Wondering where to head next? To help you plan for future trips, we’ve outlined the best places around the world to visit by month of the year. Whether you’re seeking beach or wilderness, safari or city break, skiing or winter sun, we’ve got you covered.
Explore our seasonal calendar and touch on the destination inspiration you’ve been seeking.
Chill and/or thrill, Panama is a two-sided destination that caters to both travel speeds. Clear turquoise seas and photograph-worthy beaches make it a must-visit for shoreside chillers, while adventure types will thrill at the prospect of exploring uninhabited islands and jungles. Pristine tropical forests meet deserted sands in the Bocas del Toro archipelago and the cloud forests of Chiriquí, in Western Panama, offer further delights – we’ll wait while you add these to your itinerary. In Panama City, spend a long weekend exploring the city’s crumbling colonial buildings – many of which have been converted into boutique boltholes – and, if your schedule allows, align your trip with the Panama Jazz Festival, which takes place in January.
Val D'Isere, France
January is the perfect time for a European ski holiday: New Year crowds have departed and with school terms recommencing, slopes are mostly kid free. Listed amongst the world’s best ski resorts, Val d’Isere is known for its reliable powder and its black runs are notorious. Ritzy in demeanour, ‘St-Tropez-on-snow’ has ample offering away from the slopes – swish hotels and chic chalets are in ready supply. Post-ski, refuel at one of Val D’Isere’s many Michelin-starred restaurants – La Table de l’Ours is a personal favourite.
Lanzarote, Canary Islands
A bankable winter sun holiday option, Lanzarote has too often been packaged as, well, as a package holiday. But this Canary is plusher than you think. Bypass the gaudiness of the east coast and instead head further north to enjoy the tasteful architecture constructed by local architect César Manrique – a visit to Jardín de Cactus (Manrique’s cactus amphitheatre) is a must. The island’s landscape is every bit as wowing. Pay a visit to the rainbow-hued Timanfaya National Park if you don’t believe us.
New Orleans, US
Mardi Gras is iconic, and synonymous with New Orleans. The two-week carnival, which comes to an end the day before Ash Wednesday, turns the Crescent City into a riotous party town. With daily parades and masquerade balls, visitors are encouraged to embrace their wild side and leave their inhibitions at baggage claim. First-time visitors will want to maximise on the magical madness of the city at its peak, so come nightfall don your beads and go berserk. Then, post-party, enjoy a long lie in at CF favourite Hotel Peter and Paul, before heading out to explore the cobblestone alleyways of the French Quarter (with Aretha Franklin ringing in your ears).
As monsoon season wanes, February is the ideal time to visit Singapore, where you’ll enjoy high temperatures of 31°C and lows of 25°C. It’s also Chinese New Year in February, and Singapore knows how to celebrate. Home to the world’s best street food, enjoy feted Michelin-starred hawker Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle for just £1. Make the most of Singapore’s cocktail scene too – the pilgrimage to Raffles for their acclaimed Singapore Sling is a must. A city of contrasts, be taken in by the city’s mesmerising scape – a mishmash of glass-and-steel buildings and verdant constructions. Gardens by the Bay and Supertree Grove are other ‘must-sees’ in the Garden City.
Seeking out somewhere warm and beautiful for a February getaway? Cartagena is your go-to. The Colombian seaside city’s colourful Spanish-Caribbean culture beguiles visitors on arrival. Old Cartagena is all romance – think palm-dotted plazas and sunshine-yellow colonial villas – but those in the know will spend the majority of their time exploring the city’s edgier Getsemani neighbourhood. Here, ‘Champeta’ dance clubs (Afro-Caribbean beats meet salsa) and trendy restaurants are plotted along streets adorned in bright murals. For a change of pace, flee the city by boat and take a trip out to the Rosario Islands. Once here, enjoy potent rum cocktails served up from simple beach shacks and chill out on a powder-soft beach for an afternoon.
Ski-trip planning for a crowd who’s as much about the après as the skiing itself? Set your sights on majestic Chamonix – a mountainside spot with oodles of glamour, charm, and some epic slopes to boot. Perched below Mont Blanc, Chamonix is the stuff of Christmas cards – buildings are touched with frostings of snow, pine trees are in abundance (and perfectly planted in neat rows), and chalets come complete with gingham-framed windows. March is a good time to plan a trip here as super serious skiers have since departed for chillier climes, meaning accommodation is easier to book and slopes are less crowded.
Bypass Madrid and Barcelona in favour of Spain’s third-largest city, Valencia, this Spring. The city’s week-long las Fallas festival is in full swing come March, making it the perfect time to experience the city at its buzziest. For the uninitiated, the festival centres on an elaborate parade of satirical papier-mâché sculptures, which are flaunted around town before being set ablaze at the festival’s final night; it’s quite the spectacle. But thrills in this city aren’t reserved exclusively for nightfall. The city’s impressive architecture (a blend of Futurism and Traditionalist) is worth a look in the light of day, as are the city’s beaches.
