Where to go in January, February and March 2020

Thinking of getting away early in the new year? Our round-up can help you plan the perfect trip. From the Mediterranean climes of southern Italy to Kenya’s game reserves and the diverse landscapes of Vietnam, here is our guide to where to go in January, February and March.
Halong Bay, Vietnam. Photo: Nguyen Quang Ngoc Tonkin/Shutterstock
Halong Bay, Vietnam. Photo: Nguyen Quang Ngoc Tonkin/Shutterstock

Planning a trip away in early in the New Year? Join us as we take a look at the best places around the globe to visit in our guide to where to go in January, February and March 2020.

Where to go in Europe

1. Finland

Snow season in Finland begins in November and can last for six months. Temperatures range from zero down to some serious minus figures. But with layers of the right clothing, plus a hat, gloves and boots, it’s easy to stay warm outside in arctic conditions. And Finland offers a wealth of wonderful winter activities. The best skiing in Lapland starts in February, while during the long days of March, you can ski for up to 12 hours bathed in brilliant sunshine. Destinations to head for include the Pyhä Ski Resort within easy reach of the regional capital Rovaniemi, and Saariselkä Ski Resort in the north, just a short flight from Helsinki. Both resorts offer numerous slopes for skiers of all abilities. 

Finland is also one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights. The bewitching aurora borealis can be seen in Lapland more than 200 nights a year. In the village of Kilpisjärvi, in the north west of Finlan, you can see the ethereal heavenly spectacle on average three nights out of four. 

Contact our travel expert to plan an unforgettable trip in Finland.

Northern lights in skies over Lapland, Finland. Photo: Ekaterina Kondratova/Shutterstock

2. Ireland

With its alluring blend of modernity, traditional hospitality and unspoiled scenery, a trip to Ireland is always a joy. The weather may still be a little inclement at times, but March is one of Ireland's driest months and temperatures gradually increase as it progresses, making it an ideal time to experience the country’s dramatic landscapes. The Wild Atlantic Way scenic drive takes in the famous Ring of Kerry with its breathtaking panorama of coast, mountains, and sandy beaches. The Kerry Way passes through some stunning mountainous scenery between Glenbeigh and Killarney. The Wicklow Way leads along trails passing lakes, steep-sided valleys, mountain streams and forests, all within easy reach of Dublin. 

With its vibrant mix of traditional pubs, hip bars, fine Georgian architecture, and colorful cultural scene Dublin can rival any European capital. Add to that the legendary hospitality that locals extend to visitors, and it’s always a good time to visit the city – but even more so early in the year when it hosts a number of major annual events. Tradfest brings folk music luminaries to the Temple Bar cultural quarter (22–26 Jan, 2020), Dublin International Film Festival features screenings of the best new Irish and international movies (26 Feb–8 Mar, 2020) and Six Nations Rugby Championship fixtures take place at the Aviva Stadium, against Scotland (1 Feb), Wales (8 Feb), and Italy (7 Mar). St Patrick’s Festival sees Ireland’s national saint celebrated with parades, concerts and parties in Dublin and throughout the nation each year on 17 March.

3. Southern Italy

The typically Mediterranean climate in the south of Italy means that the region never gets truly cold. By March, the weather is warming up. Most days are comfortably warm and pleasant, with plenty of sunshine, but the crowds have not yet started to arrive. It’s the ideal time to follow the footsteps of the Greeks and Romans to Naples, Pompeii, and the Amalfi Coast. 

Culturally rich Naples is full of wonderful architecture and museums, and flanked by an idyllic bay. The medieval streets of the city’s historic center conceal such delights as the fascinating Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples’ great Franciscan church Santa Chiara, and the magnificent Gothic Duomo. And as the birthplace of pizza, authentic crusty Neapolitan pizza served in one of the city’s many relaxed pizzerias is unbeatable

Off-season is the best time to visit Pompeii – the scorched remains of the thriving Roman town are set against the backdrop of Vesuvius, the volcano that destroyed it. To the south, the towns dotted along the spectacular, rugged scenery of the vertiginous Amalfi coastline are ideal destinations in which to relish la dolce vita in Italy. 

Experience the region for yourself on Insight Guides’ Best of South Italy: Rome, Naples, Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast trip.

Pompeii archeological site, near Naples, Italy. Photo: Patrycja Hruszowiec/Shutterstock

Where to go in Africa and the Middle East

4. Kenya

Kenya’s immense scenery is matched by its rare biodiversity. The country was one of the original homes of safari and it remains an exceptional wildlife destination, though modern safaris emphasize photography rather than hunting. Game viewing is good throughout the year and the wilderness experience is much improved when there are less visitors outside of peak season, which runs from July to October. Stand-out reserves in Kenya include the largest in the country, Amboseli National Park which supports elephants that roam the plains below the magnificent snow-capped peak of Kilimanjaro. Lake Nakuru attracts literally millions of flamingos and is the centerpiece of a compact national park that supports dense populations of black and white rhino alongside water and woodland birds. Tsavo is one of the largest wildlife sanctuaries anywhere in the world. Once famous for its man-eating lions, it now provides luxury accommodation for viewing a variety of wildlife including cheetah, oryx, and black rhino, as well as the largest elephant population in the country, estimated to be around 12,500 in total.

