A lot of specialty sites have set top rankings for the next year. Of course, these are good references for who plans a future vacation in the new year, but how do we know the best time of year to visit that place? Since the list of one destination for each month of 2017 has been very successful on the blog, I thought it was time to do one for 2018.
So I’ve invited 12 travel bloggers to give us their suggestions. Each travel blogger chose one destination per month and shared the reasons behind the recommendation. Let’s see where we should travel from January to December in the next year that knocks on the door:
1. January: India
While India is best avoided during the monsoons; during the rest of the year it can get pretty hot, but the temperatures remain the most pleasant in January. The country is huge and irrespective of the region you plan to visit, chances are you’ll get the best on offer in January.
Think pleasant temperatures ranging between 10-15 degrees Celsius in most parts, no showers and the possibility to experience a wide range of colorful festivals no matter what part of India you choose to visit. Christmas breaks are over in January and children are off to school, hence it’s less crowded at attractions.
If you’d still prefer not to skip the cold completely, the northernmost region has plenty of winter sports on offer including options to ski and sled. The rest of the country stays dry, and you could stay in the desert in Rajasthan or in a house-boat and explore the backwaters of Kerala or even wander through a tea plantation in Assam.
Beaches are pleasant and its possible to play in the sea. There’s lots of food to try, and each region has its own unique cuisine. Irrespective of what you like chances are you’ll find something as there are 29 states, each offering something unique, so there’s always something exciting to pick!
February is a great time to visit Mexico! Since it’s still winter, temperatures are nice and you’ll avoid the boiling heat of summer. It’s also dry season – therefore, you’ll be treated with clear days, blue sky and a lot of sun. When I lived in Mexico City for a few months, I didn’t see any rain from January to March at all, with the rainy season slowly kicking in in spring. Enjoy the beaches around the Riviera Maya, such as Tulum, Isla Holbox and Bacalar, and explore the ancient Maya Ruins in the jungle of Palenque. Travel through the southern states of Chiapas and Oaxaca with its indigenous communities and enjoy some surfing on the beaches of Mexico’s West Coast. Don’t skip Mexico City, with its great history and culture.
Due to Mexico City’s higher altitude, it might cool down a little bit in the evening, so don’t forget a light jacket. When visiting Mexico in February, you’ll also avoid the two busiest times of the year – Christmas/NYE and Semana Santa (Eastern), therefore, you’ll escape the crowds. February is the perfect time to visit Mexico, however, you might actually need to consider more than one month for your trip! Since the country has such a diversity and variety of beautiful places and regions to offer, you’ll fall in love with Mexico and one month might not even be enough!
March is a great month to travel around South Africa including Cape Town, the Garden Route, Kruger National park, Kalahari region and the West Coast. There are no big public holidays in March in South Africa, so locals don’t really travel around unlike in December/January or April (Easter holiday). March is the end of summer in Western Cape province (Cape Town, Garden Route) it’s not as hot as in January, February and not as windy as in November, December, it’s still warm, between +25 and +30C and sunny.
For active sports like surfing, kitesurfing, hiking, driving around Cape Town March is a good month. As well as for a beach holiday e.g. check out some of these beaches; False Bay, Boulders, Muizenberg. One of the best months for traveling the Garden Route you escape holiday crowds, the weather is pleasant and warm good time for hiking and camping. March is a good time to explore the West Coast wind drops down a bit but it’s still powerful enough for kitesurfing, good time for the beginners to take their first lessons in Langebaan. In the Northern Cape (Kalahari, Augrabies Falls, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park), a hot and arid area, in March summer temperatures go down to more pleasant +30C and occasional summer rainfalls refresh the landscape it’s a good time for a road trip in the Kalahari. It’s a good time to visit Augrabies Falls to see it to its strongest and fullest.
As day temperatures go down March is a good month to venture on a safari in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the wildest park of South Africa. The waterholes are full of water animals congregate around which makes it easy to spot them. In Gauteng province (Kruger national park, Johannesburg) March is the end of rainy season, temperatures cool down reaching +30C during the day and nights are still quite warm, chances to spot animals are better than between December and February and it’s not as cold as between May and September. After summer rainfalls there is a lot of lush green vegetation around.
Istanbul is a wonderful destination all year round. Aya Sofya, The Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and The Grand Bazaar are arguably the most popular spots to explore in the beautiful capital city of Turkey. You can visit them on any kind of weather. However, if you want to add a special touch to your trip to Istanbul, go in April. You’ll enjoy moderate temperatures, perfect for wandering the streets from dawn to dusk, and even late into the night. Above all other things, April is the month when Istanbul hosts the tulip festival. Everywhere you look, you see splashes of color that delight your eye and charm your spirit.
