Where to go and when…
The Christmas decorations have been put back in the loft for another year. And now is the perfect time to grab a big dose of sunshine. Crowds are fewer, destinations are quieter, so if you’re looking for relaxation after such a busy period, our winter sun holidays will help you recharge.
Lanzarote holidays start and end with sunshine and sea breezes. However, this volcanic Canary Island has a lot to offer including otherworldly volcanic landscapes and upmarket resorts, such as Playa Blanca in the south, full of alfresco restaurants and golden beaches.
On the dramatic Caribbean island of St Lucia, the volcanic peaks of the Pitons rise up in the west, while the rainforest interior bursts with colourful wildlife, and gentle turquoise waters tickle the palm-fringed beaches. It really is paradise.
The days are short and the weather’s chilly – time for a holiday? We think it’s a great time to travel – particularly if you want to escape those cold, dark nights. We’ve selected some of our favourite places to holiday in February.
If you fancy experiencing a party like no other, head for New Orleans where you can immerse yourselves in incredible history, eat delicious Cajun and Creole cuisine and feel the rhythm and blues from remarkable music and dance. This Louisiana city is a must visit.
The island's interior boasts mountains, ancient rainforest and ‘Jungle Book’ landscapes, while the coast is ringed with silky white beaches and coral reefs. There’s a good chance of dry weather now. It also makes it a perfect time to visit, as the rainforest is lush and the wildlife abundant. Crowds are fewer, too, which makes visiting attractions like the orang-utan rehabilitation centre in Sepilok, much quieter.
Lying just south of the Arctic Circle, the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’ is known for its Mars-esque landscapes, volcanoes and geysers, hot-water springs and glaciers, and soaring, snow-covered mountains. March is an ideal time to visit as the extremer weather has passed – and the chances of seeing the Northern Lights are still at their best.
The Indian Subcontinent stretches from the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the quiet and tranquil backwaters of Kerala, with palm-fringed coastlines and lush green forests in between. March is an ideal time to visit Northern India and undertake the classic Golden Triangle route. Temperatures are pleasant and most importantly, dry. March is also the month of Holi, the ‘festival of colour’, where vibrant powder paints are thrown in celebration.
From Nile cruises to relaxing hotel stays, Egypt is at its prime in March as the country emerges from its winter and the weather's pleasant – making discovering ancient sites, including Luxor, a joy. Along the River Nile there are also warm breezes, which in April turn into the phenomenon known as khamsin – dry, hot and dusty winds that aren’t so pleasant.
Fed up with dodging April showers? Jet off to somewhere new instead. Stay close to home and enjoy the spring flowers of Madeira, see the cherry blossoms in Japan, or maybe go all-out with an epic adventure in Jordan.
With a lively capital and lush scenery, Madeira bursts into bloom in April as the annual Flower Festival kicks off. Think parades, flower walls and carpets, and elaborate floral displays. Why not hop on the ferry and discover the golden beaches and clear waters of nearby Porto Santo, too? Sip island wine and watch the world go by...
Japan effortlessly fuses ancient traditions with modern living, breathtaking landscapes and neon lights, captivating culture and friendly residents. Cherry blossom hits full bloom in early April, decorating city streets, parks and temple gardens with clouds of pink petals. As well as seeing the country’s ancient shrines, tea houses and modern malls, join the locals and picnic beneath the branches of a blossom tree.
May is one of our most popular holiday months... The weather in southern Europe is warming up nicely, so it’s the perfect time to explore somewhere a little closer to home. Discover the romance of Italy or culture of Spain. Further afield, the balmy temperatures make May an ideal month to travel to North America and North Africa.
With its Mediterranean climate, May is the perfect time to visit the ‘heel of Italy’ with temperatures in the pleasant early 20s. With countryside that’s blanketed with olive groves, a collection of historic cities and fairytale towns, and a coastline, Puglia is a rich region filled with simple pleasures. One of the greatest perks of visiting now is there are also fewer crowds, particularly around must-see destinations including the ancient cave dwellings of Matera.
Travel to Uzbekistan and find desert cities, great domed madrasahs, bazaars filled with exotic spices and silks – it’s a destination that conjures up images of the enchanted tales of ‘Arabian Nights’. The Silk and Spice Festival often takes place in the month of May in Bukhara, a wonderful demonstration of Uzbekistan culture and an effort to revive the historical legacy of the ancient Silk Route. It is also warm and dry as the country enters its low season and crowds begin to thin.
