January is best time to visit Hallstatt in Austria in Europe
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24 Best Places To Visit In Europe In January (2024)

Last Updated on March 13, 2024 by Nicole

January is a fantastic time to take a European holiday. In many places, Christmas markets are still open and Christmas decorations linger in the early part of the month. However, the overall craziness of Christmas time has passed. It is low season in most places, so you should be able to find great flight and hotel deals for a fantastic vacation in Europe. In addition, the most popular attractions will see fewer crowds and will be more enjoyable to explore. In Europe, you have the best of both worlds. You have the choice of cold destinations, some with winter sports for a snowy winter getaway and warm weather spots where you can enjoy a warm January holiday. From all the wonderful possibilities, where should you go? Here are 24 of the best places to visit in Europe in January.

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Other Destinations In Europe

Many places may still have Christmas markets open and Christmas lights up in early January. For a list of both warm and cold places with amazing Christmas celebrations that you may want to check out, please see 24 Best Places To Visit In Europe For Christmas.

If you are not sure about your timing, consider 22 Best Places To Visit In Europe In February.

If you are looking for the best snow and winter destinations in Europe, please see 17 Best Snowy Winter Wonderlands To Visit In Europe.

For those looking for the best sunsets in Europe, please see 28 Best Places In Europe For Most Beautiful Sunsets.

For those hoping to find inexpensive European destinations regardless of the season, please see:

After reviewing this article, you may be curious about other destinations in January. Here are the 24 Best Places To Visit In The USA In January.

Best Places To Visit In January In Europe

I have asked some of the best travel bloggers and industry experts where are the best European destinations for a January vacation. They include cities, towns, mountain ranges, and beaches all over Europe offering both warm and cold weather. Whether you wish to explore historic city centers, lounge on beaches, discover beautiful natural beauty, or stay active through skiing or other outdoor adventures, there is something for everyone.

In the following article, the best things to do in each destination are described, as well as how best to get there. In addition, the expected weather is set out so you can properly pack. If a travel blogger stayed in a fantastic hotel or other accommodation, their recommendation is included. Finally, any annual events or festivals are provided in case you can organize your trip to participate in these special events.

best places to visit in Europe in January
Tenerife, Spain (Canary Islands) (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

Tenerife, Spain (Canary Islands)

By Lara from The Best Travel Gifts

One of the best beach destinations to visit in January in Europe if you are looking for a sunny days is Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands. With pleasant temperatures, Tenerife is one of the warmest places in Europe during the winter months.

Besides discovering Tenerife’s beaches and enjoying the sun, there are plenty of incredible things to do on this island. The easiest way to explore is to rent a car, but you can also book tours to some of the most popular attractions, such as National Parque El Teide. 

The National Park includes Volcano El Teide, the highest point in Tenerife, and the whole of Spain (12,188 ft). There is a cable car to take you to the top from which you will have a stunning view over the island. If you are lucky, you can even see the other Canary islands as well, such as Gran Canaria. 

Make sure you also take some time to hike and explore other areas of the Park. For a bit of excitement, book an Quad Safari tour. The volcanic landscape is simply fascinating. For

Another beautiful national park for hiking is Parque Rural de Anaga in the north. You do need a car to get there, but it’s well worth the drive. Alternatively, book a guided tour and explore this stunning part of the island.

Two other towns worth exploring are Garachico and the Unesco World Heritage listed town of San Cristobal de La Laguna. San Cristobal offers colonial architecture and its’ linear layout of its streets – created in the 15th Century without protective outer walls – combine to give a remarkable feel to this ancient university city. If you don’t have a car, you can take a tour and explore both pretty towns.


You can expect pleasant average temperatures between 65 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The best place to stay is the south of the island because it has the most sun hours and the least amount of rainfall.

Best Way To Reach Destination

It’s only a fifteen-minute drive from Aeropuerto de Tenerife Sur (TFS) to Costa Adeje, a town in the south.

Hotel Recommendation

Lara says, “Costa Adeje is a popular town in the south. During the summer, Tenerife and Costa Adeje can feel extremely touristy due to the large crowds, but in January it’s actually a pleasant place to stay. Especially if you skip the large hotels and stay at a cute boutique hotel, such as B&B Villa Boutique Tenerife.”

best European destinations to visit in January
Lapland, Sweden (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

Lapland, Sweden

By Ellie from El On The Move

What better place than to experience a true winter wonderland than in Lapland. Located in the Arctic Circle and part of Swedish Lapland, Kiruna is one of the best January holiday spots in Europe. It is the most northern town in Sweden, and it feels like it is in a world of its own.

Kiruna developed because of a very large iron mine and apart from the mine and the town itself, there is nothing but snow, forest and wilderness.  

The best activity is dog sledding in the Lapland countryside. Being pulled by a team of dogs in the snow with utter silence surrounding you allows you to be able to appreciate the stunning nature. You can choose to drive your own sled or be driven by a guide, relax and enjoy the views.

No trip up north would be the same without searching for the Northern Lights. The Northern Lights can be seen from Kiruna town but the lights are best when far away from any light source.

For example, some of the best Northern Lights that you might see are are when you driving between towns as there is no light at all. Tour companies offer Northern Light tours, but any place with low light is an opportunity to see them.

January in Kiruna is a great time to visit as it is still during the polar night (at least the first week or so). The polar night means there is a full day of sunset or sunrise colours across the whole sky. The colours are incredible and the short daylight hours means more darkness to see the Northern Lights.


