What month to travel where
What month to travel where- A month-by-month guide to where in the world you should go and at what time.
Picture this common scenario. You're working too hard on a project. But the end is in sight and once it's done, you want a holiday. You don't really care where you go – you just know you need a break. And it needs to be brilliant. So how do you choose where to go?
The most logical plan is to choose a good place to travel at the time you want to go.
We've compiled a list of where to travel in each month of the year, based on weather and other annual cycles and events. Of course, conditions are fickle: there's nothing to say you wont get rain in the dry season or crowds in the shoulder season.
But chances are, if you travel at these times, you'll get the best of the destination. Here's our list of when to travel to where.
Our top pick: India
The best time to visit India is between October and March. Conditions will generally be sunny but it's a large country so the weather patterns are pretty regional. In January, it will be in the low 20s in India's glorious Golden Triangle – Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. The beachside areas in the south will be warmer – perhaps around 30 degrees.
In January, it can be foggy at the Taj Mahal at sunrise, so perhaps don't bother setting a wake up alarm – go later in the day for clear skies. Take advantage of the sunshine to get amongst the hustle of Delhi, discover the beautiful architecture of Rajasthan, get spiritual by the Ganges in Varanasi and chill on the beach in Goa.
Other January holiday ideas
Voyage: journey to the icy wilderness of Antarctica
Active: cycle between the rice paddies of Thailand
Culture: explore the Mayan ruins of Mexico
Festival: get chilly at the Harbin Ice Festival in China
Our top pick: Myanmar
The best time to visit Myanmar is between November and February, when the weather is generally warm and dry. February is in the cool season when the weather is in the low to mid 30s (kind of stretching the definition of 'cool'). Rainfall is low, humidity is mid-level and skies are partially cloudy.
Embrace the warmth and bask in the glow of all the gold that Myanmar has to offer. The elaborate Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon is a must-see sight, the plains of Bagan are mysterious and captivating and Inle Lake is fascinating as you explore the stilt houses and floating market and learn about life on the lake.
Other February holiday ideas
Active: hike the rainforests and volcanoes of Costa Rica
Festival: dance the samba at Carnaval in Brazil
Cuisine: slurp on a rich laksa in the back streets of KL in Malaysia
Culture: explore the tea plantations and temples of Sri Lanka
Our top pick: Vietnam
The best time to visit Vietnam is February to April or August to October. Vietnam is a long and skinny country so conditions change between the north and the south. But in March, the weather is great right down the length of the country.
In March, the weather in North Vietnam is starting to warm up after winter – in Hanoi, skies are often clear and blue with daytime temperatures hovering around 19 or 20 degrees. In the south, where conditions are more tropical, March is in the dry season – in Ho Chi Minh City, temperatures will be in the low 30s and humidity will be moderately muggy.
Whether you are cycling the length of the country or highlight-hopping along the coast, this is a great time of year. Take a boat trip on Halong Bay, explore ancient Cham ruins, boat down the waterways of the Mekong Delta and feast on delicious cuisine.
Other March holiday ideas
Culture: take a boat to ancient temples on the Nile in Egypt
Cuisine: bar hop and graze on tapas in Spain
Festival: celebrate the vivid colours of Holi in India
Active: snorkel the clear waters and coral reefs of Belize
Our top pick: Cuba
The best time to visit Cuba is within its loooong glorious season of good weather between December and May. Blue skies and warm sunshine with little rain make this a perfect destination for months on end. In April, the weather is sunny and hovering around the near-perfect 25 degree mark. Hello Caribbean paradise.
It's perfect weather to explore the places that make Cuba so unique – the historic city of Havana, the old grandeur of colonial Trinidad, the music scene of Santiago de Cuba and the waterfalls and cloud forests of the national parks. All that plus beautiful Caribbean beaches.
Other April holiday ideas
Active: hike in the Atlas mountains of Morocco
Nature: swoon over the beautiful cherry blossoms of Japan
Cuisine: sample pastry after pastry after pastry in France
Culture: be astounded by the Treasury building of Petra in Jordan
Our top pick: Italy
The best time to visit Italy is between April and June or September and October. The temperatures will be comfortable and the crowds aren't at their peak. The weather varies along the length of the country, and from the coast to the mountains, but generally speaking, in May, temperatures are in the twenties and the conditions are pleasant and dry.
Hike in the Dolomites, take a gondola down the Grand Canal, cycle in Tuscany, visit the Colosseum in Rome, wander the Path of the Gods on the Amalfi Coast, eat a traditional pizza in Naples or explore the ancient sites of Sicily. Italy just has so darn much to offer.
Other May holiday ideas
Active: hike along the rim of the vast and incredible Grand Canyon, USA
Culture: sip tea as you bargain for a rug in Istanbul, Turkey
Landscape: soak up the serenity of the dramatic fjords of Norway
Cuisine: graze on fresh seafood in the glorious Greek Islands
Our top pick: Croatia
The best time to visit Croatia is in the glorious weather of what's considered the shoulder season – May and June and September and October. Days will be sunny and warm but the crowds wont be at their peak. In June, the crowds are starting to trickle in and locals start to get festive as the weather improves – day time temperatures range from 22 to 27 degrees.
It's great weather for discovering Croatia's range of amazingness – explore the beautiful Plitvice Lakes, walk along Dubrovnik's old city walls, wander through Diocletian's Palace at the heart of the old city of Split and chill on the beach on the island of Hvar. Incredible seafood rounds Croatia out to be an almost perfect destination.
