5 irresistible reasons to travel in January

Here’s just a taste of what you can do and see this month.

Published 30 Dec 2018, 17:44 GMT
The island town of Kalibo in the Philippines turns into a Mardi Gras frenzy of sequined ...
The island town of Kalibo in the Philippines turns into a Mardi Gras frenzy of sequined dancers during Ati-Atihan.
Photograph by Jorge Fernández, Getty Images

There are some amazing events on tap all over the world, all the time. Here’s a taste of what you can see and do in January:

Viking boat ablaze

Mark the end of the yule season with viking aplomb at the Up Helly Aa Festival in the Shetland Islands. Costumed participants light torches, don kilts, and take to the streets of Lerwick, the main port of the Shetlands, led by Guider Jarl, the chief viking of the day’s events. The apex of the celebration, which takes place on the last Tuesday in January each year and traces its roots to Norse rituals and sagas, comes with the burning of a replica viking galley boat. [Read more about the treasure of the Vikings.]

Tropical costume party

The island town of Kalibo in the Philippines turns into a Mardi Gras frenzy of sequined and coconut-covered dancers during Ati-Atihan, honouring Santo Niño (Infant Jesus). Follow the throng through the streets—stopping in the main Kalibo Church, of course—during this festival that dates back to the 13th century.

Cowboy poets

Find your home on the range in rural Elko, Nevada, for the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Packed with readings, musical performances, and workshops, this annual ode to poetry stems from a long tradition of nights around the campfire spent reciting verse inspired by scenes seen from the saddle.

Wildebeest by the million

Few feats of nature can compete with the Serengeti’s great migration. Herds of wildebeest—up to 1.5 million total—graze on the short-grass plains of Tanzania from January to March as they prepare for their yearly migration north, with most calves born in February. The best place to see the spectacle in January is Ngorongoro Crater, an extinct volcanic caldera in northern Tanzania.

Underrated Mardi Gras

Already witnessed the spectacle that is Rio de Janeiro’s world-famous Carnival? Try Argentina’s version in the city of Gualeguaychú, Argentina, where colourfully dressed, lithe dancers organised into comparsas, or social club troupes, show off their best moves along the parade route.

This article was updated from a previous version published on National Geographic Travel.
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