January is one of the coldest months of the year. You can expect lots of snow and 10°F – 17°F (-30°C) is very normal. So make sure you pack extra warm clothes with high percentage wool base layers. High quality layers make such a difference.

Best Way To Reach Destination

Kiruna is accessible by flight from Stockholm. The flight is about 1.5 hours. They run multiple times a day in the winter season. There is also an overnight train from Stockholm that offers incredible scenery throughout Sweden.

Hotel Recommendation

Ellie says, “Kiruna is home to the world’s first Ice Hotel. The rooms are carved from Ice and kept at a balmy -5°C inside the rooms. When sleeping in an ice room you are provided with reindeer skins and a very warm sleeping bag.

The rooms are changed each year and created by ice artists from all over the world, so it is a very special experience. They also have warm rooms if the thought of sleeping in -5°C is not for you. The hotel is based overlooking the Tourne River which is completely frozen so it offers some lovely views.”

best European cities to visit in January
Catania, Italy (Sicily) (Photo courtesy of Pixaby)

Catania, Italy (Sicily)

By Ingrid from Ingrid Zen Moments

Sicily is Italy’s largest island, with a vast history, strong local culture, and incredible food scene. It is no wonder thousands of tourists flock here every year. If you love old towns packed with history, but also beautiful nature, Sicily should be on your Italian bucket list.

Visiting Sicily during the winter months is a great time to enjoy your trip without the torrid temperatures you get during summer, but also without the crowds and for very cheap prices.

Catania is the main city to visit on Sicily’s eastern coast, set at the foot of Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe. It is a fantastic city to explore for a European January vacation. The city was founded by Greeks almost 2800 years ago and today is an open-air museum, where one can still see the remnants of Greek culture on a stroll around town.

Castello Ursino dates from the 13th century and is one of the main tourist attractions in town. Today, it hosts a museum with artifacts from Catania and its region. The Greek/Roman Theater of Catania is another important sight you shouldn’t miss during your visit.

From Catania, you cannot skip visiting Mount Etna or a day trip to the picturesque and bohemian city of Taormina. Once the favorite destination for poets and writers from all over the world, Taormina will charm you with its beautiful narrow streets and impressive architecture.

For those looking for an AMAZING 12 day road trip in Sicily that takes you from one end of the island to the other while seeing incredible history, beautiful beaches, and fantastic natural beauty, please see Best 12 Day Itinerary In Sicily.


The average temperature in Catania in January ranges from 50°F – 59°F.

Best Way To Reach Destination

Reaching Catania is easy both from inside of Italy, but also from other European capitals. Catania–Fontanarossa Airport is less than 3 miles (5 kilometers) away from the main city center and can be easily reached by car or by public transportation.

Hotel Recommendation

Ingrid says, “While choosing an area to stay in Catania could prove to be challenging, you could never go wrong with a hotel or apartment in the old city center, along the seafront, or anywhere close to Corso Italia. They all come with advantages and disadvantages, but from there you will not only be close to most of the tourist attractions but will also be in a great area with fantastic restaurant choices.”

January is best time to visit Istanbul in Europe
Istanbul, Turkey (Photo courtesy of Sasha from Mog And Dog Travels)

Istanbul, Turkey

By Sasha from Mog And Dog Travels

Spanning the continents of Europe and Asia, the historic city of Istanbul is one of the best European cities to visit all year round. However, travellers who decide to take a city break in Istanbul in January will be rewarded with wonderful and unique experiences. 

With the summer tourist crowds gone, January is a much more peaceful time to explore this mammoth city. You avoid the long queues that usually snake around the major tourist attractions in Galata and the historical area of Sultanahmet. Low season also makes Istanbul a much more budget-friendly destination, with reduced prices for hotels, flights and tours. 

Make sure to visit the Hagia Sophia – a 1500-year-old UNESCO World Heritage site that was once at the centre of the Roman and Ottoman Empires. Take your time to marvel at the ornate and amazingly preserved mosaics on the upper floors and ceilings of the building.

You can then cross Sultanahmet Square to the Blue Mosque. Another architectural wonder that was built in the 17th Century and decorated with over 20,000 handmade ceramic tiles. Take a tour of both to make sure that you don’t miss anything!

Any winter trip to Istanbul should include a tour of the city’s amazing gastronomic scene. January is a great time to sample sahlep, a rich traditional Turkish drink only consumed in the winter months and made from orchid root, milk and cinnamon. Available in cafes and restaurants all over the city, it’s the perfect antidote to the chilly weather outside. 

January is also the best time to visit Turkey’s largest ski resort at Mount Uludağ, just 2.5 hours outside of Istanbul. It offers a range of activities including downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding and sledding. It also has the longest cable car ride in the world, the Bursa Teleferik, which offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.


January is the coldest month in Istanbul, with daytime temperatures ranging from 39°F to 47°F. Whilst it does rain quite frequently, there will be many days when the weather is bright and sunny.

The fact that many of Istanbul’s main attractions are covered also makes it a great place to visit in January even when the weather is unpredictable.

January is also when Istanbul is most likely to experience snowfall. While this is usually very light (only 2-4cm (1.5in) at most), the sight of the city’s mosques and churches covered in snow makes for stunning photographs. 

Best Way To Reach Destination

Most visitors to Istanbul will fly into Istanbul Airport. This is normally a 45-60 minute drive from the city centre, though during rush hour this can take much longer. 

