The 15 Most Romantic Places to Go in January
Say what you will about the snow, but there’s something incredibly romantic about the winter season. Twinkling fairy lights, crackling fireplaces, frosty skating rinks, holiday markets, the beauty of that first snow fall — the farther the temperature drops, the more romance seems to rise.
Whether you want to embrace the wintry weather or escape to a tropical island, the romantic month of January is the perfect time to get away with your favorite travel partner. It doesn't matter if you only recently met your honey, or you’ve decided to pop the question to your love of many years, January is the perfect time to treat yourselves to a vacation for two.
To help you figure out the perfect destination for your romantic vacation, we've rounded up 15 that will be sure to have you swooning (about each other, as well as the destination). From the lush jungle of St. Lucia to the towering mountains of Patagonia, we’ve spun the globe searching for retreats that offer the very best in seclusion, ambiance, and five-star service — combined with excellent January weather.
And we found something for everyone.
Skiers should head to the charming Italian resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo, sun worshippers will find paradise in the Maldives, and oenophiles will love tasting the fortified wine of Porto. Only have a long weekend to spare? Plan a quick getaway to pastoral Vermont or the red rocks of Sedona for that much-needed retreat without having to fly too far.
If you’re truly averse to the cold, this may not be the trip for you. But if snuggling in a glass igloo while gazing up at a brilliant display of Northern Lights isn’t romance, we’re not sure what is. The spacious igloos in Lapland have sitting areas, kitchenettes, ensuite bathrooms, and blinds for privacy — in addition to luxury amenities like heated floors, heated non-fogging glass, and an air conditioner if things get a bit too cozy. Want to get out of the bubble for a night or two? You can book thrilling winter experiences like reindeer sleigh rides, husky dog sledding, and snowmobile safaris through the local tourism office.
Cape Town, South Africa
Wine, wildlife, and gorgeous natural surroundings — what’s not to love? Plus, January is right in the middle of summer in South Africa, with temperatures in the 70s and very little chance of rain. Spend a day exploring the world-renowned Cape Winelands, including stops at Tokara and Boschendal wineries. Other musts include wandering around the colorful Cape Malay neighborhood of Bo-Kaap, visiting the penguins at Boulders Beach, and taking a sunset cable car ride up Table Mountain. Come nightfall, retreat to the Tintswalo Atlantic, the only hotel within Table Mountain National Park. The property has only 11 suites, and each dazzles with sublime views of the dramatic landscapes.
Ko Kut, Thailand
This little-known, remote island on Thailand’s southeastern border with Cambodia is usually passed up for bigger, more crowded islands, which is why it’s perfect for romance. January sees ideal weather (comfortable temperatures, minimal rainfall) and you’d be hard-pressed to find more pristine sands and clearer water anywhere else in Thailand. Stay at Shantaa, meaning “tranquility” in Hindi, where the lush setting and airy accommodations live up to the name. Each “sweet” (a play on suite) features an open-air garden bathroom with an outdoor soaking tub for two and rain shower, surrounded by swaying palms and tropical plants. With private terraces instead of televisions, it's easy to enjoy your company without distraction.
Known for its ornate palaces, colorful cities (Jaipur is the “Pink City;” Jodhpur is the “Blue City,” and Jaisalmer is the “Golden City”), and striking desert landscapes, Rajasthan might just be one of the dreamiest corners of the world. And January is one of the best times to visit. Daytime temperatures range from 60 to 80 degrees, with little chance of rain. To make a trip through the vast state of Rajasthan more simple, consider taking a luxury train for your journey. Palace on Wheels, the oldest and most iconic of India’s luxury train companies, offers week-long itineraries departing from New Delhi that will make you feel like the maharajas of yore, with gilded cars newly renovated for the 2018 season.
As the only resort on the smallest inhabited island of Hawaii, the Four Seasons Resort Lana’i is where you'll bed down during your tropical getaway. The five-star service begins at the Honolulu airport, where guests waiting for their puddle-jumper connections to Lanai are treated to a private lounge with food, drinks, Wi-Fi, charging stations, and televisions. Once on the island, a car will be waiting with your own “ambassador,” your concierge throughout your stay. He or she can arrange all of your tours of the island (by helicopter, UTV, or horseback), though if you never want to leave the resort, we don’t blame you.
Soneva Jani, Maldives
The Maldives may be the stuff dreams are made of, and if you can afford to go, you might as well live it up. The newest addition to the luxury Soneva brand is Soneva Jani, which caters to the kid in all of us (if that kid were a sybarite). All of the 24 huge villas (the “smallest” begins at a whopping 4,478 square feet) feature retractable roofs over the bedroom for optimal stargazing during cloudless January nights, and a 20-foot infinity pool. The larger villas even have water slides that wind from the top deck straight into the sparkling ocean. With an open-air cinema to catch an evening flick, and an on-site astronomer to explain the constellations during a private candlelit picnic dinner, you’ll even have date nights already planned.
For couples that would rather zip down mountains at heart-racing speeds than lounge around in the sun, Whistler is the ultimate destination. The top-rated ski resort has 200-plus trails and 8,000 acres of skiable terrain. But off-piste there’s plenty of activity for romantics, too. Arrange a dog sled or horse-drawn sleigh ride, find your own slice of snowy paradise by snowshoeing on backcountry trails, or ease your sore muscles at the Scandinave Spa. Tired of romantic dinners without some adrenaline-pumping adventure? Book a snowmobile fondue experience. You'll ride with your partner up to Crystal Hut, a rustic log cabin perched 6,000 feet high on Blackcomb Mountain, then dine on fondue with live musical entertainment before racing back down the mountain.