Gulf of Thailand
The Gulf of Thailand has the best of the country’s islands and beaches. Come March, cloud cover is low and rain is at a minimum – at this time of year, the water visibility is also at its absolute best. Enjoy the region’s world-class diving scene in peace, in a calendar sweet spot when the gulf is no longer over occupied by Christmas holidayers and summer backpackers have yet to descend. Base yourself on catch-all island Koh Samui, which caters to ravers and relaxers equally well. At some point over the course your stay, take a trip to neighbouring Koh Tao and sign up to a yoga school or health resort to add another dimension to your vacation.
April in Tokyo means one thing: cherry blossom time. National festivals celebrate the arrival of spring, with parks across the city cast in a rosey haze as thousands of cherry blossom trees come into bloom. While a springtime visit comes with higher room rates and larger crowds, we’re willing to overlook the heightened costs for a bucket-list trip such as this. ‘Hanami’, which means ‘looking at flowers’, most commonly refers to cherry blossoming viewing. Except to spend much of your trip ogling over enchanting petal-framed scenes across the city – no need to pack those rose-tinted glasses so.
Make Palermo your base and romp your way around the island from here. A choice destination for a sunny kickstart to summer, stroll sun-soaked plazas in coastal Syracuse before hitting the warm-water beaches that surround it and veg out for the afternoon. Boasting many a secluded cove and Grecian temple, busying yourself – when the mood strikes – is a cinch. After abating your appetite to explore, sit back with a glass of fortified wine sourced from Sicily’s revered wine land.
While Cyprus is arguably a year-round destination, in April it beams particularly bright. Europeans seeking some short-haul sunshine will be met with beach weather that facilitates sea swims free of grimacing faces on entry, but sits just shy of soaringly hot days. In short: springtime in the Med is bliss. The island is bursting with the colours of spring come April – keen walkers should make the most of their surrounds and stomp trails rife with wildflowers now in bloom.
Tel Aviv, Israel
For those who’ve yet to get the memo, Tel Aviv is having a moment. It’s the destination to beat all others – a beach holiday and city break tied up in one. Come May, it’s a real scene by the beach, with activity spilling outdoors. Chic restaurant terraces serve up moreish plates, catering to locals and boutique hotel guests (we’re looking at you at The Norman residents) who’ve been guided to their tables by those in the know. For a culture fix, head to the old part of the city, Jaffa, where modern ideas abound within ancient stone walls (but that’s for you to discover).
The Scottish Highlands, Scotland
The Scottish Highlands will make you weak at the knees in any season, but in May they really floor you. Untamed and romantic, The Highlands are a special spot. Grand country estates and boutique farmhouses – we’re fans of Killiehuntly – add to the region’s appeal. Whisky distilleries are (almost) as commonplace as lochs and valleys, so its best to alternate days as designated driver. After stomping ground all weekend long, spend a night on the Caledonian Sleeper train and wake up in imposing Inverness – the final stop on your Highland fling.
Don’t be judgey, the Algarve has a lot more to offer than touristy resorts and package holidays. (If you’ve scrolled through Instagram recently you’ll already be clued in on the region’s best spots.) This coastal sliver of southern Europe has some epic beaches and in May things really heat up. Away from the hustle and bustle, the Algarve region offers a largely under-the-radar summertime retreat. Surfers should head for Praia da Amoreira, in Aljezur, while sun worshippers are likely to drop towel on São Rafael beach. Do tear yourself away from the seaside at some stage though – the regional fare’s reputation is on the up and up (as its Michelin-starred eateries can attest).
Devon is delightful – just consider its glorious north coast. A classic option for a British beach holiday, the county is brimming with coastal trails, charming fishing villages, and sandy beaches to explore and enjoy. Adventurists will be keen to make the most of the north coast – a mecca for serious surfers – and the area’s new cycle paths, such as the Exe Trail and Drake’s Way. Maximise your time with a mishmash itinerary that encompasses the seaside towns of Salcombe and the increasingly cosmopolitan Plymouth. Trust us – it’s Devon on earth. (Sorry.)
Otherworldly volcanic craters, thermal lagoons, and lush waterfalls – yep, you’re in Reykjavik. June is peak season for majestic animal sightings – be they blue whales or grizzly bears – so mark your calendars if this presents particular appeal. The stark beauty of the Icelandic wilderness is captivating all year round, its changing terrain catering to an array of explorers – from divers to extremist hikers. Make Sandhotel your city base for exploring the hinterland.
