barcelona made its way on this list of best places to visit in Europe in January with its warm weather and stunning scenery

The city of endless tapas surely deserves a place on this list of where to go in January in Europe! Barcelona offers a mix of beautiful architecture, stunning beaches, and delicious food.

Plus, January is the best time to visit in winter as most of the holiday crowds have subsided but many businesses are still in full operation.

Come February, Barcelona tends to be a little bit less lively and vibrant than in the rest of the year, so January is the perfect time to visit. Also, Spain is actually one of the best places to travel in Europe in January for warm weather if you’re looking to escape the winter chills!

The further south you travel, the warmer it will tend to be, with temperatures averaging in the mid-50s (around 13 degrees Celsius) throughout the month in Barcelona.

So, you will likely still need a sweater or light jacket when combing the beach for pretty seashells, but flip-flops are not only allowed, they’re recommended!

47. Valencia, Spain

travel europe in january

Travel a little further south to the bustling city of Valencia where you’ll find the best paella, stunning architecture, and vibrant nightlife. January is a great time to visit as the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller, though you’ll always find a lively atmosphere in Valencia no matter when you decide to visit.

Fantastic for those seeking a fun and lively night scene without those brutally cold temperatures, Valencia, Spain is easily one of the best warm places to visit in Europe in winter.

48. Málaga, Spain – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for warm weather

travel europe in january

On the southern end of Spain near the Straight of Gibraltar, Málaga offers winter sun and warmth, along with stunning beaches, historic architecture, and delicious cuisine. January is a great time to visit because it’s off-season for tourists, making it easier to explore the city’s attractions without all the crowds that this lively city typically brings in.

But, don’t be fooled… there are still thousands of other tourists who got the memo on Málaga being one of the best places to travel in Europe in January for warm weather. So, you won’t be completely alone.

While you’re there, try the famous salted fried fish dish, pescaíto frito, and visit the Museo Picasso Málaga to see a collection of over 200 works by the famous Spanish artist.

49. Cádiz, Spain – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for its beaches

Cadiz is one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for warm weather

Situated just west of the Parque Natural Los Alcornocales in southern Spain, Cádiz is one of the best destinations in Spain for warm weather in January. You’ll find stunning beaches, historic architecture, and a vibrant culture that makes Cádiz unique.

And on January 5th, the city celebrates the festival of Los Tres Reyes Magos with parades and parties throughout the town ( so be sure to plan your trip around this if you can! )

But, if you’d rather enjoy the beaches that the island of Cádiz has to offer, you can visit Playa de la Caleta, an idyllic beach framed by beautiful 18th-century fortresses.

If you’re interested in good nightlife, incredible seafood, and warm weather this winter, then Cádiz should be a must-visit on your Spain itinerary !

50. Almeria, Spain

travel europe in january

Our last pick for Spain brings us to Almeria… a small coastal town with big charm! January is a fantastic time to visit, as it’s not too hot like in the summer months and as we’ve seen in most places across Europe , the crowds have subsided.

Plus, the famous Alcazaba Fortress is a must-see during this time of year when the waves are crashing all around its boundaries.

Almeria is truly a special place with architecture dating to the 17th century in the Old Town all the way to the 20th century in the recently revitalized new town. History enthusiasts seeking the best places to travel in Europe in January for warm weather, Almeria is the #1 spot on this list!

Best Places to Visit in Europe in January for History

Are you a history buff who’s ready to dive into Europe’s past? From ancient ruins to famous battles, here are the best places to visit in Europe in January 2023!

51. Berlin, Germany

travel europe in january

Berlin is overwhelmed with history, culture, and stunning architecture all year round, but in January, the city becomes even more magical.

The Christmas markets are still up and running through the first week of the month or so, and the winter temperatures create a picturesque setting for exploring the city’s famous landmarks like the Berlin Wall and Brandenburg Gate.

In the summer months, Berlin is completely overcrowded with people trying to get a selfie in front of Checkpoint Charlie or the Holocaust Memorial.

But, in the winter, you’ll find yourself with incredible opportunities to truly immerse yourself in the tragic history that took place here and come to remember why Berlin is such a historically significant city.

But, while art and history enthusiasts will certainly enjoy themselves, that’s not to say that foodies and sightseers won’t ! January brings some of the best deals on flights and accommodations, making it a budget-friendly destination.

Plus, with insanely popular restaurants like POTS in Potsdamer Platz and bars like Klunkerkranich offering rooftop views of the city, there’s something for everyone in Berlin during the winter.

52. Normandy, France – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for history buffs

If you can spend at least 3 days in Normandy, it's without a doubt one of the best places to visit in Europe in January

If you’re looking for a place to visit in Europe in January that won’t be packed with tourists, Normandy is a great option.

While the beaches here are beautiful year-round, they’re far less crowded in winter and there are plenty of D-Day tours available to give you a deeper understanding of the history that took place here during World War II ( they typically book up very fast in the summer months ).

In addition, the towns and villages in Normandy are super charming and offer plenty of opportunities for shopping, dining, and simply taking in the picturesque scenery.

53. Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg offers a unique display of art and literature, particularly the works of Mozart, making it one of the best places to visit in Europe in January after all the tourists have left

From the epic Christmas markets to the stunning architecture, Salzburg oozes winter charm.

In January, the city is often blanketed in snow and decorated with lights for its annual Winterfest event where you can enjoy a stroll through the city or catch one of the incredible concerts offering glamorous displays of some of Austria’s top performers.

Once the home of Mozart, the city also offers incredible musical experiences throughout the month with concerts and operas happening almost daily. If you’re heading to Europe to experience a true winter getaway, then a visit to Salzburg should be on your list of top places to go in Europe in January.

54. Split, Croatia

travel europe in january

Found along Croatia’s central coastline, this small city lures in thousands of visitors with its beautiful Adriatic views and historic old town.

Split’s best attractions include Diocletian’s Palace, a well-preserved Roman ruin that now houses shops and restaurants, as well as the nearby Marjan Hill, a forested park perfect for hiking or picnicking with sea views.

Despite January bringing in some chillier temperatures, Split’s Mediterranean climate still offers relatively good weather for outdoor exploring.

Split is also known for its gorgeous beaches like Bačvice, a popular spot for locals to play the traditional game of picigin.

Split is for sure one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for its historic background, insanely beautiful views, and vibrant culture!

55. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

travel europe in january

No, Bosnia and Herzegovina are not two different countries. This one country is made up of a variety of beautiful backgrounds including Serbian, Croatian, Bosniak, and so on making it one of the ultimate eastern European destinations.

Sarajevo sits on the Miljacka River and is best experienced on foot, so bundle up and explore the historical sites such as the Latin Bridge or Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque. Learn about Sarajevo’s tragic past at the War Childhood Museum or take a cable car to the top of Mount Trebević for stunning views of the city.

January brings chilly weather, but the small city’s beauty is well worth your efforts. Sarajevo happens to lie just outside of the famous Trebević mountain peak which is perfect for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, winter hiking, and more!

If you’re looking for off-the-beaten-path destinations, then Sarajevo is definitely one of the best places to visit in Europe in winter.

56. Aarhus, Denmark

travel europe in january

Found on Denmark’s Jutland Peninsula, Aarhus is known for its beautiful harbor and stunning architecture. In January, the city celebrates with Nordic light festivals, ice skating rinks, and Christmas markets as a precursor to February’s iconic Vinterjazz ( winter jazz festival ).

Popular amongst locals and tourists alike, be sure to check out ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum to see the famous rainbow-colored walkway and contemporary art exhibits.

If you’re considering where to go in January in Europe, Aarhus is one of the best European cities to visit in January and February!

Best Places to Visit in Europe in January for Northern Lights

Want to be swept away by the stunning natural phenomena of the northern lights in Europe? Look no further than these top destinations.

57. Tromsø, Norway – one of the best places in Europe to visit in January for the northern lights

If you want to see the northern lights, Tromsø is absolutely #1 on this list of the best places to visit in Europe in January

If you haven’t yet marked down that Tromsø is the best place to visit in Europe in January, do it now ! World famous for its stunning displays of the aurora borealis ( otherwise known as the northern lights ), Tromsø is a dream destination for anyone looking to witness this natural phenomenon.

And January has some of the best chances for clear skies and optimal aurora visibility! The city also offers plenty of other winter activities, such as ice fishing and snowshoeing, as well as cultural experiences like visiting museums and trying traditional Norwegian cuisine.

I always recommend immersing yourself in the most unique cultural experiences possible, so instead of booking a fancy chalet, book a room in someone’s home instead.

Tromsø is home to very hospitable people who are willing to share their homes, their meals, and their hearts with you and it truly shouldn’t be missed!

58. Lapland, Finland – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for a winter wonderland scene

if you're looking for a winter wonderland, them Lapland, Finland needs to be on your personal list of the best places to visit in Europe in January

Ever wanted to see the purest form of a winter wonderland on Earth? Well, here’s your chance. Lapland, Finland is known worldwide for its stunning snow-covered landscapes, and January is the perfect time to visit.

Yes, it WILL be cold… but, you’ll get to experience dog sledding, reindeer safaris, and spending night after night soaking up all the amazing displays of the northern lights this region of the world has to offer. Don’t forget to dress warm though!

Lapland isn’t unfamiliar with extremely harsh temperatures, so a proper winter packing list should be by your side while preparing for your trip.

You can also attend the Finnish Ice Marathon, where you can participate or cheer on those who do! And last but not least, Lapland is home to Santa Claus Village – the best place to have a magical encounter with Old Saint Nick himself.

Trust us, it’s worth braving the cold for these unforgettable experiences and Lapland is absolutely one of the best countries to visit in January.

59. Svalbard, Norway – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for the northern lights

travel europe in january

A dream destination of mine ( I’ve actually been looking at flights here recently ), Svalbard is the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world, located between Norway and the North Pole.

In January, you’ll find it blanketed in snow, but mostly ice, making for a unique winter wonderland experience with opportunities to see polar bears and other Arctic wildlife.

And don’t miss out on the chance to witness the incredible northern lights dancing overhead! It’s easily one of the best things to do in Europe in January!

Locals here will tell you all about the polar bears that roam free and how to heat your home in consistent negative temperatures for weeks on end.

If you’re looking for once-in-a-lifetime European experiences , Svalbard is highly recommended as one of the best places to visit in Europe in January!

Best Places to Visit in Europe in January for Incredible Scenery

Whether you’re roaming the green hills of the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland or hiking through the snow-capped Swiss Alps, January offers incredible scenery in Europe.

60. Sligo, Ireland

Sligo is quite remote but insanely beautiful and far fewer tourists than the Cliffs of Moher, making it one of the best places to visit in Europe in January

If you want to know where to go in January in Europe, a trip to Sligo will not disappoint. With its stunningly tall Slieve League cliffs and beautiful coastal scenery, Sligo offers the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Plus, with its remote location in the northern communities of County Donegal, Sligo is often overlooked by tourists – which means you’ll get to enjoy all the best sights and sounds without having to deal with crowds!

Take a day trip to the Sligo Cliffs ( which happen to be nearly 2.5x higher than the ever-so-popular Cliffs of Moher ) before practicing your photography skills (hint: a wide lens is highly recommended!) Just be sure to bundle up before you go out exploring this stunning, yet incredibly cold Irish gem.

61. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik may not be as warm as you might think, but it is nevertheless so beautiful and definitely deserves to be on this list of best places to visit in Europe in January

The popular tourist destination known as “the Pearl of the Adriatic” is just as beautiful in the colder months.

The winter season offers fewer crowds and a quieter atmosphere, allowing visitors to fully appreciate the stunning medieval walls and architecture of Old Town Dubrovnik. Plus, January falls within the city’s winter festival season, featuring events such as the Winter Festival and Christmas Market.

While not as warm as in other parts of Europe with temperatures in the upper-40s Fahrenheit, the mild winter temperatures make for perfect weather to explore the city on foot ( just be sure to grab a mug of some rakija to keep you going ).

And, with Dubrovnik’s manageable size, visitors can easily see all the best sights in just a few days making it one of the good places to visit in Europe in January.

62. Cotswolds, England

The lesser known Cotswolds offer truly unique beauty making them one of the best places to visit in Europe in January

Found amidst England’s southwest region, the Cotswolds are made up of rolling hills, cozy villages, and stunning gardens. January is the perfect time to visit as the crowds from peak season have died down and you can truly appreciate the region’s charm.

Be sure to check out Bibury, a village known for its picturesque row of cottages on the River Coln, or explore some of the many English gardens lining the streets. Come wintertime, temperatures have dropped but the region still receives sunshine ( though it is on the less frequent occasion ) and is overflowing with friendly locals in all the pubs and cafes.

If you’re wondering where is best to go in Europe in January for a local getaway void of wandering tourists but full of charm, the Cotswolds should be high on your list.

63. Kotor, Montenegro – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January to get the best travel deals

travel europe in january

Just south of Croatia brings us to the smaller western European country of Montenegro where we can find the charming city of Kotor. January brings mild temperatures and fewer crowds, making it a perfect time to explore the Old Town and visit the nearby Kotor Beach.

With unique cuisine options including the traditional Brav u Mlijeku or the famous Montenegrin smoked ham, Pršut, Kotor offers special culinary experiences for any traveler.

Come January, Kotor’s off-season sets in which means amazing photographs of the dramatic landscape of Montenegro.

Use this stunning city set in the mountains as an arrival and departure point for reaching the amazing Bay of Kotor or the beautiful Durmitor National Park, or simply indulge in the uniqueness of this stunning Balkan country!

64. Isle of Skye, England – one of the most remote places to visit in Europe in January

The Isle of Skye is among the most beautiful and best places to visit in Europe in January

Situated in the far northwest of the United Kingdom, the Isle of Skye is one place that winter enthusiasts dream about. Known for its dramatic landscapes, including the towering cliffs of the Quiraing and the fairy pools of Glenbrittle, this small island is best explored during the chilly months.

In January, you can also experience the Isle of Skye in all its winter glory with potential snowfall adding to the already breathtaking scenery. While you’re there, be sure to try the fresh seafood like salted cod, or you could stick to the classics like English black pudding and traditionally made tea biscuits.

The Isle of Skye is one of the most unique places to visit in Europe in January as it’s not a place that most tourists typically consider. It’s remote and tucked away on the edge of the Norweigan Sea, making it one of the best places to visit in Europe in the winter in our opinion!

65. Le Havre, France

travel europe in january

If you’re looking for a place to visit in Europe in January that has plenty of things to do, Le Havre, France is a great option. This iconic fishing town is located in the vibrant Normandy region of France and is home to some fantastic seafood restaurants.

Plus, the Perret show flat – a museum showcasing the lifestyle and designers of the 1950s – is well worth a visit. And don’t forget the beautiful beaches!

This is one of the best regions in France for photographers aiming to get a glimpse of old-time France, so don’t forget your camera if this sounds like something you’d like to capture.

66. Donegal, Ireland

Remote Donegal earns its place on this list of best places to visit in Europe in January for its vibrant culture

Donegal is located in County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland ( it’s in the northern part of the Republic, not to be confused with Northern Ireland… ) and is known for its Donegal tweed, which is made from the wool of local sheep by hand.

Known for its cultural traditions, the historic town of Donegal is also home to Donegal Castle and the Slieve League Cliffs, which are less than an hour away by car. It’s also one of the best stops to pick up some traditional Irish souvenirs !

On those brisk winter days, what could be better than a seaside location like Donegal? And with its beautiful Irish heritage on full display, this is definitely one of the best places to visit in Europe.

And if you’re a fan of seaside towns, you’ll love Donegal’s location directly on the Atlantic coast – perfect for watching those winter storms! If you want to know where to go in January in Europe, Donegal offers the perfect getaway from the more popular European cities.

Just be sure to pack warm for Ireland as this region of the island nation gets quite chilly by the time the fall months set in!

67. Étretat, France

travel europe in january

If you’re in dying need of a beautiful European town to visit this January, then you have to check out Étretat, France .

This charming seaside village is home to some of the most stunning scenery in the country ( ever heard of the magnificent L’Aiguille or the Needle natural rock formation? ), and its hospitable locals make it a great place to relax and take in the fresh air that comes with the late winter months.

Plus, with its chilly weather and affordable prices, Étretat is a perfect destination for budget-minded travelers. Art enthusiasts should also consider Étretat as it was once the home of the famous French artist, Claude Monet!

So if you’re looking for a winter escape that’s both picturesque and affordable, Étretat is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Europe in January.

68. Inverness, Scotland

travel europe in january

Of course, we included Edinburgh on this list ( I mean, seriously… what’s more beautiful than the capital of Scotland covered in white lights…? ), but have you ever considered visiting Inverness in the Scottish Highlands in January? Probably not.

Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s the best time to visit this charming city. Inverness is known for its stunning lochs and castles, like the famous Loch Ness and Cawdor Castle (yes, THE Cawdor Castle from Shakespeare’s Macbeth).

But what really sets Inverness apart in January is the annual Hogmanay celebration come New Years’ Eve when the whole town is ready to light those lanterns.

If you want to know some more destinations you should consider visiting for New Years, check out my article on the 25 Best Places in Europe for New Years Celebrations !

This always makes Inverness stand out as one of the best places in Europe to visit in January, but its truly the hospitable locals that get people to stay. Once you’re there, be sure to snuggle up in a cozy B&B with a traditional hot toddy and a good book on those cold winter nights!

69. Bristol, England

travel europe in january

Harbored in the United Kingdom’s southwest region along the Atlantic Coast, Bristol is one city that you probably didn’t expect to see on this list. So, why have we included it?

Well, for starters, the city is absolutely charming in the wintertime with its historic architectural beauty and cozy cafes. Plus, January brings about some of Bristol’s best events including the annual Festival of Ideas and the International Kite Festival.

Not to mention, the English coastline is known for its stunning wintery display of ice-covered mossy rocks and old-time taverns set against a constantly perilous cloudy landscape.

The Clifton Suspension Bridge also looks fierce when dusted with snow, so be prepared if you happen to visit during some snowfall.

Absolutely one of the best places to visit in Europe in winter, Bristol is one destination that you shouldn’t overlook!

70. Dingle, Ireland

travel europe in january

Ireland is a land of stunning beauty, with its rolling green hills and misty cliffs. And the best time to see it all? In winter, when the harsh weather brings out the best in the landscape. One great place to visit in Ireland during winter is Dingle, the heart of the Dingle Peninsula.

This region offers some of the most breathtaking views of the rugged Irish coastline in the entire country. Plus, January brings epic waves and mighty winds that make this region crazy to experience – but it’s also one of the most beautiful times to be there.

Dramatic views and scenic landscapes are abundant come winter, so if you’re looking for adventure and some unforgettable scenery, don’t forget that Dingle is one of the best cities to visit in Europe in the winter!

Visiting Dingle this winter? Here are the best places to stay on the Dingle Peninsula !

71. Doolin, Ireland

There's nothing better than seeing the Cliffs of Moher without tourists making it one of the best places to visit in Europe in January

If you’re looking for a charming, off-the-beaten-path town to visit in Europe in January, look no further than Doolin, Ireland. This quaint fishing village is located just south of Galway on Ireland’s western coastline and is full of hospitable locals who will make you feel right at home.

While it may be small, Doolin offers plenty of activities and attractions to keep you busy during your stay. From exploring the stunning Cliffs of Moher to enjoying some of the best fish and chips at Russell’s Fishshop or beer at my favorite pub in Ireland ( Gus O’Connor’s ), there’s something for everyone in this little gem of a town.

So if you’re wondering where to go in January in Europe, be sure to add Doolin to your list!

72. Bergen, Norway

travel europe in january

If you’re looking for some snow-filled fun, head to Bergen in January. This charming city is known for its colorful wooden houses and stunning fjords, and during the winter it transforms into a winter wonderland!

Ski or snowboard on Mount Ulriken ( or take the cable car up for insane views ), go hunting for the aurora borealis, or indulge in some traditional Norwegian cuisine like lutefisk ( air-dried white fish ) or reindeer meat.

Don’t miss visiting the famous Bryggen area, a UNESCO World Heritage site made up of historic wooden buildings that were once part of the Hanseatic League trade empire.

73. Geiranger, Norway

if you want to see Norweigan fjords, Geiranger is obviously one of the best places to visit in Europe in January to see them all frozen over

Located at the head of the iconic Geirangerfjord, this stunning Nordic coastal town is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Europe in January. Well known for its waterfalls, including the Seven Sisters and the Suitor, Geiranger’s winter landscape only adds to its beauty when it turns to ice come wintertime.

Take a hike along Eagle Road for stunning views of the fjord or enjoy a leisurely drive through the breathtaking scenery ( just be sure to plan ahead for icy roads and snow! )

January also brings the small opportunity to spot orcas in their natural habitat when they come to hunt, but remember that there’s far less daylight during this time of the year so spotting them can be tricky.

As one of the best places in the world to visit in January, Geiranger is certainly not going to disappoint!

If you plan on traveling to Europe this winter, I highly recommend getting travel insurance . I used to travel without it, but after a trip where the airlines lost my luggage AND my flights got canceled and I ended up sleeping on an airport floor, I never travel without it now. SafetyWing is ridiculously affordable (we’re talking $42/month of travel affordable ), so it’s silly NOT to get it.

Your FREE 1 Week Winter Packing List for Europe!

snow covered brown, white, and gray concrete castle under cloudy skies

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Is Europe Too Cold in January?

While it’s true that Europe can get quite chilly in January, it’s not so cold that it’s unbearable. Having lived in Alaska through the winter consistently enduring temperatures well into the negative forties and fifties Fahrenheit, I promise you Europe is nothing like that.

Depending on where you go, you might experience snowfall and below-freezing temperatures, particularly in Northern Europe and the Alpine regions. However, if you pack the right winter gear, you can comfortably enjoy the stunning winter landscapes.

Southern Europe, on the other hand, enjoys a milder winter, with temperatures rarely dropping below the 40s and 50s, and almost never dropping below freezing during the day. Plus, many hotels and restaurants can get exceptionally cozy in the winter, offering a warm retreat after a day of exploring. So, no, Europe is not too cold in January—it’s just different, and that’s part of the charm!

Europe in January Weather

travel europe in january

January in Europe brings a diverse range of weather conditions, varying dramatically from one region to another. In Northern Europe, countries like Norway and Finland are blanketed by snow, with temperatures often plunging below freezing – providing an idyllic setting for winter sports enthusiasts or anyone seeking the ultimate winter wonderland destination.

The Alpine regions, including Switzerland and Austria, also experience a cold yet charming winter, perfect for skiing and snowboarding.

The Central and Eastern parts of Europe, such as Germany, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, also witness cold temperatures, but seldom as extreme as their Northern counterparts. You may experience occasional snowfall, giving the cities a picturesque, frosted look. Overall, however, average temperatures remain bearable, rarely dipping below zero during the day.

Conversely, Southern Europe enjoys a much milder winter. Countries like Spain, Italy, Portugal, Croatia, and Greece experience milder temperatures ranging from the 40’s to 50’s Fahrenheit, occasionally even going higher.

The days are pleasantly cool, with plenty of sunshine, offering a winter experience that is quite different from the frosty north. So despite the month, there’s a perfect European destination waiting for you in January, regardless of your weather preference.

FAQ: Best Places to Visit in Europe in January

In this next section, I’m going to dive in to answering some questions for you that you’re sure to have when planning a winter trip to Europe!

If you still aren’t sure where you want to go, consider taking my winter travel quiz ! It’s aimed at helping you find the perfect winter destination based on your travel preferences and interests!

Is January a Good Time to Go to Europe?

travel europe in january

Absolutely, January can be a fantastic time to explore Europe! It’s the off-peak season which means fewer tourists and lower prices for flights and accommodations. Plus, the cooler weather is perfect for enjoying winter sports in places like Switzerland, the Czech Republic, or Norway.

For those looking for milder climates, the southern parts of Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Greece can provide pleasant temperatures and ample sunshine. In addition, many European cities embrace the winter season with festive holiday markets, outdoor ice rinks, and twinkling lights that create a magical atmosphere.

I personally found Europe to be at its peak come January (since I’m a massive fan of winter sports and après-ski life), so don’t let the fact that it’s the “off-season” turn you off from wanting to visit.

Should I Visit Europe in January?

January is a great time to visit Europe if you want to save money on flights and accommodations and explore with far fewer tourists around

You should absolutely visit Europe in January! January is a great time to visit Europe because the crowds are far smaller than in the busy summer months and the weather is still mild in most places.

You can also score great deals on accommodations and flights after the holidays, so it makes traveling to more expensive European countries obtainable for more travelers!

However, January can be very cold in northern Europe ( think: Germany, Poland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, etc. ), so be sure to pack warm clothes if you’re visiting that region.

travel europe in january

Which Country in Europe is Best to Visit in January?

Paris is so beautiful in the snow and should be on your list of cities to visit in Europe in winter

In our opinion, the best country in Europe to visit in January is the Algarve region of Portugal.

Public transportation is still in full operation ( though some schedules may be more limited ), you’ll experience mild temperatures perfect for exploring, and stunning sunrises and sunsets make a notable appearance without the influxes of thousands of tourists standing in the way of your camera.

You can still take amazing kayaking tours through the Benagil Caves or rent a jeep to take you to the best spot to watch the sunset over the Atlantic.

And while Portugal is very affordable anyway, you can still receive a cost break on many of the activities you decide to do as well as accommodations and travel bookings!

Portugal’s Algarve region is definitely at the top of our list of best places to visit in Europe in January.

What is the Warmest Part of Europe in January?

travel europe in january

The warmest part of Europe in January is usually the south-Mediterranean countries like Spain, Italy, and Greece.

The Canary Islands can also be warm during winter, with temperatures up to 18 degrees Celsius! If you’re looking for warmer parts of Europe in January then these areas are your best bet.

Of course, you should also take into account other factors such as cultural attractions and availability of accommodation when planning your trip.

Where is the Warmest Place to Travel in Europe in January?

Spain and Portugal are amongst the warmest European countries in winter

Spain and Portugal are the best places to visit in Europe in January if you’re looking for warm weather. They both have average temperatures of around 60 degrees Fahrenheit in January. Other countries that are relatively warm in January include Italy, Greece, and Turkey.

For the warmest weather, consider Spain’s Canary Islands which have higher average temperatures around the low 70s Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celsius).

Overall, Spain and Portugal are two of the best places to travel in Europe in January for warm weather.

What European Country Should I Visit in January?

Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Greece are going to have the nicest warm weather in January

The best places to visit in Europe in January are those that offer the most pleasant weather for the activities that you would like to partake in. Countries like Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Greece offer mild temperatures and sunny skies during the winter months of January and February.

But, if you would rather be shredding up the slopes on your skis or snowboarding in the mountains of Austria and Switzerland, that’s a fantastic option as well!

When it comes to the aurora borealis (or the northern lights as most people refer to them), Norway, Finland, and Iceland ( though Iceland isn’t technically in the European Union ) are the top contenders.

Should I Rent a Car for Europe in January?

If you happen to be visiting one of these best places to visit in Europe in January, then a rental car can be a great way to get around with a flexible schedule

Depending on where you are traveling, renting a car for Europe in January can be a great decision. If you are planning on going skiing in the Alps, then perhaps you should have some more experience driving in the snow before considering renting a car.

However, if you are visiting cities like Paris or Rome, it may be best to rely on public transportation as the roads can be quite crowded and navigating can be difficult.

Is Train Travel Better for Europe in January?

travel europe in january

If you aren’t super comfortable driving in winter conditions (particularly in countries where most cars are manual and they drive on the opposite side of the road and sit on the opposite side of the car – hello, Ireland ), then train travel in Europe can be a great substitution.

The trains in Europe are reliable, comfortable, and most importantly – they come with amazing views. Trains can also help you save money on accommodations as it’s easier to take overnight trains and sleep on the way to your destination instead of spending money on a hotel for just one night!