Go to Istanbul in April, and allow your senses to be spoiled by this explosion of color and joy.
Special tip: Add Yerebatan Sarnici (Basilica Cistern), also known as Yerebatan Sarayi (The Sunken Palace), to your must-see list. This ancient underground water tank has inspired the creators of Assassin’s Creed to use it in one of the sequences of this game. It also served as the shooting location of the James Bond movie From Russia with Love.
Together with Paris, Venice is the most romantic city in Europa. It has a rich history, lovely canals, narrow streets and they serve amazing food everywhere. The downside: it’s far too busy. Especially in summer, it’s crowded. You have the tourists that stay in Venice or the surrounding area but cruise ships also drop thousands of tourists every day. On top of that, it’s far too hot. So, if you go to Venice, try to do it in the month of May. It’s busy, but not too and the temperature is great. Hotels are a little cheaper than in summer.
Where to stay? My favorite area is Dorsoduro. It’s located close to the wooden Ponte dell’Accademia and it’s only 15 minutes from San Marco and the Rialto Bridge. There are many nice restaurants in the neighborhood. As it’s not the most touristy part of the city, they have much better restaurants over here.
Best view in town Besides the Rialto bridge, recently a new shopping mall opened its doors. It’s called Fondaco Dei Tedeschi (as much as the „warehouse of the Germans. The inside is amazing. In this historic 13th-century building you will find brands like Valentino, Jimmy Choo, Gucci. Even if you do not feel like shopping, you have to walk in here and go to the roof terrace to enjoy the fabulous view over Venice. We could walk straight to the terrace, but apparently, we were lucky. Sometimes there is a giant queue here. You can book (free) tickets.
Greece was on the top of my bucket list way before I even knew I had a bucket list. It’s not surprising! It makes the perfect travel destination with their amazing food, ancient history and of course, some of the most beautiful islands in the world. Of course, this is not a well-kept secret and every summer thousands of tourists visit the Greek islands.
To avoid the crowds, I encourage you to visit the Greek islands in early June. By this time of the year, it already feels like summer but it’s still possible to walk the narrow streets of Mykonos without bumping on others and you won’t have to queue for a picture in Santorini. Just rent a scooter, explore the pretty beaches, go on a boat tour and don’t forget to taste the amazing Greek food in between: it will be a great vacation!
Of course, think outside the box and visit other islands of the archipelago; my recommendation is Milos, with one of the most impressive beaches I’ve ever been – and believe me, I’ve been to some!
July is the perfect time of year to visit Alaska. The snow has melted, the flowers are blooming, and the entire state is booming with excursions and activities for adventurers. The state is huge, so you’ll really have to think about where you want to go and what you want to do, but you can’t go wrong. We kayaked to a glacier, took a boat cruise of the fjords where we spotted puffins galore, kayaked in a bay in the midst of a porpoise pod, and took a small plane up to see Denali!
We also managed to squeeze in some panning for gold, a sled dog ride by dogs that actually run the Ididarod, and took a glacier walk complete with crampons! Alaska truly is an amazing place that everyone should visit once in their life. And, if you’re lucky, you’ll encounter a moose or two while you’re there!
August marks the height of Summer in the UK, so you should expect warm weather and plenty of sunshine (although the threat of a little drizzle here and there doesn’t go unnoticed even in these warmer months).
Now, most travelers will try to persuade you to visit London during your UK trip, but I’ve always been a bit different, so I’m going to go against the grain for this recommendation.
In my most humble opinion, you should definitely check out Bristol – a large, metropolitan city found in the South West of England. But why is Bristol the place to come to in August?
Because right at the beginning of August, Bristol is home to the International Balloon Fiesta (Europe’s largest balloon fiesta), which sees over 130 hot air balloons grace the skies. You can either go to the fiesta itself, which is free of charge and is accompanied by a traveling funfair. This is also where you should come if you want to see the ‘Night Glow’ display, which sees hot air balloons light up in time to the music.
But if large crowds aren’t really your thing, then the balloons can be seen from nearly everywhere in Bristol once they hit the skies. Here are a few alternative (but still awesome) viewpoints worth heading to:
Clifton Suspension Bridge
The Balloon Fiesta is one of the best attractions in Bristol but is also one of many fun things to do during the Summer months here. I hope to see you in Bristol next year!