With artistic traditions, Galway city has a bohemian vibe to it. The streets resound with excited chatter come evening, and Irish pubs blare live music. In the daytime, wander through Ireland’s most scenic city, stopping off in the old town to see the medieval city walls – the Spanish Arch on the banks of River Corrib is an impacting sight. The harbour town, as you might expect, is known for its super-fresh seafood. A leader in west-coast produce, its local, organic fare and farm-to-fork restaurants will leave you hankering for the city long after departure. Though June is deemed the driest month to plan a visit, rain is often nearer than you’d hope – so pack a raincoat, just to be on the safe side.
As the largest of the Cyclades, Naxos is hardly a hidden gem. Plant yourself here for the month of July and happy holidayer you shall be. This Grecian island operates at a drowsy pace (a mode of living enhanced once you’ve tried ‘kitron’, the local citron liqueur). Go-slow is really the only speed here – a mode confirmed by the west coast many powdery stretches dotted with beach bars. Beaches further south have a wilder feel – try your hand at windsurfing or kitesurfing if you’ve made your way to the small coastal village of Mikri Vigla. Despite your fondness for the seaside, don’t overlook the island’s higher terrain, which is home to memorable mountain village tavernas.
The Second City should be your first choice when settling on where to spend and celebrate 4 July, and the rest of the month thereafter. Chicago really comes into its own in the summer – by July temperatures are in the high twenties. With parks galore, the city offers a robust programme of outdoor concerts – most famously, Lollapalooza. Stock up on picnic provisions of savoury or sweet bakes from Bang Bang Pie Shop (our favourite branch is located in Logan Square). Alternatively, seek shade – and a little culture fix – at renowned arts spots including Steppenwolf and The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
Stockholm is the Scandi capital of cool. Catering to a variety of travellers – whether your point of focus is shopping, eating well, or lapping up design inspiration –, the city’s 14 islands will leave you spoilt for choice. A seasonal city, it’s best to visit in either the summer or winter. We’d opt for the former, when the terraces of the city come alive. Roam the cobbled streets populated with edgy gastro bars and Michelin-starred eateries to a soundtrack of electronic, pop, rock, and hip hop. The long nights bring an endless party vibe; expect bars and cafés to stay open until the early hours.
August in Kenya marks the annual migration of wildebeest and zebra from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara. While visitors should be prepared to pay sky-high prices if planning a trip in August, those who can afford to see Kenya’s dramatic geography at its peak should jump at the opportunity. A bucket-list trip to beat all others, Kenya’s national parks are world famous, with safaris offering the chance to spot all of the big five in one swoop.
Landlocked Umbria’s rolling hillsides is a quiet pocket to set up camp come August – a time of year when most other Italian spots are entirely overrun. A smart alternative to overcrowded Tuscany and coastal spots beloved by locals, Umbria is a strong option for those whose sense of ‘time out’ revolves around the pool (rather than the sea). Rich in cultural heritage, the region is replete with ancient churches and castles. The produce-laden province will also appeal to foodies keen to eat impossibly well for the duration of their holidays – how does dining on a rotating menu of truffle-topped dishes washed down with fortified wine sound?
Laid-back Comporta, on Portugal’s west coast, is all charm. The little-known fishing village, and its surrounding beaches, sits a short ways from Lisbon (totting in at a journey time of just one hour), making it a great sister destination for an extended Portuguese sojourn. Largely undiscovered by tourists, Comporta has attracted prominent designers and members of high society for decades – so there’s no shortage of choice when selecting a stylish villa rental come August. Enjoy Praia da Comporta’s hip seaside clubs by day and come evening, step out at any number of the area’s wholly modern restaurants and independent bars.
See out the end of summer in style with a last hurrah in Ibiza. Come September, the Ibiza season is wrapping up – meaning finding a spot on the beach or a table for lunch somewhere sceney (without the need for a prior booking) is feasible once more. Accommodation costs have also begun to dip, though temperatures remain high as party season winds down. Embrace your inner haute hippie by heading to the hills for a detox, before retoxing at one of the islands super-clubs’ hedonistic closing parties.
Galle, Sri Lanka
Sandwiched between Sri Lanka’s two monsoon seasons, we like the good weather odds a September trip to Sri Lanka can offer. The large harbour on the island’s southern coast is rich in history – trips to the Galle Lighthouse and Dutch Fort are all but mandatory. For a true sense of calm, check-in to Amangalla, set in a restored colonial building. After settling in, draw up a game plan to take in Galle’s paradisiacal beaches at Talpe, Dalawella, and Unawatuna. At this time of year the sandy stretches are less crowded, which only adds to their appeal.
Ticking all the tropical boxes, The Maldives delivers luxury and escapism by the (azure-water filled) bucketload. These 1,200 islands offer endless choice for vacationers seeking seclusion and natural beauty on steroids. As September is technically wet season, planning your trip for this time of year can mean cheaper accommodations (in exchange for the occasional rain shower). Particularly popular with honeymooners and loved-up couples, book a stay at Huvafen Fushi – a resort that really excels in personalised experiences – to maximise your trip. Days are best spent lazing on sun-soaked decks or swimming alongside shoals, while nights are reserved for star gazing – ask the hotel staff to arrange a private table under the ink-blue sky.