The Wrap-Up: Best Places to Visit in Europe in January

We also have some articles dedicated to the best places to visit in Europe in December , March , April , May , and July ! These may just be some of the best places to visit in Europe in 2023/2024.

January is a great time to visit Europe because you can enjoy mild temperatures and sunny skies in many countries, while also taking advantage of the festive atmosphere that comes with the holiday season.

If you’re looking for a winter getaway, consider Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Finland, or Iceland! Each of these countries offers something special and unique that will make your January vacation unforgettable.

But, on this list of the best places to visit in Europe in January , they’re all pretty unique.

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Hey there! I'm Emily Concannon, a seasoned globetrotter who has backpacked her way across over a dozen European countries, immersing myself in the diverse cultures, languages, and cuisines of the region.

My passion for travel transcends personal experiences; I've spent years learning how to transform my globetrotting knowledge into personalized itineraries for fellow travelers worldwide.

With a tally of 26 countries (and counting!) under my belt, my day job involves extensive research on different countries which often leads me to booking a new adventure every chance I get!

Ten great winter holiday ideas in Europe

Nov 6, 2023 • 5 min read

travel europe in january

It's impossible not to hopelessly fall in love with some parts of Europe in winter © I love takeing photos and i think that is a really great opportunity for me to share them / Getty Images

Here are 10 suggestions for quintessentially European things to see and do in the colder months.

Winter comes in many guises in Europe . In the polar north there’s serious snow, the northern lights and weeks without sun. Around the mild Mediterranean, you’ll find lingering warmth well into the season. And in the center of Europe: cozy cafe culture and halls decked with Christmas spirit.

It’s an inspiring time to visit grand cities, charming villages and cultural sites. With fewer queues, you can fit more into your itinerary, and off-season prices make European accommodation wallet-friendly in November, December, January and February. Using Europe’s train network you can explore countries at your leisure, and it’s easier to meet locals outside the often-frenetic summer tourist season. 

People walk through a lit up Christmas market in front of an elaborate church.

1. Drink glühwein at Christmas markets in Germany or Austria

December sees these romantic historic markets pop up all over Germany , Austria and other Central European nations. Expect cute stalls selling everything from gingerbread to sleigh bells, and plenty of good cheer, toasted with a glass of warming glühwein .

Top tip: Famous markets in Cologne , Vienna and Munich draw the tourist crowds, but seeking out ones in smaller towns is rewarding.

Bathers crowd Szechenyi Baths in Budapest on January 1st

2. Warm up at one of Budapest’s famous thermal bathhouses

Couples skating hand-in-hand, breath cloudy in the frosty air – there’s nowhere better for it than the enormous outdoor ice rink in Budapest’s picturesque central park, Városligeti Műjégpálya . Feeling chilly afterward? Hungary’s capital is famous for its ornate thermal baths .

Top tip: At night seek out a ‘ ruin pub ’– an atmospheric drinking venue artfully housed in a once-abandoned building.

3. Witness the northern lights in Abisko, Sweden

Located almost as far north as you can get in Europe on a train,  Abisko in Lapland is for lovers of serious winter. The sun doesn’t rise for several weeks in December and January, but that darkness makes it one of the world’s best places to view the majestic aurora borealis (northern lights). Other attractions include cross-country skiing along national park trails and husky mushing.

Top tip: Stop off at nearby Kiruna to see the famous Swedish Icehotel .

12 years old girl pulling a sledge on snow in forest. She walks uphill on a trail in a cold sunny winter day in Transylvania, Romania

4. Steel-gray skies set the mood in Transylvania, Romania

You can’t visit Dracula’s lair on a sunny day with lambs bleating in the fields, right? You want steel-gray skies, bare trees and a smattering of snow. Braşov and Sighişoara , two hours apart by rail, are gorgeous medieval towns with various connections to Vlad Ţepeş, the historical Dracula, though it’s doubtful he ever set foot in his so-called castle.

Top tip: Bram Stoker never visited Romania , so don’t expect many parallels with the book or films.

Low angle view of backpacker looking at La Giralda in Seville Cathedral against cloudy sky in cit

5. Bask in the sunshine in Andalucía, Spain

Some parts of Andalucía are further south than the African coast, so expect mild temperatures in winter . Accommodation is cheap and crowds are smaller at standout attractions like Granada’s Alhambra and Seville’s cathedral . Plus, tapas and nightlife in the cities are as enticing as ever.

Top tip: Head to the Sierra Nevada near Granada if you want snowsport action.

Woman looking at a temple on the Acropolis, Athens, Greece.

6. Have the best sites in Athens (almost) to yourself

It’s a real downer trying to Photoshop 500 people out of your would-be-prizewinning Parthenon photo, but during the winter in Athens , it’s not an issue. All summer stresses – crowding, tourist pricing, intense heat, queues, air pollution – more or less disappear. The average temperature during the winter is around 13ºC (55ºF). It’s the best time to explore the country’s ancient heritage and experience local culture.

Top tip: By all means do some island-hopping, but most accommodations close in winter.

Skier at the summit of a mountain in Slovakia; there is cloud cover below and a chairlift rising to the right.

7. Hit the slopes at Jasná, Slovakia’s best ski resort

Slovakia offers high-quality skiing at affordable prices . Accommodation and food are reasonable too, and there’s a friendliness that’s missing from some of the snootier Alpine slopes. Jasná is the best Slovakian resort, with long descents flanked by snow-laden spruce trees, set in the ruggedly lovely Tatras Mountains.

Top tip: Flights from the US direct to Slovakia can be pricey, so don’t make this your entry point to Europe.

A happy tourist woman enjoys the view to the beautiful Nyhavn area in Copenhagen, Denmark, during winter time with snow and Christmas decorations

8. Expect snow flurries and fairytales in Copenhagen, Denmark

For a fairytale European winter, it’s hard to beat the home of Hans Christian Andersen . Forget the over-hyped Little Mermaid and head to the city’s cozy bars and cafes to watch snow flurrying outside. In the heart of town, the 19th-century Tivoli amusement park is a romantic, kitsch delight around Christmastime, with heartwarming illuminations and body-warming mugs of glögg (mulled wine).

Top tip: Noma may have closed but Copenhagen still has an incredible restaurant scene. Go for broke at Alchemist , widely considered one of the world's best restaurants. (Book three months in advance and set aside 4–6 hours.)

People in Reindeer sledge caravan safari in winter forest in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

9. Visit the unofficial home of Santa Claus in Rovaniemi, Finland

Fistfuls of Christmas clichés characterize Rovaniemi , the ‘official’ terrestrial residence of Santa Claus. Everyone’s favorite bearded man hangs out in an atmospheric Arctic Circle grotto, and it’s free to visit him (but photos are another story). Snow and reindeer add festive spirit, while the Arktikum Museum gives insights into life at these latitudes.

Top tip: Finnish thermometers have more numbers below 32°F (0°C) than above, so pack serious winter clothing.

People in masks and Venetians costumes look into the camera.

10. Be seduced by the incredible Carnival in Venice

Hauntingly beautiful and rather weird, Venice’s Carnival in February is a European highlight. Elaborate costumes and spooky masks bring the canal city’s colorful history to life. Costumed dances are pricey affairs, but you can have a ball enjoying the free events with a mask bought on the street – just be prepared for epic crowding.

Top tip: Book accommodation well ahead. Day-tripping in and out on a train will considerably lower costs.

This article was first published Sep 19, 2019 and updated Nov 6, 2023.

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15 warmest places in Europe in January (2024 guide)

Amalfi Coast in Italy

What are the warmest places in Europe in January? 

As the festive season departs and the new year sets in, people around Northern Europe find themselves wondering if there’s somewhere they can go to escape the winter blues. 

Largely, people ask if there are any warm destinations in Europe in January which offer beautiful beaches and hours of sunshine every day!

If you’re finding yourself craving some January sunshine, I have good and bad news. 

Good news? There are plenty of places in Europe that have mild weather in January. 

Bad news? Nowhere is really hot in Europe in January – you won’t get sunbathing and sea swimming weather anywhere really – but there are plenty of places you can go that are warmer than say, London or New York. 

So, where are these places? Let’s dig in! 

Table of Contents

What’s the warmest place in Europe in January?

travel europe in january

I’d pinpoint the warmest place in Europe in January to be Tenerife . 

This Canary Island is in a southerly location, surrounded by sea, which means that it stays mild throughout the cooler months. 

Spain is the warmest country in Europe in January , too. 

This isn’t just because it’s home to the Canary Islands; the southern region (Andalucia) is usually very warm and sunny. 

I adore Spain in winter because not only are parts wonderfully sunny but you can also travel to its ski slopes relatively quickly.

It’s a wonderful combination of two of the best parts of winter in Europe!

January’s the depths of the winter season – the coolest month of the year in most places – but you can still find warm weather in a smattering of locations across Southern Europe. 

Check out my other posts about the warmest places in Europe across the winter months:

  • Warmest places to visit in Europe in November
  • Warmest places to visit in Europe in December
  • Warmest places to visit in Europe in February
  • Warmest places in Europe in March

1. Malaga, Spain

City of Malaga in Spain

When most of Europe is shivering, Malaga , sitting on Spain’s south coast, is home to an abundance of warmth and sunshine!

The capital of the Costa del Sol , Malaga averages a comfortable 17°C (63°F) in January.

We visited Malaga last January and loved the gentle warmth – it was balmy enough to sit on the rooftop of our hotel (Aperol spritz in hand!) and even take a quick dip in the pool. 

I also went for a swim in the Med at Malagueta Beach, but it was chilly! 

One of the city’s best things to do is the Alcazaba , an ancient fortress that looms over Malaga. It dates back to the 10th century when this area of Spain was Moorish-controlled. 

I couldn’t imagine walking up to the top fo the Alcazaba in the sweltering heat of the summer, but in January it was cool enough to walk around without working up a sweat.  

Nearby, Malagueta Beach is ideal for a picnic on the sands! 

The water may be too cool for a swim for many people (although I did go for a dip on New Year’s Day 2023!), but the beach is incredibly inviting.

Malaga’s terrace restaurants are ideal for the winter, with delicious al fresco local Andalusian cuisine. 

Delight in a plate of freshly caught seafood or traditional tapas as the Mediterranean sun shines down!

Fewer crowds in the winter months make it easier to secure a spot at popular attractions like the Picasso Museum and the Gibralfaro Castle too.

Check out my full guide to Malaga in January.

I visited Malaga last January with Jet2 Holidays . All packages are ATOL-protected and include flights (with hold luggage) and the hotel. Check out their offerings for THIS January !

2. Valletta, Malta

Looking out over Sliema on the island of Malta.

In January, Valletta, the capital city of Malta, averages a comfortable 15°C (59°F).

Right away, you’ll notice the Mediterranean Sea setting the backdrop for a city that refuses to hibernate through winter!

Want sun? You’ll get plenty.

Use those sun-soaked hours to wander the stone streets and grab a coffee at an open-air cafe, no winter coat needed!

Also, duck into St. John’s Co-Cathedral , a masterpiece of Baroque art. 

If history’s your thing, Fort St. Elmo is waiting.

Navigate its corridors and expansive walls; don’t forget to look out over the Grand Harbour. N

earby, the Upper Barrakka Gardens offer another perfect harbour view.

But don’t stay in the city; you’re on a glorious Mediterranean island, after all! 

Malta’s the perfect destination for beach hopping – visit Golden Bay where you can enjoy the bright beaches or horseriding or head to the south of the island to see beauty spots like the Blue Grott o and the ancient Hagar Qim site . 

Check out my full Malta winter guide.

3. Lisbon, Portugal

Yellow vintage tram on the street in Lisbon, Portugal. Famous travel destination

In January, Lisbon keeps the winter blues at bay with average temperatures around 15°C (59°F) .

January may be the coldest month, but there’s still sunshine to be found here – the sun often bathes the city’s historic neighbourhoods such as Alfama and Belém .

Slip into a cosy café, order a pastel de nata, and savour the sunlight streaming through the windows.

For history aficionados, the Jerónimos Monastery is a must-see. 

Walk through its intricate cloisters as you learn about its history from the 16th century. 

If you’re looking for an elevated view of the city, head to the Miradouro da Senhora do Monte viewpoint.

Snap a few photos; the panorama is spectacular.

 While the Atlantic Ocean might be too chilly (and choppy – winter is prime surf season!) there are sandy beaches just a short journey from Lisbon city centre.

Plus, you’ll find fresh seafood restaurants that deliver ocean flavours right to your plate.

I’ve visited Lisbon a few times , and my January trip was my favourite.

The capital can be far too hot in the summer season – it’s much more comfortable in the winter – and it’s less crowded too. 

It can be a bit rainier, but you’ll usually have plenty of sun, it’s just a bit cooler! 

Take a look at my full guide to visiting Lisbon in January.

4. Palermo, Sicily

Aerial view of Palermo with Church of the Gesu at sunset, Sicily, Italy

Chasing warmth in January? Head to Palermo! 

The temperature hovers around 16°C (61°F); it’s a mild escape from Europe’s harsher winter climates.

Sunshine is a common site in Palermo.

Use it to your advantage to explore Palermo Cathedral , an incredible building that dates back to early Christian times and has been modified throughout the Norman, Catalan-Gothic and Neoclassical eras. 

As you walk the ancient streets, consider grabbing a quick espresso or a Sicilian pastry at one of the many cafes – plenty of them have al-fresco seating, even in January! 

In the Norman Palace , you can wander through rooms adorned with mosaic artistry – don’t miss the Palatine Chapel.

From the palace, you can catch a glimpse of the Tyrrhenian Sea!

A leisurely walk along Mondello Beach is doable, even in January.

The sea may be too chilly for swimming, but it’s a stunning site throughout the seasons. 

Hungry? Try street-side arancini or more elaborate dishes in high-end restaurant; seafood is abundant, as are traditional Sicilian dishes.

Of course, you can take a trip out to other spots in Sicily; don’t miss the Valley of the Temples and Teatro Antico di Taormina. They’ll be much quieter in January than in the peak summer months!

5. Funchal, Madeira

Landscape of Madeira island - Portugal

Eyeing the charming town of Funchal for your winter trip?

Thanks to Madeira’s southern location, January temperatures average a comfy 18°C (64°F).

While November sees slightly warmer temperatures , January’s still inviting. 

It’s often sunny here, perfect for leisurely walks through the Madeira Botanical Garden .

Gaze at the exotic flora or take a cable car ride to get a bird’s-eye view of the city.

If you’re a wine enthusiast, you can’t miss a tour of a Madeira wine cellar.

Madeira’s also famous for its levada walks. “ Levadas ” are the island’s stone irrigation systems, many of which lead to epic viewpoints with panoramic views of Madeira’s nature.  

January’s perfect weather for hiking – it’s not too hot and not too cold!

Jet2 offer package trips to Madeira – so you can have a beach holiday even in January! Check out the best deals.

6. Ibiza, Spain

Cala d'Hort, Ibiza (Spain)

In January, the Balearic Island of Ibiza sheds its party persona to reveal a quieter, more authentic version of itself.

With warm temperatures around 15°C (59°F), you won’t be swimming, but you’ll be far from shivering.

November’s a fair bit warmer, but January’s climate is still ideal for outdoor activities!

Start with a visit to the UNESCO-listed Ibiza Town , rich in history and home to the Ibiza Cathedral.

Despite the cooler winter, you can still trek to the island’s various viewpoints.

The area around Es Vedrà offers spectacular vistas that remind you why Ibiza is more than just a party destination!

7. Limassol, Cyprus

LIMASSOL CYPRUS

Welcome to Limassol , where January boasts a mild Mediterranean climate with an average temperature of 17°C (63°F).

Venture to the coastline and you’ll see that outdoor activities aren’t just reserved for summer!

The waterfront promenade is an ideal place for a brisk walk, and the local cafes keep their doors open for you to enjoy a coffee with a sea view.

Got a taste for history?

Limassol Castle is a journey back in time – and it’s even more enjoyable when you don’t have to battle the heat.

If you prefer modern spots, hang out at the Limassol Marina which is home to an array of shops and restaurants that give you a glimpse of today’s Cyprus.

Take a seat, enjoy local meze platters (including fresh halloumi cheese) and seafood straight from the Mediterranean.

8. Seville, Spain

Enjoying some sunshine in Seville in November.

Seville in January is a stark contrast to the city’s sweltering summer months.

With a pleasant average temperature of around 16°C (61°F), you’re free to explore without feeling overwhelmed by heat!

January’s the coldest month in Seville – personally, November’s my favourite time to visit – but January’s still comfortable. 

Whenever you visit, Seville’s a glorious city with a staggering amount of history and three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

Wander through the Alcázar of Seville , where intricate Moorish designs await.

Or, explore the Jewish Quarter, a maze of narrow streets filled with history, small shops, and inviting cafes.

Plaza de Espana is open throughout the winter season; it’s a huge square with mosaics dedicated to each area of Spain. 

Finish your day by cheers-ing with a Spanish cava in a rooftop bar and basking in the warm winter sun! 

9. Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

travel europe in january

Are you looking for the warmest place in Europe in January? Tenerife beckons ! 

Part of the Canary Island archipelago which is around 100 km from the West Coast of Africa, Tenerife is a volcanic island that basks in a subtropical climate. 

Unlike much of Europe in the winter, Tenerife is ideal for outdoor activities in winter.

Hiking trails, like those in Teide National Park , remain accessible and are the ideal setting for a winter adventure without snow boots!

If you’re into water sports, the wind conditions are excellent for kitesurfing and windsurfing .

While the Atlantic Ocean can be a bit cool for swimming, watersports are generally accessible provided you have a wetsuit. 

Then there are lava caves , which are open year-round – these were a highlight of my winter trip to Tenerife!

Gorgeous towns are abundant in Tenerife – my favourite was Icod de los Vinos in the north. 

Of course, if you just fancy spending a week in January kicking back in an all-inclusive resort, that’s an option too.  

Tenerife’s also a popular destination in December – check out my full guide.

10. Sorrento, Italy

Small fishing boats at harbor Marina Grande in Sorrento, Campania, Amalfi Coast, Italy.

Winter in Sorrento is quiet and more relaxed with mild temperatures around 15°C (59°F).

Although the city is a hit in summer, in winter the lack of crowds boast an uninterrupted view of Mt. Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples!

The cooler weather is excellent for touring Sorrento’s rich historical sites.

The Cathedral of Sorrento and the Museo Correale are less crowded. 

There are a few excellent day trips from Sorrento, too. 

In winter, Sorrento’s perfect for exploring the Amalfi Coast without the hordes of tourists .

You’ll find the drive along the coast less stressful, as the usually hectic roads are more navigable.

Towns like Positano and Amalfi offer a unique, quieter charm; without so many tourists, you’ll experience local culture a lot more.

Then there’s Pompeii , an ancient city that was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

It’s located just a short train ride from Sorrento.

The advantage here is twofold: fewer crowds and milder temperatures.

While summer visits can be overwhelmingly hot, winter’s milder weather allows for a more comfortable time seeing the ancient ruins.

Wander through the Forum, imagine life in the amphitheatre, and study the remarkably preserved frescoes in the villas, all without the distraction of throngs of visitors.

11. Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Cagliari - capital of Sardinia. Sardegna wide angle view. Roofs and houses of biggest city in Sardinia island - Cagliari, Italy.

In Cagliari, January temperatures are comfortably mild, making this Sardinian capital an appealing European winter destination.

While there’s snow up in the mountains, Cagliari is by the coast, which makes the temperatures milder. 

There are plenty of hours of sun too! 

With lighter crowds, the historic district of Castello is a perfect setting for leisurely walks. 

You’ll find open-air markets, like the Mercato di San Benedetto, less crowded and full of winter produce—think juicy Sardinian oranges and fresh seafood!

If you’re into archaeology, Cagliari offers ample opportunities.

The prehistoric site of Su Nuraxi and the Roman Amphitheatre are awash with ancient history.

Visit these sites in January to have a more personalized, less hurried experience.

Even Poetto Beach, usually bustling in the summer months, takes on a quieter mood.

You may find it too cold for swimming, but the conditions are excellent for windsurfing if you’re up for an adventure!

12. Marbella, Spain

Marbella, Spain - December 21 2014: View of Plaza Altamirano, a pedestrian zone with bars and restaurants in the heart of the old town. The tower of the historic Greater Church of the Encarnacion is in the background.

The Spanish city of Marbella boasts an average temperature of 16°C (61°F) in January, setting it apart as a warm winter getaway.

Known for its high-end resorts and luxury shopping, the winter months are a more laid-back version of this usually buzzing town.

You can stroll through the Old Quarter with its narrow winding streets and traditional Andalusian architecture without jostling through crowds.

The Alameda Park and the Avenida del Mar are outdoor spaces you can enjoy year-round, but they are particularly pleasant during the mild winter.

These public spaces feature sculptures by Salvador Dalí and Eduardo Soriano , providing a touch of art as you wander.

January is a perfect month for golf enthusiasts. Marbella is home to some of the best golf courses in Europe, and winter provides optimal playing conditions with fewer players to contend with.

Plus, if you’re in Marbella at the start of January, enjoy Three King’s Day , which is the official end of Spanish Christmas. 

13. Fethiye, Turkey

Scenic view of ,in the centre of Fethiye, just behind the harbour, is Telmessos' 6000-seat Roman theatre dating from the 2nd century BC.

Looking for somewhere warm but affordable to enjoy a beach vacation in January? 

Look no further than Fethiye in Turkey ! 

In January, Fethiye boasts milder temperatures compared to much of Europe. 

The mild conditions are perfect for outdoor adventures without the oppressive heat of the summer months.

The Lycian Way , one of Turkey’s most famous hiking trails runs through Fethiye. While January’s a little rainy, it’s much quieter out of season. 

Local markets, such as the Tuesday Market, continue to operate in winter, albeit at a smaller scale.

You’ll encounter seasonal produce and traditional Turkish textiles – it feels a lot more authentic than the hectic summer months. 

The city’s ancient ruins, including the Tomb of Amyntas carved into the cliffs, are another opportunity to explore without throngs of tourists.

Although the boat tours to the nearby islands cease in winter, the quiet harborside takes on a charm of its own!

14. Mykonos, Greece

Traditional windmills on the beach in night illumination. Greece. Mykonos. Chora.

In January, the Greek Island of Mykonos completely transforms. 

Gone are the packed-out beach resorts and buzzing beach clubs, and in its place are mild temperatures and a relaxed pace of life. 

The average temperature hovers around 15°C (59°F), not quite warm enough for lazing on the beach but certainly mild enough for seeing the island’s highlights! 

The renowned windmills , which are usually surrounded by tourists during the summer, stand solitary against the winter sky.

You have the unique opportunity to capture these iconic structures in your photos without having to navigate through crowds.

Delve into local history by visiting the Folklore Museum or the Archaeological Museum , which remain open during the winter.

Are you a foodie? Mykonos offers a selection of local restaurants that stay open year-round; you’ll typically find that the local joints are the ones that stay open. 

15. Faro, Algarve

view of Faro is Faro Cathedral

Faro, the capital of Portugal’s Algarve region , is one of the warmest winter destinations on the continent, with temperatures around 17°C (62°F).

While it’s the gateway to the Algarve’s famed beaches, Faro itself has plenty to offer. 

The Old Town, with its cobblestone streets flanked by medieval architecture offers a subdued charm in January. 

If you venture into Arco da Vila , one of the city gates, you’ll find views that are unobstructed by the crowds common in warmer seasons.

The Ria Formosa Natural Park , a sprawling sanctuary of lagoons and islands, is ideal for a slie of nature. 

While swimming may not be on the agenda, the area becomes a haven for birdwatchers, as migratory species use the park as a resting stop.

Faro’s eateries also continue to operate.

Dishes like cataplana , a sumptuous seafood stew, or pastéis de nata , the famous custard tarts, are available without the long summer queues.

In fact, it’s often possible to walk into a restaurant and choose from the best tables, no reservation needed!

During the winter, several cultural venues, such as the Faro Jewish Heritage Centre and the Municipal Museum , become quiet spaces for absorbing local history and culture.

January’s cooler temperatures also make it an ideal time for hiking and biking around Faro, with several trails easily accessible. There’s no way you’d want to attempt these in the summer, but they’re perfect in January!

How to book your Europe January holiday

If you want to book a package holiday (flights and hotels on the same booking) from the UK I recommend Jet2 .

They offer winter sun beach holidays and city breaks.

All bookings include flights with hold luggage and the hotel and are fully ATOL protected.

They’re currently offering £50 off winter holidays, too!

Take a look at Jet2’s website here or click on the banner below.

travel europe in january

Tips for visiting Europe in January

Amalfi Coast in Italy

Here are some top tips for visiting these warm winter destinations in Europe in January! 

Take advantage of cheap flights

Flights to winter sun destinations can be extremely cheap in January. 

I holidayed in Lisbon a few years ago, but I remember my flight costing me £8 ($10)! 

You could factor in where you go on the cost of the flight. But do also consider the costs when you arrive, too. 

Don’t just pack shorts and flip-flops! 

Even if you’re off the the canaries, you’ll need a light jacket for the evenings and a rain mac for possible downpours. 

Remember that while winter temperatures can be mild in the daytime, they often drop at night. 

Pre-book excursions and attraction tickets

While it’s off-peak season in most of Europe, it’s actually the Canary Islands and Madeira’s peak seasons – they’re popular with people escaping chilly winter weather in Northern Europe. 

Plus, even places like Andalucia in Southern Spain can be busy. On our January trip to Malaga, we went on a sold-out tour of the Alcazar. 

I’d recommend using Get Your Guide to pre-book your tours and tickets. 

FAQs about Europe’s warmest destinations in January

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about warm winter destinations in Europe in January!

Lisbon sunset

Where in Europe is warmest in January?

The warmest places in Europe during January are usually in southern regions.

You’ll experience the most warmth in the Canary Islands, particularly in Tenerife and Las Palmas, where temperatures average around 17-18°C (63-64°F).

What European cities are hot in January?

While “hot” might be a stretch, certain cities are milder than others.

These include Malaga in Spain, Funchal in Madeira, Portugal, and Limassol in Cyprus, all boasting temperatures above 15°C (59°F).

Which places in Europe are warm in winter?

Southern European destinations are generally warmer in winter.

Consider the Canary Islands, the Madeira archipelago, or southern coastal cities like Malaga, Spain, and Limassol, Cyprus.

These locations maintain mild temperatures often above 15°C (59°F).

Where is hot and cheap in January?

Almeria in Spain or Alicante offer more budget-friendly options compared to other warm destinations.

Both cities have January temperatures averaging around 16°C (61°F), and accommodation and dining tend to be less expensive than in more tourist-heavy spots.

Which Canary Island is hottest in January?

Tenerife usually holds the title for the warmest Canary Island in January, with average temperatures around 18°C (64°F).

It’s followed closely by Las Palmas in Gran Canaria, also averaging around 17°C (63°F).

How warm are the Canary Islands in January?

The Canary Islands maintain a mild climate in January, with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 18°C (59°F to 64°F). Tenerife and Las Palmas in Gran Canaria are among the warmest, both averaging around 17-18°C (63-64°F).

Are you ready for a warm January getaway?

These winter sun destinations are the ideal spots to kick off your new year! 

While the weather might not scream “beach holidays” with sunbathing every day, it’s the perfect time to walk around and see archaeological sites and historic towns. 

Whether you choose Tenerife or Sorrento, you’ll have a relaxing winter sun vacation in these Southern European destinations . 

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Claire Martin

Claire is an expert in exploring Europe in the winter! She's from the UK and has been to over 20 countries on the continent in the winter season. She loves every bit of Europe in the cooler months, including finding winter sunshine in Spain, skiing in the Alps and the charm of the Nordic countries in the festive season.