The white-sand beaches of Mallorca, Andalucia’s age-old bodegas and flamenco bars, Catalonia’s sleepy seaside towns – whether you’re rekindling a love affair with an old favourite or striking out to explore somewhere new, there’s always plenty to discover when you travel to Spain. This is the perfect month to explore. Enjoy cooling sea breezes on boat rides and explore medieval towns and cobbled streets in warm temperatures.
We can take you to the wilds of the Rocky Mountains, lead you through the streets of Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver, show you Nova Scotia’s charms, and introduce you to the rolling landscapes of the prairie provinces. Throughout the year Canada’s landscapes change to reflect the different seasons and, after a cold hard winter, spring sees temperatures rise. From the west to the east coast, spring slowly makes its way around, as colours begin to bloom, and lakes begins to thaw.
Famously sun-kissed, the peninsula of Florida boasts over 180 beaches just waiting to be explored, and so much more besides. The Sunshine State sees gloriously hot temperatures all year around, but during the summer, it can be uncomfortable, and with the rainy season also closing in, May is an ideal time to explore from an abundance of wildlife in Everglades National Park to lively cities like Miami.
It’s the start of the summer season – but where’s best to holiday in June? Warmer weather in the northern hemisphere means it’s a great time to explore, whether you’re dreaming of ancient Incan ruins in the Andes or the glistening Mediterranean. We have some great options...
Starkly beautiful deserts, deep-red sand dunes, lively safari plains and eerie coastlines lend a mysterious, almost fairytale-like aspect to this remarkable country. Want to explore the natural wonders of Namibia but concerned about the notoriously warm climate? June tends to be cooler while evenings are fresh. And because vegetation is thinner, animals are easier to see in national parks such as Etosha.
One of the biggest highlights of any South American adventure is Peru – where ancient civilisations and cultural legacies have left their mark. If you’ve got your sights set on Machu Picchu, June is the ideal month for seeing these incredible Incan ruins, with sunny Andean days, chilly-but-bearable nights, and fewer crowds.
With history dating back four millennia, stretches of sun-bathed coastline, white-washed villages and olive groves, emerald green forests and sparkling islands, Greece is sublime. From relaxing beach stays to island hopping, June is the optimal time to go – less crowds, balmy but comfortable weather.
Explore the magic of California, where winding roads cut through towering redwood forests and alongside sun-dappled shores, from one vibrant city pulsing with life to another equally as exciting. June in California sees hardly a drop of rain. You can spend a week exploring Yosemite and other national parks alone but, for an all-American road trip, add San Francisco, Napa Valley, and Los Angeles to your list, too.
Journey around the island and you’ll come across soaring baobab trees, cheeky lemurs, curly-tailed chameleons and some of the weirdest, most wonderful insect life you’ve ever seen. Madagascar is best explored in July as the temperatures have dropped, while it’s ideal conditions to explore the rainforests. You might even spot humpback whales off the coast of Ifaty at this time of year.
Mauritius is the stuff of dreams – a true castaway isle in the southern Indian Ocean. Here, the beaches are snow-white, shaded by sloping palm trees and lapped by impossibly clear blue waters. If you’re in the market for R&R, this is the place for you. And at this time of the year, temperatures are much more bearable, with sunny days and cooler nights.
Admire Lisbon’s cinematic hilltops, Porto’s mazy cobbled streets or stroll along the Algarve’s endless golden beaches. Early summer is one of the liveliest times to visit Portugal, as the festival calendar is packed, while warm and sunny days are the norm.
For some, August is all about beach holidays. But if you’re looking for a little more action than a fly-and-flop break, where’s best to visit in August? From amazing wildlife and festivals to scenic beauty, there’s plenty to inspire your next adventure.
A land of forests, sun-baked plains and expansive grasslands, for a classic safari experience, there’s nowhere better. August in Kenya is when the great wildlife extravaganza of the Wildebeest Migration takes place in the Masai Mara – there’s no better time to be here. You’ll also get spectacular views of Mt Kilimanjaro from Amboseli National Park.
Eastern Canada follows similar seasonal patterns as the UK. So, visiting during August is a great time to explore as you will be guaranteed warm and dry weather and really make the most of the stunning Canadian landscape. Festivals are also in full swing, including the Montreal Jazz extravaganza, while summer is also the best time to visit the mighty Niagara Falls.
Discover a breathtakingly scenic region of intricate fjords, blue-streaked glaciers, snow-capped mountains and pristine valleys. The wild beauty of Alaska is at its best during the state’s short summer, when days are long (expect around 19 hours of daylight in Anchorage). August is also peak whale-watching season – look out for majestic humpbacks and killer whales.
