As the Christmas lights start to come down, resolutions being frantically made and, everyone returning to the never-ending depression called work, it's no wonder the ‘January Blues’ are bound to kick in. With ‘Blue Monday’ just around the corner, how can you combat the realisation that wine and cheese nights or, having that second serving of dessert, that aren’t acceptable any other time of the year, is over and done with for another 365 days? Fear no more as we have the perfect list of destinations that are guaranteed to save you from the Blues and in fact, leave you feeling as though the holiday season has never finished!
Quebec City, Canada 🇨🇦 🛷
Find yourself wandering along the cobble paths of Quebec, surrounded by the French chatter of the people, and the gorgeous towering, stone buildings and walls that represent that of a European past. In Winter, Quebec City comes alive with numerous activities, picturesque scenes and, snowy weather keeping you feeling festive, allowing for you to avoid those dreaded blues.
But, what to do? We recommend going tobogganing at Au 1884! With this activity being one of Quebec City’s most unique attractions for tourists, you must give this a try! The thrill of hurtling down an icy track with fabulous views and at speeds of up to 70 kilometres per hour, is sure to keep your mind away from the dreaded return to work and a MUST when adding to and ticking off of your bucket list. With tickets only costing $3.50 this makes for the ideal snow day!
Lapland, Finland 🇫🇮
Still, dreaming of a winter wonderland? Then Lapland in the chilly month of January is definitely for you! Lapland is known for its fantastic magical, natural beauty as well as its plethora of winter activities. With ice hotels, traditional saunas, sledging and arctic animals, this location is bursting with life, culture and most importantly, things to do to get rid of those blues!
What do we recommend you do? With Lapland being one of the best areas in Europe to spot the breathtaking Aurora Borealis aka, the Northern Lights, we recommend that you either go on the watch for them yourself or book into a Northern Lights spotting experience. Unfortunately, the lights do not appear on demand, but, are most likely to appear between September and April as the nights are darker in Europe, so, visiting in January, will boost your chances!
New York City, USA 🇺🇸
We’ve all seen the pictures and films of the sheet of snow that covers the ‘Big Apple’, as well as the magical buzz that fills the city. Even after Thanksgiving and Christmas has passed, the city that never sleeps is still fully immersed in its picture-perfect winter spirit. With temperatures sinking to around -3°C in January, NYC is the perfect place for you to snuggle into your hat and scarf and make the most of the winter activities that take place.
Nothing screams winter like chucking on a pair of skates and hitting the ice… quite literally. We recommend that you head over to the iconic Rockefeller Centre’s Ice Rink, which is one of the best spots to ice skate in the city. Open through till March, this gives you plenty of time to explore the city and its culture as well as, making the most of the festive activities. Located on Fifth Avenue, between 49th and 50th streets, if you make it in time before the 2nd, you’ll even have the chance to skate under the phenomenal Christmas tree.
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany 🇩🇪
Germany is filled with mountains, castles, fabulous views and vibrant culture and is definitely an unreal location to visit during winter! The snow in Germany in winter is like a scene from a movie, especially at the Neuschwanstein Castle. We recommend you visit this phenomenal castle if Germany is on your bucket list!
Located on a hill at the base of the Alps, this castle is beautiful and worth seeing. For only €13, you can switch up your metropolis trip to something more traditional and visit the castle that played as inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle. When visiting, you can tour what was King Ludwig II of Bavaria quarters and some of the other rooms. Fun Fact! Only 15 of the 200 planned rooms were finished.
Karuizawa, Japan 🇯🇵 ⛷️
With absolutely compelling winter beauty, Karuizawa is perfect for escaping the ‘January Blues’. With this being one of Japan’s oldest and most famous mountain resorts, lying 1000 metres above sea level, the climate is cool here making it extremely magical during the month of January.
Fancy going skiing somewhere other than in Europe? Well, hit the slopes at the Karuizawa Prince Hotel Snow Resort. It is a small resort well-suited to beginners wanting to enjoy the snow. Pick from one of ten different trails depending on your level of ability or, if you consider yourself to be more of an intermediate/pro skier, head over to another of Nagano’s other many great resorts including Shiga Kogen Ski Resort.
Amsterdam, Netherlands 🇳🇱
For many, the Dutch capital is at the top of their travel bucket list, and we can assure you that it is super magical in winter and this is the best time to book! With warm and hearty food, cosy nights in the quaint town centre, and twinkling fairy lights you’ll feel as though you’re still in December! With a gorgeous pure white sheet of snow covering the city, you’ll feel as though you’re walking through the scene of a Christmas card.
When heading to Amsterdam in January, we recommend you make the most of the peace and quiet and the short queues to historical landmarks/museums such as; the Anne Frank House or, Rembrandt House Museum, this is because, during the colder months, tourism levels drop meaning that you are more likely tick everything off of your list and then head to a cosy bar or restaurant after to enjoy some local cuisine.
Moscow, Russia 🇷🇺
The capital, also known as the motherland of Russia is another brilliant location for cosying up this January. With temperatures hitting lows of -10°C grab your best scarf, hat and gloves to keep you warm when doing winter activities here! Moscow offers a number of fun and exciting activities sure to keep you away from the blues.
Unlike the majority of the world, Russia celebrates the festivities of Christmas in January from the 1st to the 7th day of the month. So, if you are missing the food, drink and overall cheer of the 25th, head to Moscow in which the city comes alive. With hundreds of trees, lights and an electric atmosphere, join in with one of the many Christmas activities here such as; attending the Moskva Fair on Tverskaya Ploshchad. This market offers hundred of stalls all offering Christmas items, food items and even recreational stalls.
Edinburgh, Scotland 🏴
Next up is Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. With the month of January starting off with the famous Hogmanay celebrations to welcome the New Year, festive cheer and an electric atmosphere are present here. Roam the cobbled streets of the city, browse the different shops, and wrap up warm as snowy days come in plenty when visiting in January.
Don’t fancy starting your health resolutions just yet? How about booking yourself into the Craft Beer Kitchen. Stewart’s Brewing offers tourists the chance to join them and try their hand at crafting the perfect pint. Spend the day brewing your very own bespoke beer and send it to a friend or family or take it home with you - the perfect souvenir!
Oslo, Norway 🇳🇴
Powdery snow, twinkling lights and traditional wooden houses. If that doesn’t scream magical then, I don’t know what does! Despite the snow around you, temperatures don’t drop as low as you think they would in Oslo, meaning that you can still enjoy the wintery, outdoor activities without freezing! With Oslo being quite popular in the Summer, the winter months are much quieter, meaning that travel prices are lower and attractions are not overflowing.
We recommend that when in Oslo, you visit the Rose Castle which is a large-scale art installation on Holmenkollen. This installation pays tribute to the attack on Norway in 1940 and the 75th anniversary of Norway’s liberation in 1945. With over 200 famous paintings this is an attraction that will allow you to immerse yourself in Norway’s culture and history and, it may be something that may never have been on your list before!
Dolomites, Italy 🇮🇹
Wedged between the Swiss and Austrian Alps, the Dolomites are the perfect mountains for the ideal winter retreat. If you are a snowsports enthusiast, then this is the location for you to be rid of those ‘January Blues’. Winter is quite long in the Dolomites, with snow sticking around between December and April, with temperatures dropping to lows of -10° C.
When in the powder land that is the mountains of Dolomites, go for a hike on the Vajolet Towers Trail. Climb to the peaks and take in the phenomenal views of the dramatic landscapes and scenery. If you don’t fancy a hike and want something a little more thrill-seeking, why don't you climb the popular rock climbing spot, the Torri del Vajolet.