So, that’s it, the holiday period is over, the festivities are coming to an end, and depending on your New Year’s Eve, you may be nursing a hangover and wondering how you can get out of going back to work for a little bit longer.
Well, have no fear, we want to ensure that you get your new year off to a great start and dust off those holiday blues. With many destinations to pick from, you can either head to somewhere warmer and get a tan which will leave your workmates pondering where you have been. Or, keep with the winter vibes and visit somewhere a little more special.
Here’s my list of Top Cities to visit in January which will hopefully satisfy your itch for wanderlust and finding solitude amidst nature, mountains and on the land of different countries.
1. Huacachina, Peru
This sandy paradise is something you would see in an Indiana Jones film, a secret place hidden among giant dunes, nestled against a blue lake, surrounded by palm trees which from a distance you would think was an oasis. As you get nearer, however, you realise that this city is real and utterly jaw-dropping from a high vantage point.
Jam-packed with activities, you can speed around the ever-changing dunes in a sand buggy, or head to the peak with a streamlined sandboard to pick up some crazy speeds rushing down there or explore the narrow alleyways with local produce and goods. Since it is in the desert temperatures can get pretty hot, so make sure you have your sun cream and take plenty of water with you.
2. Chicago, USA
There are so many fun things to do in Chicago to keep you busy, however, you will need to bundle up as the temperatures can get as low as -6c. The best part about heading to this city is that the prices have dropped dramatically and you will find yourself being able to find huge discounts on luxury rooms.
Not only will you spend less on your room, but you’ll be able to avoid the crowds at the popular tourist sites such as museums, observation decks and art galleries (which best of all are inside where it’s nice and warm). Chicago is the ideal place for foodies, as it boasts numerous Michelin star restaurants, local deep dish pizza’s, hot dogs and delicacies.
3. Bridgetown, Barbados
If it’s crystal clear, turquoise water and pristine white sand beaches you crave, Barbados is a top choice when thinking about the best places to travel in January. Spend your days lazing on the incredibly calm Carlisle Bay (one of the best beaches in the Caribbean), which is close to Bridgetown. Browne’s Beach here offers pristine swimming options, a couple of beach bars and lounge chairs with umbrellas for rent.
This is hands down, the best way to relax, get a tan and recoup after the hectic festivities of December and the best way to ease yourself into going back to work in January. Bajans are friendly, the food – both international and local – is amazing, sunsets are stunning and the beaches are out of this world. Barbados is a top pick for the best places to visit in January.
4. Stone Town, Tanzania
This town in Eastern Africa is one of the best places to travel in January if you’re looking for a mix of adventure and relaxation, which has a lower price tag and is considered to be a short dry season at this time of year. Expect to see lots of baby wildebeest, numerous animals grazing on the greenery, and predators lurking in the bushes as this time of year is when the Great Migration occurs.
Safaris aren’t cheap usually, but in January you’ll be able to save some money on tours and lodging as it’s not as popular. There is plenty of excellent scuba diving destinations here as well. Zanzibar island which is off the coast of Tanzania offers large marine life (sharks, whale sharks, turtles, dolphins, rays), excellent coral, shipwrecks and macro sightings as well. But, it’s not just about scuba diving. The island also offers stunning white sand beaches and the historic Stone Town, which has Arabic architecture, delicious cuisine and narrow alleyways for exploring.
5. Warsaw, Poland
It is not an exaggeration to say that Warsaw is a city that has risen like a phoenix from the ashes to the beautiful city it now and once was. In 1945 85% of the city was irretrievably destroyed. But you could now walk the streets of the Old Town without comprehending the carnage that took place during the German invasion of 1939, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943 and the general Warsaw Uprising a year later.
Nowadays, the city is stunning, with incredible architecture which can be found in Old Town and has earned a UNESCO Heritage Site status. Immerse yourself in its history through various museums, wander its narrow streets and treat yourself to some local delicacies.
6. Noosa, Australia
This is the perfect time of year to visit this awesome little surf town located on the invitingly named Sunshine Coast in Queensland, the glamorous resort town is surrounded by subtropical rainforest, lakes, rivers and the beautiful South Pacific Ocean. Featuring a beautiful beach which stretches as far as the eye can see, it is lined by resorts and hotels offering body boards and surfboards.
It is also a great location to explore the surrounding areas, with some great nature hikes, and a short drive away from infamous Steve Irwin’s Zoo where you will find kangaroos, and crikey crocs! Not to mention it is also Australia day on the 26th January and you will be privy to some huge celebrations.
7. Monument Valley, Utah
Possibly one of the most famous places in the USA, it has a pretty unusual landscape and unique features that are so incredible to see. Honestly, it’s one of the best parks to visit in the USA, especially if you’re a lover of all things nature. Although this area is commonly known as Monument Valley Park, the Navajo name is Tsé Biiʼ Ndzisgaii, which roughly translates to the valley of rocks.
This is a bucket list tick and what a way to start the year with visiting this iconic destination. It will still be pretty warm in January so not only do you get to do some epic hikes, but also thaw out from the cold weather in Europe.
8. Atacama Desert, Chile
Recently, this desert has become pretty famous on social media due to a huge hand sticking out of the ground which looks surreal in this sandy landscape. The Mano del Desierto (Hand of the Desert) is completely free to approach and view, as there are no gates, fences or anything surrounding the sculpture, and it allows you to visit it at any time of the day.
The most captivating thing about the sculpture is its sheer size. It is a powerful figure and makes for a striking sight, especially in the massive expanse of nothingness, in the middle of nowhere. Standing at over 11 meters, roughly 36 feet, this tall and thick structure stands more than double the height of a giraffe, or about the height of the average telephone pole.
Be sure to check out my website Take The Leap Travel for more information and travel advice as well as my Instagram @explorewithlee and @taketheleaptravel.
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