Kenyan pink flamingos. Photo: jdross75/Shutterstock

5. South Africa

From seeking out the famous ‘Big Five’ on safari, to sampling the finest wines produced in Cape winelands estates, and visiting the penguin colony at Boulders Beach, the allure of South Africa is strong – especially for upmarket travelers. And with its pleasant subtropical climate South Africa is a fantastic year-round destination. The early months of the year are midsummer in the Western Cape when you can enjoy warm temperatures, long days and rainless skies. 

Discover the breathtaking sights of Cape Town, visit some of the country's finest beaches, and savor luxury accommodation at Pilanesberg National Park reserve surrounded by nature's wildest creatures on Insight Guides' Cape Peninsula to Victoria Falls trip, which also features a visit to the mighty Victoria Falls.

6. Jordan

Jordan enjoys almost year-round sunshine and blue skies. March marks the start of the spring, which is the best time to visit, after the winter rains have turned the country green and brought out the wildflowers. Experience Middle Eastern café culture and visit ancient ruins in the capital Amman, before traveling through the breathtaking desert landscapes of Wadi Rum. 

Floating in the cobalt waters of the Dead Sea is easy as they are so heavy with salt and oils. Savoring beauty treatments in one of the nearby upmarket mineral spas is an experience not to be missed. You can treat yourself to therapies including rejuvenating natural mud wraps, purifying milk baths and salt scrubs, which use Dead Sea waters to exfoliate the skin, leaving you feeling fully refreshed.

Dead Sea coastal resort, Jordan. Photo: vvoe/Shutterstock

Where to go in Asia

7. Vietnam

March is the perfect time to visit Vietnam: the energy-sapping, dense humidity has been replaced by warm, dry, sun-bleached days that are ideal for discovering the best of the country. Must-see destinations include the dynamic capital Hanoi with its tree-lined colonial streets and Old Quarter peppered with pagodas, temples and ancient banyan trees. The breathtaking sweep of Halong Bay features thousands of limestone crags and half-submerged outcrops dotting its indigo-colored waters. In the heart of the country, Hue straddles a maze of canals and lotus lakes, while its UNESCO-listed Imperial City, is the former home of the Nguyen dynasty. 

Explore all these destinations and more as part of Insight Guides’ Discover Vietnam trip

8. India

The best time to visit India is after the southwest monsoon when the cool season has arrived. During the first months of the year, you can enjoy beautiful, warm sunny days in the state of Rajasthan. India’s ‘Land of Kings’ overflows with color and exuberance. Visit the colonnaded City Palace in Jaipur, capture the romance of the nation at flamboyant forts in Jodhpur, Udaipur and Jaisalmer, before heading out on a camel safari in the Thar Desert.     

Head south to Portuguese-influenced Goa to savor sun-kissed days on mile after mile of palm-fringed beaches overlooking the Arabian Sea. Further south, you can experience the unique atmosphere of Kerala’s Kuttinad backwater region on a leisurely houseboat cruise in a converted rice barge. 

Our local experts can organize fantastic trips in India for you. Get in touch to let us know your ideas and we will create a tailor-made itinerary especially. Browse our existing itineraries for inspiration – they can all be tailored to suit your requirements.

Amber Fort in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. Photo: Olena Tur/Shutterstock

Where to go in the Americas

9. Southern California

From mountains and ocean to cities and rural villages, the state of California encompasses a diverse landscape that offers visitors natural wonders, impressive cultural attractions, and engaging personality, all complemented by some of the best year-round weather in the US. Head to Southern California in March to enjoy lovely warm days and affordable off-peak rates. And there is plenty to see, from wildflowers in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and the Joshua Tree National Park’s twisted trees to white-sand beaches stretching along the coastline. Santa Monica and Huntington beaches in Los Angeles are perfect for surfing and sunbathing, while San Diego draws families to its museums, beaches and the San Diego Zoo. Sprawling LA has something for everyone: celebrity-spotting in Hollywood, the Getty Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art, food trucks and trendy bars, and the boardwalk and canals at Venice. And, of course, Disneyland, where an off-peak weekday is the ideal time to avoid crowds and queues.

La Jolla San Diego, Southern California. Photo: Dancestrokes/Shutterstock

10. Panama

Being in the tropics, Panama is hot all year round. January to March comprise the dry season when the firmer going underfoot makes it easier to travel on unpaved roads and explore the jungle, and the reduced rainwater run-off ensures clearer waters to swim in. 

This spirited Central American nation is home to tropical beaches, pristine rainforests, incredible wildlife and a cosmopolitan capital city. But the Panama Canal has to be the first stop for any visitor, where the Miraflores Lock offers an insight on the history of this iconic waterway and incredible feat of engineering. You can watch a towering container ship pass slowly through and discover that the canal also has an extensive green belt that protects its waters and supports an abundance of flora and fauna – including jaguars, monkeys and abundant birdlife. Learn more at the Frank Gehry-designed Biomuseo – one of the many surprises that Panama holds for visitors.

Ready to book your first trip away in 2020? 

Insight Guides can help you plan and book wonderful trips in destinations around the world. Simply get in touch to let us know your ideas for the trip and when you would like to travel. Our local experts will then prepare a personalized itinerary especially, which you can amend until you’re completely happy with every detail before booking.