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Where to go in January

Where to go in January

From winter escapes in search of the northern lights in Europe’s Far North to adventures in the snow-covered wilderness of Canada, experiencing Polar night in Svalbard or setting sail for mid-summer in Antarctica, read our expert recommendations for where to travel in January.

Lapland winter wonderland

Endless miles of pristine, snow-covered wilderness, action-packed days husky sledding and snowmobiling, nights spent hunting the aurora borealis… January is the perfect time to travel to the Far North of Europe. Tuck yourself up in a log cabin hideaway or sky-gazing glass igloo deep in the snow forests of Lapland and you’ll have the ultimate winter wonderland right on your doorstep. As well as mushing and snowmobiling, other activities include cross-country skiing, moose safaris, meeting the indigenous reindeer-herding Sami people and even hot air ballooning. Relax afterwards in a traditional sauna or next to an open fire, swapping tales of your adventures above the Arctic Circle.

lapland reindeer interaction under warm winter light istk

Svalbard polar night

When the last rays of sunlight fade from Svalbard each October, the High Arctic islands are cast into a strange blue ‘twilight’ for a few weeks before total darkness – the so-called Polar Night­ – takes over. Lasting for more than two months (from mid-November to the end of January), it’s a surreal, bewitching time. Despite the darkness and sub-zero temperatures, you can easily access Svalbard during this time with flights from mainland Norway. The main town of Longyearbyen is a year-round settlement with hotels, restaurants, shops and winter activity operators. Properly kitted out in polar overalls, thick mitts and boots, you can explore frozen Advent Valley by husky sled or snowmobile, ride a snowcat to the Longyear Glacier or visit Camp Barentz to learn about Svalbard’s history and – with luck – witness the northern lights in all their glory.

svalbard longyearbyen in winter istk

Swedish Lapland’s Icehotel

Visiting the original Icehotel should be on everyone’s winter travel wish list. Located in the village of Jukkasjarvi in Swedish Lapland, 200km north of the Arctic Circle, the iconic destination consists of two properties – the seasonal Icehotel (reincarnated each winter before melting in the spring) and the permanent Icehotel 365. January is a wonderful time to go. You’ll be spellbound by the Art Suites with their creative (often outlandish) designs and exquisite sculptures – we recommend you spend at least one night of your stay sleeping on ice in one of these unique and surprisingly cosy rooms. Cocktails at the Icebar are also a must and we can prebook activities for you, such as husky sledding across frozen lakes, snowmobiling in search of the northern lights, ice sculpting classes, traditional sauna rituals and fine dining experiences.

sweden icehotel365 deluxe suite pick your mustache

Mid-summer in Antarctica

At the height of the austral summer in early January, Antarctica’s penguin colonies are full of fluffy, grey chicks, while parents are busy commuting back and forth to the sea to meet the demands of their hungry offspring. With a good possibility of humpback whale and leopard seal sightings, not to mention albatrosses, shearwaters and petrels, this is an excellent month for wildlife watching. Temperatures can reach 10°C at the coast, accelerating the break-up of sea ice and making it easier for ships to navigate. In East Antarctica you may be able to visit the historic expedition huts of Shackleton and Scott.

antarctica gentoo penguin and chick istk

Winter in Canada’s backcountry

When winter snowfall blankets the Coast Ranges and Canadian Rockies, wilderness lovers can escape into the vast, empty backcountry, dog-sledding or snowshoeing in Alberta, Yukon or the Northern Territories where there’s also an excellent chance of witnessing the aurora borealis. A scattering of rustic lodges provide home comforts in this frozen frontier country, while alpine resorts like Whistler in British Columbia and Banff in Alberta offer a livelier, more bustling winter escape. In Eastern Canada, winter highlights in Ontario and Québec include several festivals, such as the Niagara Icewine Festival and Quebec Winter Carnival.

canada northwest territories snow spray pair bll

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