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She Saves She Travels

34 Best Countries to Visit in January (Perfect for Relaxation & Adventure)

Posted on Published: September 3, 2022  - Last updated: January 5, 2024

Dreaming of a January getaway? From amazing beach vacations to exploring winter wonderlands, the winter is a fantastic time to travel! So if you’ve ever wondered what are the best countries to visit in January – here’s your list.

best countries to visit in January view of longboats in Thailand on beach

This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, see my  disclosures .

Whether your idea of the best place to visit in January is to escape the cold and look for sun or the beach, or you’re wishing for snowy adventures like skiing and ice castles, this list has a little bit of everything.

Some of these destinations are in the shoulder season, so you’ll find affordable pricing, which is always a bonus, too! From experiencing destinations with tons of culture to cities with amazing food scenes, you’ll find the perfect spot for your vacation in January.

Covering countries from all over the world, this list is going to inspire you to start searching for flights! Let’s dive in!

Save money on travel with points: Check out the best credit card offers to save big money by using rewards points for flights and hotels. They’re so good; I regularly have 2-3 in my wallet and book most of my travel with points!

Map of the best countries to visit in January

From the Alps to the Caribbean and some underrated spots you haven’t thought of, this list covers a lot! Use this map as a visual to help you plan your vacation in January.

Pinch and zoom in to narrow down on a region that you’re considering, then check out the descriptions below.

Oh, and by the way, since I’m continually checking places off my travel bucket list but haven’t been everywhere yet, I’ve asked some of my fellow travel writers to help with this list. I think you’re gonna love it.😉

Best countries to visit in January

January is a fabulous time to travel! Whether you’re looking to escape the winter cold and hit the beach, you’re up for adventure in a new city, or you’re wishing for a winter wonderland to enjoy, here’s some amazing destinations.

1. Costa Rica (one of the best places to visit in January for sun)

view from above beach in Costa Rica teal water white beaches trees

Average temp:  high 78, low 64 (varied by region) Fly into:  Juan Santamaria International Airport, San Jose

If you’re looking for the best countries to visit in January, then Costa Rica absolutely needs to be on your radar! Zipline through cloud forests, watch monkeys and toucans dance around in the trees, dip your toes into luxurious sandy beaches and enjoy great food, Costa Rica has so much to offer visitors.

December through April is dry season, as it’s when you’ll see the best weather in Costa Rica. Although the temperatures vary based on which region you travel to, it’s still a great getaway than being stuck in the cold back home.

Visit the famous Arenal Volcano and enjoy the hot springs in La Fortuna. Still in the mountainous region, there are plenty of things to do in Monteverde , including ziplining and walking the suspension bridges through the cloud forests.

For a perfect beach getaway, head west to Tamarindo, where you can hit the water surfing, kayaking or stand up paddle boarding. With hotels and restaurants sprinkled throughout the beach, it’s a great spot to spend a few days.

If you’re looking for more adventure, head to Manuel Antonio National Park, where you can witness monkeys and sloths hanging about!

Be sure to spend some time at the best beaches in Manuel Antonio , including my favorite, Playa Espadilla Sur. There’s so many things to do in Manuel Antonio , you could spend an entire vacation just in this area.

Costa Rica is definitely one of the best places to visit in January for sun, and a destination you’ll love!

Recommended by me – Nikki of She Saves She Travels

Best countries to visit in January view of ski slopes and snowy mountains

Average temp:  high 37, low 27 (varies by region) Fly into:  Vienna International Airport, Schwechat

Austria is a landlocked country between Germany and Italy, located in Central Europe. The alps extend from the west to the east and create a perfect winter wonderland every year.

People come from all over the world to enjoy the warm and fun ski resort experience in the Austrian mountains. There is something for everyone, from skiing, ski touring, snowboarding, ice skating, snow walking, sledging to country cross skiing.

A mulled wine or a Jagertee warm up every cold heart! Villages and cities are decorated with wonderful lights, creating a magical dreamy environment, the perfect place for a vacation in January. This is the best time to relax body and soul in some of the most remarkable thermal baths and sauna villages in Central Europe.

Old traditions make Austria a unique place to be in January. They can still be experienced at the beginning of January, the Perchten run in the Tyrol region and the Glöckler run in Styria. The capital city Vienna, as well as other well-known cities such as Salzburg and Innsbruck, are for all those looking for classic inspiration and the vibes of a long gone empire.

Curious travelers can discover more  top places in Austria . Definitely check out Vorarlberg, a mountainous state in the west, including the charming Bregenzerwald, Austria .

The weather in Austria in January is usually between 0 and 50 Fahrenheit. The higher one travels, the colder it gets.

The best way to get to Austria is via the Vienna airport, located in the east. Other options include the Salzburg airport, Innsbruck airport or even the much larger Munich airport in Germany.

The Austria Trend Hotels provide the most comfortable and memorable stays in Austria. Budget-travelers will want to look out for homely vacation rental properties. Things can be a bit expensive in Austria in January, but your journey will be less costly than a stay in neighboring Switzerland.

Recommended by Paul of Paulmarina

3. Colombia

view of multicolored Colombia street buildings best places to visit in January

Average temp:  high 66, low 45 Fly into:  El Dorado International Airport, Bogota

The South American country of Colombia is a great destination in January – in fact, it’s one of the best weather times to visit of the entire year! In January, the sun is shining, the weather is warm (though there is a huge variety of average temperatures throughout the country), and the rain is low. 

In general, Colombia is a great place to visit, no matter the time of year. It’s a very inexpensive country to travel to, and there’s a wide variety of things to see and do. The capital city of Bogota has an old town filled with colonial architecture, cobblestoned streets, and a wide variety of historical buildings and world class museums. 

Or, you can visit the Coffee Region of Colombia, such as the little, colorful town of Salento. Here, you can visit the coffee farms of Colombia or go hiking in the Cocora Valley, a magical hike into the mountains, where you can see the famous wax palms of Colombia – the tallest palms in the world that grow up to 200 feet high!

Finally, a must visit spot in Colombia is the coastal city of Cartagena, a photogenic, absolutely gorgeous colonial walled city with colorful buildings covered in plants and flowers. 

As you travel throughout Colombia, you’ll likely take a quick plane ride between the different cities. Many people choose to start their Colombia adventure by flying into the El Dorado International Airport in Bogota, and staying in Bogota at the Magdalena Guest House is a perfectly located spot to start your exploration of this gorgeous and varied country in South America. 

Colombia is one of the best places to visit in January for sun, culture and history!

Recommended by Stephanie of The Unknown Enthusiast

4. Aruba (a favorite on this list of best countries to visit in January)

best place to vacation in January pic of white beach, rocky shore and catamaran in distance

Average temp:  high 86, low 76 Fly into:  Queen Beatrix International Airport, Oranjestad

If you’re looking for a beachy escape from the clutches of old man winter, look no further than gorgeous Aruba! January is a fantastic time to visit not only to enjoy sunny skies and 80-degree weather, but it’s also a unique place to ring in the New Year .

Typically, New Year’s Eve is kicked off with loads of fireworks throughout the city (if you were planning to sleep – good luck 😉), from large displays over the water to traditional Pagara (long strings of Chinese firecrackers) throughout the streets; there’s no end to colorful and fiery displays.

After that, the party doesn’t stop! Throughout January and into February, there are countless parades like the nighttime Torch Light Parade and other festivities in honor of Carnival . The official start of Carnival is in November, but most of the festivities happen in January and February.

Because of these fun festivities, you should expect to pay a little more for accommodations. To get the best deal, book early!

Aside from a colorful party scene, Aruba is also known for mesmerizing white sand beaches like Palm and Eagle Beach. These are 2 great spots to kick back and relax with a fruity cocktail. They’re some of the best beaches in Aruba !

After relaxing, you’ll have an endless selection of dining options, including Dutch, Asian, African and it’s even one of the most  vegan-friendly Caribbean Islands!

Aruba is one of the best beach vacations in January, and a destination you’ll love.

Recommended by Rebecca of Veggies Abroad

rocky shore of Iceland ocean on sunny day best countries to visit in January

Average temp:  high 37, low 26 (varies by region) Fly into:  Keflavík International Airport, Keflavik

If you’re looking for an epic winter adventure, consider visiting Iceland in January. 

While the days may be short here, you’ll get to enjoy Iceland’s spectacular scenery to yourself, given that the summer crowds have long departed. Better yet, you’ll likely get to see Iceland covered with glistening snow. This is a fantastic time to explore the country’s ice caves or go on a glacier hike!

People travel from all over the world to Iceland in January, given that it’s one of the absolute best months to see the spectacular Northern Lights, thanks to the long, dark nights.

You can either book a guided tour to try to find the lights or drive outside of major cities, away from light pollution, to spot them yourself. Patience is key- seeing the lights depends on whether there’s solar activity, as well as whether there’s clouds obscuring the night sky. 

Another excellent winter activity here is taking advantage of any of the geothermal hot springs you’ll find scattered throughout the country. The springs may be more natural, like the Hellulaug Hot Pool, which is just an organically-formed pool overlooking the ocean, or can be straight up swanky, like the recently opened Sky Lagoon, with an infinity pool and sauna with stunning views of Kársnes Harbour.

The easiest way to reach this tiny island country is to fly into Reykjavik’s Keflavik International Airport.  Iceland’s weather in January is cold, but not as chilly as its Northern location might suggest, thanks to the relatively warm water from the gulf stream- you can expect temperatures to generally range from 26 to 37 degrees Fahrenheit. 

So be sure to include lots of warm layers on your Iceland packing list , like a base layer, parka, and gloves so you can actually enjoy exploring Iceland’s incredible landscape.

You’ll love visiting Iceland – perhaps absolute best place to vacation in January for adventure!

Recommended by Jessica of Uprooted Traveler

6. Thailand

Average temp:  high 89, low 73 Fly into:  Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok / Phuket International Airport, Phuket

Thailand is an incredible place, and one of the best countries to visit in January. With a large variety of destinations to see within Thailand, you’ll need to decide what kind of experience you want to have, and plan your vacation accordingly.

If you’re looking for beautiful temples, rich in historic architecture loaded with history, then Bangkok or Chiang Mai might be the right spot for you. Stay in the city a few days to soak in the sights. Be sure to take a food tour, and if your’e in Bangkok, visit the floating markets.

If a beach getaway is what you’re after, you have a variety of choices as well. The Phi Phi Islands offer some of the most pristine beaches in all of Thailand. Or, you can opt for Krabi, where there’s a mix of beaches and historical sights to explore.

Phuket is one of the most popular destinations in Thailand, and for good reason. With beautiful white sand beaches and plenty of amenities and accommodations, there’s something for everyone.

Take a snorkeling tour or day trip to Coral Island Phuket to see the area. And with an international airport, it’s easier to get to Phuket than some of the other islands in Thailand.

January is a fabulous time to visit Thailand because it’s the dry season. With plenty of sunshine, culture, food and activities, you’re sure to have a great time in Thailand!

7. France (one of the best places to visit in January Europe)

French Riviera in January view of flowers overlooking bay with buildings in distance

Average temp:  high 56, low 37 (varies by region) Fly into:  Aéroport Nice Côte d’Azur, Nice

The month of January is a  great time to visit France because it is less crowded. Since it’s part of the low season, hotel and flight prices are more affordable.

Outside of the capital, Strasbourg in the north is a fantastic alternative. The Cathedral, art galleries, and taverns serving hearty plates of sauerkraut and local wines await visitors to this peaceful and unhurried city.

However, the French Riviera may be the best choice for people who prefer a warmer vacation in January. Also known as La Côte d’Azur (Azure Coast), it is accessible via the Aéroport Nice Côte d’Azur which is the second busiest international airport in France next to Paris. The French Riviera is a good option for those who prefer milder temperatures. 

Visiting the French Riviera in January will show you a more laid-back side of France, free of curious tourists and offering more affordable rates. Fewer visitors mean you get a good deal in even the more expensive hotel rooms, as well as cheaper meals in the area’s top restaurants.

A highly recommended place to stay in the  Royal Antibes , a stylish modern hotel with a prime location on the beach. The price of a room with huge glass windows and great views starts at slightly over €100.

You can spend your days touring the Côte d’Azur in between taking in the breathtaking vistas of the sea and basking in the mild Mediterranean weather . Enjoy the crisp winter days hiking the French Riviera’s beautiful trails, including the spectacular route over Èze-village or the Baou above St. Jeannet, with superb views over the Var Valley.

You might also find mimosas in the village of Tanneron, which is also home to Europe’s largest mimosa forest, the Massif de Tanneron.

The town of Menton, meanwhile, is known for its beautiful gardens and well-preserved old town center. The ancient walled city of Antibes is also well worth exploring. And if you want to experience a winter vacation like celebrities, you can also explore Cannes. 

Recommended by Christine of Journey To France

Book a photo shoot: The best souvenir, booking a photo shoot while traveling preserves memories of your vacation! I love Flytographer because the photo sessions are fun, easy and affordable. you can get $25 off if you book through this link or use the code SSST.

antigua warm vacation in January white sand beach teal water blue sky

Average temp:  high 82, low 71 Fly into:  

Situated in the middle of the Leeward Islands, part of the Lesser Antilles, in the American West Indies,  Antigua is arguably one of the prettiest Caribbean islands.  

Although it is a favorite destination for honeymoons and romantic escapes, it makes a perfect vacation for any kind of traveler that is not on a budget. 

It is in fact quite an expensive destination, especially if you choose to stay at one of the beautiful Antigua all inclusive resorts on the pristine Caribbean coast, which is very much recommended if you want to enjoy the island at its best. 

Antigua and Barbuda is actually made of the 2 namesake islands and many small islets, some of which are great snorkeling spots that you can visit by joining one of the boat tours available. 

Antigua is one of the best countries to visit in January because it’s dry season with less risk of rain. So expect a lot of sunshine and blue sky. But also it’s the most expensive time of the year to travel to Antigua, for the same reason, which is something to keep in mind as well.

Antigua is renowned for its incredible beaches (they say there are 365, one for each day of the year) and spectacular landscapes. Its home to gorgeous scenery with lush hills tumbling over the white sand beaches and the turquoise Caribbean sea.

Among the things you shouldn’t miss in Antigua, besides getting pampered in your gorgeous luxury hotel, are:

  • Rent a car to explore all the spectacular beaches, including Darkwood beach, Dickenson bay and Half Moon Bay
  • Dance at the sound of calypso music at Shirley Heights on a Sunday while watching the sun going down
  • Try the local cuisine in one of the delicious restaurants on the beach
  • Take a walk around the historical site of Nelson Dockyard at English Harbour and join one of the boat tours around the island. 

If you’re traveling on a budget you can also find more modest accommodations but keep in mind that the overall cost of living in the island is high. 

Recommended by Isabella of Boundless Roads

Best place to vacation in January

Can you believe this list? And we’re just getting started! Let’s keep exploring all the amazing winter getaways!

Mexico beach with boats and palm trees

Average temp:  high 72, low 41 (varies by region) Fly into:  Benito Juárez International Airport, Mexico City

If you’re looking for a sunny getaway this January, take a trip adventuring around Mexico. As a massive country, enjoy everything from the vibrant Mexico City to the stunning cenotes of the Riviera Maya to colonial cultural towns and ancient ruins.

With its close proximity to the equator, Mexico enjoys year-round warm weather, making it the perfect place to escape the cold. One of the best months to visit the country, January is in the midst of Mexico’s dry season when temperatures are excellent and rain levels are low.

Average daytime temperature hovers between 75°F-85°F, but differs from region to region. At this time, colder winds and temperatures hit northern Mexico compared to the higher humidity in the south.

Everyone celebrates Christmas in Mexico, and even though January is a bit late for the festivities, enjoy strolling around every town decorated to the brim with holiday decor. January also signals the start of amazing festivals like Merida Fest, Fiesta Grande de Chiapa de Corzo, and Carnaval Jiutepec in Cuernavaca.

Most international flights will land you in the capital Mexico City or other popular tourist hotspots like Cancun or Cabo San Lucas. From there, a  fantastic public transportation system  can bring you to any neighboring cities and tourist attractions.

For those landing in Mexico City, book a stay in Hotel MX Centro as a starting point for your Mexico adventure!

Recommended by Catherine of Nomadicated

view of malaga Spain from above city buildings with blue sky best countries to visit in January

Average temp:  high 62, low 46 (varies by region) Fly into:  Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport, Malaga

If you are looking for a warm winter destination, the south of Spain and the Spanish islands are excellent options. Enjoy the mild temperatures and sunny days, discover beautiful landmarks and landscapes and immerse yourself in the food culture.

Travelling to the south of Spain or the Spanish islands in January is a smart choice to avoid crowds, extreme heat and high prices on flights and accommodation.

There are many incredible destinations in these parts of Spain, but a popular choice in the south of Spain is Malaga, the best destination for anyone that wants to escape the cold and rainy winter.

Many people believe that Malaga is a summer getaway, however, there are many reasons to visit Malaga in winter .

One of the reasons is the weather. Temperatures are mild and most days are sunny. The average maximum temperature in January is 16.8°C (62.24°F) which is ideal to do outdoor activities.

This time of the year is fantastic for sightseeing and exploring as the heat and humidity in the summer months don’t allow you to do so.  When visiting Malaga, you can’t miss attractions like the Alcazaba, a Moorish fortress palace, the cathedral and Picasso Museum.  

However, if you love nature, you can also enjoy going on beautiful hiking trails. One of the best places to go hiking is Montes de Malaga Nature Park. 

Another good reason to visit Malaga in January is to experience the festive period as Christmas ends on the 6th of January. If you are in the city on the 5th, don’t miss the Three Kings Parade. 

Last but not least, January is the cheapest month to visit Malaga. If you travel from a European country, you will find amazing and budget-friendly flight fares and good accommodation rates too.

The nearest airport to travel to Malaga is Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport (AGP) which is 15 minutes from the city centre, and if you are looking for a hotel, Room Mate Valeria offers beautiful and comfortable rooms at reasonable prices.

Southern Spain is a lovely winter getaway, and Spain is one of the best countries to visit in Europe in January.

Recommended by Cristina of The Little World of Travelling

Want more Spain travel inspiration? Check out a week in Mallorca – stunning!

11. Belize (another favorite for best beach vacations in January)

belize in January view of boat on the beach with colorful buildings

Average temp:  high 83, low 68 Fly into:  Goldson International Airport, Belize City

The small Central American country of Belize is a dream to visit if you’re looking for a sunny vacation in January. Offering a variety of things to do in Belize from picturesque islands to fun beach towns and ancient ruins to explore, there’s so much to experience!

January is a great time to travel to Belize because many of the holiday tourists are gone and it’s the dry season, so you’ll have gorgeous weather for exploring.

For a beach vacation, head to Ambergris Caye or Placencia. You’ll find beautiful beaches that aren’t overcrowded like they can be in Florida or other spots in the Caribbean.

If you’re looking for history and culture, head inland to San Ignacio and visit the Xunantunich Mayan Ruins . Learn the fascinating history of how the Mayans lived and operated their stone structures while climbing atop the largest in the complex, El Castillo.

Whether you’re looking for a vacation where golf cart is the preferred method to get around or you’re up for chasing waterfalls and seeing monkeys roam through the jungles, Belize has a destination perfect for you!

12. Maldives

Maldives in January beautiful beach palm tree and pier in distance over ocean

Average temp:  high 80, low 77 Fly into:  Velana International Airport, Male

If you’re thinking of starting the New Year with a bang, what better way to do this than laying on a dreamy beach, with white powdered sand and sone of the clearest water in the world? A trip to the Maldives should be on everyone’s bucket list , and January is the perfect time to do it. 

Although it’s right in the middle of the season, January is perfect for a trip to the Maldives as it’s right after the holidays and just before Valentine’s Day, so the prices are really great during these times. You can even find some  affordable water villas  if you dig enough, and you can maybe score a nice room at  this resort that I’m sure you’ve seen on Instagram already.

Getting there is easy, as there’s one main airport used as a hub, located next to the Capital city of Male. From here, you reach your resort island by either speed boat, seaplane, or a combination of the two, but this is handled by the accommodation itself so you really don’t have to worry about anything while on your trip.

And if you usually have a long list of activities to do while on vacation, you’ll have to adjust when in the Maldives: here, you can only lay on a beach or float in the water.

Of course, you can do various water activities like snorkeling, diving, or going on sunset cruises, or you can lay on a sunbed, hammock, or on a massage table, but you get the point. There’s really no better place in the world to relax than this tropical paradise!

Maldives easily earns a spot on this list of the best countries to visit in January!

Recommended by Cristina of Honest Travel Stories

13. Singapore

view of two towers lush foliage with buildings in distance best countries to visit in January Singapore

Average temp:  high 87, low 75 Fly into:  Singapore Changi Airport, Singapore

Singapore is one of the best countries to visit in January for those looking for a warm and sunny getaway. The weather is hot and humid year round but January is one of the cooler months making it a great time to visit.

The temperature will still be hot so it is best to see indoor attractions during midday and early afternoon. The evening is a great time to walk around and explore as Singapore is considered one of the safest countries in the world.

One of the top and most unique  Singapore attractions  is Gardens by the Bay, a large nature park with both outdoor and indoor gardens and conservatories. Don’t miss Supertree Grove, made up of huge tree-shaped vertical gardens, that puts on free light and music shows every night.

Another must do is to walk along the waterfront promenade while enjoying skyline views and passing by landmarks including the ArtScience Museum, Helix Bridge and the Merlion statue . Explore and dine at one of the many interesting city neighborhoods such as Kampong Glam, Little India, and Chinatown.

The beautiful Singapore Botanic Gardens is also worth visiting. R ide the cable car to Sentosa Island for family friendly attractions and beaches.

Singapore is very easy to reach by air as it is home to Changi Airport, which is considered an attraction itself. Consider staying at a hotel with a rooftop pool such as the Marina Bay Sands , the iconic hotel known for its long rooftop infinity pool.

Recommended by Matilda of The Travel Sisters

14. Switzerland

best places to visit in January Europe view of Switzerland snow with mountains in distance

Average temp:  high 38, low 28 Fly into:  Zurich International Airport, Zurich

Switzerland is definitely one of the best places to visit in Europe in January if you like snow! 

Since 60% of the country consists of the Alps, it’s designed for winter sport activities. Switzerland has an incredible number of famous ski resorts with a high amount of lifts and gondolas to take you into the beautiful winter wonderland. 

Impressive landscapes, exemplary service and snow reliability, you can expect great skiing and snowboarding in Switzerland. The Alpine country has a lot to offer when it comes to winter sports.

The mountain village of Zermatt, for example, impresses with a total of 360 kilometers (223+ miles) of slopes and over 60 lifts. It’s the largest ski area in Switzerland and one of the best ski resorts in the world.

Enjoy a little less hustle and bustle, a smaller but just as beautiful is Flumserberg  in central Switzerland or Samnaun in the east. No matter which of Switzerland’s many standout spots you choose, t raditional cheese fondue is available almost everywhere , often served in small, beautiful chalets or under open starry skies. 

South of the Alps, in Ticino, snow may not be guaranteed in January, but this region scores with the sunniest days in the country. So, if it’s raining or snowing elsewhere in the country in January, you can take a beautiful walk along Lake Lugano and enjoy the snow-covered Alpine peaks through your sunglasses in the bright and warm sun. 

Pro tip: come to Switzerland in January and bypass the school winter vacations, the country’s slopes are a little less busy. 

The biggest airport in Switzerland is Zurich and thanks to a great developed railroad network, you can reach almost any place in the country from Zurich in 3 hours. 

Recommended by Linda of Hiking the Alps

15. Guatemala (perfect for a low-key January getaway)

Best countries to visit in January- Guatemala street art murals colorful buildings with mountain in background

Average temp:  high 75, low 54 Fly into:  La Aurora International Airport, Guatemala City

Guatemala is a great vacation in January as it’s the peak dry season. Enjoy warm weather, great culture and amazing adventures.

It’s a budget destination, so your money will stretch further here than in nearby countries such as Costa Rica and Panama.

Top travel destinations in Guatemala include Antigua and Lake Atitlan. Antigua is a beautiful Spanish colonial city with many things to do. In fact, it’s one of the best tropical Christmas destinations in the Americas.

The #1 attraction near Antigua is climbing Acatenango Volcano and witnessing its’ neighbour, Fuego (Fire) Volcano, erupting every 30-40 minutes. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience not to be missed!

A 3 hour drive from Antigua will take you to the central highlands and  Lake Atitlan . The lake is a magical place with a near-perfect mid-20s temperature (mid-70’s in Fahrenheit) all year round. Surrounded by 3 volcanoes, the views from Lake Atitlan are something special!

There are 12 towns surrounding Lake Atitlan, each offering something a little different and unique. San Pedro is a favorite for backpackers and San Marcos is a favorite for the hippy crowd. Wherever you end up visiting, travel between towns is quick and easy.

Travel between towns across the lake on little boats , known locally as Lanchas. The longest journey will be about 30 minutes and the cost less than $2.  

Free Cerveza in Santa Cruz La Laguna is an interesting place to stay. A glamping site with private eco-lodges and tee-pee style tents, there is always something going on.

Enjoy complimentary use of the facilities, such as kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding. Santa Cruz is one of the best places on the lake to swim and offers fantastic views of the volcanoes in the distance.    

Go for something a little different on your next holiday, go to Guatemala!

Recommended by Wes of Walk About Wes

ice castle sitting on snow in front of snowy trees in Canada

Average temp:  high 30, low 13 (varies by region) Fly into:  Calgary International Airport, Alberta

So many destinations in Canada turn into the most magical winter wonderland during the month of January, and are sure to cure anyone’s post-holiday blues.

One of the most exciting places to visit is the Canadian Rockies region and Banff National Park. At Lake Louise, you’ll have the chance to skate across the frozen lake with a backdrop of the snow-capped mountains.

This outdoor ice rink has even been named the world’s best by CNN ! During the month of January, the entrance to the lake is surrounded by a beautiful ice castle , which will have you feeling like you’re in a snow globe in no time.

Through most of January, Canyon Lights puts on an amazing display at the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver. This bridge is one of the most scenic places to visit in Canada year-round, but when the bridge and surrounding park are aglow with thousands of twinkling lights, it’s even more amazing to experience. 

Heading over to the East Coast side of Canada, the best place to vacation in January is Old Quebec, a historic section of Quebec city. This area has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site , and will have you feeling you’ve been transported to Europe.

Many of the picturesque streets will still have their holiday decor and lights up through most of January, and are especially magical after a snowfall. Visitors can enjoy rides down a toboggan chute, which has been operating for the last 135 years. 

To visit Banff National Park and Lake Louise, you’ll want to fly into Calgary, and from there, you’ll need to rent a car to get around. If you want to visit Capilano Suspension Bridge’s Canyon Lights display, you can fly right into Vancouver, and rely on public transportation and ride share services to get around. Then to visit Old Quebec, the best airport to fly into is Quebec City Airport.

Canada offers a variety of experiences, and it’s definitely one of the best countries to visit in January.

Recommended by Sam of New England Wanderlust

More of the best countries to visit in January

Not even half done with the list. Do you have your January getaway picked out yet? Here’s more fabulous ideas ahead…

17. Australia

Sydney skyline view of harbor bridge and buildings in distance with blue sky one of the best countries to visit in January

Average temp:  high 79, low 66 (varies by region) Fly into:  Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport, Sydney

One of the best countries to visit in January for sun is Australia . On the other side of the hemisphere, January is one of the warmest summer months.

Australia is an enormous country which means that temperatures can vary depending on where you go. From as warm as 89 F(32 C) degrees in Perth to as “cold” as 79 F (26 C) in Melbourne. 

Besides the sunny weather, Australia has a lot more to offer. With a 21,126 miles (34,000 KM) long coastline, you can find beautiful beaches and cliffs all around the country. This makes beach hopping and surfing 2 of the most popular things to do in the country.

