Where To Go in January: 5 Wintry Weekend Breaks

Where to go in January 2016

The thought of hibernating over the winter is not an unreasonable one and with temperatures dropping to -8 here in Budapest I’m more than a little tempted. But there are places to go and things to see!

Let’s not waste these winter weekends when you can get away for a few days on a city break.

Porto, Portugal

If you’re looking for somewhere warmish, Portugal is one of your best options. In contrast to the negative temperatures here in Central Europe, Portugal’s coastal city Porto is practically searing at 17 degrees.

Typical Porto Scene

Porto is kind of on the rundown side. It’s gritty and crumbly and rough around the edges but not in a dodgy way, in a full of character and charm way.

Without even looking around too much I found a Ryanair flight from London Stansted to Porto for €27. Not bad if you’re prepared to fly next weekend.

London, England

London is a great destination any time of the year as there’s always something exciting going on. But January is post-Christmas sales time making it the perfect occasion for a shopping holiday in 2016.

Big Ben, Central London in Winter

I do almost all my shopping when on holiday as I don’t have much time or inclination for wandering around the shops when I’m at home. When you’re away you have the time to relax in between cafe breaks and long lunches and it’s always nice to discover different brands and designers.

My recommended shopping spots in London:

  • Shoreditch – the streets around the Old Spitalfields Market are crammed with little boutiques and independent stores you won’t find elsewhere in London. There’s also a great street food scene in Shoreditch.
  • Covent Garden – here you’ll find a mix of well known brands and independent shops like Neal’s Yard Remedies, Size?, Y-3 and there’s an Apple Store. Stop at Monmouth for a coffee break and Barrafina for the best tapas in London.
  • Selfridges – if you prefer the one-stop convenience of a department store you can’t beat Selfridges. If I could only shop at one store in London this would be it. The makeup department is phenomenal.

Tallinn, Estonia

If you’re looking for a warm holiday getaway in January Tallinn is not the place to go. It’ll be freezing and most likely snowing. But that’s also the reason to visit. Tallinn is like a fairytale land. It’s medieval, it’s colourful, it’s atmospheric, there are pretty squares, cobblestone streets and castles built by Russian Tsars.

Tallinn's Medieval Old Town

Sure it’s nice to visit Tallinn in the warm summer months but it’s so incredibly beautiful under a blanket of snow. Ryanair flights start at €34 so it’s an affordable getaway too.

More on Tallinn: Why Tallinn is More Than a City Break Destination

Montpellier, France

Little known fact: I used to live in Montpellier. One of the reasons I chose it as a place to live is that it’s the sunniest destination in France. Even in winter you’ll often get clear blue skies and low humidity.

Montpellier's Aqueduct Under Blue Skies

I always thought Montpellier was a Roman city, like most cities in southern France but it’s actually mostly medieval. For a small city there are so many beautiful sights, the main square – Place de la Comedie, the triumphal arch – Porte du Peyrou, mansions built under Louis XIV, the massive aqueduct and the lovely Promenade du Peyrou.

Travel tip: If you can’t find a reasonable flight direct to Montpellier check Nimes which is only 30 minutes and €10 away by train.


I know, I’m always recommending Slovenia as a place to travel but if you don’t know why just look at these photos by Slovenian photographer Luka Esenko. Winter in January 2016 at Lake Bled or in the Julian Alps looks incredible.

About Andrea

Andrea Anastasakis is the founder and author of road trip blog Rear View Mirror. She is currently driving her Fiat 500 around Europe. Follow her travel adventures on Instagram.


  1. We often travel around in winter ad when we do venture to more popular places in summer, it then becomes a bit of a shock to see so many people. Cooler temps are much better for wandering. Porto is somewhere we’d love to see. Have a great 2016! 🙂

  2. These are all great options! Glad to see that someone loves Slovenia as much as I do, I’d recommend it all year round too!

  3. I visited Montpellier a few years ago and loved it. Admittedly that was in the height of summer so I’d love to see how it compares in winter.