Christmas may be just around the corner, but beat the January blues early by booking your New Year break now. Here are 10 of the best holidays to get you through the post-festive lull.
St Moritz, Switzerland
Swanky ski favourite St Moritz is set to transform into an artistic hub over the winter months, as historic luxury hotel Badrutt’s Palace partners with Hauser & Wirth on its newest gallery. The contemporary space at the Palace Galerie will open with an inaugural exhibition dedicated to provocative sculptor Louise Bourgeois. The alpine resort will also see its food scene bolstered in January, as Brit chef Jason Atherton has chosen St Moritz for the opening of his first Swiss restaurant.
Average temperature in January: -9 degrees
Flight time: 1hr 40 minutes
Papua New Guinea
Marine biologists and well-weathered divers head to New Britain in Papua New Guinea for unrivalled diving that gets them up close and personal with some incredible marine creatures, from thousands-strong spirals of barracuda to schools of scalloped hammerheads. Launching in January 2019, Wallindi Plantation Resort’s new liveaboard will take guests here too, exploring one of the most remote and beautiful dive sites in the world.
Average temperature in January: 27 degrees
Flight time: 18 hours
With a heady mix of history, architecture and particularly hearty food, it’s no wonder Matera in southern Italy has been chosen as the European Capital of Culture for 2019. Team that with the events surrounding the 500-year anniversary of Leonardo Da Vinci’s death, and off-season Italy becomes a must-visit for the New Year.
Average temperature in January: 6 degrees
Flight time: 2hr 45 minutes
Finally, the long-awaited Grand Egyptian Museum will open at the beginning of 2019. Having been relocated and newly built overlooking the pyramids of Giza, the museum will house over 100,000 ancient Egyptian artefacts, many of which have never been shown to the public, including King Tutankhamun’s complete collection of burial masks, sarcophagi and personal treasures. Once complete, the museum will be the largest in the world devoted to a single civilisation.
Average temperature in January: 14 degrees
Flight time: 4hr 45 minutes
Bracing Scotland will find itself in the spotlight come January with the release of Mary Queen of Scots starring Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan as the embittered royal cousins. Gleneagles in Perthshire is surrounded by plenty of historic sites that tell tales of blood, battle and lust, including Drummond Castle, where Queen Mary spent some of her honeymoon, and The Palace of Holyroodhouse. For real history buffs the hotel will be offering intimate expert-guided tours of some of the key spots.
Average temperature in January: 5 degrees
Flight time: 1hr 25 minutes
Next year marks 25 years since the appalling genocide in Rwanda – but half a century on, the country is flourishing. There’s a host of new openings in 2019, with Singita’s Kwitonda lodge arriving in Volcanoes National Park in the summer, while One and Only’s Nyungwe House recently opened on the fringes of Nyungwe National Park. And while the country may be famous for its bucket list gorilla trekking, Rwanda is now home to the full Big Five since the relocation of 20 black rhinos from South Africa to Akagera National Park.
Average temperature in January: 23 degrees
Flight time: 10hr 30 minutes
If there’s one person responsible for putting Chile on the map, it’s Alexander Von Humboldt, and 2019 marks 250 years since the explorer’s birth. Fitting, then, that the Tomkins Conservation foundation is setting out to protect Von Humboldt’s old haunts with a new 1,740-mile-long hiking trail. The new Patagonian Route of Parks opens up brand new hikes for tourists and connects 17 national parks together in one sweaty, networked route.
Average temperature in January: 21 degrees
Flight time: 19hr 10 minutes
Between 15 January and 4 March, the ancient city of Haridwar in Northern India will play host to Ardh Kumbh Mela – recognised by Unesco as the largest spirit festival in the world – where Hindu devotees come to wash away their sins in the river’s holy waters. Stay at pop-up site The Ultimate Travelling Camp and you can meet with local Sadhus and Seers to hear about their own spiritual journeys.
Average temperature in January: 19 degrees
Flight time: 8hr 25 minutes
You might think of Palma as purely a beach destination, but with historic architecture, a burgeoning food scene and a clutch of truly fantastic hotels, it’s a great place to visit in winter too. The New Year sees the opening of Can Bordoy in the heart of the historical La Lonja district. The hotel blends the antique frescoes and wooden beams of the Medieval mansion in which it’s set with contemporary touches and curated modern artworks. It also boasts one of the largest “secret” gardens in Mallorca.
Average temperature in January: 10 degrees
Flight time: 2 hr 20 minutes
The 572 miles of English countryside that make up the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park mark the largest area of protected night sky in Europe. And with research showing that around 85 per cent of the UK population has never seen a truly dark sky, January is a perfect time to visit. Holiday rental specialists Crabtree & Crabtree have even teamed up with Astro Ventures to offer a series of stargazing tours and late night stargazing BBQs with your very own personal astronomer.
Average temperature in January: 6 degrees
Flight time: N/A