Nature lovers will have no shortage of green scenery as Australia is the number one country when it comes to the most national parks worldwide (over 650). 

A good place to start your Australian vacation is Sydney. It’s home to the largest airport that has the most international flight connections. On top of that, Sydney is also just a beautiful and lively city with amazing beaches.

For outdoor lovers, its close proximity to the Blue Mountains National Park is perfect . And wine lovers will enjoy a day trip to the Hunter Valley to try some Australian wine and bring home a unique  Australian souvenir . 

For solo travelers, The Wake-Up Bondi hostel is a great place to stay. If you’re looking for a hotel, the Travelodge Hotel Sydney Martin Place is a good option too. 

Recommended by Lara of The Best Travel Gifts

best places to visit in January for sun view of the desert with pillow sand at sunset

Average temp:  high 75, low 59 Fly into:  Dubai International Airport, Dubai / Abu Dhabi International Airport, Abu Dhabi

If you’re looking to soak in the warm winter sun, then the UAE makes for an amazing destination. This Middle Eastern country is home to 7 Emirates, Dubai and Abu Dhabi being the most popular ones.

Both these glamorous Emirates have their own international airport and an array of hotels to choose from. From ultra-luxurious to boutique properties, from business hotels to glamping sites and from desert retreats to oceanfront suites, the accommodation offer is downright dazzling.

With daytime temperatures averaging 24°C or 75°F and nighttime temperatures averaging 15°C or 59°F, January is an excellent month to spend your vacation days outdoors without suffering from the scorching heat that affects the UAE most of the year .

You could choose to spend your days relaxing at a soft white sand beach, admire the view from the observation deck at the world’s tallest building, take an  adventurous desert safari from Dubai , soak up the atmosphere of the souks, visit the mesmerizing Abu Dhabi mosque , cruise the Arabian Gulf by speedboat, kayak through the mangroves or zipline between the most spectacular mountainscapes.

And fashionistas will certainly appreciate the Dubai Shopping Festival that takes place in January. So, when an action-packed winter vacation with a touch of glamour is what you’re looking for, then the UAE will not disappoint!

The UAE is one of the best places to visit in January for sun and adventure!

Recommended by Sarah of CosmopoliClan

19. Portugal

vacation in January to Portugal view of bridge pier boats street vendors

Average temp:  high 59, low 47 (varies by region) Fly into:  Francisco Sa Carneiro Airport, Porto

Portugal is a charming winter destination and is one of the top warm European places to visit in January. Portugal’s temperate climate is perfect for a wonderful vacation across the country.

Start your Portuguese adventure with the second-largest city in Portugal, Porto. It’s a city famous for its association with port wine.

From boat trips on the Douro River to discovering hidden architectural gems, there are plenty of  places to visit in Porto . The old Historic Centre of Porto, alongside the nearby Luiz I Bridge and Monastery of Serra do Pilar, are considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Rumoured to be the inspiration behind the Harry Potter books, Livraria Lello is one of the most beautiful libraries in the world and one of the must-visit attractions in Porto.

Next, climb the Clerigos Tower for a stunning view over the city skyline. No visit to Porto is complete without taking a tour of its famous port wine cellars. You’ll find many of them in Gaia, on the other side of the Douro River.

Finally, head down to Matosinhos beach and Foz do Douro promenade for a day out by the beach. The closest airport to the city is the Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport, which is well-connected to the city by public transport.

You can also add the vibrant capital city of Lisbon to your holiday itinerary. Lisbon is one of Europe’s sunniest cities, having received more days of sunshine than any other European capital.

When visiting Lisbon, be sure to check out the best things to do in Almada , too. You’ll love visiting Portugal. It’s deserving of a spot on this list of best places to visit in January (Europe).

Recommended by Moumita & Sankha of Chasing the Long Road

20. USA (so many can’t miss destinations for a vacation in January)

best place to vacation in January view of bay with pier palm trees and mountains surrounding

Average temp:  high 68, low 46 (in the southern region – varies greatly throughout) Fly into:  Denver International Airport, Denver / Kahului Airport, Maui / Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, San Juan

Similar to Canada, Mexico and Australia, the USA has a variety of climates and destinations perfect for January. And although it’s impossible to choose just one, these popular January destinations in the USA are all great for wintertime travel.

Vail or Breckenridge , Colorado offer some of the best ski resorts in the world! If you’re looking for a perfect winter getaway with fluffy white snow, consider the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

Hawaii is an obvious choice if you’re looking for warm vacations in January in the US, since it’s average high temperatures hover around 80 degrees throughout the islands.

Watch the sunset on Haleakala in Maui , take a helicopter ride over the NaPali Coast in Kauai, visit the impressive Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island, or hike to the top of Diamond Head to overlook Waikiki Beach in Oahu. Hawaii is full of adventure!

Another hot spot for a best place to vacation in January is Puerto Rico . There’s so many things to do in Old San Juan , including visiting the 500+ year old fort, El Morro. And if you’re looking for a perfect beach, head to Flamenco Beach Puerto Rico on the nearby island of Culebra.

Without a doubt, the USA offers some spectacular January getaways!

21. El Salvador

beach in El Salvador with black sand palm trees and buildings with reflection in waves

Average temp:  high 85, low 64 Fly into:  San Salvador Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport, San Luis Talpa

El Salvador is an underrated destination in Central America, and one of the best countries to visit in January. A great spot to visit in El Salvador is the town of El Tunco.

Located on the Pacific coast, El Tunco, El Salvador , is a great getaway in the middle of winter. The weather is hot and sunny, with temperatures averaging in the high 80s. January is one of the best times to visit El Tunco because it’s the middle of the dry season, so the chance of a downpour is minimal.

The best things to see and do in El Tunco involve enjoying its beautiful beaches, which are perfect for swimming and surfing. You can also sunbathe but some of the beach areas are a bit pebbly, especially right after high tide.

If you want a chill vibe, you can take some yoga classes and relax in a beach hammock. Or if you’re up for some adventure, you can explore the beach caves (low tide only) or go waterfall hiking.

There are also a number of restaurants and bars in the town. The best thing to eat in El Tunco is pupusas, the national food of El Salvador! These thick corn tortillas are filled with meat, cheese, and/or beans.

If you want to party 24/7, there are a number of party-focused hostels in town. If you want to get a good night’s sleep after going out but still be close to the action, stay at Eco del Mar Hotel .

El Tunco is easy to get to from the San Salvador airport. It’s just a short drive to the coast on well-paved highways. You can hire a driver in advance, rent a car, or just call an Uber at the airport.

If you’re looking for a fun, affordable vacation destination in January, El Tunco is definitely worth considering.

Recommended by Brodi of Our Offbeat Life

visiting belgrade serbia in the winter view of large church with snow on ground and white clouds

Average temp:  high 39, low 28 Fly into:  Nikola Tesla International Airport, Belgrade

Serbia is the best place to vacation in January if you love Christmas and lengthened holiday seasons. As a country with Christian Orthodox as its major population, Serbia celebrates Christmas on January 7th. And on top of that, in addition to the New Year on January 1st, they also celebrate Serbian New Year based on the Julian calendar on the 15th. 

The best way to visit Serbia is to fly to Nikola Tesla International Airport in Belgrade, or you can easily travel by car from  the neighboring countries in Balkan . 

Serbia is quite small, so you can easily travel from the north to the south of the country for a week or two. Depending on the location, there are many things to do in Serbia in January. From enjoying the nightlife scene in Belgrade to spending your winter wonderland in popular ski resorts like Zlatibor or Kopaonik, there is always something for everyone!

For accommodation, you can easily find budget-friendly hotels and vacation rentals in each city. If you have a little extra budget for your accommodation, take a chance to stay at the Moskva Hotel in the heart of Belgrade. One of the most important landmarks in Serbia, the hotel has become a cultural heritage in the capital city since 1968. 

Recommended by Marya of The BeauTraveler

23. Philippines

view of best places to visit in January for sun Philippines boat on blue water with rocky cliffs nearby

Average temp:   high 86, low 74 Fly into:  El Nido Lio Airport, Palawan / Puerto Princesa International Airport, Puerto Princesa

With the dry season in full swing, the Philippines is one of the best places to visit in January for sun . You can expect the weather to be hot and humid, yet there will always be a beach nearby when you feel the need to cool off.

One of the best places to visit is the island of Palawan, which has been voted to be “the most beautiful island in the world” multiple times by Travel + Leisure’s Best of Awards . 

Once you’re there, it’s easy to see why. In the northern part of the Palawan near El Nido you’ll find beautiful islands, turquoise-blue lagoons, and jagged limestone cliffs. Thus, island hopping is one of  the best things to do in Palawan !

If you don’t want to take the detour through Puerto Princesa – the capital of Palawan – you can fly to El Nido directly via Airswift from Manila. Some of the best places to stay in El Nido are Frendz Hostel and Blue Mango . 

If you’re adventurous, you can also venture out to other places on the island, like San Vicente and Port Barton. San Vicente is known for its 14-kilometer-long beach, whereas Port Barton is a small, laid-back town attracting travelers from all over the world. From here, you can hike through the jungle to get to low-key beaches and even a picturesque waterfall, kayak around the bay, or go snorkeling for sea turtles.  

As you can see, no matter where you go in Palawan, you can’t go wrong! You’ll have a wonderful vacation, perfect for a January getaway!

Recommended by Lena of Not Another Backpacker

24. Jamaica (another favorite on this list of best countries to visit in January)

jamaica shoreline view of turquoise water rocks and cliffs best countries to visit in January

Average temp:  high 83, low 74 Fly into:  Sangster International Airport, Montego Bay

One of the best beach vacations in January is Jamaica. In the middle of the Caribbean Sea, the hurricane season is over and the rush of holiday travelers is gone. However, January is one of the busiest months for visitors to the island, as many are trying to escape the winter back home.

Relax and rest in luxury at an all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay, Negril or Ocho Rios. From family friendly options to adults-only resorts, there’s something for everyone. Although, make sure to save up for it in advance, as January has some of the highest prices.

Venture off the resort on a day trip to Dunn’s River Falls, ziplining, bamboo rafting, take a sunset cruise or Blue Hole, Negril , amongst many others.

Or, rent a car and explore for yourself. Just be sure to ask your hotel which nearby areas to avoid, as there is some gang crime in Jamaica. And definitely get back before dark.

By the way, Jamaica is a great stop on some of the best young adult cruises , since it’s a destination with so much action and culture.

Whether you’re looking to sit on the beach for a week or soak in the amazing Jamaican food and culture, you’ll love a trip to this tropical paradise!

25. Morocco

Morocco best countries to visit in January view of buildings with green mossy water in foreground

Average temp:  high 66, low 45 Fly into:  Marrakesh Menara Airport, Marrakesh

January might just be the best time of year for a trip to Morocco. Avoid the hot sticky summer, avoid the busy season and make the most of the moderate temperatures in Morocco during winter. 

Marrakech, Essaouira and the Sahara Desert are just some of the destinations you’ll want to add to your Morocco itinerary.  

The beautiful chaos synonymous with Morocco is found right in the heart of the medinas of Marrakech.  And you can start your journey here with a flight into Marrakech Menara Airport.

Book the Riad Tizwa in Marrakech for a stay to remember, wander Jemaa el-Fna Square in the early evening, shop in the labyrinth of souks and stroll through the Jardin Majorelle. And be sure to dine at all the best restaurants in Marrakech while you’re in town.

But don’t forget to see what else Morocco has to offer in winter. Marrakech is the perfect base to arrange a Sahara Desert tour or a beach adventure to Essaouira. 

Book a visit to Merzouga or M’hamid, to see the rolling sand dunes of the Sahara. And on your way include a visit to Ouarzazate to admire the incredible kasbahs of this region.  The Kasbah Aït Benhaddou is possibly the most magnificent, made famous by the many movies filmed here.  

And finally, don’t miss a couple of days stay in Essaouira to finish your Moroccan adventure. This beach destination is a great little medina town that impresses all.  Book a beautiful riad  for a true Moroccan experience, ride horses on the beach, walk the ramparts and book a surf.  

Morocco vacation in January is always a good idea! 

Recommended by Sharon of My Free Range Family

Best countries to visit in January – continued

In the final stretch of this epic list! A few more fun cities and some of the best beach vacations in January yet, let’s wrap up this list with a bang!💥

reflective buildings in pond in Stockholm Sweden

Average temp:  high 33, low 26 Fly into:  Stockholm Arlanda Airport, Stockholm-Arlanda

If you’re looking for a vacation in January, then the beautiful country of Sweden is a fantastic option! With spectacular cities, unspoiled forests, and breathtaking lakes, it’s no surprise that over 7.5 million people visit every year. 

Sweden will take your breath away no matter what time of year you visit, but there’s something special about visiting in January! 

During this time of year, the ground is often covered in snow and temperatures will be well below freezing, although that’s the perfect excuse to treat yourself to a hot chocolate and a Fika!

Sweden is one of the best places to visit in January to extend that ‘festive feeling’ as many of the winter palaces might still be running, especially earlier in the month. 

Sweden’s largest airport is Stockholm Arlanda which is just 39 km (24 miles) from the capital city. This often means Stockholm is the first port of call, and you’ll find tons of fascinating things to do here – especially in January! 

First of all, you’ll have plenty of ice skating opportunities but the main spot to visit is Kungsträdgården ! Then, you can head to Hammarbybacken if you’re looking to ski or head out on a winter cruise of the archipelago! 

If you’re staying in the capital, there’s no shortage of accommodation options but one of the best hotels in the city is Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel .

Other fantastic places to visit in Sweden during January include Swedish Lapland, Abisko National Park, Gothenburg, and Salen. 

Just keep in mind that if you’re traveling through Sweden during this time of year, you’ll need plenty of layers . You’ll also want to indulge in a warm drink at every opportunity and fill your belly with delicious Swedish meatballs!

Recommended by Jack & Abbie of A Couples Calling

27. Grenada (another awesome contender for best place to vacation in January)

best countries to visit in January beach with palm trees blue ocean white sand

Average temp:  high 86, low 74 Fly into:  Maurice Bishop International Airport, Grenada

The island of Grenada in the Caribbean is one of the best islands to visit in January. Located at the southern end of the chain of Caribbean islands, Grenada is still rooted deeply in culture and nature to experience, without a whole lot of big chain influences.

January is an amazing time to visit, as the temperature is roughly 86 degrees year round during the day, and the water stays nice and warm too! It’s the perfect getaway from the winter cold to enjoy warm water, beautiful beaches, waterfalls, a tropical climate and Caribbean culture.

The easiest way to get to Grenada is by flying into Maurice Bishop International Airport. Once you arrive, you can either grab a taxi (they look like small buses) or make your way to a shuttle if your accommodation offers transportation.

There’s a huge range of accommodation options, including many homestay options, more casual resorts, all the way to luxury all inclusives. My recommendation for an eco-friendly boutique hotel is the True Blue Bay Resort , while if you’re looking for something all inclusive, Spice Island Beach Resort .

January does fall within Grenada’s high season, so be prepared for more crowds than if you went during the rainy season (summer months).

Definitely visit one of Grenada’s Best Beaches while there, and try to take an island wide guided tour to experience waterfalls, sulphur springs, cocoa farms, local distilleries or more! Plus, the world-famous underwater attraction, snorkeling the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park is a must-do while visiting the island.

You’ll want to stay in Grenada at least a week to experience all there is to see and do! Grenada is one of the best countries to visit in January. It’s an amazing destination with the welcoming and vibrant Caribbean culture that you don’t want to miss!

Recommended by Taylor of Tea N’ Sea Travel

28. South Africa

view of mountain ridge with town near coast perfect vacation in january

Average temp:  high 83, low 63 Fly into:  Cape Town International Airport, Cape Town

South Africa is one of the best countries in the world for a January vacation. It’s the ideal spot to take a breath and enjoy life.

January in South Africa sees the weather at its best, particularly in the western regions. Summer below the equator is in full swing, and the air is warm and dry.

However you dream of spending your time, this sizable country is teeming with great adventures and awe-inspiring beauty just for you!  Come to South Africa to see the iconic wildlife, enjoy the most picturesque road trips of your life, or explore its astounding urban highlights. 

Or try a shark-cage dive off the coast! Whichever activity you choose, your options are countless. 

If this abundance of activities doesn’t earn South Africa a vote for the best countries to visit in January, maybe this will: all of these remarkable activities are accessible from the spectacular city of Cape Town. It’s the ultimate base for your South African vacation.

January in Cape Town provides you with the opportunity to attend the Kaapse Klopse . This colorful January 2nd street festival will give you stories to tell! You can also visit famous local treasures such as Table Mountain, the V & A Waterfront, and the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, right in Cape Town . 

The Cape Town International Airport is just 20 km from the city centre, and services airlines that connect with all parts of the world. 

Finding the best home away from home for you is as easy as amazing vacation rental options. How does a seaview apartment or a country cottage sound? It’s all waiting for you!

Recommended by DJ of Introvert with Itchy Feet

29. England

view of England stone bridge over water fountain and building on sunny day

Average temp:  high 45, low 35 (varies by region) Fly into:  London Heathrow Airport, London

England  is an underrated country to visit in January. It’s the perfect mix of winter wonderland and mild temperatures, depending on where you visit.

For example, Oxford and Birmingham typically see dustings of snow throughout January. You may even find enough snow a few days a year to build a small snowman!

But places like Brighton Beach will remain snow-less. There are even days London will be as sunny as in summer!

The mild temperatures attract visitors who are looking to escape the freezing cold of Canada or Scandinavia, but don’t want to pay the inflated prices of a beach vacation. Temperatures average 5C (41F).

Don’t forget to pack a light coat and some waterproof boots , as it can drizzle throughout January.

Luckily, the best things to do in the UK aren’t summer-based.

Having high tea in Covent Garden, touring Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford upon Avon, listening to live music at a pub, and enjoying British stand-up at local comedy houses are all great indoor activities to take advantage of.

There are plenty of ways to save money while still enjoying everything the country has to offer. For starters, take advantage of the many free museums and galleries.

You can also find cheap eats by avoiding tourist traps and sticking to local pubs. And finally, take advantage of the many cheap or free walking tours available in most cities.

The UK is easily accessible from anywhere in the world.

Major airports include London Heathrow (LHR) and London Gatwick (LGW). Stanstead is another option, but then you’ll need to take a long train journey. 

To get around, take trains for cheap day trips from London to places like Bath and Oxford.

Recommended by Nina of Nina Out and About

30. India (an underrated one on this guide for warm vacations in January)

bangalore palace brick and green palace with formal gardens in front India best countries to visit in January

Average temp:  high 83, low 60 (varies by region) Fly into:  Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi / Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru, Bengaluru

While India may be on your travel bucket list , January is also a great time to cross it off!

January in India means it’s dry season, so you don’t need to worry about rain like you do during monsoon season. While India is a large country, narrowing down what you want to see and do will help determine what weather you’ll face and where to fly into .

The northern part of India is home to the famous Taj Mahal. Located in Agra, the Taj Mahal can be visited via day trip from Delhi. One of the new 7 wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal’s grand and impressive architecture is stunning in real life!

In southern India, the popular towns of Bengaluru (aka Bangalore) is a busy city with so many things to do. Bangalore is famous for the Lalbagh Botanical Garden, the Bengaluru Palace, Bull Temple and Cuban Park. Nearby Mysuru (aka Mysore) is a great day trip or weekend getaway from Bangalore. Be sure to watch the lighting of the Mysore Palace – stunning!

If you’re looking for a beach destination in India, Goa is the place to be. With gentle waves, swaying palm trees and beautiful, relaxing hotels, Goa is a great spot to relax and unwind in India. It’s truly a great destination, and one of the best countries to visit in January.

31. The Gambia

small boat on sandy beach in The Gambia

Average temp:  high 91, low 65 Fly into:  Banjul International Airport, Banjul

Perched on the west coast of Africa is a small but charming country known as The Gambia. The Gambia is renowned for its lengthy swathes of golden sand beaches, freshly caught fish and smiling locals.

The Gambia has 2 distinct seasons: the rainy season and the dry season. The dry season runs from November to May and is the best time to visit. The temperature at this time of year is pleasant – roughly 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) – and you can expect bright sunshine on most days.

January is also a great time of year to visit due to the country’s annual Banjul Demba Cultural Festival. Here, you’ll witness traditional music and dance performances in the country’s capital city.

The Gambia is a very small country and so only houses one international airport: Banjul International Airport.

Most visitors to The Gambia choose to base themselves in Serrekunda, a vibrant town set behind a glorious stretch of beach, fringed by lazy palm trees.

Serrekunda is a mere 30 minute drive from the airport. It’s easy to grab a taxi from the airport, or you can pre-arrange a taxi with your hotel or via a taxi company beforehand.

Alternatively, you can hire a car in The Gambia . I’d personally recommend pre-booking a taxi from a reputable company as some taxis at the airport are in questionable condition.

There are numerous hotels in Serrekunda for you to choose from but a personal favourite of mine is Luigi’s Complex. It has a very friendly and laid-back vibe and is only a short walk from the beach.

Recommended by Ella of Ella McKendrick

32. New Zealand (by far one of the best countries to visit in January)

New Zealand best countries to visit in January view of landscape with people repelling down cliff with valley in distance

Average temp:  high 77, low 53 (varies by region) Fly into:  Auckland International Airport, Auckland

A bucket-list destination for many, New Zealand is at the top of its game in January. This summer month brings some of the warmest temperatures in the country, delighting visitors that enjoy sunny days at the beach.

New Zealand is a surprisingly large country – a fact that many people underestimate when planning a vacation. The amount of time you have will affect the places you are able to visit, however, these are some amazing summer spots in Aotearoa.

If you’re able to include them in your itinerary, you’ll be sure to come away happy. After all, New Zealand is one of the best countries to visit in January!

Paihia is located in the Bay of Islands, and though it is beautiful at any time of year, it’s particularly vibrant during the summer season. Known for its stunning beaches, uninhabited islands, settled weather and marine life, this is a must-see in January. Kerikeri is the closest airport to Paihia, but many choose to fly into Auckland and drive up.

Moving down the North Island, the Coromandel Peninsula is another summer-time favourite for locals and visitors alike . Significant highlights include Hot Water Beach (where you can dig your own natural hot pool in the sand), Cathedral Cove and New Chums Beach, all of which are best enjoyed in the warmth of the summer season. Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga airports all service this region.

Finally, a summertime trip to Fiordland should be on your radar. Though this area experiences a lot of rain right throughout the year, this will be your best chance at seeing it on a nice day.

When the weather is still, the mirror reflection of  Milford Sound on the water really is incomparable. Queenstown is the closest airport to Milford Sound, though many choose to stay in Te Anau.

Haere mai and welcome to Aotearoa New Zealand.

Recommended by Sarah of New Zealand Travel Tips

Malta buildings with flags concrete plaza

Average temp:  high 60, low 49 Fly into:  Malta International Airport, Malta

One of the best places to visit in January for sun is the European island of Malta . Actually, Malta is made up of 3 islands, Malta, Gozo, and Comino.

Compared to other European countries,  Malta in winter  is usually very sunny and in January temperatures can go up to 20 degrees Celsius which on a sunny day feels very pleasant.

One of the best things about going in January is that fewer tourists venture to the island which is mainly considered a summer destination. But what most people fail to realize is that it is the best time for going hiking and exploring the ancient towns.

Malta has a long history, and if you get rainy or windy days it’s perfect to explore underground where you can walk through the World War Two Shelters or discover the old catacombs in Rabat. On the other hand, if the weather is nice, you can easily go for a quick dip in the crystal-clear water.

There are numerous flights connecting Malta with the rest of Europe. In addition, you can take the boat directly from Sicily in Italy.

Getting around Malta by bus is easy, it costs 1.50 Euros for a ticket that lasts you for 2 hours (including bus changes.) On top of that, they have tap and pay so there is no need for cash.

Recommended by Linn of Brainy Backpackers

34. Turks and Caicos (another favorite on this list for best beach vacations in January)

turks and caicos white sand beach teal water blue sky best countries to visit in January

Average temp:  high 82, low 74 Fly into:  Providenciales International Airport, Turks & Caicos Islands

Last but certainly not least is the dreamy island chain of Turks and Caicos. Definitely worthy of a spot on this list of the best countries to visit in January, Turks and Caicos has unbelievable white sand beaches with the most turquoise water you’ll ever see.

A beach destination with the right mix of good food and water activities, Turks and Caicos is a laid-back island chain where the term ‘island time’ could have been created.

The whimsical nature of the island is perfect for a January getaway when all that matters is what time you should re-apply your sunblock . (By the way, be sure to use ocean-safe sunblock at all times to protect marine life.)

Staying on the main island of Providenciales doesn’t have to break the bank, either. It’s possible to do Turks and Caicos on a budget , without sacrificing a good time on the island chain.

While there, be sure to visit the best beaches on Turks and Caicos . Grace Bay Beach is the most popular, but moving away from the busy tourist spot will provide you with amazing views where you *might* just be the only one there.

Enjoy a dreamy island vacation in Turks and Caicos!

vacation in January view of palapa with chairs and beach in distance

Whew! What a list! From the best beach vacations in January to frozen winter wonderlands, this was a fun guide to put together. So….are you ready to book your flights yet?

Let’s review that list one more time, in a more succinct fashion….

Best places to vacation in January

  • Switzerland
  • El Salvador
  • Philippines
  • South Africa
  • New Zealand
  • Turks and Caicos

Related content to read next: 30 Incredible Warm Winter Vacations USA (Say Goodbye to the Cold) 30 Best Countries to Visit in February (Fun Spots You Haven’t Thought Of) 35 Cheapest Beach Vacations: Swoon-worthy Destinations You Need to See 28 Underrated Travel Destinations in the US You Need to See 32 Awe-Inspiring Adventurous Bucket List Ideas You Gotta See to Believe

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34 incredible vacation spots in January view of boats on beach palm trees and boat near cliffs

Saturday 3rd of September 2022

Fabulous post Nikki! It just shows how many fantastic places there are for holidays in January. When I was younger I would have been tempted by the tropical islands... but now I have learned to ski, places like Austria and Switzerland for would be the best part - those snowy mountain views are beeeautiful!

Tuesday 6th of September 2022

Aw I love your comment, Josy! So glad you'd do a Switzerland or Austria getaway. Both looks so stunning in wintertime!

What a fantastic list! I’m lucky to live in one of the places but I’ll keep this lost for sure for winter holidays!

Ah yes Marga, I agree you're very fortunate! Glad you found some inspiration for new destination ideas, though!

Chelsea Messina

This is such a great list of places to visit in January! I have been dying to visit Costa Rica, but I live in Michigan. So I'll be ready for the Maldives by then!

Ha love it! Either of those places sound perfect during a winter in Michigan!

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  • The 11 Best European City...

The 11 Best European City Breaks to Take in January

travel europe in january

What better way to beat the January blues that by treating yourself to a European mini-break? Not only is January generally considered the low season across much of Europe, meaning fewer crowds and cheaper prices, but there’s usually plenty going on in terms of cultural highlights. Here are some of the best European city break destinations to consider this January.

Iconic yellow tram travelling through Lisbon, Portugal

One of Europe’s hottest new city break destinations, Lisbon has great nightlife , plenty of museums and galleries plus a mouthwatering food culture . Wrap up and explore the streets of the Alfama district before cozying up in the corner of a trendy wine bar to sample some local fare. Don’t miss the Lisboa Story Centre for a crash course in local history.

Ruins, Building

Aerial shot of Prague, featuring Charles Bridge and Prague Castle

3. Barcelona

logan-armstrong-hVhfqhDYciU-unsplash

This is possibly one of the best times of the year to visit the Catalan capital if you’re more interested in the architecture and art scene than the beach life. January is the quietest time of the year and is also generally a dry month with little to no rain, so ideal for exploring the Gothic Quarter and Barcelona’s other major landmarks .

