Best Time to Visit Popular Travel Destinations

One would ask “When is the best time to Visit [insert month here]?” Honestly, there’s no simple answer to this as it depends on your travel style, interests, and budget. Thankfully, the world is now more accessible than ever, allowing us to travel almost anywhere with any travel style and budget. But, with so many options available, it can be hard to choose the best destination for our next trip.

This guide attempts to show when each destination is in its high season, shoulder season (the travel period between high and low seasons), and low season. It also highlights a few top destinations to visit in each specific month, as well as those you should avoid due to bad weather. These are accompanied by a description of the best places you should consider. Feel free to skip to the month of interest using the Table of Contents below.

Countries to Visit in January:

This is arguably the best time to visit anywhere. This is because it stands out as an affordable travel month following the holiday rush, ideal for those planning ahead. It is one best month to watch the northern lights in countries like Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark including Greenland & Faroe Islands.

Northern Lights, Iceland.

Skiing enthusiasts should head to Austria and Switzerland, while the Caribbean and Central America bask in warm, rain-free conditions. Southeast Asian gems like Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, and even the Maldives promise dry, sunny beach weather.

January is summer in Australia and New Zealand, making it an ideal time to visit. You can explore beautiful cities like Sydney and Melbourne, enjoy the stunning beaches, and even witness the iconic Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks. If you’re looking to hike, Patagonia in Chile and Argentina is at peak season as the weather is at its warmest and driest, so if you’re a hiker, this is the time to go. Costa Rica is also in its dry season so this is one of the best times to Visit. It is also a great time to visit Egypt, and UAE (Dubai and Abu Dhabi) as it’s weather-friendly during this time.

In Bolivia, on the other hand, the country is in its rainy season, but this is a good time to visit the Salar de Uyuni – the largest salt flats in the world. It is during this time that a thin layer of water creates the surreal optical illusion of a giant mirror reflecting the sky on the ground.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

Even though it is in the middle of its rainy season, Hawaii, USA is a popular destination in January – especially if you surf. The weather is still good enough to go to the beach or go whale watching (as Hawaii is in the peak of humpback season). If sunny days are more important to you, then go there during the dry season, from April to October.

If you’re interested in visiting the 7th continent, Antarctica would be in its prime time as this is their summer, so “warm” and clear days would make the voyage much more comfortable. Since this trip is only done on a cruise, These cruise options come highly recommended.

Countries to NOT Visit in January:

Unless you are hoping to see the northern lights or go skiing, avoiding countries in the Northern Hemisphere is advisable. Avoid countries like Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Papua New GuineaEast Timor, and Polynesia as it’s the rainy season. The islands east of Africa like MadagascarReunionSeychelles, and Mauritius, among others, are also to be avoided.

  • Best Places to Visit in February

Countries to Visit in February:

Southeast Asia remains in its prime period, attracting a significant number of travellers this month. While encouraging you to avoid peak seasons, I must acknowledge that this is indeed one of the best times to explore this region. The northern Scandinavian countries continue to offer optimal conditions for observing the mesmerizing northern lights. Similarly, France, Switzerland, and Austria present excellent opportunities for skiing enthusiasts. It’s important to note that ski resorts in these areas might experience higher levels of crowding. For an alternative skiing experience, one can consider Utah, Vermont, and Colorado in the USA, which rank among the most sought-after states for skiing adventures.

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Paris, France.

The romantic city of Paris will shine particularly bright during a portion of the month, especially around the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day. However, it’s worth being prepared for increased crowds, higher costs, and lingering cold temperatures. The Caribbean and Central America maintain their wonderful warm climates, and the same goes for Chile and Argentina, offering enticing prospects if you’re interested in exploring the vineyards and hiking paths of Patagonia. For classical music lovers, February sees the start of the five-week prestigious Al Bustan International Festival of Music and the Performing Arts, which attracts tourists to Lebanon.

As February arrives, it concludes the summer season in the southern hemisphere. Thus, seizing the opportunity to visit Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile would be a wise choice. Egypt, although evenings might be a touch chilly, the present moment presents an excellent chance to delve into the world of ancient ruins in Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan. Additionally, cruising along the Nile River promises a comfortable experience due to the favourable weather conditions.