Hotel Recommendation

Sasha says, “There are a number of popular areas to stay in Istanbul and accommodation ranges from cool apartments to luxury hotels and budget hostels. Louis Appartements in Galata, just a few minutes from the metro station and close to many cafes and restaurants, has comfortable, gorgeous suites and an amazing roof terrace with views of the Galata Tower.”

most beautiful places to visit in Europe in january
Crete, Greece (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

Crete, Greece (Greek Islands)

By Angela from Fitting In Adventure

Walk the paths of many mythological stories on Crete, one of the best European destinations for a January getaway. Surrounded by quaint shops and restaurants, this lesser known Greek Island is sure to leave your adventurous soul fulfilled whether you dive into its history and mythology, or the more current music culture. 

History lovers will be in heaven since Crete’s history predates the ancient Minoan civilization by more than four millennia.

The island of Crete’s Palace of Knossos is where the legend of the Minotaur was born. Constructed by Daedalus, the labyrinths purpose was to house the minotaur.

Legend has it that the Cretan King then demanded that Athens send seven young men and seven young women to be fed to the minotaur as a tax. This continued until Theseus killed the minotaur. While visiting the Palace of Knossos you will wonder the ruins and view the legendary throne room of King Minos. 

Take a trip up Mount Ida. Mythology states this is where Zeus was raised. Also called Psilorertis, this is where Zeus’ mother Rhea hid him from his father Cronos. Cronos was known to eat his children to prevent them from overthrowing him in the future. Make sure to visit the cave of Dikteon Andron where Zeus was born. 

Visiting in the off-season will help you avoid many of the crowds typically associated with summertime in the Greek islands.


With the average temperature in the high 50s, you will miss the muggy summer months making it the perfect time for wandering and hikes. You will want to return again and again to enjoy the clearest coastline in Europe. 

Best Way To Reach Destination

Fly into Athens and grab a ferry or cruise to head over to the island of Crete. Crete also has two international airports – one in Heraklion the capital and the other in Chania – from where you can pick up a rental car and explore the island.

best places to travel to in Europe in January
Paris, France (Photo courtesy of Chris Karidis from Unsplash)

Paris, France

By Kelly from Girl With A Passport

If you’re in search of one of the best cities to visit in Europe in January, then look no further than Paris. 
As the capital of France, the city of light is known for its incredible food, world-class museums, and refined culture. 

If you plan your visit for January, you’ll love Paris even more since you’ll enjoy cheaper hotel prices, better deals on flights, and less crowded attractions. Accordingly, you can quickly and easily visit places like the Louvre without the hordes of tourists. Plus, staff at many of the city’s busy restaurants and hotels will be a lot less stressed – and infinitely more polite – since they don’t have to cater to as many people. 

While you’re in the city and have the place all to yourself, be sure to visit amazing works of art at the Louvre. These include the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, the Seated Scribe, and Liberty Leading the People. If you can, try to time your visit for a Wednesday or Friday evening when the museum is open late. 

Next, take in a vibrant cabaret show at places like the Moulin Rouge or the Crazy Horse before attending a classic opera performance at The Opéra-Comique. 

Finally, ascend the Arc de Triomphe for unparalleled views of the city before retreating inside Laduree for some well-deserved macarons and afternoon tea in Paris


Whatever you do though, be sure to dress warmly since average temperatures in January only reach a high of 46°F  and a low of 37° F. You’ll also want to bring a warm jacket, rain coat or umbrella since the city can receive an average of nine days of rain throughout the month. 

Hotel Recommendation

Kelly says, “When you want to retreat into warmth, consider a suite inside the Exe Panorama hotel. 
Rooms here are well-priced and sit inside a lovely, Haussmann-style building that is only a five-minute walk from the Cadet metro station.”

January is best time to visit Hallstatt in Austria in Europe
Hallstatt, Austria (Photo courtesy of Nadine from Le Long Weekend)

Hallstatt, Austria

By Nadine from Le Long Weekend

The fairytale village of Hallstatt is a dream to visit in winter. Surrounded by snow-dusted mountains, on the edge of a beautiful lake, it lives up to its lofty reputation as one of the most beautiful villages in the world. It is certainly one of the best winter escapes in Europe.

Although small, there are plenty of things to do in Hallstatt. Take a walk up to the Skywalk platform where you’ll be awarded with incredible views over the village, lake, and mountainous region beyond.

Visit the Altaussee Salt Mine to learn about the history of the town and its industrial past. This is also a fun activity if visiting with kids, as there are rides and a light & sound show that will delight all ages.

And discover the creepy Bone House at St Michael’s Church where you’ll see the collection of around 1200 human skulls – some of which are painted in symbolic patterns and arranged into family groups.

Nearby, there are many places to enjoy winter sports too.

Visiting Hallstatt in January is the best time as you’ll still have the magical festive decorations to enjoy, but you’re more likely to see it under a blanket of snow.

Bundle up and wander the bucolic streets, getting lost in the maze of alleyways and staircases. Pop into warm cafes for streaming mugs of punsch or hot chocolate when you get too chilly.


With daily highs only reaching 42F, January is the snowiest month, with snowflakes falling 19 days of the month.

Best Way To Reach Destination

The closest International airport is in Salzburg. You then drive just over an hour the rest of the way, or take the train & ferry.

Hotel Recommendation

Nadine says, “Stay at the lakeside Boutiquehotel Strand Hallstatt to wake up to magical scenes (complete with resident swans) each morning.”

best destinations to travel to in Europe in  January
Gozo, Malta (Photo courtesy of Rick Barton from Unsplash)

Gozo, Malta

By Suzanne from Meandering Wild

Gozo is a small island located off the north coast of Malta. Gozo, along with its larger neighbour Malta and the small island of Comino, form this small southern Mediterranean island state. It is halfway between the south coast of Italy and the coast of Tunisia in Africa. It is a beautiful spot and one of the best January trips you can take in Europe.