5. Amsterdam

Architectural Landmark

gaurav-jain-2K2SR19RLg8-unsplash

Come winter, it’s time to forget the boat canal tours in Amsterdam and grab a pair of ice skates instead, as the city’s waterways often become ice rinks when the temperatures freeze. If not, there are always some world-famous museums to keep you busy, from the Anne Frank House to the Van Gogh Museum or the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art.

6. Salzburg

Natural Feature

Castle of Salzburg, Austria

The birthplace of Mozart, Salzburg is a city steeped in culture and history and surrounded by the scenic Alp mountains. The historic city centre’s impressive baroque architecture has earned it UNESCO World Heritage status and it is all the more magical in the crisp winter light. There are also some great hiking and racketing opportunities to be had nearby.

Historical Landmark

Trevi Fountain, Roma, Italy

Another city that really benefits from the low season in terms of crowds, Rome is an altogether different city in the winter. You’ll be able to enjoy the same incredible architecture , fantastic food and historic landmarks , but without feeling as if you’ve accidentally joined a package tour holiday as you wander through its main sights.

8. Budapest

House of parliament lit up and overlooking the Danube as night draws in over Budapest, Hungary

Building, Cathedral, Church, Museum

The beautiful city and the lake of Geneva with a boat, fountain, city and mountains in the distance

10. Seville

joan-oger-PWrNP4bQHB4-unsplash

If you’re hoping to forget about Christmas and are already looking forward to spring, treat yourself to a little sunshine in Seville . While the temperatures won’t really get past the 16ºC mark, it’s warm enough to feel that you can leave the gloves, scarf and woolly hat at home as you admire the architecture of this Andalusian gem with its Moorish influences and heartwarming food culture .

Stephansplatz, Vienna, Austria

One of the European capitals of culture, Vienna abounds in jaw-dropping architecture , mesmerising museums and impressive landmarks that retrace the story of this historic city. Enjoy trips to the opera to hear the works of former residents Mozart and Beethoven, or admire Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss in the Castle Belvedere . And, of course, you’ll want to warm up with a mug of Viennese hot chocolate at the end of the day.

Which are the best European cities for solo travellers?

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

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The best holiday destinations in January

By Laura Fowler and Laura Chubb

21 best holiday destinations in January 2024

Christmas is over, the New Year’s hangover is lingering and workdays and school hours are back on. From 1 January, reality kicks in, so why not book a new year getaway and escape the January blues? Post-Christmas and pre-Valentines, it's cheap – snap up an off-peak season deal across the globe, from one of the best Caribbean islands to the sunny neighbourhoods of Sydney and LA . Here, we round up the best places to go on holiday in January 2023.

Temperature in January 29°C high 23°C low Season dry Travel time from UK 8 hours 45 minutes Time difference GMT 4  Its...

Barbados, Caribbean

Temperature in January: 29°C high; 23°C low Season: dry Travel time from UK: 8 hours 45 minutes Time difference: GMT -4

It’s the Caribbean island’s good-time vibes that keep regulars coming. Well, that and the pirate’s bounty of bleached-white, powdery beaches. The glam west coast might be all five-star luxury, but travel slightly south and the scene quickly skews more local. Lively town Oistins’ Friday Night Fish Fry brings the community out for an open-air party, with fresh-caught fish on the barbecue and booming reggae. Or, closer still, hit St Lawrence Gap, a strip of rambunctious rum bars. On the quieter east coast, pounding Atlantic waves draw surfers: Bathsheba is the closest Barbados gets to boho, with pro boarders and tattooed artists. In January, the dawn of dry season, it’s all appealing – drenched only in a daily average nine hours of sunshine.

Sustainable travel tip: The best way to benefit the Barbados community is to leave your hotel. Give back to the community by spending tourist dollars at Oistins Fish Fry, which benefits local businesses.

Where to stay: Cobblers Cove prides itself on being quietly elegant – an intimate, stylish country-house hotel situated on a white sand beach, with 40 spacious rooms which all open on to the luscious gardens. For more, see our picks of the best hotels in Barbados .

Temperature in January 32°C high 22°C low Season dry Travel time from UK 12 hours Time difference GMT 7  Thailand is...

Thailand, Asia

Temperature in January: 32°C high; 22°C low Season: dry Travel time from UK: 12 hours Time difference: GMT +7

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 . Over on the east side, the islands of Koh Samui, Phangan and Tao are wetter - if you're heading here, best to wait a couple of months til March ; but still, those monsoon-like rains blow in, pour themselves out, then an hour later everyone's back on the beach.

Sustainable travel tip: Thai sleeper trains are modern and comfortable, so consider an overnight rail adventure between destinations rather than internal flights. Similarly, when visiting islands, more often than not there’s a ferry option, so don’t head for the airport as a matter of course.

Where to stay: The Standard offers a peppy, high-energy experience in Bangkok’s tallest skyscraper. Families and those seeking the more serene should book into the whimsical railway-themed InterContinental Khao Yai Resort , with its charming suites all set up in vintage railway carriages, and an old-timey ticketing booth serving as a lobby. See our guide to the best hotels in Thailand for more.

Temperature in January 1°C high 10°C low Season winter Travel time from UK 1 hour 40 minutes Time difference GMT 1  With...

Val d'Isere

Temperature in January: -1°C high; -10°C low Season: winter Travel time from UK: 1 hour 40 minutes Time difference: GMT +1

With New Year crowds gone and no school holidays on the horizon, January is a fine time to hit up the best ski resorts in Europe . And not only does French ski resort Val present the most reliable powder on the continent, but this St-Tropez-on-snow is only getting splashier. The spot is home to some of the best ski hotels and chalets in the region. And if Olympic downhills and Michelin-starred restaurants aren’t doing it, there are plenty more inventive ways to get your kicks. Who’s up for a circuit of BMW’s ice track?

Sustainable travel tip: Looking to offset all that Val d’Isère excess? Eurostar runs direct trains from London St Pancras to Bourg St Maurice during ski season; local buses then make the 45-minute trip from the station to Val.

Where to stay: Le Refuge de Solaise , once a cable-car station, is now a fun-loving ski hotel with ski-in/ski-out access, marking one of France’s highest places to bed down. We also love Le Yule , located right on the edge of the front de neige and the nursery slope. The rooms are decorated in minimalist Scandinavian style with natural colours, and have balconies overlooking the piste. For a private stay, seven-room Chalet Husky has a climbing wall, infinity waterfall and space for rifle shooting and archery – perhaps not so wise after a night at Dick’s Tea Bar.

Temperature in January 14°C high 6°C low Season winter Travel time from UK 2 hours 20 minutes Time difference GMT 0  No...

Porto, Portugal

Temperature in January: 14°C high; 6°C low Season: winter Travel time from UK: 2 hours 20 minutes Time difference: GMT +0

No doubt about it, Portugal is booming. While the country’s mild winters might not be scorching, they are quieter – and prices lower than usual, in a destination already beloved for being very affordable. Porto , Lisbon’s little sister, has undergone its own creative renewal. Once-decaying medieval streets buzz with kerbside cafés and retooled townhouses, transformed into stylish hotels by local designers. The food scene is fizzing, there’s more to Porto than sandwich shops and port wine tastings, from Michelin-starred menus to relaxed, wine-focused dining. And then there’s the terraced port vineyards of the Douro Valley, 100km inland.

Sustainable travel tip: Taking the train to Portugal is a much better idea than it might sound – and it only takes 24 hours. First, catch the Eurostar from London to Paris, then the high-speed TGV to Irun in Spain’s Basque Country, followed by the overnight Sud Express to Lisbon, which has sleeper cabins with private showers, and a cafe/bar. After a sophisticated night on the rails, there’s no shortage of direct trains to Porto. Felicidades!

Where to stay: Bijou design hotel Gran Cruz House pairs sorbet-toned rooms with a couldn’t-be-better location and a standout restaurant helmed by one of Portugal’s top chefs. On Rua das Flores, the 16th century Casa da Companhia building blends modern luxury with traditional touches, and hosts regular Port bottle ‘fire openings’ where you can learn about the city’s Port culture. See our guide to the best hotels in Porto for more.

Temperature in January 23°C high 8°C low Season dry Travel time from UK 11 hours 10 minutes Time difference GMT 6  The...

Temperature in January: 23°C high; 8°C low Season: dry Travel time from UK: 11 hours 10 minutes Time difference: GMT -6

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. For the haciendas and smart resorts on the Riviera Maya; for colonial Mérida . And over on the west coast, sunny, surfy Sayulita . The weather on both Atlantic and Pacific coasts is wonderful in January: hot but not-too-hot, with barely any rain at all. Required holiday reading: The Lacuna , by Poisonwood Bible author Barbara Kingsolver.

Sustainable travel tip: Where Tulum’s not-so-green practices have made headlines, and the Riviera Maya’s resorts are all about opulence, Isla Holbox’s modus operandi is small-scale and local. The lack of paved roads all but mandates getting around by bicycle; the most convenient way to arrive is by 30-minute ferry from the mainland; restaurants, bars and stores are owned by islanders; and single-use plastics have been banned since 2018.

Where to stay: Near the powdery white sands of Xpu-Ha, the secluded jungle hideaway of Hotel Esencia is a reprieve from bustling resorts and hedonistic eco-hotels. Five minutes from Huanacaxtle Beach, Susurros del Corazón offers an all-inclusive experience with a boutique hotel feel. The newly-revamped Rancho Pescadero is a great choice for the eco-conscious, with an on-site solar farm and a clean-air waste incinerator for both the resort and the local area. See our guide to the best hotels in Mexico for more.

Rwanda

Rwanda, Africa

Temperature in January: 24°C high; 9°C low Season: First dry period Travel time from UK: 10 hours 40 minutes (indirect with Rwandair or Egyptair) Time difference: GMT +2

There are many reasons to go to Rwanda . Its vibrant Kigali exudes an air of positivity from its extraordinarily resilient people. In Akagera National Park, still off-radar on the safari scene, lion and black rhino have been reintroduced, and you’ll spot elephants, giraffes and zebras roaming the savannah – but no other safari tourists. Trek through ancient rainforests, babble with monkeys – colobus, baboon, chimpanzee. But it’s Rwanda’s mountain gorillas that are the blockbuster draw. Not even 100 people a day are permitted to trek, accompanied by trackers, into the Virunga cloud forest of Volcanoes National Park, for a close encounter with the critically endangered creatures – a moving, once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s possible any time of year – whenever you can get a coveted permit – but as the first dry period, January is one of the best months for trekking.

Sustainable travel tip : The income from carefully monitored responsible tourism funds the conservation of Rwanda’s mountain gorillas.

Where to stay: Two of Africa’s most sensational lodges are found not far from Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and the gorillas: Bisate , Wilderness Safaris’ thatched, curvaceous and exquisitely designed eco-lodge and One&Only Gorilla’s Nest .

The Japanese Alps

The Japanese Alps

Temperature in January: 3°C high; –5°C low Season: Winter Travel time from UK: 11 hours 50 minutes Time difference: GMT +9

Most tourists miss Honshu’s mountainous Nagano Prefecture, which rewards the more intrepid traveller with unique experiences in this eternally surprising land. It is home to the drama and forested beauty of the Japanese Alps; the Nakasendo Way winding through the Kiso Valley and Kiso Mountain peaks which, in January, are white with snow. In Joshinetsu National Park, the ski resort of Shiga Kogen is massive – 51 lifts and dozens of hotels – but still little-known to overseas visitors, its slopes uncluttered. Apres-ski here is all about sushi feasts and restorative bathing in the natural onsen baths… perhaps even, in Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park, surrounded by scarlet-faced macaques who wallow in the steaming pools to keep warm.

Sustainable travel tip : Stays at Zenagi support Nagano’s rural communities and the restaurant uses ingredients grown by local suppliers.

Where to stay: In Nagano’s Kiso forest – where forest bathing is said to have originated – Zenagi is a 300-year-old Kominka house, its traditional architecture offset by the exquisite modern restoration and furniture locally made by craftsfolk.

ANDAMAN ISLANDS

Andaman Islands

Temperature in January: 29°C high; 21°C low Season: Dry and cool Travel time from UK: 9 hours 50 minutes to Chennai; 2 hours to Havelock Time difference: GMT +5.5

A castaway fantasy of white-sand cays and lagoons of tropical blue, the Andamans are the Indian Ocean archipelago on which few have set barefoot. Surfers and backpackers seeking next-level undiscovered make the 60-hour voyage by basic boat from Kolkata or Chennai, to stay in shacks along its pristine shores. In the past decade or so, more luxurious digs have been set up: primarily the Taj Exotica , in five-star splendour on Havelock island; and the more boutique Jalakara , set up by an Englishman and his wife.

Sustainable travel tip : Experiences here are all-natural: swimming, snorkelling, surfing, nature trails and bird walks.

Where to stay: As well as Taj Exotica and Jalakara, Barefoot at Havelock is a rustic delight.

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Jamaica

Temperature in January: 30°C high; 19°C low Season: Winter Travel time from UK: 9 hours 45 minutes Time difference: GMT -5

Winter in Jamaica – when temperatures dip to a cool 30ºC by day – is a bright and balmy affair. This vibrant island dances to its own rhythms throughout January with music festivals from reggae (St Ann’s Rebel Salute) to rock’n’roll (Peter’s Players Winterfest). Jamaica’s music scene has always been world-leading, and never more so than right now. January is also one of the loveliest times to go for peak beach weather, the sea deliciously warm for swimming; and also for hiking – to waterfalls along the One Love Trail, or up through coffee plantations to the peak of the Blue Mountains.

Sustainable travel tip : Eco-forward Stush in the Bush serves delicious, homegrown plant-based Rastafari-Ital dishes – as well as gathering rainwater for the local community and generating solar power.

Where to stay: Ian Fleming’s former home GoldenEye is now one of several Jamaica boltholes owned by Island Records boss Chris Blackwell – and remains a legend. Its history is richly storied; Island Records brought Bob Marley to the world, and GoldenEye, in turn, has brought a string of musicians to the island, who have written songs in its waterside huts.

Temperature in January 20°C high 13°C low Season winter Travel time from UK 4 hours 15 minutes Time difference GMT 0 ...

Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Temperature in January: 20°C high; 13°C low Season: winter Travel time from UK: 4 hours 15 minutes Time difference: GMT +0

It’s no secret the Canary Islands offer reliable winter sun – but it may surprise that there’s another side to Lanzarote. Skip the east coast’s gaudy mega-hotels and you’ll discover a very cool Canary. Much of the built landscape owes a debt to local architect César Manrique, who designed many of the islands must-see architectural feats: Jardín de Cactus, his magical cactus amphitheatre; or the home he designed for himself, where cave-like rooms are carved into lava bubbles (now home to the Fundacíon César Manrique). Speaking of which, the island’s volcanic landscape is its own art project. Timanfaya National Park presents a ravishing patchwork of rainbow-hued earth. If climbing a volcano doesn’t do it for you, get wet: dive underwater through the art park Museo Atlántico, or surf local favourite Famara beach, a dramatic stretch to the north.

Sustainable travel tip: There’s no slow boat to Lanzarote, but lots of budget airlines fly here – and a few are genuinely attempting to reduce emissions. EasyJet , in fact, is rather progressive as carbon-gushing corporations go.

Where to stay: Finca Malvasia is a four-apartment hotel in Lanzarote's central La Geria wine region that's packed with funky touches such as volcanic-stone walls and cactus gardens. for a private stay, bed down in one of our favourite villas in Lanzarote .

Temperature in January 20°C high 10°C low Season winter Travel time from UK 11 hours 15 minutes Time difference GMT 8 ...

Silver Lake, Los Angeles

Temperature in January: 20°C high; 10°C low Season: winter Travel time from UK: 11 hours 15 minutes Time difference: GMT -8

Now Venice has officially made the transition from edgy to upscale, where do you go in LA for more boho, less bling? Head east to Silver Lake. There might not be a beach, but the chilled neighbourhood vibe more than compensates. Houses spill down jungly hills to palm-lined boulevards jammed with vintage T-shirts and vinyl. Behold the surf shops and farmers' markets, street murals and food trucks, plus indie clubs that launched Foo Fighters and Foster The People. Think of it as an unending summer of hip, young cool – even in January. And, as with any self-respecting creative hub, it’s where food trends are born: see Trois Familia’s French-Mexican brunch, with beet-tartare tostada and churro French toast

Sustainable travel tip: LA traffic is notorious, and its subpar public transportation even more so, but you can do your bit by renting a hybrid car.

Where to stay: The Palihouse Santa Monica boutique beach lodge is in a Spanish Colonial Revival-style building, a range of suites with a home-from-home philosophy.

Temperature in January 24°C high 19°C low Season dry Travel time from UK 8 hours Time difference GMT 1  A smattering of...

Temperature in January: 24°C high; 19°C low Season: dry Travel time from UK: 8 hours Time difference: GMT -1

A smattering of volcanic islands 350 miles off the coast of Senegal, Cape Verde seems a lonely prospect at first look, out in the mid-Atlantic. But there’s a reason it’s fast become a fly-and-flop favourite: miles of uninterrupted ivory beaches, impossibly pure surf and an intriguing lunar landscape. Not to mention its consistently sunny disposition: January’s average temperature is 25˚C. And finally, there’s a lovely little eco lodge to rival the big hotels and budget guesthouses. Run entirely on renewable energy, Spinguera is a restored fishing village with its own private beach on the north coast of Boa Vista island (translation: good view). Think charming, stone-hewn villas with bright yellow shutters, fresh, white bedrooms and lantern-lit sunset suppers. You could while away every day right here. Or go island-hopping to explore more of Cape Verde’s craggy beauty: from Sal’s red deserts and salt pans to São Vicente, the heart of its colourful Afro-Portuguese culture.

Sustainable travel tip: Try exploring the islands by ferry. Some routes are more regular and reliable than others, such as São Vicente to lush and mountainous Santo Antão, and Santiago to rugged Fogo (where there’s a vineyard in a volcanic crater).

Where to stay: At Odjo d'Agua Hotel , a small, locally owned hotel with a garden, a pool, anachronistically decorated rooms (antiques and curios, fishing equipment and so on) and an open-air restaurant-bar jutting out into the sea, where you can dine as the Atlantic rollers crash past.

Temperature in January 4°C high 12°C low Season winter Travel time from UK 7 hours 20 minutes Time difference GMT 5  If...

Montreal, Canada

Temperature in January: -4°C high; -12°C low Season: winter Travel time from UK: 7 hours 20 minutes Time difference: GMT -5

If a rave in sub-zero temperatures sounds appealing, Montréal is for you. The city’s annual January Igloofest tempts parka-clad party people outside with a line-up of world-class EDM acts. Elsewhere, the French château architecture looks fabulous with frosting, and you can go snowshoeing up Mount Royal for excellent city views (it’s more of a hill, really, right in the middle of town). Mile End’s hipsters have been replaced by good-looking young families, but its food institutions remain: warm up with classic smoked-meat sandwiches at Schwartz’s Deli, or St-Viateur’s hot-out-the-oven, hand-rolled bagels (thinner and sweeter than New York ’s). For a comforting treat in the cold, poutine is considered a delicacy – try it at Au Pied de Cochon or Garnde Manger. If you need to come in from the cold, there’s the Underground City – a network of shops, museums and restaurants below downtown’s core.

Sustainable travel tip: In hip warehouse district Griffintown the Hôtel Alt Montréal , from Canadian-owned Groupe Germain, has been designed with sustainability in mind: think geothermal heating and energy-saving lighting.

Where to stay: Auberge du Vieux-Port , located on the riverfront in Vieux Montreal, has a restaurant and a rooftop terrace with views of the St-Lawrence River and the Old Port.

Temperature in January 32°C high 24°C low Season dry Travel time from UK from 12 hours 50 minutes Time difference GMT 5 ...

Temperature in January: 32°C high; 24°C low Season: dry Travel time from UK: from 12 hours 50 minutes Time difference: GMT -5

Finding a photograph-worthy beach in Panama – a compact country with two long coasts – is easy. Finding a suitably chic stay to match is more of a challenge. Maybe that’s why this gem gets overshadowed by its rowdy neighbours, Colombia and Costa Rica. But that’s all starting to change, now, thanks to the Islas Secas . On a remote, private archipelago of the same name, just 20 miles off Panama’s Pacific shore, this retreat leaves you marooned in luxury: it's home to four individually designed Casita sites and three Tented Casitas, all located on one of the islands and sleeping up to 24 guests. Expect expert-led excursions to uninhabited islands and jungles, and complete silence come nightfall. Changing gears, the Panama Jazz Festival makes January the best time to visit for a musical party. Hole up in Central America’s first W hotel , or head for the Casco Viejo . Once controlled by gangs, the capital’s old quarter is now flooded with cool new outfits revitalising crumbling colonial buildings, including romantic boutique bolthole La Concordia.

Sustainable travel tip: Billionaire conservation philanthropist Louis Bacon bought the Islas Secas archipelago on the condition that 13 of its 14 islands would remain undeveloped. The whole retreat runs on solar energy, plus all water used gets recycled. Alternatively, choose a completely untouched beach getaway: the Caribbean coast’s San Blas Islands are protected by an indigenous Panamanian tribe, the Guna. No hotels, no big-name restaurants: just simple huts and hammocks on deserted sands. Pass on flying here – you can catch a speedboat just outside Panama City.

Where to stay: Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo , the former Union Club of Panama, with its waterfront infinity pool, immersive spa program and spacious personal terraces that overlook the glittering downtown skyline. For a pretty retreat on a coffee farm in the mountain area of Boquete, Los Establos has spacious suites, great views and plenty of activities on offer.

Temperature in January 27°C high 20°C low Season summer Travel time from UK 22 hours 30 minutes Time difference GMT 10 ...

Paddington, Sydney, Australia

Temperature in January: 27°C high; 20°C low Season: summer Travel time from UK: 22 hours 30 minutes Time difference: GMT +10

If Sydney is urban done right – laid-back, cosmopolitan and perpetually beachy – then Paddington is suburban perfection. Fashionable and well-heeled, it’s got all the buzz of a central district, but with the charm of a village. Colourful Victorian terrace rows flaunting wrought-iron balconies could be Notting Hill. Main promenade Oxford Street bustles with cafés, pubs and boutiques, while back alleys are home to cool galleries, design studios and cute bars. Nicky Zimmermann started out selling her designs at Paddington’s famous Saturday markets; find her spacious store on Glenmore Road. Or join the 'Paddo' foodies at Fred’s, where chef Danielle Alvarez’s kitchen cooks farm-to-table comfort food. January is quintessential Sydney summer, with balmy temperatures, and the Sydney Festival packing the city with music and art.

Sustainable travel tip: Though Qantas conducted a successful nonstop London to Sydney research flight in late 2019 – clocking in at 19 hours and 19 minutes – it isn’t yet commercially available. Which means getting to Oz still entails a carbon-heavy indirect route. But you can choose to eat and shop sustainably while you’re there. Sydney, in fact, offers a lot of innovative ways to leave a lighter footprint, from Paddington’s zero-waste fashion boutique EkoLuv, to 'rescued food' market Oz Harvest, and sustainable seafood restaurant Love Fish, in the waterfront Barangaroo development, designed to be Australia’s first carbon-neutral precinct.

Where to stay: The Dive Hotel , a groovy family-run guesthouse in Coogee, is about 8km southeast of central Sydney. A cursory glance at the crisp cotton sheets, polished floorboards and blue-tiled bathrooms reveals that this hotel doesn't live up (or down) to its name. Over in Surry Hills, Ace Hotel pays homage to the area’s creative roots with a diverse selection of music, talks, workshops and Pride parties, including a First Nations’ artist-in-residence program showcasing works from Aboriginal and other boundary-pushing artists .

Temperature in January 30°C high 23°C low Season dry Travel time from UK 13 hours Time difference GMT 6  Warning a...

Nicaragua, Central America

Temperature in January: 30°C high; 23°C low Season: dry Travel time from UK: 13 hours Time difference: GMT -6

Warning: a youthful wanderlust may return when you read this feature about 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 (see our sustainable travel tip). January has the double blessing of being the month with the best temperatures everywhere, and also the least rainfall (barely any at all) on Nicaragua's Pacific Coast.

Sustainable travel tip: Half the appeal of going to Nicaragua is losing yourself in the wild, and there are plenty of smart yet eco ways to do it. On the coast, Totoco Eco-Lodge is made up of private casitas, a pool and bougainvillaea-filled gardens but also has compost loos and works with solar power and recycled water; even your morning coffee is sourced from a neighbouring finca. Jungle-clad Jicaro Island Lodge is built from reclaimed mahogany and cedar wood, while idyllic seaside farmhouse Morgan’s Rock grows all its own food.

Where to stay: Los Patios Hotel , a five-bedroom gem with an indoor-outdoor approach to living, with scrubbed, Scandi-style interiors and open-air spaces designed for chilling out.

Temperature in January 30°C high 24°C low Season summer Travel time from UK 12 hours 40 minutes Time difference GMT 3 ...

The coast of Brazil, South America

Temperature in January: 30°C high; 24°C low Season: summer Travel time from UK: 12 hours 40 minutes Time difference: GMT -3

Worth splurging all your annual leave in January for. Spend your New Year's Eve in Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo and then stay on for a couple more weeks and head up the coast to any number of preposterously gorgeous, barefoot-n-bikini-chic beach havens. So many thousands of miles of empty, golden sand, and beautiful people drinking caipirinhas at the coolest beach parties. The kind of places that really get our travel clichés rolling. Trancoso , in Bahia, is the original and still one of the best. Surfy Itacaré, the no-car islands of Boipeba and Tinharé. Or Sao Luís and Jericoacoara, on the wild and stunning north-east coast.

Sustainable travel tip: Carbon emissions in the Amazon forest have rocketed in recent years due to a lack of enforcement of environmental protection policies. As well as a devastating increase in deforestation in the world's largest rainforest, uncontrolled wildfires have ravaged one of the most climate-important carbon sinks in a region of rich biological and cultural diversity. Give financial support by booking nature-based activities through Indigenous-owned businesses which support the forest folk on the frontlines. To reduce your own carbon footprint, choose a direct flight route, since it’s the taking off and landing parts that burn the most fossil fuels. Choosing an energy-efficient low-cost carrier also means less kerosene combusted per passenger – consider Norwegian Air, for example, from London Gatwick to Rio.

Where to stay: Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa . A ramshackle façade disguises this utterly fabulous hotel. Ten beautiful houses are set among high-growing gardens. Bathrooms have living walls of ferns, orchids and jasmine, and there's a spa and a pool lined with green aventurine stones.

Temperature in January 28°C high 20°C low Season dry Travel time from UK 16 hours 20 minutes Time difference GMT 6  It...

Belize, Central America

Temperature in January: 28°C high; 20°C low Season: dry Travel time from UK: 16 hours 20 minutes Time difference: GMT -6

It is hot and humid and it rains a lot in Belize, beset as it is by tropical storms and hurricanes. But don't let that put you off. It is the perfect Caribbean escape for those who like it rough and palm-fringed around the edges, with tropical jungly highlands, Mayan ruins and the most astoundingly beautiful beaches, just a handful of hippies and beach bums to share them with. January and February are the best months, only pleasantly hot and not too wet.

Sustainable travel tip: Those who sign up to a five-day diving trip with Much Better Adventures can be part of the conservation effort to protect the Belize Barrier Reef, spearing invasive lionfish, training in conservation work and helping with research.

Where to stay: Itz’ana , a hotel with a beautiful rattan- and plant-decorated restaurant and a bar with a great pool.

Temperature in January 26°C high 16°C low Season summer Travel time from UK 10 hours 45 minutes Time difference GMT 2 ...

