Beat the winter blues, seek out some sun and get away from it all with a winter trip to remember. Just don’t forget your toothbrush.
The second smallest of the Canary Islands, La Gomera lies a 50-minute ferry ride from Tenerife. With lush, peaceful landscapes, this little taste of paradise offers yoga retreats, hiking trails, black sand beaches, exotic nature and wildlife tours. Local cuisine includes the salty potato dish papas arrugadas, seafood, and palm syrup drizzled on desserts. Islanders have their own whistled language, the Silbo Gomero, with lessons available for tourists.
North Goa is perfect if you want to bring out your inner hippy. Hang out in beach shacks, stroll barefoot on white sands by day and dance under a full moon by night. If you’re looking for peace and tranquillity, then the south beckons. Ancient temples lie hidden, there to be discovered on forest treks. Alternatively, take a train across the Dudhsagar Waterfalls or a sunset river cruise along the Mandovi and spot crocodiles on your way.
This former British colony is little over half a day’s flight away, plonked in the middle of the Indian Ocean, and truly a place where you can switch off, stare at the sea and unwind. Temperatures range between around 77–87°F (25–32°C) so you’re unlikely to get caught in a cold snap. The seafood is astounding and if you tire of relaxing dips and walks along the beach, there’s plenty to do. From spas and yoga, to diving and jet skiing via dolphin and whale watching, you’ll never be bored. All you need to decide now is which resort or hotel to stay in.
And if sun isn’t your thing…
Welcome the New Year in the Austrian capital with the Vienna Philharmonic playing Strauss in the Golden Hall of the Musikverein. Or hop on a train to Salzburg to visit the city of Mozart. They’ll be hosting an 11-day celebration of the peerless composer’s birthday (he’d be 263) from 24 January next year. Feeling adventurous? Drive for an hour to the Gastein valley where there’s spa hotels, incredible mountain views and serious skiing to be had. You’ll pass the Schloss Hohenwerfen on your way, as stormed by Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton in Where Eagles Dare.