In the centre of Gozo are a number of historic sites. The main town on the island is Rabat and sitting over the town is the Cittadella. This is an ancient building with large walls surrounding the ruins of ancient buildings and the Old Courts of Law and the Old Governor’s Palace.

A short drive from Rabat is The Blessed Virgin of Ta’Pinu Basilica. This beautiful church can be seen from the surrounding landscape between the villages of Gharb and Ghammar. 

Gozo has its own UNESCO World Heritage site which Is found at the the Ggantija Temple. It was built between 3600 and 3200BC and even today, the huge slabs of limestone that made up the temple can be seen.

January is the perfect time to visit Gozo as it is quiet and calm with very few tourists. After the festivities of Christmas, the island relaxes and does not have any significant celebrations.


In January, Gozo’s temperature is between 48 and 59 degrees Fahrenheit, with only about 7 days of rain. The sea temperature is a cool 63 degrees but with a good wetsuit this means that it is not too cold for swimming, snorkelling or diving.

Best Way To Reach Destination

Gozo is reached initially by an international flight into the main Malta International Airport near Valetta.  An hour drive takes you to the ferry at Cirkewwa. This ferry runs almost continually and within 45 minutes, you will be on Gozo. 

Hotel Recommendation

Suzanne says, “One of the nicest places to stay is the coastal village of Marsalforn and this is a short 20 minute drive from the ferry at Mgarr. In the village, there are a number of hotels, with Hotel Calypso on the waterfront being the largest in the town.”

best places to visit in January in Europe
Prague, Czech Republic (Photo courtesy of Veronika from Travel Greekery)

Prague, Czech Republic

By Veronika from Travel Greekery

Prague is a beautiful destination to visit any time of year. The spire-adorned jewel on the banks of the Vltava River should be on top of everybody’s bucket list. However, in January, with the possibility of snow, it is a magical fairytale city that is one of the best winter vacation spots in Europe.

When visiting Prague, one shouldn’t leave out the top sights. Those are Prague Castle, a unique castle complex featuring structures spanning centuries, the charming Charles Bridge, and the Old Town Square with the unique Astronomical Clock. The whole Old Town and Lesser Town Quarters are simply too beautiful for words.

It’s going to be cold in January, so you should cozy up in Prague’s many cute cafés in between all the sightseeing. Museum-goers will love the newly reconstructed National Museum at the top of Wenceslas Square. It currently even houses a whale skeleton.

January is a quiet time of year to visit Prague. You can have it practically to yourself, without the usual crowds of tourists. Some Christmas markets last until January 6th, but after that, things quiet down. 

For a fantastic three day Itinerary, including a beer spa where you can drink delicious unlimited beer while soaking in hot hops, please click here.


You’re quite likely to experience snow in January. It’s typically one of the coldest month. Based on averages, the warmest it could be is 0.8°C (33.4°F) or it might go as low as -4.9°C (23.2°F). 

If it snows and you want to enjoy the freshly fallen snow, don’t wait until the next morning! The snow melts fast in the city and turns into slush.

On the other hand, the quiet streets in Prague’s city center become absolutely magical with fresh snow. Only rarely does snowfall turn heavy. You’re most likely going to experience a light dusting.

Best Way To Reach Destination

Prague is easily accessible. Fly to the Václav Havel International Airport and take a bus, a combination of a bus and the subway, or a taxi.

Hotel Recommendation

Veronika says, “The Mosaic House is a great accommodation option near the center of Prague, offering a variety of different room styles for every budget. If your flight from Prague is early in the morning, I can recommend the new Airport Prague Hotel.”

best European destinations to visit in January
Mallorca, Spain (Photo courtesy of Joanna from The World In My Pocket)

Mallorca, Spain

By Joanna from The World In My Pocket

Mallorca is one of the most popular summer destinations in Europe, with many people choosing it for the gorgeous beaches and the guaranteed warm weather. However, Mallorca is great place in Europe for a January holiday as well, especially if you are looking for a relaxing spot.

Mallorca offers something for every type of traveller. While most of the touristy resorts close down for the winter, the cities and villages around the island continue with their daily lives. You can find very affordable accommodation in stunning hotels or traditional fincas if you travel to Mallorca in January.

One of the best things to do in Mallorca is to explore the beaches. In January, you won’t be able to sunbathe as the weather is too cold, but you will be able to explore all the beautiful beaches and coves without any other people around. Places such as Cala Pi or Cala Mesquida, which are packed in the summer, are now empty.

Walking in the Cala Mondrago National Park is a lovely experience in the winter months, as you will find free places to park, as well as no other people on the trails.

If you enjoy hiking, consider going to the Sierra de Tramuntana mountains. In summer, it is way too hot to attempt the long trails. In January, the temperature is just right.

Another great thing to do in Mallorca is to go shopping in the local markets. Each village and town has its own market day. Small local producers gather in the main square and sell their homegrown fruits and vegetables, as well as cheese, sobrasada, or sundried tomatoes. 

Another great thing to do in Mallorca in winter is go hiking in the Sierra de Tramuntana mountains. In summer it is way too hot to attempt the long trails. In January, the temperature is just right.


The weather in Mallorca in January is mild, with an average daily temperature of 56 degrees Fahrenheit and around 5 days of rain. But don’t worry, there are plenty of things to do in Mallorca even when it rains.