South Africa

Temperature in January: 26°C high; 16°C low Season: summer Travel time from UK: 10 hours 45 minutes Time difference: GMT +2

So, so many reasons to go, but briefly: 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. Wine can be drunk all year round. And because it's in the same time zone, you don't even get jet lag once you're home again. Shame we can't say the same about hangovers.

Sustainable travel tip: When choosing a safari, make sure your money is poured back into supporting the park. The likes of Kruger and Hluhluwe-iMfolozi, where rhino poaching is rife, need these funds for anti-poaching schemes.

Where to stay: At Silo Hotel , the best hotel in Cape Town for eclectic design and wraparound views. Its compact footprint packs a punch and includes the best rooftop bar and pool in the city.

Temperature in January 6°C high 2°C low Season winter Travel time from UK 1 hours 10 minutes Time difference GMT 1  For...

Bruges, Belgium

Temperature in January: 6°C high; 2°C low Season: winter Travel time from UK: 1 hours 10 minutes Time difference: GMT +1

For snow, beer and chips. The beautiful little Belgian city is one of those rare places that is just as enticing in the bleak midwinter as in summer: pretty in the snow, 'beautiful f**king fairytale stuff', to quote the film In Bruges (which is all the research you need). And the snow is an excellent excuse for holing up somewhere, because this city also has some of the most inviting reasons to stay indoors: interesting interiors, welcoming taverns full of good cheer and much Belgian beer, antiques and junk shops to poke around, gorgeous old guesthouses on the canals, candlelit bars and restaurants, moules-frites and cream-and-kirsch-laden puddings. A long weekend is enough time to see everything and put on a stone in weight.

Sustainable travel tip: Our friends in the north have an advantage when it comes to getting to Bruges sustainably – the overnight ferry from Hull. The good news for southerners: the Eurostar travels direct from London to Brussels in just two hours, and from Brussels there are trains to Bruges every 30 minutes that take just over an hour.

Where to stay: Number 11 , three 17th-century gable houses containing four wooden-floored bedrooms which combine antique and contemporary furniture, tactile fabrics, interesting prints and fresh flowers. Go for the deluxe suite, a ground-floor apartment with its own entrance, Champagne-stocked fridge and a bathtub for two.

Temperature in January 24°C high 8°C low Season winter Travel time from UK 14 hours 25 minutes Time difference GMT 5.30 ...

Rajasthan, India

Temperature in January: 24°C high; 8°C low Season: winter Travel time from UK: 14 hours 25 minutes Time difference: GMT +5.30

India's state of princes 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. January also provides the perfect weather for an Arabian Nights-style safari in Jaisalmer, where you can traverse the desert on the back of a camel and sleep under the stars.

Sustainable travel tip: Rajasthan’s train network is excellent and largely runs on time. But reserve well in advance to secure the more comfortable cabin classes – 1AC and 2AC provide bunks with privacy curtains, towels and bedding – because they get snapped up fast. You can book through the Indian Railways site, which requires a frustrating registration process but is doable if you’re the patient type, or else use the quick and easy online agency 12go.asia .

Where to stay: Lakshaman Sagar was originally constructed in the 19th-century as a hunting lodge, and has since been converted into a luxury getaway set over 32 acres of land in Raipur. The resort features 12 villas, private dining and lounging spaces, a spa, and swimming pool.

snowy hallstatt austria, one of the best places to visit in europe in winter

25 Wonderful Destinations for Winter in Europe (Sun, Snow, or Christmas!)

Whether you’re looking to warm up under the winter sun, make the most of peak season in the snowy Alps, marvel at a whimsical Christmas market, or simply escape the crowds and appreciate one of Europe’s iconic cities during the offseason, there are so many incredible winter destinations in Europe.

Sure, you’ll need to be prepared for lots of darkness (hello 4:30 PM sunsets!) and to make sure you really love whatever coat you pack (because it will feature in basically all of your photos), but visiting Europe in winter offers incredible charm and just as much variety as the more popular summer months!

We love traveling during winter in Europe, whether it’s to appreciate Rome in January without the crowds or to get a little February sunshine in Andalucia.

While December, January, and February are the heart of European winter travel, depending on what you’re looking for, you might be able to count parts of November and March in this guide, too.

Here are some of the best places to visit during winter in Europe, no matter what kind of trip you’re after.

Table of Contents

Festive Destinations for Winter in Europe

Warmest places in europe for winter sun, epic snow + northern lights winter destinations in europe, iconic destinations in europe to visit in winter, essential tips for visiting europe in winter.

Kate Storm and Jeremy Storm at Cesky Krumlov

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Rounding up all of the excellent places for festive cheer during December in Europe is an enormous task!

For that reason, we have a full roundup of 31 Incredible Christmas Markets in Europe to check out in addition to this more general winter travel guide.

There’s no doubt that some destinations stand out above the rest, though, which is where this overview comes in.

Here are some of the absolute best Christmas destinations to visit in Europe!

Kate Storm holding a red mug out to the camera at a Cologne Christmas market, home to some of the best Christmas markets in Europe

While I’ve tried to keep this guide limited to specific regions or cities, rather than countries, it would be an enormous oversight to not include Germany as a whole.

The most classic destination for Christmas markets in Europe, Germany is one of the absolute best places to visit in Europe in December (and in some cases, November and January, too–not all Christmas markets close right after the holiday).

Some of the best cities for markets include Cologne, Nuremberg, and Dresden (home to the oldest Christmas market in the world!), though virtually all cities and towns have something to offer.

Looking for something smaller?

Check out Rothenberg ob de Tauber or Heidelberg!

Cologne German Christmas Market at night as seen from above with red roofs of stalls prominent. Cologne hosts one of the best european christmas markets

Alsace, France

Known for its delicious cuisine, wine, half-timbered houses, canal cities, and unique culture that blends many aspects of both French and German culture, Alsace is located in northeast France.

It also happens to be one of the most festive holiday destinations in Europe!

From popular cities like Strasbourg and Colmar to idyllic villages like Riquewihr, Obernai, Ribeauvillé, Eguisheim, and Kaysersberg, Alsace is an absolute dream of a destination.

While summer tourism centers around its wine trail, in winter, it’s the legendary Christmas markets that take center stage–and they more than live up to the hype.

Kate Storm spinning in front of a clock tower in Riquewihr, one of the best day trips in Alsace!

Like Germany, Austria is simply too festive in the winter to categorize anything but the country as a whole as one of the best winter destinations in Europe!

Luckily, thanks to its small size and excellent train system, you can cover quite a bit of ground on a winter trip to Austria.

The standout cities of Vienna (home to a whopping 12 distinct Christmas markets) and Salzburg (home to some of our favorite Christmas markets on the planet) are both must-sees.

Lesser-known but beautiful Linz, gorgeous Graz, and charming Innsbruck (known for its phenomenal winter sports as well as its markets) are also well worth a look.

And, of course, you can’t forget idyllic Hallstatt, one of the most beautiful small villages in Europe!

christmas in austria at night salzburg christmas market

Budapest, Hungary

Featuring gorgeous Christmas markets, an excellent setting on the Danube, and delicious traditional food that lends itself to being enjoyed during cold weather, Budapest is a standout destination in Europe in December.

From Budapest’s biggest (and oldest) market in Vorosmarty Square to other standouts like the Advent Feast of the Basilica, you’ll have plenty of festivities to choose from in Budapest.

Plus, the city itself is a delight in winter, from the magical views from Fisherman’s Bastion to the charm of Budapest’s regal cafe culture (order an Esterhazy Cake at Central Cafe for us!).

As a bonus, Budapest is an easy 2.5-hour direct train ride away from Vienna, making Budapest a fun addition to a winter getaway to Austria.

view of christmas market st stephens basilica budapest from above

Basel, Switzerland

Switzerland may be most famous for its mountains, but its cities are incredibly delightful too–and in the winter, none shines quite as bright as Basel!

Nestled in northwest Switzerland, the small city of Basel is situated on the Rhine River, not far from the Swiss border with Germany and France–giving it plenty of inspiration for its holiday festivities.

In addition to its gorgeous Christmas markets and overall beauty, you’ll find plenty of winter-friendly attractions in town, too.

Be sure to visit the Munster Cathedral (and climb to the top), meander through the fine arts museum, and check out the incredible City Hall.

And, if you’re feeling like a bit of a completionist, be sure to head to Dreiländereck, where you can walk through Switzerland, France, and Germany all in a matter of minutes!

basel switzerland christmas market next to the munster cathedral, one of the best winter destinations in europe winter getaways

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague has long been one of those particularly gorgeous European cities that captures the imagination when admiring it from its many angles–and that’s just as true in winter!

Strolling over the Vltava River along the Charles Bridge, admiring the famous Astronomical Clock, and exploring Prague Castle are all absolutely wonderful activities in winter.

Add in the city’s incredible Christmas markets in December (featuring plenty of Czech beer, of course), and Prague becomes one of the top winter travel destinations in Europe.

Be sure to climb up to the top of the Old Town Hall Tower to admire one of the best views of Prague and to enjoy a jaw-dropping view of the Christmas market held in the Old Town Square!

Prage Christmas market in its central square as seen from above during blue hour. Prague has some of the best Christmas markets in Europe

While I wouldn’t necessarily categorize any of these places as “warm” in the summer sense of the word, if you’re looking for a bit of sunshine and fresh air, these (relatively) hot winter destinations in Europe are excellent options!

Sure, you’ll be photographing beaches instead of donning a bathing suit and jumping into the water–but with a little luck, you may even get to leave your coat behind when exploring.

… And, as a bonus, most of these sunny European destinations are much less crowded and much less expensive during the winter months (the Canary Islands, as the warmest place in Europe in winter, are an exception).

kate storm and ranger storm sitting along the seven hanging valleys trail, one of the best things to do in algarve portugal

Sicily, Italy

With its stunning architecture, complicated history, delicious food, and dramatic landscapes (hello, Mount Etna!), Sicily makes a fantastic getaway for travelers looking for winter sun in Europe.

Since visiting Sicily in, say, January or February rules out beach time, a winter trip is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of even more affordable prices than usual to appreciate the island’s incredible cultural sights.

Marvel at the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, get lost in Ortigia, taste the chocolate of Modica, admire the views from Taormina’s Greek Theater, and tour Palermo’s impressive cathedral.

We also loved this food and history tour in Palermo, and highly recommend it!

Hoping to visit Mount Etna?

You absolutely can–and in winter, you may even get to see it covered in snow.

Kate Storm in a blue skirt overlooking Ragusa Ilba from Ragusa Superiore, one of the best views on this 10 days in Sicily itinerary

During the summer, popular parts of Malta are often overwhelmed with cruise ship passengers–but by visiting Malta in winter, you can skip the crowds and keep the sunshine!

The country’s capital, Valletta, is the sunniest city on the continent, making it the perfect place to seek out the winter sun in Europe.

Other fun things to do include exploring the Silent City of Mdina, the charming fishing village of Marsaxlokk, and exploring the rocky and beautiful coastline of the island of Gozo (you’ll just need to skip the swimming).

With its arid landscape and intense heat, Malta can be quite brutal during the summer.

But, on the flipside, it can be equally as mild in the winter, with Valletta reaching an average high of 60°F/15°C in January and February.

colorful fishing boat in harbor of Marsaxlokk malta, one of the best places to visit in europe winter sun

Sometimes called the “Hawaii of Europe” (though a few other winter sun destinations compete for that title!), Madeira is located off the northwest coast of Africa.

As an autonomous region of Portugal , Madeira is easy to access from mainland Europe but often feels worlds apart, with incredible landscapes and a food and wine scene all its own (if you’re familiar with Madeira wine–this is where it comes from!).

Some of the best things to do in Madeira include visiting the Valley of the Nuns, admiring Cabo Girao, and tasting the famous Madeira wine.

Be sure to also make time to hike the levadas–unique channels that were built into the side of Madeira’s mountains.

And, for travelers planning a trip over the New Year, Madeira’s capital city of Funchal puts on a fantastic firework display each December 31!

waterfall into the ocean on madeira portugal road trip view

The Canary Islands, Spain

Arguably the most classic winter sun destination in Europe, the Canary Islands are–like Madeira–located off the northwest coast of Africa (though even further south than Madeira).

Without a doubt, the Canary Islands are among the warmest places in Europe in winter!

With average high temperatures hovering around 68°F/20°C, there is no better place to enjoy a bit of heat and sunshine in Europe over the winter.

The archipelago that makes up the Canary Islands boasts something for everyone, with some of the most popular islands being Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, and Tenerife.

Tenerife is the busiest island, with adorable villages, sandy beaches, and plenty of activities to keep you busy from day to night.

Meanwhile, Lanzarote is known for its dramatic volcanic landscapes.

white village perched on a dramatic cliff in tenerife, one of the best winter sun destinations in europe

The Algarve, Portugal

With its sunny weather, mild temperatures, and excellent hiking, Portugal’s Algarve is without a doubt one of the best places to visit in Europe in winter!

From exploring charming towns like Lagos , Carvoeiro, Sagres, and Tavira to hiking gorgeous trails like the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, you’ll find plenty to do during winter in the Algarve.

And, quite honestly–the water in the Algarve stays so cold during the summer that if you come from a hot climate like us, you may not want to swim during the summer anyway (making winter the perfect time to visit).

Not swimming seems like a small price to pay for having iconic beaches all to yourself!

We loved our January trip to the Algarve and would love to visit in the winter again.

kate storm at ponta da piedade , one of the best lagos attractions

Andalucia, Spain

Whitewashed villages, sandy beaches, vibrant cities, and some of the most stunning architecture in the world (hello, Alhambra!), Andalucia is one of the absolute best places to visit during winter in Europe if you’re looking for warm weather and a bit of sunshine.

Sure, you won’t want to swim when visiting the beaches of the famous Costa del Sol, but they’re still worth strolling along.

And, cities along the coast, like Malaga, are much more pleasant to explore in winter than during notoriously the hot and humid summer.

While visiting Andalucia, be sure to tour the Alhambra in Granada , check out the Plaza de Espana in Seville , admire the stunning views from Ronda , and tour the incredible Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba .

And, if you can’t decide what kind of winter vacation in Europe you’re looking for, don’t worry: in Andalucia, you can truly do it all.

The mountains surrounding Granada are home to the only ski resort in Europe where you can enjoy downhill skiing with a view of the Mediterranean Sea in the distance!

kate storm and ranger storm at the mirador san nicholas in granada spain, one of the best places to visit in andalucia

Crete, Greece

As Greece’s largest and almost southernmost island (Gavdos has it beat there), visiting Crete in winter may not be the typical Greek vacation, but it can be a delightful one!

From restaurant-hopping in Heraklion to enjoying the charming Venetian harbors of popular towns like Chania and Rethymnon without the crowds you’ll experience during the summer, visiting Crete in winter has plenty to offer!

While it will be too cold to swim (expect temperatures around 60°F/15°C), the beaches are still beautiful and well worth admiring from the shore.

And, let’s be real: a centerpiece of any well-planned trip to Greece is its food!

The Greek coffee, local food, and local wine are all ready and waiting to be enjoyed during a winter trip to Crete.

view of crete greece in winter from above with beach in foreground and mountains in background

As one of the warmest places in Europe during winter and boasting around 340 days a year of sunshine, it’s safe to say that Cyprus is a fantastic winter sun destination!

If your dream trip to Cyprus includes getting away from the beaches to hike in the Troodos or Kyrenia Mountains, soaking up deeply interesting history in Nicosia, and enjoying a bit of European winter sun, you’ll have a great time.

While sunsets are still fairly early and the closest you’ll get to the sea is looking at it, Cyprus in winter is a special–and uncrowded–experience.

And, while Cyprus is known to foreigners primarily as a winter sun destination, head high enough into the mountains and you can ski there, as well!

view of a cyprus beach on overcast day in winter in europe

If your idea of the perfect European winter vacation includes lots of snow and/or plenty of opportunities to chase the northern lights, these epic adventure destinations have you covered!

Rovaniemi, Finland

Located in Finnish Lapland and home to the famous Santa Clause Village each holiday season, Rovaniemi is the perfect winter destination in Europe for travelers looking to combine outdoor adventure with festive cheer!

With its child-centered Santa Claus Village, it also ranks among the absolute best places to visit in winter for families.

Reindeer sleigh rides, snowmobiles, dog sledding , and–of course–night-time expeditions to try to spot the magnificent northern lights–are all among the top things to do in Rovaniemi in winter.

Back in the Santa Claus Village, you’ll find kid-centered versions of many of these classic Lapland activities, too.

Don’t forget to send a letter home from Santa Claus’ Main Post Office while you’re there, either!

siberian huskies getting ready for dog sledding in finnish lapland, one of the best places to visit winter europe

Tromso, Norway

As one of the world’s most cherished destinations for chasing the northern lights, Tromso, Norway is absolutely one of the best places to visit in Europe in winter!

While–and I cannot repeat this enough in this article–viewing the lights is never guaranteed, professional night tours like this give you the best odds of spotting them in Tromso.

And, beyond the lights, a full array of winter adventures await in Tromso.

Consider signing up for a dog-sledding experience , visiting a Sámi reindeer farm, and even going whale-watching!

Taking the cable car up for sweeping views of a very snowy, beautiful Tromso in winter is another must!

northern lights over fjord in tromso, one of the best snowy places to go in europe winter

Chamonix, France

Nestled in the French Alps, not far from the border between France, Switzerland, and Germany, you’ll find the (rightfully) famous European winter travel destination of Chamonix situated in the shadow of Mont Blanc.

Most famous for skiing, Chamonix rose to prominence a century ago when it hosted the first-ever Winter Olympic Games in 1924.

Today, it is known for its incredible skiing and winter sports, and its access to some of the absolute best views of Mont Blanc.

You can also step inside the Mer de Glace–the largest glacier in France–during a winter trip here.

While Chamonix’s comparatively high prices mean that it will mostly appeal to skiers, you don’t need to be a skier to appreciate the beauty of this Alpine town in winter!

view of the french alps from a ski resort in chamonix, one of the best european winter places to visit

Abisko, Sweden

Located north of the Arctic Circle in Swedish Lapland, Abisko is known for its sheer amount of darkness over the winter, including periods of “polar night” where the sun never rises!

This is an enormous asset, however, for its biggest tourism draw: spotting the northern lights .

After all, there’s nothing like 24/7 darkness to give you the biggest odds possible to admiring the Aurora Borealis.

Like other Arctic destinations in Europe, you’ll also be able to enjoy activities like reindeer camps, dog-sledding, snowmobiling, and more during your winter getaway.

That being said, in Abisko, there’s no doubt that catching sight of the northern lights is the star of the show!

northern lights above the trees in abisko, one of the best places in europe in winter

The South Coast, Iceland

The South Coast of Iceland is downright magical during any time of the year, but to experience a side that most visitors don’t see, head there in winter!

Many of Iceland’s top attractions, including the famous Skogafoss Waterfall, Jokusarlon Glacier Lagoon, and the town of Vik, can be found here.

This is also where you’ll find Vatnajokull Glacier, the largest glacier in Europe and one of the most popular ones to hike on.

One of the biggest draws of Iceland’s South Coast in winter, though, is something you can only do during the cold months: hiking inside the ice caves !

You can also spot the northern lights here–fingers crossed–but of course, it’s never a guarantee.

person standing inside an ice cave, bucket list iceland travel experience

Visiting Europe in winter is incredible for once-in-a-lifetime epic experiences like the northern lights and festive events like Christmas markets, sure… but there’s another (less crowded) side to visiting Europe between November and March, too.

During these dark and admittedly sometimes dreary months, many of Europe’s most iconic cities–places known to be described with adjectives like “overtouristed” during the summer–receive a mere fraction of the tourists that they do during the high season.

The result is pleasant, beautiful cities, views of stunning architecture that you have enough elbow room to enjoy, and museums that can be sampled at a leisurely pace.

If you’re looking to take advantage of the off-season lack of crowds and lower prices, here are some of the best cities to add to your list!

kate storm on the spanish steps at dawn, during a 4 day rome itinerary

Venice, Italy

Ethereal, beautiful Venice, with its gondolas , canals, opulent architecture, and downright implausible existence, is one of those places that people seem to either love or hate.

… and if you want to love it, you’ll be much more likely to do so by visiting in winter!

Sure, you’ll need to bundle up and expect gray weather–but honestly, Venice looks gorgeous under clouds.

It’s an excellent trade in order to experience St. Mark’s Square when it’s not literally covered by tourists (the exception: during Carnival).

Winter is when Venice is most prone to its “ acqua alta “, or high water–in other words, flooding–but the vast majority of the time, this won’t disrupt your trip at all.

kate storm and jeremy storm in front of a canal in venice in winter, one of the best things to see in italy

Paris, France

Years ago, when planning our first-ever trip to Europe, we decided to spend a week in Paris during winter!

We loved it enough that we’ve happily returned to Paris in the winter several times since (and in all the other seasons as well–after all, “Paris is always a good idea.”).

Yes, the skies will typically stay gray, and you should absolutely pack a travel umbrella , but the moody weather suits Paris just fine!

Enjoy the Louvre with a fraction of the crowds, ice skate in view of the Eiffel Tower, and enjoy a daily bowl of delicious French onion soup, and you’ll quickly forget the weather.

If you happen to visit in December or early January, be sure not to miss the Christmas markets and decor, either–the Galeries Lafayette Christmas tree alone is worth going out of your way for.

2019 galeries lafayette christmas tree, one of the best things to do in paris in winter

Rome, Italy

Without a doubt, the biggest reason to visit Rome in winter is the lack of crowds.

We’ve spent time in Rome during almost every month of the year, and the difference in crowd levels during December, January, and February are downright astonishing compared even to the shoulder seasons!

And, while the days are shorter, Rome’s attractions are arguably better appreciated during winter.

This is not only due to the lack of crowds, but to the lack of heat (did you know that most of the Vatican Museums aren’t air-conditioned? Just saying.).

Rome is quite possibly our favorite city in the world, and from touring the Colosseum to marveling at the Pantheon to devouring delicious pasta daily, a winter trip to Rome is an excellent experience.

One reason not to visit Rome during the winter though? Christmas markets.

They exist–technically–but if that’s what you’re after, head to Central Europe instead.

kate storm and jeremy storm standing in from of Colosseum, One Day in Rome -- Rome in a Day

Dubrovnik, Croatia

There’s no doubt that many of the best things to do in Dubrovnik , from swimming in the Adriatic Sea to kayaking around Lopud Island, are only available in the summer.

If you’re in the mood for something a bit unorthodox, though, let me say: winter in Dubrovnik has its charms!

We spent 2 weeks enjoying Dubrovnik in February, and the experiences of walking the city walls almost completely alone, strolling through the city without fighting the crowds, and enjoying winter sunsets was an absolute delight.

And, even better: no cruise ship crowds.

Dubrovnik doesn’t get particularly cold (average highs in February reach 56°F/10°C), making it a mild way to experience some winter sun, too.

We snapped this photo on the city walls in in February, where we only passed about 5 other people during the entire experience!

kate storm looking over city walls dubrovnik

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona may be on the Mediterranean, and it may feature beaches… but really, at its heart, Barcelona is not a beach town.

And, as a result, it makes for a fantastic winter trip in Europe!

Skip the overwhelming heat and intense crowds of the summer, and instead opt to marvel at masterpieces like La Sagrada Familia and Casa Batllo in the winter (and, as a bonus, the facade of Casa Batllo is more visible in the winter, too).

From browsing Mercado La Boqueria to strolling around Las Ramblas to soaking up the views at Park Guell, virtually all of the best things to do in Barcelona are improved but visiting in the offseason.

view of park guell in barcelona spain, a top europe bucket list travel destination

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

During the summer months, Amsterdam is known as one of the most crowded and touristic cities in Europe… but in the winter, that all melts away!

Yes, you will be cold (the humid, damp cold of Amsterdam is not to be underestimated), and the days are short, but in exchange, you can explore the canals, peruse the cheese shops, and marvel at the museums with far fewer crowds!

Hearty, cozy Dutch snack foods, such as oliebollen, pancakes, stroopwafel, and even Chocomel, are also a delicious addition to your time in Amsterdam in winter.

And, while you probably won’t experience snow or frozen canals (sadly not a common experience), the charms of Amsterdam’s architecture, history, and culture are more than enough to make a winter visit worth the effort.

Kate Storm in a brown coat looking over a foggy canal in Amsterdam in December

Plan your days based on the available daylight.

While gray clouds, rain, and possible snow are all pretty much expected by travelers visiting Europe in winter, the incredibly short days can be harder to adjust to (at least, they were for us).

For example, in mid-December, the sun sets around 4:55 PM in Paris, around 4:00 PM in Vienna, around 3:30 in Reykjavik, and 1:30 PM in Rovaniemi.

Depending on where you go and what you plan to do, the amount of daylight available can greatly impact your plans!

jeremy storm at christmas market in cologne germany

Book epic excursions toward the beginning of your trip (and be flexible).

This is especially important for extremely weather-dependent activities, like spotting the northern lights in Iceland or dog-sledding in Tromso .

As magical as these experiences are, a snowstorm or poor lighting conditions can derail them.

By booking your most sought-after activities at the beginning of your trip, you can leave yourself room to reschedule and try again later.

dog sledding from perspective of sled driver during winter europe

Don’t assume winter is offseason everywhere.

When it comes to popular European winter destinations like Lapland for the Northern Lights or Vienna for Christmas markets, the sooner you can book your hotels and tours, the better.

Hotels and tours both fill up, and we have had to stay further out of the center than we would like more than once due to procrastinating on deciding where to stay!

We book our hotels and rental apartments through Booking.com , and our tours primarily through Get Your Guide or (in certain destinations) Take Walks .

travelers exploring the decorated streets of antwerp belgium at night decorated with christmas belgium in winter lights

Make sure you love your coat, hat, and gloves!

… because they will be in just about every picture you take!

Unlike during the summer, visiting winter destinations in Europe often means ending up with photos where you look like you wear the same thing every day.

That’s not a bad thing, but make sure you love what you bring!

Bringing a second coat can be a heavy inconvenience, but mixing things up with different hats and scarves is much easier.

Winter in Salzburg: Kate Storm at Christmas Market

Bring a travel umbrella with you!

This is especially important for cities– Lisbon may be known for its sun, for example, but it gets plenty of rain in December and January!

You can purchase an umbrella when you arrive, too, but as someone who has had to throw away one too many cheap umbrellas while traveling, it’s better to be prepared and bring your own .

kate storm with a pink umbrella in front of the opera house in paris in the rain

Warm, comfortable boots are an absolute must.

Bonus points if they’re waterproof!

Cold feet make everything less pleasant when sightseeing.

I love my Ugg Kesey Motorcycle Boots and have been wearing them when exploring Europe in winter for years now.

Kate Storm in a brown coat standing with a white Christmas tree in Colmar. A decorated pink house is in the background--this is a classic photo spot in Colmar in winter!

Which month you travel will influence your winter trip to Europe.

January through March, for example, are most popular for hunting for the northern lights (though of course, there’s never any guarantee of seeing them and you can see them outside these months!).

January and February are popular for winter sun getaways in southern Europe, and the days will (slowly) be getting longer as winter wears on.

And, it should go without saying, December is the most popular month for Christmas market trips, but with careful planning, you can visit some markets during a November or January Europe trip, too.

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2 photos of european winter, sled dogs and snowy hallstatt. black and red text reads "25 epic europe trips for winter"

About Kate Storm

Image of the author, Kate Storm

In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

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Best Places to Visit in Europe in January 2024

travel europe in january

After the fun and excitement of Christmas, the following months in the new year can be a little slow and cold. Yet, January is the perfect time to escape to Europe for many reasons; there are fewer crowds, there are a huge plethora of festivals and events on, and practical things such as hotels and flights are often far cheaper as there is less demand.

