If you’re looking for travel inspiration, look no further. This is your ultimate guide on where to go every month of the year during 2024.
Whether you’re seeking beach or wilderness, safari or city break, skiing or winter sun – these are the best places to visit, month by month this year. For further inspiration, discover our list of the best places to travel in 2024 (regardless of season) as well as some of the travel trends that will lead the way. Oh, and we can also tell you how to make the most of your annual leave this year in order to fit it all in.
Read on to explore our seasonal calendar.
Seeking out somewhere warm and beautiful for a February getaway? Cartagena is your go-to. The Colombian city beguiles visitors on arrival. Old Cartagena is all romance – think palm-fringed squares and rich-hued colonial villas – but those in the know will spend the majority of their time exploring the city’s cool-kid neighbourhood, Getsemani. Here, trendy restaurants are plotted along streets decorated in vivid murals. For a change of pace, flee the city by boat and take a trip to Baru Island. Once here, enjoy potent rum cocktails served up from simple huts and chill out on the beach for an afternoon.
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 on 10 February, and Singapore knows how to celebrate. Home to the world’s best street food, enjoy feted Michelin-star awarded hawker Liao Fan noodles before making 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 its mesmerising scape – a mishmash of glass-and-steel buildings and verdant constructions. Gardens by the Bay and Supertree Grove are the spots to go to when you want to relax.
New Orleans, USA
Mardi Gras is iconic, and synonymous with New Orleans. The two-week carnival, which comes to an end the day before Ash Wednesday (14 February in 2024) turns the Crescent City into a party town. With daily parades and masquerade balls, visitors are encouraged to embrace their wild side and leave their inhibitions (and judgement) 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 party the night away. Then, post-party, enjoy a long lie in at Hotel Peter and Paul, before heading out to explore the cobblestone alleyways of the French Quarter (with Fats Domino ringing in your ears).
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is a popular winter sun spot but, as the crowds die away and the heat’s intensity subsides, early spring brings its own delights. Another bonus of visiting this time of year is more manageable midday temperatures than in the midst of summer, meaning a hike up Table Mountain can kick off post 7AM. Day excursions from the city will pique the interests of nature lovers and history buffs alike – head to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens for the former and Robben Island for the latter. March is also a great time to visit the Mother City’s many surrounding winelands – Babylonstoren wine estate remains a favourite thanks to its Cape Dutch farm style surrounds. Closer to base, the V&A Waterfront is a popular spot to roam at any time of day and come suppertime you’ll be spoilt with dining options.
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 storybooks – 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; super serious skiers have departed for chillier climes, meaning accommodation is easier to book and slopes are less crowded. Make sure you look good on the slopes with these functional yet stylish pieces, ideal for both on and off-piste.
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 (1 – 19), making it the perfect time to experience the city at its buzziest. For the uninitiated, the festival centres on an elaborate parade of papier-mâché puppets, 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. Its impressive architecture – a blend of Futurism and Traditionalist – is worth a look in the light of day, as are its beaches.
Gulf of Thailand
The Gulf of Thailand has the best of the country’s islands and beaches. Come March, rain is at a minimum and the water visibility is at its best. Enjoy the region’s world-class diving scene in peace – this is a calendar sweet spot; the Gulf is no longer over occupied by Christmas holiday makers, and summer backpackers have yet to arrive. Koh Samui, which caters to ravers and relaxers equally well, is a great spot to stay (file yourself accordingly). Take a trip to neighbouring Koh Tao, and sign up to a yoga school or health-centric resort to add another dimension to your holiday.
April in Tokyo means one thing: cherry blossom time. National festivals celebrate the arrival of spring and parks across the city are 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, it’s worth overlooking heightened costs for a bucket-list trip such as this. Expect to spend much of your trip ogling over enchanting petal-framed scenes across the city. There’s no need to pack those rose-tinted glasses – here the tint is for real.