Best Way To Reach Destination

Most airlines still operate winter flights to Mallorca. The airport is located only a couple miles away from Palma de Mallorca. It is well connected by local buses to the city centre. There are also plenty of car hire companies at the airport if you want to explore the island and not base yourself in Palma.

Iceland best winter destinations
Thingvellir National Park, Iceland (Photo courtesy of Paulina from UK Everyday)

Thingvellir National Park, Iceland

By Paulina from UK Everyday

If you want to visit one of the most unique UNESCO World Heritage sites look no further than Iceland in January. In Thingvellir National Park, you can walk between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates that are drifting apart from each other by 0.8 inches (2 cm) every year. All the cracks are shaping a beautiful canyon that is home to many amazing attractions.

One of the best things to do in Thingvellir National Park is a short hike to Oxarafoss Waterfall. This famous movie location from “Game of Thrones” attracts many visitors so exploring it in January will allow you to avoid the crowds. It is only a 6-minute walk to the waterfall from Oxarafoss Parking which makes it a perfect place to visit even during the colder months.

There are various hiking paths in Thingvellir National Park that provide excellent views. One of them is a 20-minute walk from Oxarafoss Waterfall to Hakið Visitor Center. It is a perfect spot to admire the second largest lake in Iceland –  Thingvallavatn. 

Thingvellir National Park covered with white snow looks incredible. If you decide to visit Iceland in January, you will have amazing light for your pictures. The Golden Hour in Iceland lasts much longer during winter than in any other location around the world.

Wintertime is the best time to visit Iceland as you can also see the Northern Lights or explore ice caves.


The average temperature in January is between 26.6 F and 37.4 F. You can expect beautiful sunny days, but also heavy snowing a few hours later. The weather in Iceland is very unpredictable so make sure to be ready for every situation.

Best Way To Reach Destination

When purchasing your plane ticket, choose Keflavik Airport. It is just a 1-hour drive from Thingvellir National Park and less than 40 minutes drive from Reykjavik.

Hotel Recommendation

Paulina says, “You can find plenty of accommodations in the capital such as Freyja Guesthouse & Suites or Black Pearl Apartment Hotel.”

best warm winter destination in Europe
Albufeira, Portugal (Photo courtesy of Linn from Amused By Algarve)

Albufeira, Portugal (The Algarve)

By Linn from Amused By Algarve

One of the best European beach vacations in January is the quaint town of Albufeira on Portugal’s Algarve coast. Not only is it one of the most popular destinations in the Algarve, it’s also one of the most beautiful with the white village spilling onto the beach between cliffs.

With over 300 days of sun in the year and beautiful warm temperatures, this is a wonderful destination in January for a warm weather getaway that avoids the summer crowds. Albufeira is also centrally situated for exploring the rest of the Algarve.

There are endless things to do in Albufeira. It has one of the most picturesque beaches in Portugal where you can do water sports like parasailing and surfing.

Go on a kayak or paddleboard tour to explore the mesmerizing coastline where you can discover hidden beaches and sea caves. Take a boat tour to the world-famous Benagil Cave, or explore the inland on a buggy or jeep tour.

January is also the best time to go hiking because the temperatures are not too high. Head to Marinha beach and take on the stunning Seven Hanging Valleys Trail. Wander across golden cliffs, and discover massive sinkholes, sea-carved arches, and unique rock formations.

Make sure you wear good hiking shoes and a hat to protect yourself from the sun – even in January it can get hot on a clear day.


Winter temperatures can reach high 60s Fahrenheit (20-25 degrees celsius).

Best Way To Reach Destination

The closest international airport is Faro airport. You can take a bus or train to Faro city where you have to transfer to a bus. (The train to Albufeira stops 7 km outside the city, so the bus is your best option.)

Alternatively, there are transfers from Faro airport to Albufeira that you can take. Also, Check with your hotel to see if they offer free airport pickup.

Hotel Recommendation

Linn says, “A wonderful place to stay in Albufeira is the Vila Gale Cerro Alagoa. You can indulge in the pool or take the short walk to the beach depending on your mood.”

best winter destinations in Europe
Riga, Latvia (Photo courtesy of Pixaby)

Riga, Latvia

By Lowri from Many Other Roads

Riga is a city in Latvia that is perfect place for a European city break in January. Not only is it incredibly budget friendly but it is off the beaten path for many travellers. Riga is filled with cobbled stone streets and lots of historic sites to explore. There are also many great bars that serve delicious food on a budget.

There are lots of amazing things to do in this unique European city.

Latvia is one of the cheapest countries in Europe and this means you can enjoy some of the best food without breaking the bank. The restaurant ‘Milda’ serves traditional Latvian dishes such as potato pancakes, bread soup, and black bread with cheese at an affordable price.

If you want to see the most incredible views over the city, stop by the Panorama Riga Observation Deck. This is a circular terrace and observation deck belonging to the Latvian Academy of Sciences. It costs about 6 euros to visit and is absolutely one of the best spots in Riga. 

Riga is full of amazing buildings, but the best is the Three Brothers. This group of buildings are not only pretty but are the oldest dwellings in Riga. The buildings can be found in Maza Pils Street near Central Dome Square. 


January is the best time to visit as it has snowy winter conditions, without the crowds for the Christmas markets. Riga has cold winters with temperatures ranging from -2°C to -6°C (28°F to 21°F) so make sure you pack properly before going.

Best Way To Reach Destination

The most popular way to arrive into Riga is by Riga International Airport. It takes about 15-30 minutes to reach from the airport to the City Centre. Taking a bus from the Airport is the cheapest option. However, buses don’t run at night so if you arrive late, you will have to get a taxi. 