Whatever your interests are, there will undoubtedly be somewhere, if not multiple places to visit in Europe in January that take your fancy and are just waiting to be explored. Here is a list of some incredible festivals and events that are taking place this January, as well as some of the city’s other highlights:

Table of Contents

Best Places to Go in January in Europe

Hogmanay – edinburgh, scotland.

29th December 2023 – January 1st, 202 4

Best places to visit in Europe in January

One of Scotland’s most anticipated events of the year and one that attracts a wide variety of Scottish people and foreign tourists alike is Hogmanay, which is essentially a huge festival that takes over Edinburgh to celebrate the new year. There are a variety of bands playing in the streets, bars, and pubs that open up, as well as a range of shops, rides, and attractions.

The city comes to life with celebration, light, and color and is something that everyone should see. Aside from Hogmanay, Edinburgh is one of the world’s most beautiful cities, and there is so much to explore. For example, Edinburgh Castle is a great place to visit if you love history, and it also offers beautiful views of the city.

Another great thing to do in Edinburgh in January is taking a winter walk through the Princes Street Gardens, where you can wander through the gorgeous greenery and see some incredible monuments, such as the Scots Monument. The main thing to keep in mind when visiting Edinburgh at this time of year is to make sure you wrap at warm, as it gets totally freezing!

Check out my 3 day Edinburgh itinerary.

Monte Carlo – Car Rally

24th of January -28th January 202 4

Best place to visit in January in Europe - Monte Carlo

In what will be the Monte Carlo Car Rally’s 92nd event, prepare to witness one of the world’s most famous rallies in one of the most incredible locations in Europe. With its historical roots dating back to 1911, and its associations with Prince Albert I, the event is full of history and excitement; if you are someone who loves the thrill, speed, and brilliance of some of the world’s top supercars, make a holiday out of your passion, and visit Monte Carlo.

Monte Carlo is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in January in Europe because it still offers visitors mild temperatures, and there are still lots of things to do. For example, visit the world-famous Casino of Monte Carlo, which has been open since the 1860s.

Dive into the life of the super-rich, and step into the classic, glamorous world of this incredible city. Moreover, if cars aren’t your thing, make sure you visit the Prince’s Palace to marvel at its architectural splendor.

Amsterdam Light Festival – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

30th of November 2023 – 21st January 202 4

travel europe in january

During the Christmas months, the city of Amsterdam lights up in beautiful artistic designs and colors, giving it a truly magical atmosphere. What many visitors do, is take a boat trip along the river, where the lights are really visible and hung over the bridges that the boat passes under; this is an incredible thing to do if you are visiting the city on a romantic getaway.

The Amsterdam Light Festival is a major European event and attracts artists from around the world to partake in its magic; it also attracts a lot of foreign tourists who wish to try something different.

travel europe in january

Aside from the festival, Amsterdam is the perfect city to visit in January in Europe, as there is an abundance of sights to see and things to do and experience. For example, outside the Rijksmuseum is a yearly ice rink with an array of different festive stores and cafes surrounding it; if you are visiting during Christmas time or January, this is the perfect seasonal thing to visit to really get you in the festive mood!

You might also want to check out my 5-day Amsterdam itinerary .

Up Helly Aa – Shetland Islands

30th of January 202 4

travel europe in january

Located in the beautiful Shetland Islands, the yearly festival of Up Helly Aa is a celebration of the Island’s Viking history and heritage and involves theatrical performances and rituals, as well as lots of live music and friendly Scottish hospitality.

There is singing, dancing, and an amazing amount of light and fire to provide locals and tourists alike with an incredible, unforgettable experience. Aside from Up Helly Aa, which is popular with many foreign visitors, the Shetland Islands have so much to offer; make sure that you visit Old Scatness, which is a Broch and Iron Age Village located on the south mainland.

Here, you can discover some of Shetland Island’s earliest history; archaeologists date the site from being built between 400 BC and 200 BC. Today, you can come and visit some of the original buildings and artifacts, and it is amazing. Also, make sure that you visit Stanydale Temple, a site dating back the Neolithic period that has baffled archaeologists, historians, and tourists for years; it is definitely worth exploring.

The Arctic Light Festival – Tromso, Norway

27th January – 4th February  202 4

travel europe in january

The Arctic Light Festival, sometimes known as the Northern Lights Festival, is an annual event that has been on since 1988 and centers on the musical talent of a variety of different artists and styles. This art festival is appealing to many different types of people, as it offers such an array of musical styles, from opera to jazz, all the way to pop and classical; Tromso becomes alive with music and life.

Aside from performances, there are also a lot of other things going on, such as beer gardens, exhibitions, and classes. Apart from the festival, Tromso is a great destination to visit in Europe in January, as there is so much to do, see, and experience; for example, there are an array of different tour groups that will guide you into the Norwegian natural landscape in the hope of catching a glimpse of the breath-taking northern lights.

Though it is never guaranteed that they will be seen, if you go with a tour group who will know the best places to travel to and the best times to go, you will more than likely witness the incredible beauty of the natural phenomenon.

London, England

After the holidays

travel europe in january

Before Christmas, as many of us know well, the shops are filled with gift-buyers and last-minute shoppers, and the atmosphere is typically very busy and chaotic. However, after the holiday season has passed, the shops open up their winter sales, and the crowds disperse.

One of the best places to go shopping during this period of time is the wonderful capital city of London, located in the south of England. There are so many places in London that are perfect for some after-Christmas shopping; if you prefer high-street brands, head towards Oxford Street. If you are someone who prefers more unique and one-of-a-kind items, head towards areas such as Camden Market, Notting Hill, Spitalfields, and Brick Lane.

As well as shopping, London is a city that has so much to offer; if you are someone who loves architecture, visit the Shard, where you can go to the very top and experience breathtaking views of the city below if you prefer history, head to the Tower of London for an unforgettable experience.

Check out my London itinerary here.

As this list has highlighted, there are so many amazing things to do in Europe in January and so many festivals to partake in. January is the best time to head to Europe, as there are far fewer crowds, cheaper flights, transport, and hotels, and the winter chill provides it with a truly magical atmosphere.

You might also be interested in:

The best places to visit in Europe in February 2024.

The best places to visit in Europe in March 2023.

The best places to visit in Europe in May 2023.

The best places to visit in Europe in June 2023.

The best places to visit in Europe in July 2023.

The best places to visit in Europe in August 2023.

The best places to visit in Europe in September 2023.

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Best winter vacations in europe.

Just about every European city becomes chock full of tourists during the summer months. However, those crowds are avoidable if you're willing to embrace cooler temperatures. Not only will you run into fewer travelers during this time you're also likely to score travel deals, especially on cruises . To guide you through the continent's wintry choices,  U.S. News  combined reader votes and expert analysis to rank the best winter vacations in Europe. Start planning your next trip using these ideas, and help us decide next year's list by voting for your favorite destinations.

travel europe in january

A winter visit to Rome may have you bundling up to see iconic sights like the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain, but you'll have ample opportunities to warm up, too. Head indoors to admire Michelangelo's famous Sistine Chapel before sampling some of the city's world-renowned pizza and wine. Prices for accommodations drop dramatically, and deals on Italian products are abundant during the offseason.

travel europe in january

The charms of Paris are alive and well in winter. Warm up while sipping coffee in romantic cafes, and spend time visiting heated indoor museums like the Musée du Louvre, the Musée Rodin and the Musée d'Orsay while the crowds are away. If you don’t mind the cold, walk down the Champs-Elysées at Christmastime and enjoy the illuminated trees that line the boulevard.

travel europe in january

Winters in Amsterdam can be chilly, but those willing to endure the cold will enjoy significantly discounted hotel rooms and flights. Most of Amsterdam's attractions are open year-round, and, during the winter months, the city offers holiday festivities and many places to ice skate. What's more, the Amsterdam Light Festival is a bright display of international artwork from November to mid-January.

travel europe in january

Budapest gets pretty cold in winter and snowfall is frequent. But, you can snag inexpensive hotel stays and plan your trip around indoor activities like the Hungarian National Gallery. Christmas markets also offer delicious food and unique treasures to buy as gifts. If you're feeling adventurous, warm up with a dip in the city's outdoor thermal baths.

travel europe in january

Although you'll still find some visitors in Venice during winter, you can expect airfare and hotel rates to be cheaper. Crowds in St. Mark's Square will also thin out as a mist falls over the island, providing stunning photo-ops for those willing to endure temperatures in the high 30s. If you visit in February or March, you'll witness the exciting festivities of Carnevale.

travel europe in january

Prague's castles and underground restaurants are perfect spots to seek refuge from the city's winter weather and enjoy a Czech beer. Travelers will also encounter fewer crowds at the city's museums, which are open year-round. For those willing to brave the cold, there are festive options like Prague's beloved Christmas markets and outdoor ice skating rinks.

travel europe in january

If you like the idea of beautiful castles, cathedrals and other Baroque buildings covered in snow, one look at Salzburg, Austria, might be enough to lure you in. Add in Christmas bazaars in the town square and easy access to some of the finest ski areas in the Alps nearby, and you'll be sold on vacationing in this charming city during the winter.

travel europe in january

Vienna welcomes winter with advent markets, public ice skating rinks and plenty of lavish parties. Add wintry touches like snow-covered rooftops and nearby ski slopes into the mix and you'll find yourself in a European winter wonderland. Classical music concerts in extravagant music halls and a world-famous New Year's celebration are marquee events unique to this city.

travel europe in january

The Austrian Alps peek through the skyline of this charming city, home to the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics. Innsbruck, with its abundance of ski resorts and winter attractions, offers all-inclusive packages through the region's ski organization, Olympia SkiWorld Innsbruck. For less sporty travelers, the medieval streets with snow-capped rooftops, tolling cathedral bells and romantic coffee shops are perfect for strolling.

travel europe in january

Set in the shadow of the Swiss Alps and nestled next to Lake Lucerne, this German-speaking town is about as picturesque as it gets in the winter. Visitors can enjoy sports like snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and winter hiking at a number of resorts and trails that surround the medieval town. Or, journey to the summit of Mount Pilatus for an unforgettable meal in the clouds.

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travel europe in january

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Headout Blog

10 Best places to visit in Europe in January this year

Travel Travel Inspiration 10 Best places to visit in Europe in January this year

The spirit of the wanderer has always overpowered humans. Ever since the stone age, humans have left their secure abode to search for a home away from home. Over time, our existence has become more and more complicated, leaving us less time to explore. So now, we explore only occasionally and for leisure. Everyone has their favorite places on the planet which appeals to them. For a large portion of the world’s population, various haunts in Europe are too good to resist, even in the winter month of January. Europe is a fairly large continent with considerable variation in weather in different parts at the same time. While London and Edinburgh can be freezing, Prague and Budapest are a bit more hospitable. Venice and Barcelona, on the other hand, would require the least amount of adjustment. However, irrespective of the weather, Europe has enough to offer to the tourists of any age and tastes. Follow our January guide to Europe to know how the city of your preference is in the first month of the year.

10 Best Places to Go in Europe in January

A mixbag of 10 places that cover the warm and cold parts of Europe, our list of the 10 Best Places to Visit in Europe in January is just what you need to satisfy your January wanderlust. Keep your passports handy as you'll need them real soon!

The Best Places to Go in Europe in January

Rome, Italy

Average high: 12°c | average low: 3°c.

Rome in January is a great time to visit the Eternal City. The temperatures are cool and the days are sunny, making it a perfect time of year for sightseeing. January is also the start of Rome’s cultural season, with ancient ruins and monuments coming alive as art galleries open their doors and musical performances take place in the city’s piazzas and plazas. With many outdoor attractions to explore, January makes for a perfect time to visit Rome and experience the beauty of this historic city.

Read More About Rome In January

Rome Itineraries | Rome On A Budget | Rome Travel Guide | Rome Food Tours | Best Guided Tours In Rome | Piazza Navona | Where to Stay in Rome

Top Recommended Experiences in Rome

travel europe in january

Paris, France

Average high: 8°c | average low: 3°c.

Despite the chilly temperatures, Paris in January is still buzzing with energy and activity. Visitors can explore world-famous attractions such as the Louvre museum or the Eiffel Tower while admiring Parisian architecture along their way. The French capital also offers plenty of charming cafés and eateries to warm up in on a cold winter’s day. January is an ideal time to take romantic strolls along the Seine and absorb the beauty of Paris as it comes alive with winter decorations. It's truly a beautiful time of year to visit this magnificent city.

Read More About Paris In January

Paris Itineraries | Paris Travel Guide | Paris on a Budget | Seine Dinner Cruises | Paris Deals & Offers | Paris City Passes | Best Paris Cabarets

Top Recommended Experiences in Paris

travel europe in january

Budapest, Hungary

Average high: 3°c | average low: -2°c.

Budapest is the capital of Hungary. It is located in central Europe. January is one of the coldest months in Budapest. While there is a lot to love in Budapest in January, the weather is not one of them. As such, there aren’t many tourists that frequent the city this month. This should prove to be a blessing in disguise for you. You will be able to secure attractive discounts on hotel and flight rates in addition to having the city free of the tourist crowd. Budapest has an upper hand over other European cities in January as it has a number of natural thermal baths that could take the sting out of the weather. Ice skating at the City Park Ice Rink is another activity to look forward to in January. Do not forget to indulge in the rich Hungarian local cuisine that would suit the weather well.

Read More About Budapest In January

Budapest Itineraries | Best Day Trips from Budapest | Battle of the Budapest Baths | Budapest River Cruises | Best Time To Visit Budapest

Top Recommended Experiences in Budapest

Zurich, switzerland, average high: 4°c | average low: -1°c.

The Best Places to Go in Europe in January

Zurich in January is a beautiful time of year for those looking for a peaceful winter holiday. With its snow-covered streets and frozen lakes, the Swiss city exudes an air of serenity that can be enjoyed from the cozy confines of outdoor cafes or from the observation decks at local mountains. Visitors may also take advantage of Zurich’s many cultural attractions, such as the world-renowned opera house or old churches filled with art and history. January is an ideal time to explore all Zurich has to offer while snuggling up in warm winter clothing and enjoying the crisp air of this beautiful city.

Top Recommended Experiences in Zurich

Vienna, austria.

Vienna in January is great for those looking to explore the city’s rich culture and history. The city's many museums and galleries, including the world-famous Kunsthistorisches Museum, come alive with winter exhibits and special performances. Visitors may also take advantage of Vienna’s beautiful parks, which are blanketed in fresh white snow and provide a perfect opportunity to take in the city’s stunning architecture. It is also a great time of year to sample some traditional Viennese cuisine, such as Goulash or Schnitzel. January is an ideal time for those who wish to explore Vienna in all its winter glory. It'll be cold, so make sure to pack your winter wear!

Top Recommended Experiences in Vienna

London, united kingdom, average high: 9°c | average low: 4°c.

London is one of the premier tourist destinations in Europe. It has cultural diversity, heritage, and the chic sophistication that is desirable in every top metropolis. Such is its popularity among tourists that London never sees a month devoid of the tourist crowd. Even in January, there seems to be a steady flow of visitors. However, since it is low season in January, you should be able to find the accommodation of your choice at a cheaper rate. January sees a little less crowd at popular spots like the London Eye. After the conclusion of the holiday season, Londoners take a step back and enjoy a quiet month. This could be your chance to explore the city and its wonderful architecture. You will also be able to enjoy events like the London Short Film Festival and Hogwarts in Snow.

Read More About London In January

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Top Recommended Experiences in London

travel europe in january

Prague, Czech Republic

Average high: 3°c | average low: -1°c.

The Best Places to Go in Europe in January

Prague in January is a great time to visit the city’s many historical monuments and attractions. The temperatures are usually quite mild, making it easy to explore the cobblestone streets and quaint cafes without feeling too hot or cold. Prague's main sites are particularly beautiful at this time of year, with snow adding an extra layer of charm to the city’s picturesque architecture. January is also a great time to enjoy traditional Czech food and beer, as well as experience some of the city's vibrant cultural celebrations that take place in winter. It truly is an ideal time for those looking to explore Prague’s many wonders.

Read More About Prague In January

Prague Travel Guide | Prague Trip Planner | Prague Castle | One Day Prague Itinerary | Prague Astronomical Clock

Madrid, Spain

Average high: 10°c | average low: 1°c.

The Best Places to Go in Europe in January

Madrid is the Spanish administrative capital, which makes it one of the most important cities in the world. The city also has enough attractions to lure millions of tourists every year. Madrid has a harsh winter, but the city is located at an altitude, which helps it receive bright sunlight and clear skies throughout January. So once you are in Madrid, you will see the locals out and about. January is a great time to explore the parks of Madrid, especially Retiro Park. You should also try some winter specialty food items while you are in the city, including Cocido Madrileño and churros. If you have some spare time, head outside the city to enjoy some winter sports like snowboarding and skiing.

Read More About Madrid in January

One Day in Madrid | Madrid to Segovia | Madrid to Toledo | Santiago Bernabeu Tour | Reina Sofia Museum | Prado Museum | Madrid Trip Planner

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travel europe in january

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Average high: 6°c | average low: 1°c.

The Best Places to Go in Europe in January

Amsterdam in January is a great opportunity to explore the city’s many museums and attractions, as well as enjoy its unique winter charms. The canals are especially beautiful in winter, with cobbled streets and snow-dusted houses providing a picturesque landscape for visitors. Ice skating on Amsterdam’s frozen canals is a popular winter activity, as well as a great way to take in the city’s unique atmosphere. It is also a great time of year to sample some traditional Dutch cuisine and marvel at Amsterdam's centuries-old architecture that truly come alive in the cooler months. January is an ideal time for vibrant winter exploration of Amsterdam.

Read More About Amsterdam in January

Amsterdam Itineraries | Amsterdam Travel Guide | 24 Hours in Amsterdam | Free Things to do in Amsterdam | Amsterdam Travel Tips

Top Recommended Experiences in Amsterdam

Santorini, greece, average high: 14°c | average low: 9°c.

The Best Places to Go in Europe in January

Santorini in January is a great time to visit the island’s many picturesque villages and attractions. The mild temperatures make it perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking and exploring the historical sites, wineries, and beaches that the island has to offer. Many locals also celebrate the warm winter months by gathering around bonfires on the beach and enjoying traditional Greek music. January is also a great time to sample some of the island’s delicious cuisine, such as moussaka, grilled fish, and fresh seafood. Santorini in January is an ideal time for those who wish to enjoy the beauty of winter while taking advantage of all that the island has to offer.

Top Recommended Experiences in Santorini

Europe through the year.

Best Places To Visit In Europe In January

Best Places To Visit In Europe In February

Best Places To Visit In Europe In March

Best Places To Visit In Europe In April

Best Places To Visit In Europe In May

Best Places To Visit In Europe In June

Best Places To Visit In Europe In July

Best Places To Visit In Europe In August

Best Places To Visit In Europe In September

Best Places To Visit In Europe In October

Best Places To Visit In Europe In November

Best Places To Visit In Europe In December

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Lakshmi Menon

Born to parents bit by the wander bug, Lakshmi calls her love for travel "hereditary and habitual". Perpetually ensconced with a book in her hand and a mug of coffee in the other, she has been to over 15 countries in her 23 years of existence and is currently saving miles and money for her solo trip to Iceland. Always hustling towards the least trodden path, she has encountered some wonderful people during her escapades and if you ever meet her, she won't stop gushing about them.

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Norway travel plan March 2025 7-8 Days - Norway Forum

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' class=

Dear everyone and DEs,

We had to redo our planning, and now thinking to travel in March.

But our days will get significantly cut down from original ~14days. Now we are looking at 7-8 days.

Travel in family group : 6-8 pax

Timing : March 2024

Not driving, will use public transport

No hiking due to senior 65yo in group

Our main interest are :

1. Top priority is Northern Light

2. Fjord winter scenery

4. Other beautiful scenery sites

5. We are not into city visiting

Our questions are :

1. Can help suggest a trip plan base on above?

2. To catch Northern Light, how many days we should stay in Tromso ?

3. Does it make a different between early March vs Late March - in term of NL? Is there a good chance to catch NL?

4. Is there any particular Fjord that offers more impressive/beautiful sceneries?

22 replies to this topic

' class=

Hi - see my post below - may be helpful:

https://www.tripadvisor.in/ShowTopic-g190475-i2314-k14760973-End_of_March_good_or_bad_to_see_the_Northern_Lights-Tromso_Troms_Northern_Norway.html

travel europe in january

In 7-8 days you cannot do fjords, Northern Lights and Lofoten especially without a car (and it is wise to not have a car in your situation). So I think you have to forget Lofoten and come back for Lofoten in the summer.

By the end of March the nights are getting shorter but still dark enough in the middle of the night. End of March is better for scenery but early March slightly better for NL as you have more hours of darkness. If NL is the priority I would maybe opt for early March. So you can arrive in Oslo , do NiN to Bergen (maybe with an overnight in Flåm in early March to have the best scenery in daylight) and then fly to Tromsø and spend the rest of your time there with NL tours every night. You have to work out on paper how much nights this gives you in Tromsø but the usual recommendation is to stay 5 nights for the best chance.

“1. Top priority is Northern Light“

Lofoten is as I regard it mainly a summer destination and consists of several islands connected with bridges making it difficult to move around with public transport.

So drop Lofoten islands

In Tromsø everything is close at hand and there are several options for what to do .

Thanks again Anne, Soph !!

Soph, I will follow the below :

Kato, also thanks very much for your sharing, it seems like you had a great fruitful trip !! will look into it.

To be honest if that was me, I would do this itinerary because I'm quite sure it would be interesting, and hope that I will get NL as a bonus, knowing that this does not give me the best chance for NL. Then again you could stay several nights in Tromso, go on tours every night and still not see the NL. So really manage your priorities. We cannot do that for you.

Last 2 days - we took the cruise ferry to Svolvaer - leaves 130am and reaches 630pm = about 17 hours of a beautiful ride ! The scenery we enjoyed during daytime - from Harstad to Svolvaer - was just spellbinding.

Our original plan was to take the 1030pm ferry back to Tromso - reaching next day 230pm. So only a few hours in Svolvaer itself. That ferry was unfortunately cancelled - so we had to change the program .

We stayed overnight in Svolvaer, bus to Evenes airport next morning (a beautiful 3 hour bus ride in Lofoten !!) and flight back to Tromso via Andenes. This is a small plane and flies pretty low - so the views from the plane were also great ! All in all - our less than 48 hour trip to Lofoten was absolutely worth it.....a pity we could not extend it.

Think about this - the cruise ferry ride itself is one of the most beautiful sea rides we have taken... .. we paid about NOK 4400 for a cabin with window and including breakfast - total for the 2 of us...

.... continuing... if this helps...

2. On our last day in Tromso - after return from Lofoten - we saw the NL again while walking down the streets... this was March 26.

So NLs are definitely see late March..... of course you have to be lucky....

CAUTION: it can get really cccold on these tours.... we were so well protected but still found it very difficult to take the -18C cold ... I guess being from a tropical country like India... this was not surprising.. So pl make sure to invest in good clothing.

https://www.fjordtours.com/en/norway/tours/norway-in-a-nutshell?ads_rl=8565357663&&&&gad_source=1&gclid=EAIaIQobChMImZfG_9yKhgMVhiKtBh2ldwB9EAAYASAAEgI1x_D_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

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Score Year-Round Savings With the 12 Cheapest European Countries by Month

Posted: May 4, 2024 | Last updated: May 4, 2024

<p>Pack your bags and prepare for an epic European vacation that won’t hurt your wallet with the most affordable month-to-month destinations.</p> <p>Many dream of adventuring through Europe, but high travel costs can prevent your trip from becoming a reality. Knowing the best months to visit top European countries will help you save on transportation, lodging, and activities. With some flexibility and preparation, you can enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Europe without overspending.</p> <p><strong>These are the most affordable European countries to visit according to month:</strong></p>

Pack your bags and prepare for an epic European vacation that won’t hurt your wallet with the most affordable month-to-month destinations.

Many dream of adventuring through Europe, but high travel costs can prevent your trip from becoming a reality. Knowing the best months to visit top European countries will help you save on transportation, lodging, and activities. With some flexibility and preparation, you can enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Europe without overspending.

These are the most affordable European countries to visit according to month:

<p>Switzerland is a premier <a href="https://whatthefab.com/winter-breaks-in-europe.html" rel="follow">European destination during winter</a>. In addition to experiencing the Swiss Alps, visitors can embark on a <a href="https://whatthefab.com/rail-tours-around-the-world.html" rel="follow">scenic train ride</a> or indulge in cheese and chocolate food tours. Switzerland is a postcard-worthy place to explore charming Old World cities without massive crowds.</p><p>You can save big on travel costs by visiting in January, which is low season, according to <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/best-time-to-visit-switzerland-8401325" rel="nofollow external noopener noreferrer">Travel + Leisure</a>. Since there are fewer tourists this time of year, you can often score deals on accommodations, as hotels will likely be under capacity.</p>

January: Switzerland

Switzerland is a premier European destination during winter . In addition to experiencing the Swiss Alps, visitors can embark on a scenic train ride or indulge in cheese and chocolate food tours. Switzerland is a postcard-worthy place to explore charming Old World cities without massive crowds.

You can save big on travel costs by visiting in January, which is low season, according to Travel + Leisure . Since there are fewer tourists this time of year, you can often score deals on accommodations, as hotels will likely be under capacity.

<p>Winter is the ideal season to escape to the Alps for a snowy adventure. Since February is an off-peak time for European tourism, it’s a relatively cheap time of year to travel. Consider booking a skiing or snowboarding trip to Austria in February. Many ski resorts offer discounted passes, while flights and accommodations will likely be lower in price than usual. </p>

February: Austria

Winter is the ideal season to escape to the Alps for a snowy adventure. Since February is an off-peak time for European tourism, it’s a relatively cheap time of year to travel. Consider booking a skiing or snowboarding trip to Austria in February. Many ski resorts offer discounted passes, while flights and accommodations will likely be lower in price than usual. 

<p>Hop across the pond to spend March in the United Kingdom (U.K.). Famous areas like <a href="https://whatthefab.com/things-to-do-in-london.html" rel="follow">London</a>, England, and Edinburgh, Scotland, are significantly more affordable in spring. The weather is also typically pleasant, and you’ll avoid the surge of summer tourists. Book your trip to the U.K. in March for cheaper airfare and lodging options.</p>

March: United Kingdom

Hop across the pond to spend March in the United Kingdom (U.K.). Famous areas like London , England, and Edinburgh, Scotland, are significantly more affordable in spring. The weather is also typically pleasant, and you’ll avoid the surge of summer tourists. Book your trip to the U.K. in March for cheaper airfare and lodging options.

<p>April is an excellent time of year to visit Germany on a budget. Not only is April an off-peak travel month, but it’s also in the heart of Germany’s vibrant spring season. Admire beautiful wildflower fields while traveling to wallet-friendly cities like Berlin and Hamburg. April crowds will be light at most popular <a href="https://whatthefab.com/things-to-do-in-germany.html" rel="follow">things to do in Germany</a>, and <a href="https://www.hotels.com/go/germany/best-time-visit-germany" rel="nofollow external noopener noreferrer">Hotels.com</a> shares it’s one of the cheapest times to visit for low hotel prices.</p>

April: Germany

April is an excellent time of year to visit Germany on a budget. Not only is April an off-peak travel month, but it’s also in the heart of Germany’s vibrant spring season. Admire beautiful wildflower fields while traveling to wallet-friendly cities like Berlin and Hamburg. April crowds will be light at most popular things to do in Germany , and Hotels.com shares it’s one of the cheapest times to visit for low hotel prices.