The Pyramids of Egypt.

Further south on the African continent, South Africa emerges as an appealing destination, with particular attention on one of its captivating capitals, Cape Town. Here, one can savour the delights of its renowned wines and explore the alluring stretches of its popular beaches. A must-experience gem is Boulders Beach, where an African penguin colony resides, offering a captivating up-close encounter with these charming creatures.

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

While February doesn’t rank as the peak tourist season in Italy, it draws many travellers due to the enchanting Carnival festivities in Venice. Another Carnival celebration that demands attention is the vibrant Rio de Janeiro Carnival in Brazil. Notably, numerous other countries join the carnival festivities this month, including the USA, where the vivacious Mardi Gras celebrations unfold in the vibrant city of New Orleans. Another festival of considerable significance is the Chinese New Year which takes place in China. Alternatively, one can opt for a visit to Singapore, known for hosting the most extensive Chinese New Year festivities beyond the borders of China.

Antarctica remains accessible for exploration.

Countries to NOT Visit in February:

Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and Polynesia are currently experiencing their wet season, while the islands situated to the east of Africa, including Madagascar, Reunion, and Mauritius, are currently in the midst of their cyclone season.

  • Best Places to Visit in March

Countries to Visit in March:
Beirut, Lebanon.

March initiates the shoulder season in many places, allowing for affordable travel regardless of your style. Mediterranean countries like Italy are warming up, offering pleasant weather minus the crowds. Egypt maintains its delightful climate. It is also the ideal time to visit Lebanon as the country is carpeted with beautiful and varied flora, the stifling summer heat has yet to arrive, and the winter rains have disappeared.

Southeast Asia remains appealing with good weather and fewer tourists. India, especially Mumbai, is prime for the vibrant Holi Festival. Nearby, the Maldives promises idyllic tropical conditions.

The Maldives.

In the USA, coastal cities like New York, Boston, and San Francisco, along with the southern states, enjoy pleasant weather. Cuba and nearby Caribbean islands are in their dry season. Colombia’s Cartagena offers sunny beaches, local food, and vibrant nightlife in March. It’s ideal for activities like hang gliding and kitesurfing, with day trips to Isla Barú’s sandy shores.

Patagonia is still feasible early in March, but windy conditions are emerging in the mountains. While the Galapagos Islands experience rain, it’s a budget-friendly time with brief showers and the start of bird mating season.

Countries to NOT Visit in March:

Destinations such as Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and other East African countries are currently experiencing their rainy season. Thus, it might not be the most favourable period to embark on a safari or visit the Devil’s Pool at Victoria Falls. The islands situated to the east of Africa are coming close to the end of their cyclone season.

  • Best Places to Visit in April

Countries to Visit in April:
Ait Ben Haddou, Morocco.

April presents an excellent time to visit the northern hemisphere, as the thawing ice and blossoming flowers set the scene. This is also a strategic time to travel ahead of the bustling summer crowds. As April begins, the Mediterranean region, including destinations like Crete, Cyprus, and Malta, takes centre stage. The Canary Islands offer even more inviting April weather than many European locales. Northern African countries such as Morocco and Tunisia have emerged from their rainy seasons, while further south, you’d find  Victoria Falls between Zambia and Zimbabwe at an optimal time for bungee jumping enthusiasts.

Cherry Blossoms in Washington D.C.

The Middle East and Namibia embrace hot, dry weather, ideal for a variety of travel activities. In the USA, April presents an opportune moment for a road trip, offering warmth without the peak season crowd. This month features standout attractions like Japan‘s enchanting cherry blossoms and The Netherlands‘ vibrant tulips. Washington D.C. shines with its iconic National Cherry Blossom Festival, while Taiwan‘s Yangmingshan National Park showcases cherry blossoms in all their splendour, coupled with inviting hot springs. Meanwhile, the Caribbean, including Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico, have near-perfect weather.

As New Zealand enters autumn, its wine-growing regions showcase a stunning transformation, with trees and vines transitioning from green to fiery red, orange, yellow, and golden brown.