Hotel Recommendation

Lowri says, “Riga is full of amazing hotels so you have plenty of options. For a stay that is truly unique, book a stay at the elegant Hotel Gutenbergs. There is something so special about this hotel and breakfast is included too!”

best European cities to visit in January
Florence, Italy (Photo courtesy of Pixaby)

Florence, Italy

By Jaclyn from Resting Beach Face

Florence, dubbed the birthplace of the Renaissance, is a place to immerse yourself in history, art architecture, delicious food and wine, all the while being surrounded by welcoming locals. While Florence may be a city, it has a small-town feel and much calmer than other equally tourist-centric locations.

When in Florence, you will notice that the city is filled by pedestrians who stroll the streets to window-shop, enjoy a fabulous meal, or spend the day in a piazza people watching.

Florence is the capital of Tuscany, which is famous for rolling hills and vineyards. It is a perfect home base for short day trips to the countryside where you can take a cooking class at a gorgeous village or even help harvest grapes or olives for the season. Florence has no shortage of culture, of all varieties, and is still a bit of a hidden gem.

Take a tour of the Palazzo Medici and learn how the Medici family boosted the Renaissance; how Michelangelo was discovered; or, why Hitler decided not to destroy the Ponte Vecchio.

Next, visit the Basilica of Santa Croce. The exterior is exquisite and the interior is home to the tombs of some of the most influential Renaissance artists and scholars, including Galileo, Michelangelo and Machiavelli.

Finally, find your way to Piazzale Michelangelo which offers one of the best views of Florence and of the Duomo.

January is one of the best times to visit this European city. It offers lots of events to enjoy. January 6th is a national holiday called The Epiphany. This is where the Befana brings small goodies to those who have behaved during the year and the Three Wise Men will parade the streets. In addition, the city is illuminated with colorful lights pointed at some of Florence’s best-loved monuments.

On alternate weekends between January 7-24, the famous Pitti Palace is the center of the fashion world. In addition, throughout January, you will also find farmers markets, Organic and Artisan Markets, and an Antiques Fair held on various weekends.


The average temperature in Florence in January is 52 F, however there is a possibility of sleet and snow. Keep that in mind and pack some layers.

However, Italy in general is very fashionable so try to stay stylish while staying warm! Generally, you should carry a travel umbrella and a packable rain jacket with you as you never know when there will be a downpour or flurries.

Best Way To Reach Destination

You will fly into the Florence airport (FLO). There is a new tram line that can take you from the airport to the city center. This is the easiest and cheapest way to reach Florence. Uber and Lyft do not operate in Florence.

best winter destinations in Europe in January
Near Besançon, France

Besançon, France

By Caroline from Veggie Wayfarer

A wonderful place for a European holiday in January to escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life and to simply sit back and relax can be found in the Eastern France Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region, more specifically in the Jura and Doubs department. The region is synonymous for good wine, authentic little villages untouched by the spoils of over-tourism and Comté, the salty cheese that takes its name from the region.

Learn all about the history of the local salt production in the UNESCO classified sites of Saline Royale Arc-et-Senans and the Salins-les-Bains salt museum.

Alternatively, head out to Arbois to have a delicious wine tasting in the Domaine de la Pinte vineyard. Try your hand at the famous Yellow Wines from the Jura, the MacVin digestif or a delicious dessert wine that goes by the name Vin de Paille.


January has an average temperature of 45°F. The upper Jura region is known to get a lot colder at times with an average snowfall of 62 centimeters. It is the quintessential getaway for lovers of outdoor winter activities including cross-country skiing, snowshoe hiking, snowboarding and even dog sledding.

Best Way To Reach Destination

With daily trains running between Besançon and Paris, getting to the Jura and Doubs department is an absolute breeze.

Hotel Recommendation

Caroline says, “Base yourself out of Hotel le Sauvage in Besançon to be close to both the slopes and the wonderous activities in the city.”

best greek islands to visit in January in Europe
Santorini, Greece (Greek Islands) (Photo courtesy of Pixaby)

Santorini, Greece (Greek Islands)

By Mary from Be Right Back by Mary

When thinking about Santorini, you usually think about going to the beach, tanning, and watching incredible sunsets while sipping on a cocktail by the sea. But this Greek Island has lots to offer for a European getaway in January.

January in Santorini offers some of the warmest temperatures in Europe. In addition, you are guaranteed peace and quiet as the island is deserted by the majority of tourists who prefer to visit during the hot summer months. The cost for a trip to Santorini is definitely a lot lower during the off season, so it is the perfect place if you are looking for a cheap and sunny escape. 

Another worthy visit is Pyrgos village which is built on a hill. You have to walk up a good number of stairs to reach Pyrgos castle. This activity can be painful in the summer but it is perfect for January’s temperatures. At the top, you’ll find one of the best 360° views of the island.

Finally, there is a nice walk which takes you from Fira to Imerovigli, a lovely town along the Caldera. The walk is easy and about 1.25 mile long. It takes about 30 minutes to complete. On your way, you can make a detour to go check out the Rock of Skaros. 


January in Santorini offers warm temperatures with peaks at 15°C (59°F) and an average of only 11 days of rain.

Best Way To Reach Destination

There are international airports on Santorini and Mykonos. There are also ferries between the Greek Islands. The cheapest alternative is to fly into Athens and take the ferry from there.