September is the best month to visit Germany. Most of the tourists have returned back to their home. Schools will start at mid-September. The weather is getting little cool after hot summer days in August. Late summer flowers are blooming and trees are preparing for their beautiful fall season. Many accommodation deals, which were difficult to obtain during high season are available again. Hotel rates are reduced as compared to peak summer season. It is a perfect time to explore Germany. September is also the month of various local festivals. The most popular beer festival in Germany – the ‘October Fest’ in Munich, starts from mid-September and spans for about one month. On the hill slopes, the grapes are ripe and people are gathering for the numerous local wine festivals.
This is the best time to hit the Autobahn for Germany’s wine road trail. Ludwig’s pumpkin festival- in South Germany, is all set for a bash in creative pumpkin displays. In the north, Berlin gets flooded with the colorful lights during its popular Festival of light. On the west side, folks gather to admire the fireworks show on the banks of Rhine river. For the musicians and music lovers, Bonn hosts German Music festival called ‘Beethoven fest’. The south Germany’s Selb region attracts people with its unique ‘Medieval Festival’. Germany’s castles are little quiet now and make it possible to visit them without long endless queues. There are tons of festivals and celebrations in all over Germany in the month of September. These festivals also bring tasty delights with them. This makes a perfect tour to mingle with locals and to know their culture.
Central Australia is often missed out on trips to the country, but it’s an astonishingly diverse area well worth visiting while you’re in the land down under. It’s without a doubt the most culturally vibrant part of Australia, and there are countless experiences that will help you understand the Aboriginal societies that have called this area home for 60,000 years. It’s also an area of breathtaking beauty; Central Australia is home to the famous Uluru, the world’s largest monolith and a place that no visitor can fail to be wowed at, the beautifully intricate West McDonnell Ranges which are full of mountains and gorges and lush green shrubbery that you’d never think you’d find in the middle of the desert, and the unbelievably deep King’s Canyon in the Watarrka National Park.
If you have a four-wheel drive vehicle and a sense of adventure, there’s, even more, to be explored; like the Red Centre Way which loops from Alice Springs to Uluru or the lesser visited East McDonnell Ranges. Alice Springs is known as the ‘capital of the outback’ and, despite its remote location, is a buzzing little city with shops, restaurants, and bars aplenty, as well as a great community vibe. It’s a great place to base your exploration of the Red Centre but doesn’t underestimate the distance of Alice to Uluru – it’s a good four-hour drive! October is the best time to visit Central Australia because days are not too hot and there is little rain, but the nights aren’t as cold as in winter. Being a desert climate, the temperature can drop to freezing temperatures at night in July – slightly uncomfortable if you’re camping (which is the best way to see the Red Centre!). To reach Central Australia, you can either fly into Alice Springs airport or visit on a Darwin to Adelaide drive.
By Claire from Claire’s Footstep
11. November: Chiang Mai, Thailand
The best time to visit Chiang Mai is definitely in November, thanks to the annual Yi Peng festival and the Loy Krathong festival. The weather in the city is also nice and breezy, instead of the usual hot and humid tropical weather.
While both festivals are distinct, they happen to be celebrated at the same time in November. Loy Krathong involves releasing handmade flower containers into the river. This act is to celebrate a tradition that pays respect to the water spirits. You can also make a wish and there is one incense that you can light before releasing your flower pot into the river. By contrast, the Thais celebrate the Yi Peng festival by filling the sky with beautiful paper lanterns.
During this month, particularly the weeks around the two festivals, the whole city is vibrant with festivities. Temples have multicolored lanterns and businesses are also decorated with lanterns. There are also many festivals to attend, such as candle lighting ceremonies and listening to meditations at temples.
My trip to Chiang Mai during these two festivals happened by accident as I was not planning on visiting the city during this time. Looking back, I’m so glad to have had the chance to be in Chiang Mai in November, as it is one of the most incredible experiences in my life.
The United Arab Emirates are a wonderful travel destination and a perfect place to visit in December.
While it is way too hot to visit for the most time of the year (at least between June-September) December is perfect as the weather cools down but it is still warm enough to explore the different cities and head out to the desert and do some fun desert safaris. The braver ones still enjoy swimming in the Persian Gulf or in the (heated) hotel pools as it is still sunny and lovely.
Dubai might be a bit busier during December but all restaurants are open, as well as the tourist’s attractions (which are closed in summer) but it is also a great place to do some last Christmas shopping before heading back home.
Taking about Christmas: If you like to celebrate Christmas in a warmer region then you will love the UAE! There are decorated Christmas trees everywhere – we even saw some in the desert of Abu Dhabi!
So whatever you like to do in December, the United Arab Emirates most likely will offer the perfect choices for you!