Make Palermo your base and romp your way around the island from here. A choice destination for a sunny entry to summer, stroll charming plazas in coastal Syracuse before hitting the warm-water beaches that surround it and soaking up the sun for the afternoon. Boasting many a sequestered 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 short-haul sunshine will be met with beach weather that facilitates sea swims free of grimacing faces, but sits just shy of soaringly hot days. In short: the Med is bliss this time of year. Cyprus 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.
The Scottish Highlands
Untamed and romantic, The Highlands are a special spot. 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 it’s best to alternate days as designated driver. The Scottish Highlands will make you weak at the knees in any season, but in May they really floor you.
The Algarve has a lot more to offer than touristy resorts and package holidays, like this impressive hotel that is also helping you live longer. This coastal sliver of southern Europe has some epic beaches and in May things really warm 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. 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. A classic option for a British beach holiday, the county is brimming with coastal trails, charming fishing villages, and umpteen beaches to explore and enjoy. Adventurous will be keen to make the most of the waters – Devon is a go-to for serious surfers – as well as the area’s cycle paths. Maximise your time with a mishmash itinerary that encompasses the sweet seaside towns of Salcombe and the increasingly polished Plymouth. Trust us – it’s Devon on earth. (Sorry.)
Otherworldly volcanic craters, thermal lagoons, and lush waterfalls – yes, 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, with a changing terrain catering to an array of explorers, from divers to hikers. Make Sandhotel your city base for exploring the hinterland and be sure to try the hot smoke salmon at Reykjavik restaurant, Forréttabarinn.
By night, the streets of Galway city resound with live ceol and endless chatter. By day, it’s a more scenic affair – roam the old town to explore medieval city walls, or head a little further and take in Silverstrand Beach. But the main draw of this harbour town is, as you might expect, super-fresh seafood (and other moreish fare). A leader in west-coast produce, the local, organic fare and farm-to-fork restaurants here 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 might like. Pack a raincoat, just to be on the safe side.
Culture vultures have flocked to light-dappled Arles for aeons. The city’s artistic credentials are impressive: Christian Lacroix was born here and both Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh lived and painted in Arles and – as Van Gogh’s paintings can attest – Arles is as pretty as a picture. July is a great time to visit, not only for the balmy weather but for the opening of Arles’ annual photography festival. This is a city that is testimony to the South of France’s more cultural side; LUMA Arles is a must visit, as is a pitstop at Le Nord-Pinus hotel’s bar, it was the one-time watering hole of Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso. You’ll likely rub shoulders with Parisian’s who have departed the capital ahead of its summer hiatus.
As the largest of the Cyclades, Naxos is hardly a hidden gem. Plant yourself here for the month of July and a happy holidayer you shall be. This Greek island operates at a languid tempo (a mode of living altered once you’ve tried kitron, a citron liqueur produced in Naxos). Go-slow is really the only speed here – best experienced on the many west coast, powdery stretches dotted with beach bars. Beaches further south have a wilder feel – try your hand at windsurfing or kitesurfing in the small coastal village of Mikri Vigla. But don’t overlook the island’s higher terrain, which is home to memorable mountainside tavernas.
Nicknamed the Second City, Chicago should be your first choice when settling on where to celebrate 4 July – and the rest of the month thereafter. Chicago really shines in the summer – by July temperatures are in the high twenties. With parks galore, this city offers a robust programme of outdoor concerts – most famously, Lollapalooza which, this year, takes place at the beginning of August. Reason to stay a while longer? Stock up on picnic provisions of savoury or sweet bakes from Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits. Or seek shade, alongside a little culture, at art spots including Steppenwolf Theatre 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 city’s terraces really bustle. The long nights bring an endless party vibe; expect edgy gastro bars and cafés to stay open until the early hours. For those who adopt more of an ‘early to bed, early to rise’ approach, Michelin-starred eateries are also in ready supply.
