We’d like to think that holidays are pretty great no matter what time of year you venture out, but we’ll concede that sometimes certain destinations just glow that much brighter depending on the time of year. Seasonal activities, holiday crowds and weather all contribute to what makes certain months better than others, and if mapping out what’s what sounds like kind of a headache, never fear. We’ve got you covered.
Here are our picks of the perfect destinations for each month of the year.
January – Goa
Goa is repeatedly listed among the best places around the world to spend New Year’s Eve, so we’re recommending getting your year started right with this lively Indian destination. Goa first sprung onto maps in the 1960s as a band of hippies claimed its sunny shores and laid-back atmosphere as a holiday haven. It’s also where trance music rose to popularity, inspiring late-night raves that ruled the beaches.
Fireworks dominate the night sky on New Year’s Eve in Goa, where parties carry on well after midnight celebrations. As for the rest of the month, January might be the coldest of the year in Goa, but this is actually a huge plus – temperatures will rarely dip below 20°C, even post-sundown, and peak with highs at 30°C during the day.
February – Mexico
February is slap bang in the middle of Mexico’s dry season, so you can expect swaths of sunshine during this time of year. It’s also sandwiched between popular holiday times – Christmas and spring breaks – so crowds will have thinned slightly. Temperatures vary across Mexico’s regions – it’s a pretty big country, after all – but if you’re staying around the beach, you can expect average temperatures in the high 20s.
February is also during peak whale-watching season in Mexico. At the start of the year, humpbacks, blue and grey whales make their way to Mexico’s coast, so you should have a good chance of catching a glimpse of these gentle giants on the horizon if you embark on a boat tour.
March – Reykjavik, Iceland
We know what you’re thinking – Reykjavik at the tail end of winter sounds chill-inducing, but trust us when we say that March is one of the best times to visit this vast, breathtaking landscape. Iceland is one of the best places to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, which are especially prevalent during the spring and autumnal equinoxes – visit in March, and your chances of seeing these glittering beauties spike significantly.
March is an in-between month where it’s neither winter nor spring in Iceland, so you’re less likely to encounter the chilly weather that’s routine in other prime Northern Light-viewing months. It’s also when the sun is starting to show its face for longer. You’ll also be able to catch a tour for orca-spotting, as this time of year is when pods of killer whales chase schools of herring off the coast of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, two hours from Reykjavik.
April – Marrakech, Morocco
Contrary to popular belief, Morocco does actually experience some form of winter, though definitely not what we’re used to in the UK.
The daylight hours in Marrakech during April are long and temperatures can land anywhere up to 27°C, often mirroring a Mediterranean climate and making venturing through the vibrantly-coloured souks that much sweeter. April is generally low season for Marrakech, so you can expect low prices, though the walled city will almost always be busy – but we have a feeling that the bustling, open-air Jemaa el-Fnaa is what you came for.
May – Crete, Greece
May is an incredible time to visit Crete because the holiday season is just kicking off. The typical holiday season in Greece runs from May to October, so arriving in the late spring means the vast majority of restaurants and clubs in the party town of Malia and activities like watersports and waterparks will be back up and running. Plus, most of the holiday crowds won’t have arrived yet, so you’ll have much more wiggle room to do as you please.
This time of year, Greece is just getting into the summery spirit with mild temperatures that are still warm enough to keep you comfortable at the beaches. And with Crete being an island and all, there’ll be no shortage of those.
June – Costa del Sol, Spain
Spain’s Costa del Sol region is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe, so there’s really no better time to visit than when it’s at its best. June is undoubtedly the high season in Spain, but that just means you’ll get to see this holiday hotspot in action, when the waterparks, restaurants and All Inclusive hotels are in full swing.
That said, June still has a little bit of mildness leftover from spring as far as temperatures go, though it’s still hot. The water is nice and warm by now too, making stints at any of Costa del Sol’s more than 20 Blue Flag award-winning beaches that much better. Whether you’re celeb-spotting in Marbella or hitting the Ferris Wheel in the Tivoli World theme park in Benalmadena, everything looks good underneath the Spanish sunshine in June.
