Want to avoid the rainy season and get some sun? Make sure you’re missing the crowds or long queues? Or even aiming to go off-season to take advantage of lower prices, cooler weather or the school holidays influx. Check out my ultimate guide of where to go, and when.
January – Australia
I think we’re all in agreement that January is a pretty miserable time of the year in the UK; cold weather and post-Christmas blues! For sunnier climes, Australia is the perfect place to visit at this time of year. Perhaps get there in time to celebrate New Year with an epic party and watching the fireworks erupt over Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House?
After time in the cities of Sydney and Melbourne, take the chance to explore the East Coast and visit the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsunday Islands. I would especially recommend a sunny stay on Hamilton Island, in gorgeous luxury lodge, qualia.
Other top choices for January: Thailand, Kenya, Caribbean
February – Paris
Ok, the phrase ‘Paris is always a good idea’ has become a little overused, but when better to go than February? Celebrating Valentine’s Day with a loved one in the world’s most romantic city is surely the best idea! It may be a little chilly but head to the bar at Four Seasons Hotel George V to snuggle up or pop to Le Meurice for afternoon tea
I’ve got lots of recommendation on my blog for hotels and restaurants in Paris so please do check them out, also my guide to the top places to see the Eiffel Tower will get you in the mood for romance!
Other top choices for February: The Philippines, South Africa, Venice, Zanzibar
March – South Africa
South Africa is not only one of my favourite destinations of all time but the country also experiences great weather all year round. In fact many areas boast
over 300 days of sunshine! Not only is the weather great, there are so many diverse activities to enjoy. I would recommend taking in shopping, history and culture in Cape Town.
Food and wine in the Cape Winelands.
Experiencing the beauty of the Garden Route.
And finally going on Safari in Kruger Park and Sabi Sands.
Mr S and I visited South Africa in March and it’s a good time for great weather both in Cape Town and on safari. For me the climate was total perfection without being overly hot so you can still enjoy walking around the waterfront.
Other top choices for March: Japan, Bali, Rome, Kenya
April – Japan
April is cherry blossom season in Japan and you’ll be able to admire the beautiful pink blooms at their best in the parks and city. Mr S and I went in May so we just missed the beautiful and transient season known as Sakura.
At this time the climate is mild and not too hot and sticky like other Asian countries can be so it’s easy to explore the shops of Tokyo, the temples of Kyoto and the animated streets of Osaka too.
Other top choices for April: Miami, Florence, Thailand for Thai New Year, New York.
May – Florence and Tuscany
May is the perfect time to take a short-haul break from the UK, Europe is warming up but it’s not sweltering hot or over crowded with tourists. The first time we visited Florence it was for our mini-moon in May and we stayed up in the hills at Il Salviatino where the gardens were in full bloom with beautiful pink flowers. The weather was perfectly warm and the streets and main historical sites of interest weren’t packed. It was literally the perfect May mini-break.
And with the weather that beautiful, I’d recommend a trip to Chianti and spending some time in some beautiful vineyards and sampling delicious wine!
A word of warning though, I would avoid Rome at this time of year if Italy is in your sights. We visited in May for our wedding anniversary and it was boiling hot in the city and there were massive queues everywhere. If you are keen to go to Rome at this time, do your research and buy queues jumps for the major attractions such as The Vatican.
Other top choices for May: South Africa, Japan, Venice
June – South of France
June is such a great time to go away, just before the school holidays so prices aren’t at their highest but the weather is still great in Europe. It’s also the time to make the most of fantastic seasonal produce, gorgeous landscapes and plenty of good wine. With its gorgeous Mediterranean climate, it’s the ideal opportunity to head to Cannes whilst still beating the crowds.
With party season just beginning you’ll be able to pick up some gorgeous new clothes whilst strolling along La Croisette and taking in lunch at Baoli Beach Club.
Other top choices for June: Provence, Spain, London
July – Lake Geneva Region
July is a tough one, prices soar, the weather is stifling and places are crowded. That being said I’ve chosen the Lake Geneva Region for my top choice in July as when I visited last year, the weather was stunning and it wasn’t overly crowded. You can enjoy the gorgeous architecture and cafes of Lausanne and an ice cream right on the shore of Lake Geneva
Nearby Lavaux is perfect for a day trip for its beautiful terraces of vineyards and an opportunity to sample Swiss wine. `
Other top choices for July: Bali, Cornwall, Kenya
August – UK
With many European destinations shutting down for August, it’s the perfect time to stay in the UK. If you stick to London you can take advantage of the opportunity to go for picnics in the park, enjoy roof top bars or beautiful terraces. But my advice would be to head to the coast and spend some time in Cornwall enjoying sunshine and sea breezes
Otherwise head to Jersey and enjoy some beautiful beaches, Michelin-starred restaurants and local wines.
Other top choices for August: Zanzibar, Bali, Tahiti
September – California
California can be a good choice all year round but be aware that the climate changes depending on the region. Don’t make the mistake I did when visiting San Francisco (it’s California, its hot right?) actually the city has a microclimate and when we there it was chilly and foggy, whereas we had beautiful sunshine in Napa which is an hour north. Avoid July to August in San Francisco as smog levels are high, as are hotel rates!
The southern regions of the state such a Los Angeles and Santa Barbara are warmer and more consistent. September is a great time to visit both but make sure you pack accordingly!
I highly recommend doing a road trip and driving the famous Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to LA (and beyond if you have the time) and then hopping on a plane to Las Vegas!
Other top choices for September: Venice, New York, South of France.
October – Kenya
The great migration takes place from approximately July to October in the Maasai Mara in Kenya. Known as one of nature’s greatest spectacles the river crossing of millions of wildebeests, zebra and gazelles is apparently a sight not to be missed!
Unfortunately, though we saw animals lining up at the Mara river we didn’t actually see the crossing, hopefully you’ll have more luck than me!
Other top choices for October: Rome, Japan, Zanzibar
November – Thailand
If you’re looking for winter sun, Thailand is the ideal choice for November. It’s actually slightly cooler and there’s less chance of rain at this time. Focus on the West Coast and places like Phuket, Krabi, Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi as islands on the East such as Ko Samui and Ko Tao may still be prone to rain at this time
It’s also a great time to visit Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand as it’s officially winter and a little cooler, but be sure to wrap up in the evenings.
A word of warning though October – April is peak season and can be very crowded at the main places of interest.
Other top choices for November: Bali, Australia, Hong Kong, Miami
December – Germany
December 2016 was my first time visiting Germany, but I’ve now vowed to return every year to go to the Christmas markets. There was nothing more festive than walking around the markets with a glass of mulled wine in hand and the smell of chestnuts in the air!
Other top choices for December: Caribbean, South Africa, Singapore
PIN FOR LATER:
I hope this post has helped you choose where to go, when!