It’s said that Sedona’s red rocks emanate special healing energies, so what better place to refresh and recharge during winter? January sees comfortably cool weather in the 50s, but also means you may catch an especially beautiful sight: Sedona's famous rust-colored landscape dusted with snow. Along with fewer crowds and lower rates on hotels, winter is a particularly alluring time to visit. Enjoy a view of those signature red rocks right from your casita at Enchantment Resort, where the 24,000-square-foot Mii Amo Spa will coax you into an even more relaxed state. With a slew of complimentary resort activities such as guided hikes; classes in photography, painting, and cooking; and wine tastings hosted by sommeliers, you’ll never have a chance to be bored.
What’s more romantic than going to the end of the world for — or rather, with — the one you love? A mecca for adrenaline junkies and nature enthusiasts, Patagonia in January is ideal for outdoor adventure, when summer is in full swing and the weather is mild (although be forewarned that the weather in Patagonia is unpredictable and always changing). In Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park, nature is the main draw: an unspoiled land of snow-capped mountains, sparkling turquoise lakes, golden grasslands, ice-blue glaciers, and wildlife such as pumas, flamingos, and llama-like guanacos. Stay close to the action at Awasi Patagonia, which affords incredible views of the park’s namesake granite peaks that glow pinkish-red at sunrise. As Wi-Fi can be spotty in these parts, you’ll be able to focus on each other’s company.
Inn at Little Washington, Virginia
Epicures take note: the cuisine at your bed and breakfast doesn’t have to be unmemorable. Book the Inn at Little Washington and your stay includes hard-to-snag dinner reservations at the inn’s restaurant, helmed by acclaimed chef Patrick O’Connell. Celebrating its 40th anniversary this January, the once tiny operation that began in a converted garage has since earned two Michelin stars with dishes like carpaccio of herb-crusted baby lamb with Caesar salad ice cream. If you choose to dine at the inn on multiple nights, you’ll be treated to a customized menu so you never have to eat the same thing twice (unless you want to). Take dessert to go and head straight to your room to sip wine by a crackling fireplace.
Soufrière, St. Lucia
At Jade Mountain Resort, suites offer unparalleled views of the island’s iconic twin Pitons because they’re built with only three walls, allowing guests to truly become one with the natural surroundings. In place of that fourth wall is your own private infinity pool that blends seamlessly with the tropical views. While you might be tempted to stay in your suite all day (after all, they are called "sanctuaries"), these opulent digs also come with a personal concierge who can arrange everything from diving and mountain biking excursions to rum tastings and cooking classes. You can even set sail on the private resort yacht.
Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
Without the pomp and glitz of other European ski resorts, Cortina d’Ampezzo has a low-key vibe with plenty of European charm (cozy cafes and upscale boutiques in piazzas flanked by 18th-century churches). It has lured celebrities like Sinatra, Audrey Hepburn, and, more recently, George Clooney. From anywhere in town you’ll see the staggering Dolomite mountains punctuating the horizon. The historic Cristallo hotel underwent a facelift in the spring of 2017, and offers refreshed suites that feel like chalets, with blond wood paneling, hand-painted flower details, marble bathrooms with heated floors, and views of the majestic Dolomites in the distance.
For an idyllic New England getaway, the Barnard resort Twin Farms sets the bar extremely high (our readers even named it the most romantic hotel in the world). An all-inclusive, adults-only bed and breakfast, Twin Farms aims to make guests feel like they're staying at their second home. Indeed, it’s hard not to want to move in. With only 20 cottages set across 300 acres of bucolic Vermont countryside, each one feels wonderfully secluded. Service here is impeccable but non-intrusive — nothing is too much to ask for, and everything can be accommodated. Included in your stay are gourmet breakfasts, customizable lunches (that can be served anywhere you please), and farm-to-table dinners with wine pairings and nightly cocktails. Take advantage of the Bridge House Spa, perfect for rejuvenating parched skin from the winter elements; request a private soak for two in the Japanese furo bath.
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Voted the world’s best city by T+L readers in 2017, this charming colonial city is one of Mexico's prettiest, with Spanish architecture and narrow cobblestone streets, vibrant markets, an impressive food scene, and regular festivals that showcase its rich culture. Plus, with temperatures in the 70s and very little chance of rain, January's a great month to go. Reserve a romantic dinner for two at Enrique Olvera’s Moxi to try creative takes on Mexican classics. Then bed down at the Rosewood, designed like a traditional hacienda on 13 bougainvillea-draped acres. The spacious rooms are outfitted with elegant Spanish colonial furnishings and regionally sourced hardwood floors and ceilings. There’s also an award-winning restaurant, spa, and rooftop bar with Insta-worthy sunset views. Pro tip: Ask for a candlelit bubble bath to be drawn at turndown before you arrive home from evening cocktails.
Believe it or not, Porto is the perfect, affordable escape — and it's just across the pond. Not only is it one of Europe’s cheapest cities, but also going in January means low-season discounts on hotels and flights. As for romance, all you have to do is stroll hand in hand through the winding cobblestone streets to start feeling amorous. Since this is the home of Portugal’s famous fortified wine, it’s only fitting that you stay at the wine-themed Yeatman Hotel, which boasts one of the country's best wine cellars with 29,000 bottles, and a vinotherapy spa that uses wine, grapes, and grape seeds in treatments. Built into a hillside above the Douro River, everywhere you turn — including the indoor and outdoor infinity pools — there’s a dreamy view of Porto below.