Dealing with January and February can be tough. The glittering and snowy days of December are replaced with the slush and sludge of days filled with runny noses, dark days, and cold fingers. It’s the time of the year when you’re likely to feel seasonally depressed, going to work gets harder, and the gloom becomes pretty much unbearable. But all of that can be fixed with a quick trip. Winter lodges can feel like Thoreau escapes, warm sand can bring your toes back to life, and strolls through ancient cities will transport you to another time, reminding you that you’re lucky to live in a time where heaters exist.
Don’t believe us? Here’s a list of the best the best destinations for you to escape January & February’s gloom.
Mt. Tremblant is like the Vail of Canada. Its resorts are frequently hailed as some of the best skiing a person can get in the North East Americas. The surrounding village is wonderful and offers equal numbers of hiking and cuddling opportunities. Whether it’s hot tubs or ski trails you’re looking for, Tremblant will have it. Even better, the city is connected via ski trails to a number of neighboring villages, so visitors can really experience cross-country skiing. If that’s not your thing, don’t sweat it — there’s ice skating in the village. And if that’s not your thing, lot of cheerful shops and cafes have plenty of warm fires to cozy up too.
If the cold really isn’t your thing, head to the white beaches of Indonesia. These volcanic mountains are known for their colorful coral reefs, friendly locals, and peaceful retreats. If the cold weather is stressing you out more than usual, Bali has a number of wonderful and calming yoga and mindfulness retreats. Truly, there’s no better way to forget snowflakes and dark days than miles of turquoise waters, a little bit of meditation, and a deep sense of spirituality. The island has a number of different to cities to visit, and based on your interests, you might end up bouncing between them. Options include Kuta, where surfers find their delight, Lovina, famous for its ebony beaches, and Seminyak, for ritzy shopping. Wherever you might end up, there’s no better place to be than in Bali.
While you won’t encounter any wonderful sandy beaches, the colorful cafes and shops that line the famous Riverwalk will make you feel like you’re in Venice (but with a Texas twist). A quieter and tamer option than Miami, San Antonio offers visitors an opportunity to explore a unique culture and history. The 18th-century buildings and roads combined with a visit to the Alamo will remind you of America’s rugged past. A dip into most restaurants will reveal San Antonio’s culinary masterpiece: Chili. And what better way to forget your icy home than with a spicy bowl of chili? With art museums, colorful murals and markets, San Antonio just might be the least snow-white place in America.
Ho Chi Minh City
You risk experiencing whiplash trying to keep up with all the bicyclists, cars, and motorbikes that are sure to pass by you. Vietnam’s largest city, Ho Chi Minh City is chaotic, fun, and charming. Perched on the banks of the Saigon River, Ho Chi Minh City has surpassed its war-time roots to become one of Southeast Asia’s most powerful and beautiful cities. And with that economic revival has come a series of wonderful places for tourists to visit. Things like Dong Khoi, known as the Times Square of Ho Chi Minh City and the Saigon Opera House are sure to wow. Best of all? The weather. January and February is the region’s mildest season — so you’ll skip the stifling heat and flooding.
Bern feels like a Swiss fairy tale. With small rolling hills, 15th-century cobble stones, and one-of-a-kind bear park, you’re sure to feel like this place belongs in the heart of a Harry Potter movie. The Bear Pit, known also as the Bärengraben is one of Bern’s more unique features, a sprawling reserve where bears can be watched from afar by visitors. The bear has long been seen as a symbol of Bern and has been kept in the city for centuries. Bern’s rich history can be seen in its wonderful museums, medieval towers, and local stories and histories. If winter isn’t your thing, a quick conversation with a native-born Swiss might just be able to change your mind.
Rio De Janeiro
If the only thing that can make you forget Jack Frost decimating your home is good food, good people, and good times, then look no further than Rio. Rio de Janeiro is one of the most colorful and fun cities to visit. Considering the size of Rio — 6 million people live within its boundaries — there’s something for everyone in this city. For the athletic types, the waves of Prainha beach are famous for surfers, but if chilling is more your thing, watching the surfboards cut and glide through the waves is like nothing else in the world. Notably, a quick gondola ride up Sugarloaf Mountain offers views of the city below or look up to gawk at the Christ the Redeemer statue. And every night can end warm and fuzzy with a cocktail in hand, staring at the stars on the coast of Ipanema Beach. Snow? What snow?
Barbados offers beach-goers a more purist attempt at a vacation. Crowded beaches, clubs, and restaurants are replaced by miles and miles of pristine beaches. Originally settled by the British in the 1600s, a lot of the traditions remain though the Queen is gone. There’s a certain “poshness” that is unique to Barbados, with afternoon tea and cricket being not only expectations but passions. Visitors are privy to some of the world’s most spectacular orange and pink sunsets and sunrises, capable of turning the entire island into a Kandinsky painting. With hotels and hostels dotted around the whole island, anyone on any budget can find their wintry retreat here.
If there’s one thing that the dead of winter has to offer it’s the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. This ephemeral, wonderful and spectacular light display can be found in only a handful of places like Norway, Iceland, and Finland and ideal viewing time is in the dead of winter when it is coldest and darkest. What emerges from the inky depths of the night sky is like the night’s own wonderful sunset. While there are many places to see the Northern Lights, Norway’s Tromsø takes the cake. As challenging as it might be to make the Arctic appealing, by combining unique natural experiences — the Northern Lights and Midnight Sun — and modern amenities, the city feels like an Arctic resort. Tromsø can make you think that maybe winter isn’t so bad after all.
Did we miss your favorite January & February escape? Let us know what it is in the comments below!