Snow & mountains. Festivals of light in Europe. World’s best whale watching and more


What can be worse than Mondays? Probably… January. Good news is that there is a perfect healer to chase the blues away. Skiing and snowboarding are rewarding in January. Good snow coverage, less crowds and noticeable price drops on flights and hotels compared to a holiday season make it a great vacation idea

It’s time to recall the taste of hot chocolate with marshmallows in a cosy mountain cafe, mysterious silence of nature during a snowfall, scent of wood inside a warm log cabin and relaxing sounds of the crackling fireplace. Even if sledding is up your valley – January is a great month to immerse into a winter fairy-tale

There are so many destinations to explore beyond well known Swiss, French, Austrian or American resorts. From Kyrgyzstan to Georgia to India and from Turkey to Bulgaria to Spain – whenever there is snow and slopes, people create ski pistes and enjoy winter fun. Just don’t forget that to go skiing in New Zealand or Chile (or elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere) you’d need to wait for another half a year 😉

And for those who fancy some extra –


Combine snow fun with attending X Gamesextreme sports festival in Aspen, Colorado – to see with your own eyes how awesome some human beings are!

Aspen's Winter X-Games


Alternatively, fly away in an air balloon admiring Dolomite peaks from a totally new perspective at Dobbiaco Balloon Festival, Italy.


Still digesting Christmas and New Year treats and not ready for too active beginning of the year? Curious walks are good start for a ramp up! Check out Canary Wharf Winter Lights in LONDON where magic of light is combined with some cool technical and interactive features. Get a map of luminous street art locations and explore festival’s vast area at your own pace

Alternatively, head to Holland! AMSTERDAM’s lights are not only red. Each January during Amsterdam Light Festival the city gets illuminated by multicolour installations that you can enjoy walking, cycling or with a boat tour. Both festivals are free with possible exception of some special events and performances.


There is more than a dozen of whale species on the planet and they all look so different to each other. Multiple destinations offer whale watching tours all year round, but let’s speak of the rarest species. Let alone being the largest animal on earth (reaching 30 meters in length and weighing 120 tons), blue whale is also a real challenge to spot due to their migration routes.

Blue Whale snorkelling

Among very few locations where you may encounter these giants – SRI LANKA and MEXICO shores. As for the latter, every winter impressive ocean creatures swim along Baja California, and it’s possible to see them from January to April around Loreto Bay and La Paz. Local vendors offer different tour options – from a glass-bottom boat to private snorkelling/diving in whale proximity.

Blue whale season in Sri Lanka lasts from December to March. Every morning dozens of specialized boats loaded with tourists depart from the port of Mirissa in hope to catch a glimpse of the most wanted ocean inhabitants. Indian ocean is rough and sri-lankan boat operators honestly keep their promises to stay in the sea until a whale is finally spotted, therefore keep in mind that you may be stepping back on land as blue as whale after 6-7 hours of rocking in the huge waves… Here too, some companies offer private boat tours to dive or snorkel next to the amazing giants.

Finally, should we even mention that both Mexixo and Sri Lanka are truly fairy-tale destinations at any time of the year. Stunning nature, picturesque beaches, kind people, rich cultural and historic legacy, amazing food – could we ask for more? Well, in January that would be an escape from winter of course. While Europe and US are freezing and sneezing – why not to warm your cockles and get some fresh suntan?


In case you are looking for something to wow your grandchildren one day, there is a weird and funny early January flash-mob event for real revellers. No Pants Subway Ride happens around the start of the year, and the date is announced by the organizers ImprovEverywhere in early December. The tradition started in New York in 2002 and has been rather contagious since then, bringing onboard LONDON, Berlin, Mexico City and other megapolises. There has even been attempt to support the day in Moscow, unfortunately did not turn too well for the participants. So put the fanciest underwear on, if you dare!


EGYPT resorts in January.

Red ‘No Swimming’ flag is an often guest on Egypt beaches in January. Not only it is the most cold and windy month, but also is known for the heaviest rainfall. Having said that – it is anyway dozens degrees warmer than in Europe, and lower prices compensate for the weather inconveniences. If you are ready to potentially give up amazing Red Sea underwater world in favour of a heated pool, and you do not mind relaxing in the company of huge windscreens they install on the beaches – Egypt in January still can be an option for you 😉

Photo credits and copyrights: X Games, ASV DOLOMITI BALLOONFESTIVAL, UpYourValley, Amsterdam Light Festival, Flickr, Getty Images

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