had the realisation while travelling through Africa last year that I have seen more of Asia and Africa as continents than Europe. Despite, Europe being my base for much of my life. The old saying about not exploring your own backyard…. It looks like I am leaving Europe again and what you can’t explore easily, is what you want! With only January available to explore and wanting to go somewhere warm, not snowy and freezing ( I am moving to that weather), so that ruled a lot of Europe out. But, not the top destination on my bucket list: Rome. In fact, January is the perfect month to visit Rome and here is why!
No need to pre-book
Rome was a last-minute jaunt for me and so I didn’t have much time to plan in advance. Whenever, anyone asked me what my plans were, and I replied I would decide when I get there, I was met with horrified faces: ‘you need to pre-book, the queues are awful!’, ‘don’t expect to get into St. Peters’, ‘go on a tour otherwise you will never get in anywhere’. Well guess what…. I didn’t have to queue once! I booked no tickets in advance, yet I walked into the Coliseum, the Vatican City and St. Peters without a problem. I didn’t plan what I wanted to do- instead I waited to see what the weather would be like and planned accordingly.
I realise if you go in high season you do need to book but if you go in January you can just walk straight in….
Pictures without tourists
I don’t mind people in my pictures, but I don’t want so many people in the picture that I can’t see what I have come to see. At most times of the year if you want pictures of the Trevi fountain, or St. Peters square without hoards of tourists then you need to set your alarm for 5am or be prepared to have your selfie stick action on top form and twist yourself into some alarming positions to get that photo with no one else in it.
But in January, you can leisurely get out of bed and still be able to see the sights you want to see and get photos of those sights without too many (or no one) in it!
Cheap flights & cheaper hotels
As most people don’t want to travel in January there are some great flight bargains to be had! And, some even better hotel/hostel deals…. Just avoid anytime before the 6th Jan which is a big celebration in Italy (bigger than Christmas). We got a great deal on a hotel right in the centre of Rome which was a fraction of the price I paid on a similar hotel in Florence in September. And you don’t have to book months in advance as there is so much availability!
It is STILL Christmas!!
As the Italians celebrate Epiphany (6th January) in a big way, the Christmas decorations are left up till after this date. There were even still some Christmas trees up when I left on the 14th Jan. So, if you want to extend your Christmas cheer, or maybe even start getting ready for Christmas all over again, go in January to check out the Christmas decorations in Rome
5. Catch some vitamin D
One of the main reasons Brits travel is to finally get to see the sun. Hence, way we don’t travel in Jan/Feb much. Why spend all that money on a trip and be wrapped up and in the cold? Sounds too much like the UK….
Well, Rome isn’t that cold in Jan- the average temperature is 8° C (32°F), with little rain and a very small chance of snow. So, you won’t have to bring every layer you own with you on your trip to Rome. I found myself too hot in my winter coat and ended up carrying it round with me and had lunch outside every day (I will be lucky if I could ever achieve that in the UK!).
You can still eat ice cream
And 8° C is the perfect temperature to eat ice-cream!
and have a hot chocolate
Or have one of the amazing hot chocolates they do in Italy but during most of the year it is normally too hot to justify. ( I had a beautiful, Instagram cup of hot chocolate and in total blogging faux pas forget to take a picture).
If you do fancy seeing some snow, then there are ski resorts only a few hours outside of Rome that are incredibly easy to get to, are great value, and have great après- ski. Why not combine a ski holiday with a city break?
Because it is Rome
Rome is a beautiful city and you don’t really need an excuse to go to Rome! But if you want to go at a more affordable time with few crowds then definitely consider going in Jan. I am already planning a return trip…
I stayed at the Monti Palace Hotel which was had a great location right by a metro, but near to enough touristy sights to walk to. There is also a great range of reasonably priced restaurants nearby.
Where do you suggest travelling to in January?