Countries to Visit NOT in April:

It’s advisable to steer clear of Southeast Asia due to its extreme heat. Countries like Tanzania and Kenya in East Africa are still experiencing their rainy season. While South America is generally humid now, it remains manageable for travel.

  • Best Places to Visit in May

Countries to Visit in May:

May is a prime travel month in the northern hemisphere, offering summer-like weather and fewer crowds. The UK and Europe enjoy sunny days for outdoor activities. Croatia‘s off-peak season presents an opportunity to explore before the summer rush.

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The Colosseum, Rome.

Hungary, Italy, and Portugal are enticing shoulder-season destinations. China boasts comfortable weather throughout, while Nepal and Bhutan provide excellent conditions for hiking, including Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Circuit.

Indonesia, especially Bali, emerges from its rainy season into the shoulder season. Peru is great for hiking, like Cusco and the Inca Trail. The Czech Republic‘s Spring Music Festival draws tourists to Prague. In the USA, national parks like Yellowstone are a must-visit before peak crowds arrive.

Nature lovers can’t miss Namibia‘s Sossusvlei, a stunning landscape with towering dunes and unique beauty.

Countries to Visit NOT in May:

It’s recommended to steer clear of India and Sri Lanka from May onward, as this marks the onset of the monsoon season, which can be particularly intense in those regions. However, if India calls, consider focusing on the Himalayan region in May, where rainfall is comparatively lower during this period. East Africa‘s rainy season is drawing to a close. Although not a place to outright avoid, note that The Caribbean tends to be somewhat damp during this time. Beginning now, heat waves will be experienced in Egypt and many Middle Eastern countries.

  • Best Places to Visit in June

Countries to Visit in June:

June begins the tourism season across much of the northern hemisphere, with Europe seizing the opportunity through vibrant midsummer festivities. Especially, in countries like Iceland, Sweden, Norway, and Finland, where the mesmerizing midnight sun graces the skies. Numerous European cities are immersed in diverse celebrations, including Pride events observed worldwide on varying dates throughout the month. In the Mediterranean, the Greek islands and Croatia are at their peak, attracting travellers with peak conditions and renowned sailing excursions. Peru remains a hiker’s delight, though temperatures begin to moderate.

Machu Picchu, Peru.

While Brazil‘s southern regions might experience cooler temperatures, the rest of the country boasts pleasant weather and dry conditions. If milder climes appeal to you, this is an excellent time to witness the grandeur of Iguazu Falls, the world’s largest waterfall system. The USA and Canada enjoy comfortable temperatures, with Canada particularly celebrating Canada Day, the Montreal Film Festival, and The International Jazz Festival.

Iguazu Falls, Brazil.

In Africa, Tanzania emerges as a prime destination, offering a chance to witness the Great Wildebeest Migration to Kenya or indulge in relaxation on Zanzibar‘s exquisite beaches.

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Zanzibar, Tanzania.

Though the Caribbean remains inviting, the onset of hurricane season warrants caution. June tends to be relatively quiet in terms of cyclonic activity, but still unpredictable. For those with a taste for uncharted territories, The Arctic beckons with warmth suitable for cruising. Various Arctic cruise options are available for exploration.

Countries to Visit NOT in June:

During the summer, it’s advisable to steer clear of Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East due to frequent heat waves. Additionally, India and Sri Lanka are best avoided as they are in the midst of their peak monsoon season.

  • Best Places to Visit in July

Countries to Visit in July:

July brings Europe into its prime, bustling with travellers and a multitude of activities. However, the popularity comes with crowds. Festivals continue to grace the continent, offering an enriching addition to your travel. In the USA, national parks and beaches draw outdoor enthusiasts, with the week of July 4th being a peak period to visit.

While much of Southeast Asia contends with the monsoon, Indonesia defies the trend, offering dry and sunny conditions. Bali, East Java, and Komodo National Park call. Peru and Bolivia experience their dry high season, albeit with a potential chill in higher altitudes due to winter.

Komodo National Park, Indonesia.