July – Costa Rica
There’s really no bad time to visit the lush tropical rainforests of Costa Rica, but July is especially great. Though Costa Rica experiences its wet season from May to November, it typically has a little dry spell that tends to fall in July. Otherwise, the conditions in July are kind of picture-perfect, as the mornings are generally sunny and hot, then cool off with evening showers as the moisture climbs.
Because it’s the wet season, July is usually way less crowded than around the holidays, so you’ll be able to avoid the crowds on rainforest tours and Costa Rica’s gorgeous beaches. July is also a top time to see turtles laying their eggs, so when you aren’t spotting poison dart frogs, sloths or capuchin monkeys on a nature-watching tour, you can see a few of these shelled creatures scampering up the sand.
August – Dubrovnik, Croatia
Croatia is one of those holiday destinations that’s still far enough off the radar to make it a comparatively low key holiday spot, but incredible enough to make you wonder how it isn’t packed to the gills with sun-seeking holidaymakers. It’s that gorgeous. Especially Dubrovnik, whose red roofed houses were selected as one of the settings for hit show Game of Thrones.
August is the warmest month of the year in Dubrovnik, though temperatures tend to hover around a comfortable 28°C. The water is at its warmest too, which means the city’s popular Banje Beach that sits just below the medieval walls is film-ready gorgeous.
September – Ibiza, Spain
September is a top time to catch Europe’s party capital of Ibiza, as its lively though less crowded. It’s still peak season, which means the island’s wealth of crazy big clubs and culture hubs like the Dalt Villa in Ibiza Town are still up and running, but much of the summer crowds have vacated.
This time of year is also still incredibly warm, though the edge of summer is undoubtedly starting to wear off. Activities centred on holidaymakers are starting to wind down about now, even the clubs – but don’t fear, as this’ll work to your advantage. Many of the ultra-famous clubs Ibiza is known for will host their closing parties in September, featuring internationally renowned DJs and fiestas that redefine the word ‘insane’.
October – Florida, USA
Florida in October is all the same sunshine and warmth of the summer but with far less holidaymakers to rub shoulders with at the theme parks. You’ll still be able to stretch out on the award-winning shores of Clearwater Beach in Clearwater, International Drive is vibrant as ever and the parks will be open for business as usual.
What’s more, kids will be back in school so hotspots like the Walt Disney World Resort should be on the quieter side, though world famous holiday destinations like this don’t really do ‘low season’, at least not in the conventional sense. Even so, the Walt Disney World Resort especially comes alive in October for Halloween, with spooky celebrations and pumpkin decorations to help you get in the spirit.
November – Jamaica
Jamaica is one of those holiday destinations that sits pretty all year round. This means that even in November where winter is just starting to creep in around the rest of the world, the temperatures here are nice and balmy with highs around 30°C, and even stay in the low-twenties come nightfall. Beaches, watersports, boat tours and dining al fresco are all on the menu in this late-autumn month.
November is the tail-end of the wet season in Jamaica, so there’s still a chance you’ll see a little rain, though it’ll be significantly less than you’d expect. The Caribbean is usually packed with holidaymakers around the Christmas season, so by arriving a month earlier, you’re more likely to avoid crowds and find excellent money-saving deals.
December – Rovaniemi, Lapland
Seeing as Lapland is headquarters for all things Father Christmas, there’s no better time to visit than in December. Though the Christmas spirit is alive and well throughout much of the year here, there’s nothing like visiting Rovaniemi and Santa’s workshop flanked with his fleet of reindeer around the holidays.
Temperatures here are known to dip well into the negatives in the wintertime, but we’d like to think that the thick blanketing of snow adds to the whole winter wonderland vibe. Daylight can be scarce at this time of year, but that means you’ll have more opportunities to spot the Northern Lights, which have been known to appear in this part of northern Finland.
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