New England, US
There is nowhere lovelier to escape come autumn than New England. Connecticut, Vermont, Maine, and Boston are all at their best at this time of year. Pack your walking boots for a Vermont countryside retreat at luxe-rustic haven Twin Farms – the country estate of author Sinclair Lewis and his journalist wife Dorothy Thompson. Alternatively, set off to the unofficial capital of New England – Boston, home to landmark seafood joints and upscale restaurants alike. After a Boston city break, head for a little R&R at Connecticut’s Mayflower Inn & Spa.
Dodecanese Islands, Greece
The sun-soaked Dodecanese Islands offer a taste of old-school Greece. This far-flung archipelago is sometimes overlooked in favour of flashier Greek isles, but offers the same bountiful delights as the competition. Come October, many shops and restaurants shutter on Rhodes and Kos (the Dodecanese’s most popular islets) as the tourist season comes to a close, but for out-of-season sunshine we’re happy to do a little more of the cooking ourselves. For a paired-back adventure, explore enigmatic Leros and Kalymnos (popular with climbers thanks to its impressive limestone cliffs) as well as a myriad of storied sites, underwater caves, and ancient wrecks, which are certain to occupy history buffs.
The Eternal City has everlasting appeal. Its neighbourhoods are best explored on foot, with no set route or final destination in mind. You’ll happen upon monumental landmarks – such as the Vatican and the Colosseum – with ease when your head isn’t stuck in a map. You’ll discover a local trattoria that serves out-of-this-world cacio e pepe and a great aperitivo spot to enjoy sundowners. That’s just Rome; it sort of presents itself organically. In October, the weather ranges from 12 to 22 degrees, making it a pleasant time for a Roman holiday.
In November, Hong Kong is in its prime. The typhoon season and the stifling humidity have both eased off, making roaming about the city a cinch. Sundowners at a suave rooftop bar (with views of Victoria Harbour) is a great way to kick off your first night in the capital – followed by a ramble around Chinatown, and a sampling of lip-smacking fare from prominent street-food stalls. Get some shut eye at Upper House, then set out the next morning to discover more of the bustling harbour metropolis in the light of day.
CF Top Tip: Plan a day trip to Lantau island and set off on a hiking trail – it’s a quieter side of the city which few experience.
Valletta is the sunniest capital city in all of Europe, so you can bank on beaming rays even when visiting in November. High Malta temperatures rest at around 20°C, thanks to its southern Med positioning between Sicily and the North African coast, but Valletta has much more than sun lounging alone. Days are best spent wandering the city’s honey-coloured streets and sideways, happening upon postcard-worthy scenes as you roam. Take in the views from the city wall, for a (literal) overview of the city’s architectural styles – spanning Roman, Moorish, and Norman.
Feeling the urge to ski? High up in the Rockies, ski season has commenced and with the Christmas crowd still a little ways off arriving, the slopes are (mostly) yours for the taking. A prime time to thoroughly enjoy some powder, Breckenridge, Banff, Vail and co. have all just opened, and the ritzy little mountain towns are ready to welcome back glamorous guests for another epic season. Those venturing to Crested Butte should book in to one of Eleven Experiences luxe properties; their service is on another level.
Prague, Czech Republic
Pretty as a picture Prague enchants visitors in an instant, but never more so than at Christmas. Cinnamon-scented market stalls sit in the shadows of glorious Baroque buildings – the wholesome scenes largely distract visitors from the plummeting mercury. Though December in Prague is undeniably chilly, the city’s beautiful cobbled streets, imposing churches, and renowned museums will sustain your desire to sightsee (despite the cold). Post-explore, make a reservation at La Degustation Bohême Bourgeoise for a taste of the city’s fine-dining scene.
Madagascar is a dream destination for adventure types. Known for its robust wildlife – from baobabs and orchids to lemurs and wildly coloured chameleons – the best time to experience the otherworldly island is undoubtedly December. It’s off season and this early in the month rain is a rarity. An equatorial escape that promises remarkably diverse landscapes – think verdant rainforests and pristine shores met by piercingly blue waters – there’s more to explore than you’ll ever have time for.
No need to shiver away in Europe when you could be living the good life in Sydney; a sure-fire destination for sea, surf, and sun. Head Down Under for Christmas and divide your time between Bondi and Manly initially. The Harbour City is known for it’s brunches and meet-for-coffee culture, so set yourself in good stead with a flat white and avo toast on your first morning. Fuelled up and raring to go, tackle glamorous Surry Hills before heading central to take in the city’s best boutiques and epic culinary scene.