This is also the best time to visit Seychelles, offering minimal rain, exceptional birdwatching, and optimal ocean conditions for watersports. East Africa calls for a safari expedition, especially in Kenya‘s Maasai Mara and Tanzania‘s Serengeti, hosting the awe-inspiring Great Migration. Fiji, with its captivating beaches and volcanic vistas, is largely visited by nature enthusiasts and sunseekers. The Bula Festival adds cultural flair through music and dance.

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, Bali.

The Arctic maintains warmth, inviting adventure travellers for unprecedented cruises to Earth’s northernmost reaches.

Countries to Visit NOT in July:

Monsoon season is still on in India, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, scorching temperatures engulf the Middle East, North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa. In Senegal, renowned heatwaves coincide with heavy rainfall this month.

  • Best Places to Visit in August

Countries to Visit in August:

August emerges as the best time to travel for Americans seeking a final summer getaway before temperatures ease. Once again, Europe commands attention, though anticipate warm conditions. The Mediterranean holds heightened allure during this period.

Cinque Terre, Italy.

Coastal Italian villages and Spanish beach towns promise delightful seaside experiences. Portugal’s Algarve region boasts stunning beaches, adding to the appeal. Peru‘s dry winter is ideal for hiking, despite the chill. Tibet stands out as a remarkable August hiking destination.

For nature enthusiasts, Kenya takes the spotlight with the peak of the wildebeest migration, a spectacle known to climax in the initial week of the month. This is the ideal time to visit.

Countries to Visit NOT in August:

South Asia and Southeast Asia monsoons are at their peak, excluding regions like Kerala and Tamil Nadu in India, as well as the southern reaches of Indonesia, such as Bali. The Middle East and northern Africa grapple with peak summer heat. The USA also experiences considerable warmth in August. Exercise caution regarding the Caribbean and Central America, both entering the height of hurricane season. It is not the best time to visit these destinations. While Cuba is in its high season, it presents intense heat, humidity, and cyclonic risks.

  • Best Places to Visit in September

Countries to Visit in September:

September introduces the second shoulder season across prominent destinations, offering exceptional weather for your trip. Germany and Austria gain popularity due to Octoberfest, commencing at the month’s end. The Georgian capital, Tbilisi, becomes a must-see for architecture enthusiasts, with a captivating blend of styles including Soviet-era, Persian, modern art-nouveau, and contemporary influences.

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A man standing on The Indian Himalayas.

India emerges from its extended monsoon season, making September an opportune time to visit, enjoying pleasant weather before winter crowds arrive. For Himalayan exploration, this month presents a chance to experience the region’s beauty before winter’s isolation sets in.

Once again, Portugal and Mediterranean European countries remain attractive choices. In Southern Africa, including Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Mozambique, sunny days with pleasant temperatures await, albeit with slightly chilly nights. Northern Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia offer comfortable conditions with waning heat.

The Abbasi Great Mosque, Iran.

Iran shines as a top selection this month, still retaining its off-the-beaten-path allure devoid of crowds. For hiking enthusiasts, Peru, Nepal, the Himalayas, the Alps, the Andes, China, and Japan present excellent weather. As these regions transition into fall, their scenic charm flourishes.

Countries to Visit NOT in September:

Southeast Asia is still in its monsoon season, so it should be avoided. It is also best not to visit The Caribbean and Central America as this is the peak of hurricane season here.

  • Best Places to Visit in October

Countries to Visit in October:

October proves advantageous for savvy travellers, capitalizing on the widespread shoulder season that often means reduced prices. Germany, with Octoberfest in full swing, emerges as a prime destination this month, drawing over six million attendees annually to Munich’s renowned beer festival. The event encompasses more than beer, showcasing traditional Bavarian attire, culinary delights, folk music, and more. Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile welcome dry, sunny days, offering an appealing escape before the southern hemisphere summer rush.

Cappadocia, Turkey.

Turkey and Cyprus guarantee ample sun and affordability. Antalya in Turkey, renowned for its blend of serene beaches and authentic culture, gains popularity during this period. Oman and the United Arab Emirates present pleasant conditions in October, avoiding both sweltering summer triple-digit temperatures and winter crowds. This is the best time to visit Dubai for its architectural marvels, including the Burj Khalifa, which stands as a compelling attraction.