Hotel Recommendation

Mary says, “One of the best things to do in Santorini in January includes staying at a luxurious hotel on the Caldera. A good number of the best hotels in Fira, including the famous cave hotels, have beautiful views of the Caldera and include a hot tub. However, these can be quite pricy during the summer.

January is the best time to experience luxurious Santorini without having to break the bank. Hot tubs are also a great addition as the sea is too cold for a swim at that time of the year.

Athina Luxury Suites is the perfect option.”

best European cities to spend time in January
Pecs, Hungary (Photo courtesy of Richard from RJ On Tour)

Pecs, Hungary

By Richard from RJ On Tour

Pecs is a fascinating city with an interesting history in the south of Hungary near the Croatia border. The city of Pecs was founded by the Romans and also occupied by the Ottoman empire, thus it has some remarkable sites to visit. The area is famous for its wine and food and the restaurants serve some great options, including iconic Hungarian dishes like Goulash.

There are lots of things to see and do in Pecs, from visiting sites to enjoying a hike in the nearby hills. In January, Pecs is quiet, thus it is the best time to visit all the historic sites when they are empty. The most popular attraction is the Sopianae, a Unesco World Heritage Site. Basically, it is an early Christian burial site from the 4th century.

The Mosque of Pasha Gazi Kasim is currently a church, however it used to be an Ottoman Mosque during their occupation in the 16th century. Visiting Mosque of Pasha Gazi Kasim is interesting as you learn history and see the unique decor inside. This building is the finest example of Turkish and Ottoman architecture in Hungary.

Pécs Cathedral is also a fantastic place to visit. It is the most prominent building in the city and has four towers. You can visit the inside of the cathedral too, which is colourful with lots of decorative features. They display the history of the site very well throughout the building. You can also climb the cathedral’s tower which offers fantastic views across the city and nearby countryside.


The climate in January is cold and typically ranges from 24.8F to 34.9F. There is an average of 5 days of rain, so it is pretty dry compared to other European cities.

Best Way To Reach Destination

The nearest international airport to Pecs is Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport. From there you can get a direct train into Pecs, which takes two and a half hours. Alternatively, you can drive which takes 2 hours 15 minutes.

Hotel Recommendation

Richard says, “There are many apartments and hotel options in Pecs, however Corso Hotel is a centrally located four-star hotel. It is known for its large and modern rooms and delicious food.”

best places to travel in January in Europe
Gibraltar, United Kingdom (Photo courtesy of Emma from Travel On A Time Budget)

Gibraltar, United Kingdom

By Emma from Travel On A Time Budget

Gibraltar, the tiny British Overseas Territory that borders Spain on its southern shores, is one of the best European escapes in January. It might only be 2.6 square miles, but there’s plenty to do.

Most of the top things to do in Gibraltar centre around “The Rock”. This is hardly surprising since at almost 1,400 foot, it’s impossible to go anywhere without staring up and seeing it.

A cable car goes to the top where you can snap incredible photos out across the sea. It’s then a short walk down to St. Michael’s cave, where there are massive stalagmites rising up from the floor and stalactites hanging down from the ceiling. 

Part of the draw to the Rock is the chance to see Gibraltar’s famous monkeys. The Barbary macaques can be seen along the pathways of the nature reserve or viewed at Apes’ Den.

For history lovers, there are places in the Rock to visit to learn about Gibraltar’s history. The 18th century Great Siege Tunnels formed part of the defence of Gibraltar from France and Spain during the Great Siege. There are also World War 2 tunnels where military equipment was stored and troops stayed for protection.

Gibraltar also has beaches where you can relax after your sightseeing. Camp Bay has a lido and areas where children can swim. Even in January, you can get warm weather.


Average temperatures can reach 61 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees centigrade) although there may also be rainy days and chilly evenings.

Best Way To Reach Destination

It’s also a really easy place to reach as it has its own airport that is easily walkable from the centre.

Hotel Recommendation

Emma says, “There are a range of places to stay in Gibraltar. The Holiday Inn Express is a reasonably priced option about 15 minutes’ walk from the main town. For those who want to stay somewhere a bit different, the Sunborn is a hotel on a yacht in the marina. There’s a swimming pool and fabulous views of the rock from the sundeck.”

best European winter destinations
Borovets, Bulgaria (Photo courtesy of Abi from I’m Going On An Adventure)

Borovets, Bulgaria

By Abi from I’m Going On An Adventure

For many people, January is their least favourite time of year. The weather is at its’ worst and all the joy from Christmas is over. However, one of the best ways to lift those winter blues is a European getaway in Borovets in Bulgaria. It’s the cutest little ski resort with stunning views, great runs and a fantastic vibe.

The main reason to go is for the snow and to enjoy the snowy mountain ski runs. The town has some fun slopes with varying levels of difficulty and is really, really cheap in comparison to most other ski resorts in Europe. It is a fantastic place to start learning how to ski or snowboard.

Borovets has some other fun winter activities such as riding snowmobiles through the mountain forest and enjoying a relaxing spa day at the gorgeous Rila Hotel or Yastrebets Hotel. However, in winter most people visit for the skiing and it has been built up around this.

It’s easy to rent the skiing and boarding equipment from the town, plus the ski passes are easy to find. There’s only one main gondola to take you up to the top and it’s there at the bottom where you can buy lift tickets. A day pass is very reasonable and a week’s pass will be discounted.

It’s also a great location for families. It’s easy to grab a sled and toboggan down the smaller slopes, and there’s horseback riding too. In addition, there are a selection of shops to wander around and purchase some souvenirs.