September is one of our most popular travelling months – the summer holiday crowds have departed, and temperatures are that little bit cooler (making walking and sightseeing a lot more comfortable). But where should you choose for a holiday in September? We could pick out dozens of fantastic destinations, but here are some of our top recommendations.
Armenia and Georgia aren’t your typical holiday destinations. They’re forging their own identities following the era of the Soviet Union, making it a fascinating time to explore these countries as they transition. Head there now and you’ll witness an incredible kaleidoscope of autumnal colours, as well as sample the harvest haul of fresh produce from the region.
South Africa really is an exciting destination. Combining cosmopolitan cities, dramatic coastlines, sun-dappled vineyards and diverse landscapes, one visit will never be enough. And September is perhaps one of the best wildlife spotting months – nearing the end of the dry season, with waterholes diminishing, animals are easier to spot if you choose to go on safari.
In Costa Rica, see bottle-green rainforests and cloud forests shrouded in mist. Brooding volcanoes watching over hot springs and pineapple plantations. It is one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world, where the variety of wildlife is in endless. In Tortuguero, turtle hatching season runs until December. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see them. A real once-in-a-lifetime experience.
With its stunning Mediterranean coastline, speckled with more than a thousand pine-clad islands, Croatia is a stunning destination. From ancient walled cities and sparking sapphire seas to rich heritage and diverse cuisine, and on our holidays and small ship cruises we’ll experience them all. September means less crowds and more festivals, so it’s the ideal time to explore.
Come October, autumn has well and truly arrived in the UK. If you’re looking to escape the dark mornings and moody skies, where’s best to travel? You might want to go whale watching in New Zealand or see the paddy fields of Vietnam.
New Zealand may have some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet, but it isn’t just about looks. There's also Māori culture to learn about, wildlife to watch out for and world-class wines to sample. In October, spring is in full swing, with the weather pleasant, and vast landscapes in bloom. It's also migrating season, so you’ll have a greater chance of seeing whales, too.
From the mighty Mekong Delta in the south to spectacular Halong Bay in the north, Vietnam serves up a land of mesmerising natural beauty. Ho Chi Minh City offers a vivid introduction to the country’s fascinating history, with its ornate temples and pagodas, elegant French colonial architecture and museums. Weather-wise, October is one of the best months to visit. You’ll avoid the high humidity and monsoon rains and you’ll also be able to see the country at its greenest.
Winter has arrived, and the dark, colder nights are drawing in. Instead of thinking about all the festive planning for the next month, why not seek out tropical adventures and unique festivals? When it comes to November holidays, there are plenty of exciting options.
Stepping through the intricately carved entrance of one of Angkor’s crumbling, creeper-clad temples. Watching a pink-hued sunset over the mighty Mekong River. Strolling through the Parisian-style streets of Phnom Penh’s French Quarter. Cambodia delights and surprises. November is one of the best months to visit, as it’s dry, with less crowds. The perfect time to enjoy the country’s serene temples and cities.
Ancient civilisations come alive among fascinating Aztec and Mayan ruins. You’ll find them dotted all over the country, whether hidden deep in the jungle, perched on the Caribbean coast, or basking in the sun on the high plains around Mexico City. In November, too, the famous Day of the Dead festival brings the streets alive with colour and noise. Not to be missed.
Perhaps you fancy a different way to celebrate a traditional Christmas this year, or want to treat yourself to a pre-Christmas adventure or break? And who would blame you? It’s a busy time – so here are some of our recommendations if you decide to do something a little different.
An ancient landscape with over 50,000 years of indigenous culture, jaw-dropping coastlines and laidback charm, there is nowhere else like Australia. From coastal city charm and baking ochre-covered outback to the vast Great Barrier Reef, December is a fantastic time to explore Australia. Less crowded, warm and dry, wildflowers are also in full bloom. It really is an adventure of a lifetime.
If you’re a huge fan of Christmas festivities, there’s nowhere quite like New York City lit up with twinkling lights and Christmas trees that are three-storeys high. In the city that never sleeps, shop till you drop in iconic stores, wrap up warm, sip hot chocolate and watch as skaters hit the ice rink in Central Park. As well as visiting all the famous sights including the Statue of Liberty, Met Museum and Empire State Building, this exciting metropolis has so much to offer.
Get your fix of Caribbean sunshine in Antigua. Think pristine white sands, top snorkelling spots – such as Dickenson Bay and Half Moon Bay – games of cricket and colourful summer carnivals – and you’ve got a small taster of this charming island. The rainy season has subsided, and now only warm and dry conditions will greet you at every turn. Time to sit back, and enjoy island life...
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