<p>France is a notoriously expensive destination, but you can save by booking in May. The weather tends to be warm yet mild, making it ideal for wandering the Paris streets or a <a href="https://whatthefab.com/luxury-river-cruises.html" rel="follow">luxury river cruise</a> down the Seine. Flights to France are often cheaper in May, which is a shoulder season for tourism. As a result, <a href="https://travel.usnews.com/Paris_France/When_To_Visit/" rel="nofollow external noopener noreferrer">U.S. News Travel</a> shares that travelers can frequently score hotel room price cuts throughout the month.</p>

May: France

France is a notoriously expensive destination, but you can save by booking in May. The weather tends to be warm yet mild, making it ideal for wandering the Paris streets or a luxury river cruise down the Seine. Flights to France are often cheaper in May, which is a shoulder season for tourism. As a result, U.S. News Travel shares that travelers can frequently score hotel room price cuts throughout the month.

<p>Croatia is a fantastic summer getaway for budget-conscious travelers. Its location on the Adriatic Sea is famous for its vibrant coastlines and rich cultural heritage. A road trip down the coast will allow you to tour <a href="https://whatthefab.com/bucket-list-unesco-world-heritage-sites.html" rel="follow">UNESCO World Heritage Sites</a>, dine on fresh local cuisine, and enjoy the scenic waterfront views. Add Split and Dubrovnik to your sightseeing itinerary for low-cost activities like wandering the city plazas and enjoying the public beaches. </p>

June: Croatia

Croatia is a fantastic summer getaway for budget-conscious travelers. Its location on the Adriatic Sea is famous for its vibrant coastlines and rich cultural heritage. A road trip down the coast will allow you to tour UNESCO World Heritage Sites , dine on fresh local cuisine, and enjoy the scenic waterfront views. Add Split and Dubrovnik to your sightseeing itinerary for low-cost activities like wandering the city plazas and enjoying the public beaches.

<p>Bulgaria is an underrated place to travel for a July vacation. There’s much to discover, from scenic coastlines overlooking the Black Sea to mountainous regions of rolling forests. The country experiences a hot summer ideal for hiking, boating, and touring cities. Sofia, the capital, is a haven for art and history, appealing to all visitors. Meanwhile, <a href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe-travel/europes-best-cheap-summer-holiday-destinations-vwlgzg0s7" rel="nofollow external noopener noreferrer">The Times</a> named Sunny Beach one of the most affordable summer destinations in Europe.</p>

July: Bulgaria

Bulgaria is an underrated place to travel for a July vacation. There’s much to discover, from scenic coastlines overlooking the Black Sea to mountainous regions of rolling forests. The country experiences a hot summer ideal for hiking, boating, and touring cities. Sofia, the capital, is a haven for art and history, appealing to all visitors. Meanwhile, The Times named Sunny Beach one of the most affordable summer destinations in Europe.

<p>Consider Hungary if you’re craving an end-of-summer trip that won’t break the bank. <a href="https://whatthefab.com/cheap-european-cities.html" rel="follow">Cities like Budapest</a> and Debrecen are budget-friendly throughout the year. You can find extra savings on transportation and lodging by visiting in August. The summer crowds will thin out, offering excellent deals on hotels and car rentals.</p>

August: Hungary

Consider Hungary if you’re craving an end-of-summer trip that won’t break the bank. Cities like Budapest and Debrecen are budget-friendly throughout the year. You can find extra savings on transportation and lodging by visiting in August. The summer crowds will thin out, offering excellent deals on hotels and car rentals.

<p>A trip to Italy can quickly become expensive, but visiting in September can help cut costs. Thanks to lower tourist numbers, September is one of the cheapest months for Italy travel. In addition to fantastic prices, you’ll also be rewarded with pleasant weather. From Bologna to Turin, there are numerous <a href="https://whatthefab.com/best-places-to-visit-in-italy.html" rel="follow">affordable cities to spend your vacation in Italy</a>.  </p>

September: Italy

A trip to Italy can quickly become expensive, but visiting in September can help cut costs. Thanks to lower tourist numbers, September is one of the cheapest months for Italy travel. In addition to fantastic prices, you’ll also be rewarded with pleasant weather. From Bologna to Turin, there are numerous affordable cities to spend your vacation in Italy .  

<p>Discover Spain’s beauty without overspending by planning a trip in October. This time of year can be cold and rainy, resulting in cheaper travel costs. Many accommodations in Spain have discounted October rates since it’s an off-peak month. Explore the bustling <a href="https://whatthefab.com/madrid-travel-guide.html" rel="follow">Madrid</a> city life or unwind on a tasting tour of Spain’s famed wine regions. </p>

October: Spain

Discover Spain’s beauty without overspending by planning a trip in October. This time of year can be cold and rainy, resulting in cheaper travel costs. Many accommodations in Spain have discounted October rates since it’s an off-peak month. Explore the bustling Madrid city life or unwind on a tasting tour of Spain’s famed wine regions. 

<p>Transportation and lodging prices follow suit as temperatures drop throughout Poland in November. If you don’t mind the cold, it’s an excellent place to spend a week in winter. Due to the weather, flights are considerably cheaper in November. While you must bundle up to stay warm, planning a November trip to Poland is an unforgettable adventure. </p>

November: Poland

Transportation and lodging prices follow suit as temperatures drop throughout Poland in November. If you don’t mind the cold, it’s an excellent place to spend a week in winter. Due to the weather, flights are considerably cheaper in November. While you must bundle up to stay warm, planning a November trip to Poland is an unforgettable adventure. 

<p>Get into the holiday spirit with a December vacation to the Czech Republic. Prague, the capital city, is world-famous for its festive winter markets and events. Budget travelers can save by focusing their time on charming villages and historical sites found throughout the country. Consider flying into Prague before escaping the hustle and bustle in favor of smaller and more affordable cities like Brno and Olomouc.</p>

December: Czech Republic

Get into the holiday spirit with a December vacation to the Czech Republic. Prague, the capital city, is world-famous for its festive winter markets and events. Budget travelers can save by focusing their time on charming villages and historical sites found throughout the country. Consider flying into Prague before escaping the hustle and bustle in favor of smaller and more affordable cities like Brno and Olomouc.

<p>The cost of a family trip can quickly skyrocket between transportation, accommodations, food, and activities. <a href="https://whatthefab.com/way-to-save-money-on-family-vacations.html" rel="follow">Money-saving travel hacks</a> can help you budget for family vacations without sacrificing fun.</p>

Hack your next family vacation to save big

The cost of a family trip can quickly skyrocket between transportation, accommodations, food, and activities. Money-saving travel hacks can help you budget for family vacations without sacrificing fun.

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Medical travel insurance, seniors travel insurance, europe travel insurance, worldwide travel insurance, coronavirus travel insurance, popular winter sports destinations to visit in 2024.

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If you love snow, ice and adrenaline, consider a winter sports holiday this year. Whether you’re a seasoned skier or just looking for fun in the frosty air, the perfect destination is waiting for you.

But where should you go? There are so many options to choose from, each with its own charm and appeal. To help you decide, we’ve compiled a list of some of Europe’s most popular winter sports destinations.

Winter sports destinations in Europe

Europe is home to some of the world’s most famous ski resorts, attracting millions of visitors every year. 

France is Europe’s most visited ski destination, with over 50 million skier days last year. Various resorts await you, from the large and well-known ones to the more petite and charming options. France also offers excellent cuisine, culture and nightlife, making it a great choice for a winter holiday.

Austria is another popular choice for skiers in Europe. It has a reputation for being friendly and affordable, with many traditional villages and cosy chalets. Some of the best resorts in Austria include Kitzbühel, St Anton, Zell am See and Ischgl. 

Switzerland boasts some of Europe’s most spectacular mountains and exclusive resorts, making it a fantastic choice for your winter sports adventure. 

Italy is another great option for travellers who want to combine their passion for winter sports with their love of food, art and history. Some of the best resorts in Italy include Cortina d’Ampezzo, Madonna di Campiglio, Cervinia and Sestriere. 

travel europe in january

Popular winter sports resorts to try in 2024

If you want a mixture of adventure and luxury, you’d do well to plan a trip to any of these winter sports resorts.

  • Chamonix: Considered one of the world’s oldest and most famous ski resorts, Chamonix is found at the foot of Mont Blanc in France. It offers some of the most challenging and varied terrain in Europe, and stunning views of the Alps. It’s a lively town with plenty of shops, restaurants, bars and clubs to keep you entertained after a day on the slopes.
  • Kitzbühel: One of Austria’s most picturesque and charming destinations, situated in the heart of the Tyrol region. With runs available for all skill levels, as well as plenty of off-piste opportunities, it’s perfect for a mixed ability group trip. Kitzbühel is also famous for hosting the annual Hahnenkamm race, one of the ski calendar’s most prestigious and thrilling events.
  • Zermatt: This glamorous Swiss resort sits at the base of the famous Matterhorn. It offers over 360 km of slopes for all abilities and some of the best snow conditions in Europe. Zermatt is a car-free village with a charming and cosy atmosphere. 
  • Cortina d’Ampezzo: An elegant and stylish town in the Dolomites mountains. As well as the wonderful skiing, you can soak up the stunning views and atmosphere on your trip. The town is fashionable and sophisticated, with a rich cultural and historical heritage.

Planning a ski trip to any of these destinations? Remember that winter sports can be risky and unpredictable, so you’ll need to ensure you have the right travel insurance .

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European Tourism 2024 – Trends & Prospects (Q1/2024)

Publication date: May 2024

Language: English

travel europe in january

AS CONSUMERS CONTINUE TO PRIORITISE TRAVEL EXPERIENCES, 2024 IS SET TO BE A BUSY YEAR FOR EUROPEAN TOURISM

Data across reporting destinations shows that Europe is experiencing sustained growth in international tourism volumes. With the most recent data available for the full year of 2023, foreign arrivals reached 1.2% below 2019 levels, while foreign overnights recovered to just 0.2% below. This revival continued into the first few months of 2024, which – although based on a smaller number of reporting destinations – showed an increase of 7.2% and 6.5%, respectively, over the same period in 2019.

Year-to-date arrivals data shows that trends regarding the spread of travellers across European destinations have continued from 2023 into 2024. Southern European destinations, and especially those known for their relative affordability, have excelled in attracting international visitors in the first months of the year. Serbia (+46.9%), Bulgaria (+38.8%), Türkiye (+35.3%), Malta (+34.8%), Portugal (+16.9%), and Spain (+14.0%), reported the highest growth rates compared to 2019. Meanwhile, the Baltics continued to lag in their recovery, with international arrivals below 2019 levels for Lithuania (-14.0%), Estonia (-15.1%) and Latvia (-33.5%).

Consumers will continue to prioritise spending on travel over other leisure expenditures in 2024, leading to higher volumes of travellers from intra-European and long-haul markets. Forecasts suggest tourists will spend €742.8bn euros in Europe in 2024, a rise of 14.3% on last year. Travellers’ expenditure on food and beverages is projected to surge by 30% compared to 2023, posing good prospects for providers of gastronomic experiences in Europe. Similarly, growth in spending is expected for recreation, culture and sport (+27%), retail (+23%), transport (+23%) and accommodation (+19%), driven by both inflationary pressures as well as demand preferences. A balancing act will be required from suppliers to ensure that higher prices do not lead to poorer perceptions of value-for-money.

See Europe as the Europeans do this summer with these pro tips | Cruising Altitude

travel europe in january

Americans are heading to Europe for vacation as much as ever these days, and that means the typical tourist spots like Venice, Paris and London are sure to be crowded this year. But, because this is Cruising Altitude, we’ll look at the aviation angle first.

First and foremost: If you’re really determined to go to Europe this summer and haven’t booked yet, stop reading now and get on it. 

“I’ve never seen a year like this … We’re at the point where there’s no more availability,” Brigitte Armand, President of Eurobound , a tour organizer that specializes in European packages, told me. “Book as quickly as possible.” 

How to get around

According to Armand, trains are generally a great way to get from place to place within Europe, but for farther-flung stops, the continent’s network of low-cost airlines offers travelers a reliable alternative.

Learn more: Best travel insurance

“Don’t think of one airline as being your network and entry point within Europe,” Laura Lindsay, public relations director at online booking platform Skyscanner told me.

She said if you’re flying to Europe from the U.S., you may well rely on a large network carrier like British Airways, KLM or Lufthansa to get across the Atlantic and then book your intra-European flights separately.

“You’re suddenly opening up Europe in a different way if you search for different airports and multiple airlines,” Lindsay said. “It’s pretty straightforward to get around, so don’t feel put off by jumping through a few different countries or trying a few different destinations.” 

Tips for European airlines

According to Lindsay, European low-cost carriers like Ryanair, Easyjet and Wizz Air often have stricter baggage policies like American ULCCs Spirit and Frontier.

“(The) top tip would be always make sure you understand the luggage allowance that is part of your ticket,” she said. “More often than not, don’t book the basic fare without checking.”

It’s also a good idea to be flexible with your airports and dates of travel if you want to get the best deals on those shorter flights.

“You’ll get a number of places that have more than one airport,” Lindsay said, noting that Skyscanner has a tool that allows travelers to search for flights to or from nearby airports when choosing a destination. “Just getting a map out and actually looking at where exactly you want to travel and where the nearby airports are.” 

Armand added that if you take the train instead, you may need to secure a reservation in advance, particularly for some of the more tourist-heavy routes like panoramic trains in Switzerland. 

Last week's Cruising Altitude: There was no Golden Age of flying. We're in it now.

Where to go

If you really want to summer like a European, you should consider places a little more off the radar for most Americans.

“Albania is somewhere that broke through a couple of years ago as somewhere that people recognized as offering a huge value for money,” Lindsay said. “Sarajevo is reporting its busiest April on record for travelers.”

Armand said it can also be a good idea to try different parts of countries that are already popular if you want a more authentic, less crowded experience.

“We recently arranged a whole trip for some clients in the Abruzzo region of Italy,” she said. “The Abruzzo region, it’s on the Adriatic, people don’t know this region, and I think this is the first time ever we put together a package to get to that region.” 

Data from Skyscanner shows that some destinations in Europe are picking up in popularity with travelers on the continent. Here are some of the trends that are bubbling up year over year from 2023 to 2024.

  • Ljubljana, Slovenia, saw a 188% increase in searches from Spanish travelers
  • Tromso, Norway, saw a 130% increase in interest from Italian holidaymakers
  • Dusseldorf had a 122% spike in interest from Brits

According to Armand, the best last-minute availability seems to be in eastern Europe, like Bulgaria and Poland.

“There are some good deals there perhaps, even the Czech Republic I’m finding some decent space,” she said.

So go on, get packing.

Zach Wichter is a travel reporter for USA TODAY based in New York. You can reach him at [email protected].

7 Most Surprisingly Inviting Towns In New York

New Paltz to Mount Pleasant, these inviting small towns in New York promise fewer crowds and endless fun.

  • Discover hidden gems in New York like New Paltz for a laid-back escape from city life with adventure and artsy vibes.
  • Rejuvenate your soul in Lake Placid with winter sports or summer hikes, offering a perfect mix of outdoor adventures.
  • Experience small-town charm in Mount Pleasant, just a short drive from NYC, for a relaxed and peaceful retreat.

New York is a land of unmatched appeal and great contrast. It is home to high-end metropolises like New York City and Buffalo that depict the peak of busy lifestyles. However, there are plenty of uncrowded alternatives to popular touristy cities in New York ; there are many cozy, laid-back New York hidden gems like Saranac Lake and Hammondsport that are recognized for their spell-binding natural beauty and small-town charm.

Now, if you love to explore picture-perfect destinations that are inviting and uncrowded, we hear you! Here is a list of surprisingly inviting towns in New York State, each underrated yet scenic and fun, featuring a range of options to keep you engaged and entertained.

Top 10 Towns To Retire To For Cheap In Beautiful Upstate New York

7 new paltz, witness the glorious wilderness, partake in adventure activities, and explore european-style shopping spots.

New Paltz is one of the most picturesque small towns in the Catskills region , recognized globally for its down-to-earth appeal and spellbinding Hudson Valley views. This laid-back destination is a sweet escape from the corporate jungle life of busy cities; it is home to numerous historical sites, art galleries, family-friendly farms and wineries, and quaint boutique shops.

When here, leisure lovers can spend their time exploring the downtown gems, while adventure lovers can indulge in hiking, rock climbing, camping, and other activities to unlock extraordinary experiences!

6 Lake Placid

A winter wonderland with an eclectic variety of outdoor activities.

Rated as one of the most scenic towns to visit in Upstate New York in winter , Lake Placid is an inviting tourist destination, perfect for rejuvenating jaded souls craving a break from their mundane lives.

Nestled in the lap of the Adirondack Mountains, this must-visit NY spot allows travelers to indulge in unfiltered back-country adventure; one can cruise down Olympic trials at Whiteface Mountain and nearby ski resorts, go ice climbing, as well as enjoy sleigh rides. That said, it's also a wonderful summer destination, thanks to scenic hiking trails and water adventures on the lake.

18 Beautiful Places To Live In New York State

5 port jefferson, discover a vibrant art scene, quiet beaches, and a beautiful walkable downtown.

Located on the Northern Shore of Long Island, Port Jefferson is a peaceful harbor village with a small population of less than 8,000 residents .

When here, tourists love exploring the laid-back downtown area and partaking in relaxing activities like admiring the sight of sunset at an uncrowded beach, fishing, and people-watching to wash away their city stress and reconnect to the present moment. There are many family-friendly restaurants and parks as well, so you can rest assured that you'll cherish a perfect vacation.

A gorgeous mountain town with a plethora of adventure attractions and natural glory

Located in St. Lawrence County, Potsdam is an underrated gem in New York State, boasting untamed wilderness, lush landscapes, and rich cultural heritage.

From visiting museums and local art galleries to enjoying freshwater fishing, cross-country skiing, and hiking, there are endless things to do in Potsdam , making it yet another interesting and inviting destination in the state.

3 Greenport

Explore the historic main street, dine out at waterfront restaurants, and visit world-class wineries.

Greenport is undoubtedly one of the most inviting New York towns, featuring serene, calming scenery and a truly enchanting shoreline. The small, fairy-tale-like seaside village of Greenport is one of Long Island’s hidden gems that has unique architectural features, small and delightful accommodations, and a range of outdoor activities.

When here, enjoy a beautiful trip visiting museums, vineyards, and nature preserves, and dining out at top-rated restaurants featuring charming outdoor terraces.

2 Plattsburgh

An upbeat town attracting nature lovers, history buffs, and art aficionados.

Plattsburgh is a charming small town in Clinton County, NY, perfect for those who enjoy diving deep into art, history, and culture. When here, you’ll be delighted to find the city's vibrant streets, adorned with art and reflecting the artistic spirit of the community. From antique shopping at Jam Vintage to visiting the iconic Bluff Point Lighthouse , there are several things that will keep you busy and content.

Also, if you love adventure, visit Point Au Roche State Park - it’s a stone’s throw away from the town center and offers a range of hiking and exploration opportunities.

10 Most Beautiful Towns In Western New York

1 mount pleasant, discover small-town charm and ease amid nature.

Mount Pleasant is a small scenic town in Westchester County, featuring a pleasant ambiance and a low-key lifestyle. The close-knit community here boasts a hard-to-find blend of modernity and simplicity, attracting vacationers aiming to embrace small-town allure in a truly relaxed setting.

Do note that Mount Pleasant is only 50 minutes away from bustling NYC, so you can drive here any day to escape the madness and enjoy a relaxed, peaceful time.

COMMENTS

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  2. 21 best places to visit in Europe in January (2024 guide)

    Paphos, Cyprus. Paphos is one of the best places to visit in Europe in January. This coastal city is located in the southwestern part of Cyprus and is known for its very rich history. Over the centuries, various civilizations like the Greeks, Romans, Turks, and even the British have made left their marks in this place.

  3. The 15 Best Places to Visit in Europe in January

    January is surprisingly mild in Paphos, with plenty of sunshine at highs of around 60°F (15°C). This weather is perfect for laid-back beach days without having to worry too much about getting burned. If you're wondering where to go in Europe in January, Paphos is well worth a visit! 9. Zell am See, Austria.

  4. 35 Best Places to Visit in Europe in January

    8. Tallinn, Estonia. Photo by falco on Pixabay. Tucked away in the Baltic region, Tallinn, Estonia's capital, is a hidden gem that comes alive in January. Despite being one of the lesser-known countries in Europe, Tallinn is a captivating place to visit during this time of year.

  5. 24 Best Places To Visit In Europe In January (2024)

    Tenerife, Spain (Canary Islands) By Lara from The Best Travel Gifts. One of the best beach destinations to visit in January in Europe if you are looking for a sunny days is Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands. With pleasant temperatures, Tenerife is one of the warmest places in Europe during the winter months.

  6. 27 Best Places to Visit in Europe in January (+ Winter Tips!)

    Location: Poland. Average temperatures in Zakopane in January: highs of 0C (31F) and lows of -9C (16F); 5 days of precipitation. Recommended by: Holly from Four around the World. Zakopane is a beautiful mountain town in Poland that is well-known for its winter sports and quaint wooden houses.

  7. 21 European Cities That Are Even More Charming in Winter

    Europe Travel Guide The Daily Our most popular newsletter for destination inspiration, travel tips, trip itineraries, and everything else you need to be an expert traveler in this beautiful world

  8. 73 BEST Places to Visit in Europe in January [2024 UPDATE]

    2. London, England - one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for iconic sites and romance. 3. Český Krumlov, Czech Republic. 4. Rome, Italy - one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for romance. 5. The Hague, Netherlands. 6.

  9. 20 best places to visit in Europe in January

    The weather in Europe in January. In most of Europe, January is the chilliest month, with average temperatures often dropping to around - 7°C / 19°F. Expect shorter, darker days and freezing conditions. Be sure to pack your winter essentials: a coat, hat, scarf, gloves, and plenty of warm layers. Best winter destinations in Europe

  10. 10 classic European winter vacations to try

    5. Bask in the sunshine in Andalucía, Spain. Some parts of Andalucía are further south than the African coast, so expect mild temperatures in winter. Accommodation is cheap and crowds are smaller at standout attractions like Granada's Alhambra and Seville's cathedral.

  11. 15 warmest places in Europe in January (2024 guide)

    Warmest places to visit in Europe in February. Warmest places in Europe in March. 1. Malaga, Spain. When most of Europe is shivering, Malaga, sitting on Spain's south coast, is home to an abundance of warmth and sunshine! The capital of the Costa del Sol, Malaga averages a comfortable 17°C (63°F) in January.

  12. 34 Best Countries to Visit in January (Perfect for Relaxation & Adventure)

    10. Spain. Malaga, Spain, one of the best places to visit in Europe in January. Average temp: high 62, low 46 (varies by region) Fly into: Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport, Malaga. If you are looking for a warm winter destination, the south of Spain and the Spanish islands are excellent options.

  13. 15 Best European Cities to Visit in January 2021

    Best things to do in Dresden in January: Visit the impressive Zwinger Palace, go ice skating at Palais Taschenberg, or enjoy the splash of colors in winter gardens. 9. Reykjavik, Iceland. Although Reykjavik is one of the coldest cities year-round, winters in Reykjavik are spectacular.

  14. 34 Prettiest Warm Places in Europe in January [2024]

    Here are the best winter escapes in Spain. 34. Seville, Spain. 🌡️ Average January temperature: 42 °-60°F | 6°-16°C. 💧 Average rainy days in January: 6. ☀️ Why visit in January: Seville is the capital of Andalusia and one of the sunniest places in Europe. Even in January, temperatures are very mild.

  15. The 11 Best European City Breaks to Take in January

    Here are some of the best European city break destinations to consider this January. 1. Lisbon. Market. Share. Add to Plan. Aayush Gupta / Unsplash. View Tours. One of Europe's hottest new city break destinations, Lisbon has great nightlife, plenty of museums and galleries plus a mouthwatering food culture.

  16. 32 BEST Destinations To Spend Winter In Europe

    Krakow, Poland. Another fantastic place to spend winter in Europe is this Polish City. It's a known fact about Poland that Krakow is one of the best-preserved cities in Europe because it was amazingly spared destruction in WWII. The city lies in Southern Poland and has an impressive medieval core and Jewish quarter.

  17. Two Super Detailed Winter Europe Itineraries (for Two Weeks)

    Get the Europe in Winter Travel Guide. We know this is a giant, totally overwhelming post. That's why we've also created a handy-dandy printable e-book version! The Europe in Winter travel guide is stuffed with 30 pages of travel tips, printable packing lists, and all the itinerary details you need to plan your Europe in winter trip!

  18. 21 best holiday destinations in January 2024

    Temperature in January:-1°C high; -10°C low Season: winter Travel time from UK: 1 hour 40 minutes Time difference: GMT +1 With New Year crowds gone and no school holidays on the horizon, January is a fine time to hit up the best ski resorts in Europe.And not only does French ski resort Val present the most reliable powder on the continent, but this St-Tropez-on-snow is only getting splashier.

  19. 25 Wonderful Destinations for Winter in Europe (Sun, Snow, or Christmas!)

    Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Beyond: Epic Central Europe Itinerary. Add in the city's incredible Christmas markets in December (featuring plenty of Czech beer, of course), and Prague becomes one of the top winter travel destinations in Europe.

  20. Best Places to Visit in Europe in January 2024

    Monte Carlo - Car Rally. 24th of January -28th January 2024. In what will be the Monte Carlo Car Rally's 92nd event, prepare to witness one of the world's most famous rallies in one of the most incredible locations in Europe. With its historical roots dating back to 1911, and its associations with Prince Albert I, the event is full of ...

  21. 10 Best Winter Vacations in Europe

    Budapest. #4 in Best Winter Vacations in Europe. Budapest gets pretty cold in winter and snowfall is frequent. But, you can snag inexpensive hotel stays and plan your trip around indoor activities ...

  22. 10 Best Places to Go in Europe in January 2023

    A mixbag of 10 places that cover the warm and cold parts of Europe, our list of the 10 Best Places to Visit in Europe in January is just what you need to satisfy your January wanderlust. Keep your passports handy as you'll need them real soon! 1. Rome, Italy. 2.

  23. Norway travel plan March 2025 7-8 Days

    Travel in family group : 6-8 pax. Timing : March 2024. Not driving, will use public transport. No hiking due to senior 65yo in group. Our main interest are : 1. Top priority is Northern Light. 2. Fjord winter scenery. 3. Lofoten. 4. Other beautiful scenery sites. 5. We are not into city visiting. Our questions are : 1. Can help suggest a trip ...

  24. Score Year-Round Savings With the 12 Cheapest European Countries ...

    Switzerland is a premier European destination during winter. In addition to experiencing the Swiss Alps, visitors can embark on a scenic train ride or indulge in cheese and chocolate food tours.

  25. Popular winter sports destinations to visit in 2024

    To help you decide, we've compiled a list of some of Europe's most popular winter sports destinations. Winter sports destinations in Europe. Europe is home to some of the world's most famous ski resorts, attracting millions of visitors every year. France is Europe's most visited ski destination, with over 50 million skier days last year ...

  26. European Tourism 2024

    AS CONSUMERS CONTINUE TO PRIORITISE TRAVEL EXPERIENCES, 2024 IS SET TO BE A BUSY YEAR FOR EUROPEAN TOURISMData across reporting destinations shows that Europe is experiencing sustained growth in international tourism volumes. With the most recent data available for the full year of 2023, foreign

  27. Cruising Altitude's travel tips for Europe this summer

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  28. HX Unveils New Norway Expedition for Winter 2026

    HX has announced a new Northern Norway itinerary, set to launch in January 2026 at the peak of the aurora season. The seven-night "Ultimate Norway - Arctic Expedition Under the Northern Lights ...

  29. 7 Most Surprisingly Inviting Towns In New York

    Rated as one of the most scenic towns to visit in Upstate New York in winter, Lake Placid is an inviting tourist destination, perfect for rejuvenating jaded souls craving a break from their mundane lives.. Nestled in the lap of the Adirondack Mountains, this must-visit NY spot allows travelers to indulge in unfiltered back-country adventure; one can cruise down Olympic trials at Whiteface ...