Dubai Frame, UAE.

Egypt and its neighbouring countries reclaim their appeal, with comfortable temperatures. Ethiopia emerges as a top-notch destination, with the central and northern highlands adorned in natural beauty. Simien Mountains National Park flourishes after the recent rainy season, hosting unique baboons, ibexes, and more.

Japan‘s fall foliage mesmerizes, while Madagascar shines as baby lemurs and chameleons grace the landscape amidst warm, dry weather. For an effortless Madagascar experience, consider a guided tour across its highlights.

Countries to Visit NOT in October:

In October, Southeast Asia faces typhoon season, prompting caution in specific areas of Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Myanmar. South Pacific nations, including Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and northern Australia, should also be sidestepped due to their ongoing typhoon season. While Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean remain within hurricane season, the intensity of cyclonic activity is gradually diminishing.

  • Best Places to Visit in November

Countries to Visit in November:

As shoulder season wraps up in the northern hemisphere, North America, Europe, and East Asia shift to low season, while Northern Africa enters high season. November welcomes Cuba’s dry season, offering comfortable fall temperatures. Americans can legally explore cities like Havana, Trinidad, and Viñales. The Caribbean’s hurricane season concludes, making it an opportune time to visit. Prague’s charm remains enticing despite cooler weather, with landmarks like the Old Town Square and Prague Castle still worth exploring.

Chiang Mai in Thailand shines with captivating festivals in November, including Loi Krathong and Yi Peng, marked by lantern releases. Beyond the festivities, Chiang Mai boasts diverse attractions, from cultural riches to stunning beaches. India’s Agra welcomes visitors to the iconic Taj Mahal as its peak tourism season begins. Morocco, too, thrives with cultural allure and pleasant weather, inviting exploration.

Sahara Desert Marrakech, Morocco.

Thanksgiving week brings bustling activity to the USA, particularly New York City‘s Macy’s Parade. Ski enthusiasts head to Colorado, while Hawaii provides a warm beach escape. Oahu‘s North Shore hosts the prestigious Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. This is also one of the best times to visit Antarctica, as it offers a unique summer adventure amid remote landscapes.

Countries to Visit NOT in November:

November is generally a great time to visit anywhere really. The northernmost countries are now quite cold, yet not in their peak wintertime to see the northern lights – though you might be lucky if you’re in the northernmost part of Scandinavia.

  • Best Places to Visit in December

Countries to Visit in December:

December offers a contrast of options, catering to diverse travel preferences. It is the best time to visit Scandinavia if you’re seeking the northern lights, while skiing enthusiasts can conquer the Alps in Austria and Switzerland, or head on to Colorado, Utah, and the Pyrenees in France. Alberta‘s Banff National Park, Canada, shines as a winter paradise, offering Rocky Mountain vistas, winter sports, and serene glacial lakes.

Queenstown, New Zealand.

For a warm getaway, Southeast Asia beckons, with Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam basking in prime conditions. The Philippines, Australia, and New Zealand embrace summer, perfect for island hopping and beach relaxation. The Caribbean‘s dry warmth reclaims its appeal, while Madagascar remains enticing with fewer crowds.

Belize barrier reef.

Central America, particularly Belize, offers respite from winter’s chill, featuring exceptional scuba diving, sailing, and Mayan heritage. Argentina and Chile, particularly Patagonia, thrive in their summer splendour. Uruguay‘s Punta del Este comes alive, known as the “Monaco of the South.”

Miami, USA.

Welcome the new year at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Hogmanay in Edinburgh, or fireworks displays in New York City, Dubai, and Sydney. London is also an exceptional Christmas destination with its beautiful streetlights and grand Christmas Trees. Check out this guide for the endless number of things you can do in London at Christmas. Miami‘s vibrant parties or Antarctica‘s 7th continent adventure are also captivating options. Antarctica exploration requires a cruise; consider exploring these various cruise options.

Countries to Visit NOT in December:

Even though they are popular among budget travellers doing the typical Southeast Asia route, it is best to not visit Malaysia and Indonesia as they are in their monsoon season. Papua New Guinea also.

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