Kenya’s dramatic geography is at its peak during August, which marks the annual migration of wildebeest and zebra from the Serengeti to the Maasai Mara. Kenya’s national parks are world famous, with safaris offering the chance to spot all of the big five in one swoop; this is a bucket-list trip to beat all others. The country’s beaches are equally appealing at this time of year, whether you want to relax on the sands, or an opportunity to spot humpback whales as they migrate along the coastline.
Undulating Umbria is a quiet cradle to decamp to 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 fertile province will also appeal to foodies keen to eat very well for the duration of their holidays – how does dining on a rotating menu of truffle-topped dishes washed down with fortified wine sound?
Chilled out Comporta, on Portugal’s west coast, is all charm. The fishing village – and its surrounding beaches – is a short trip from Lisbon (totting in at a journey time of just one hour), making it a great sister destination for an extended Portuguese sojourn. Less touristy than the capital, Comporta has attracted well-heeled travellers for decades – so there’s no shortage of choice when selecting a stylish place to stay. Enjoy Praia da Comporta’s hip seaside clubs by day and, come evening, step out to any number of the area’s wholly modern restaurants and independent bars.
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 almost 1,200 islands (200 are inhabited) offer endless choices for those seeking seclusion and natural beauty. As September is technically wet season, planning your trip for this time of year can mean cheaper accommodation, 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 stargazing – ask the hotel staff to arrange a private table under the ink-blue sky.
New York, USA
New York in the autumn is pretty romantic. As the leaves change colour, Central Park and its offshoots to the city’s contrasting neighbourhoods really bustle. Stores prepping for Halloween equate to sightings of buildings wrapped theatrically in webs and the steps of charming brownstones will likely be overflowing with pumpkins by the time you arrive in town. With dipping temperatures, visitors can maximise on NYC’s plethora of indoor activities, from spas to exhibitions, Broadway shows and impressive dining options. Should the weather prove milder than expected, seize the opportunity to head to one of the city’s many rooftops for cocktail hour.
New England, USA
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 shoes 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, Auberge Resorts Collection.
Dodecanese Islands, Greece
The Dodecanese Islands offer a taste of old-school Greece. Sometimes overlooked in favour of flashier Greek islands, such as Santorini and Mykonos, this archipelago 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 ends, but for out-of-season sunshine we’re happy to do a little more of the cooking ourselves. For a pared-back adventure, explore enigmatic Leros and Kalymnos 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 also 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 eased off, making roaming about the city a breeze. 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 Wan Chai, 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. Be sure to 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 one of the sunniest capital cities in all of Europe, so you can bank on beaming rays even when visiting in November. Even this month, 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 in the Colorado Rockies, ski season has commenced and with the Christmas crowd still a little way 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 Experience’s luxe properties; their service is on another level.
Vienna is at its most enchanting come Christmas time. Sip on gluhwein as you meander through sugar-scented festive markets – the largest, Christkindlmarkt on Rathausplatz square is a must visit. As the mercury plummets further into the season, warm your bones (and hands) over a hot chocolate with all the trimmings. Renowned museums and smart art galleries aplenty offer respite from the cold. As night falls, catch a symphony at Konzerthaus preceded with a taste of the city’s fine-dining scene.
Madagascar is a dream destination for adventurous types. Known for its robust wildlife – from baobabs and orchids to lemurs and wildly coloured chameleons – one of the best times to experience this otherworldly island is December; it’s off season but 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 its 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.
Chill 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 adventurous types will thrill at the prospect of exploring uninhabited tropical terrains. Pristine 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 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 also takes place in January.
Val D’Isere, France
January is the perfect time for a European ski holiday: New Year crowds have exited 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, this place 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 one of the best.
Lanzarote, Canary Islands
A bankable winter sun holiday option, Lanzarote has too often been packaged as, well, a package holiday. But this Canary Island is plusher than you think. Bypass the east coast and head north, to enjoy the tasteful architecture constructed by local architect César Manrique – a visit to Jardín de Cactus is a must. The island’s landscape is every bit as wowing. Pay a visit to the rainbowed Timanfaya National Park if you don’t believe us.
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