Other June holiday ideas
Active: cycle through the lavender fields of southern France
Festival: join the celebrations of Inti Raymi festival in Peru
Culture: gaze at spectacular art at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia
Landscape: feel the wind in your hair at the dramatic cliffs of Moher in Ireland
Our top pick: Peru
The best time to visit Peru is between May and October, when the weather is sunny and clear. In July, temperatures will be fine and coolish – around 18 degrees. It is very consistent with a low likelihood of rain.
Of course, Peru offers such a variety of landscapes that is it hard to generalise about weather. July is the driest month in the Amazon Rainforest. At Machu Picchu, crowds are building in July, but the clear weather offers a great chance for a perfect sunrise over the mountaintop Incan city. In the capital city of Lima and the colonial town of Cusco, weather hovers around 20 degrees and you can explore the beautiful cobbled streets in comfort.
Other July holiday ideas
Festival: get amongst the 'manly sports' festival of Nadaam in Mongolia
Wildlife: watch the incredible wildebeest migration across the Serengeti in Tanzania
Voyage: cruise along the coast of Greenland and Spitsbergen, deep in the Arctic Circle
Active: hike around the dazzling turquoise lakes of the Canadian Rockies
Our top pick: Iceland
The best time to visit Iceland depends on what you want to do. For hiking and exploring, the best time is July and August which feature mild weather and sunshine. If you want to see the Northern Lights, aim for February, March, September or October.
In August, daily temperatures are between 9 and 14 degrees (it's the warmest time of year). Inland, the roads will be open and there's a pretty low chance of rain. Skies are partly cloudy and sunlight hours are long – in the land of the midnight sun, August gives you around six hours of relative darkness for sleep.
Those long days are perfect for hiking through the stunning volcanic landscapes and discovering the glaciers, thermal springs, geysers and waterfalls that make this such a spectacular destination.
Other August holiday ideas
Landscape: be dazzled by the pure white salt flats of Bolivia
Wildlife: visit the cheeky orangutans of Borneo
Culture: absorb the vibe of the uber-hip cities of Sweden and Denmark
Active: snorkel and hike in Bali, Lombok and the Gili Islands in Indonesia
Our top pick: Tanzania
The best time to visit Tanzania is from late June to October. This is the dry season so your travels will be in fine weather, there will be less mosquitos and the wildlife will be easier to spot. In September, the weather is generally clear and sunny, daily temperatures will range from the low 20s to low 30s and rain is unlikely.
This is prime safari weather – the Ngorongoro Crater will be crowded with grazing creatures. You might catch some of the wildebeest migration in the northern Serengeti. The elephants of Tarangire might be on the move and in quieter Sealous the density of game is outstanding. To wrap up with some post-safari R&R, head to the beautiful spice island of Zanzibar.
Other September holiday ideas
Culture: get to know eastern USA, from New Orleans to New York
Active: hike the pilgrimage trail of Camino de Santiago in Spain
Wildlife: visit the beautiful giant pandas in Chengdu, China
Landscape: get drenched by the spray of spectacular Iguazu Falls in Brazil
Our top pick: Japan
The best time to visit Japan is late spring (March to May) and late autumn (September to November). In these months, the weather is mild, the skies are clear and rainfall is low. Spring is the busy cherry blossom season, but in the autumn of October, you'll find things are a bit quieter. Temperatures hover around 20 degrees and humidity is low.
The weather will be perfect for exploring the neon-lit streets of Tokyo and wandering into the alleys to discover incredible street food. In Kyoto, you'll be rewarded with the stunning warm colours of autumn – the rich tones of red, orange and yellow enhance the beauty of the traditional buildings and ancient temples.
Other October holiday ideas
Nature: see the eerie glow of the northern lights over Iceland
Wildlife: discover the unique creatures of the Galapagos Islands
Festival: be overwhelmed by the beauty of Diwali, the festival of lights, in India
Culture: city hop through eastern Europe: Prague, Krakow and Budapest
Our top pick: Nepal
The best time to visit Nepal is from late September to early December. The weather in these months is dry and cool with clear skies. In November, daily temperatures will be around 15 degrees, the landscapes are lush and green from the past monsoon season and you are likely to have little or no rain.
This is perfect trekking weather. As you hike along the mountain trails and cross high passes, the cool weather will keep you comfortable and the clear skies afford incredible views of the peaks of the Himalaya. Added to that, the warm hospitality of the Nepalese people makes this a destination like no other.
Other November holiday ideas
Festival: get the skeleton out of the closet at the Day of the Dead festival in Mexico
Culture: take a tango lesson in cosmopolitan Buenos Aires in Argentina
Cuisine: have a dumpling taste off between Hong Kong and Shanghai in China
Active: cycle the winelands and coast of South Africa
Our top pick: Cambodia
The best time to visit Cambodia is in the cooler months of October to December. These months fall within the dry season when skies will be clear and the weather is not too hot. In December, temperatures are generally between 20 and 30 degrees, humidity is muggy and rainfall is low.
At beachside Sihanoukville, the weather will be perfect for an afternoon dip in the clear warm waters or a boat trip to the palm-fringed islands. In Siem Reap, get yourself out of bed early and head to Angkor Wat for sunrise. The clear skies will provide a warm orange glow behind the temples – a spectacular view to soak up as you ponder the ancient culture that constructed this incredible site.
Other December holiday ideas
Landscape: chill out on the white-sand beaches of Mexico
Cuisine: cook up a coconut curry storm in Thailand
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