There’s loads of traditional Bulgarian restaurants with open log fires serving delicious meals such as melted blue cheese and cauliflower roasted potatoes, cheese fondants, hearty soups and local red wine.

The nightlife is energetic with lots of small bars and karaoke to enjoy. There’s a few local games which are played at the pubs such as one where you need to try and bang a nail into a log – which is really quite funny. Most evenings, there’s some sort of event running, so it’s a great place for everyone!

Don’t forget to give night skiing a go too. The slopes light up and the main run is open. It’s even better when it starts snowing!


It’s best to go towards the end of January to allow for as much snow as possible. The temperature drops to 2/-4 degrees (35 / 19 Fahrenheit) in January so it’s so important that you arrive prepared – warm clothes and thick socks.

Best Way To Reach Destination

Borovets is easy to reach but it does require a taxi or shuttle to take you from the airport to the town. You can book these at the airport but it’s easier to arrange beforehand.

The closest airport is Sofia international which has regular flights all year round. The transport takes around 1 hour 15 minutes and is a beautiful drive through the mountain roads (once you pass the city).

Hotel Recommendation

Abi says, “There are some fantastic hotels in Borovets, depending on budget you can stay in the luxury Rila Hotel right in front of the slopes or a more budget friendly accommodation further down the hill such as Villa Park Guesthouse. Just be wary the further down you are, the harder the hike to reach the slopes.”

best warm winter destinations in Europe in January
Ayia Napa, Cypress (Photo courtesy of Lina from World of Lina)

Ayia Napa, Cyprus

By Lina from World of Lina

Another one of the best European escapes in January is the lovely town of Ayia Napa on the island of Cyprus.

Ayia Napa is located on the southeast coast and is mainly known for its many beautiful beaches. In the resort town, you can find fantastic restaurants serving fresh seafood and at night, you can enjoy cocktails and other drinks at the many pubs and bars.

Right at the heart of the town, you’ll find Ayia Napa monastery, a charming monastery partially built underground. Inside is a museum that houses historic exhibitions about Cyprus.

The harbor is another one of the must-see places as it offers amazing views over the Mediterranean Sea. Sit back and relax in one of the many cafés and enjoy a good cup of coffee or a refreshing drink.

Just a bit outside of Ayia Napa, at Glyko Nero Beach, is the famous ‘Love Bridge’. This rocky arch was entirely created by mother nature and is, for sure, one of the most amazing natural attractions in Cyprus. It’s even possible to walk out onto it, but you have to be very careful.

Ayia Napa is a good destination in January because you can enjoy the warm winter sun without it being too hot.


Temperatures are usually between 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit – perfect for sightseeing.

Best Way To Reach Destination

The closest airport is Larnaca International Airport which is accessed by most international airlines. It will take you approximately 40 minutes to reach Ayia Napa by car.

Hotel Recommendation

Lina says, “The resort town is full of hotels ranging from luxury to affordable. Some of the best addresses include Limanaki Beach Hotel, Nissi Beach Resort and Cosmo Napa Boutique Hotel.”

best places to visit in Europe in January
Dublin, Ireland (Photo courtesy of Nicole from Go Far Grow Close)

Dublin, Ireland

By Pamela from The Directionally Challenged Traveler

Dublin, the capital city of Ireland, is a charming European city to visit in January. Located on the east coast of Ireland, Dublin has a variety of things to offer travelers. 

Temperatures in January are on the cool side. If you’re a bit chilly, there are plenty of pubs to warm you up with a drink or snack. Hidden gems like The Church combine history, culture, live music, and delicious food.

Even in the colder months, there are plenty of things to do in Dublin. History buffs can explore Dublin Castle, Trinity College, or even the Leprechaun museum for glimpses into Dublin’s past. Dress in layers and explore the beautiful sites including Christ Church Cathedral, Ha’penny Bridge, and the beautiful architecture along the River Liffey.

At the end of January is the Temple Bar Trad. It’s an Irish music and culture festival featuring some of the best musicians in Ireland. There are also street parades, craft fairs, open-air concerts, and art shows.

One of the best things that you can do in Dublin is a musical pub crawl. This takes you from pub to pub with a band of Irish musicians. It is fun and a pretty cool experience. For a rundown of the best and worst attractions in Dublin, please see The Best And Worst Most Popular Attractions In Dublin.


Average temperatures in Dublin range from -2°C to 11°C.

Best Way To Reach Destination

Most visitors fly into Dublin International Airport (DAA) directly and drive 20 minutes to the city center. Alternatively, you can also fly into Shannon Airport (SNN) and drive through the countryside to the city. It’s about a 2 1/2 hours drive from Shannon to Dublin.

Hotel Recommendation

Pamela says, “A great hotel located in the heart of Dublin is The Schoolhouse Hotel. It dates back to 1859 and has been a witness to the history of the city, including Dublin’s Easter 1916. The boutique hotel is also home to a Gastrobar for hungry visitors.”

best warm winter city in Europe in January
Malaga, Spain (Photo courtesy of Milijana from World Travel Connector)

Malaga, Spain

By Milijana from World Travel Connector

Malaga in southern Spain is one of the sunniest places in Europe in January. It is perfect for a European city break in January or winter staycation in Spain.  

The beautiful city of Malaga is the capital of Costa del Sol. Costa del Sol, meaning Coast of the Sun, is famous for lots of sunshine and fantastic sandy beaches. 

Malaga beaches are some of the best in Spain and Europe overall. Although the sea temperature is not ideal for swimming in January, the sandy beaches in Malaga are a perfect place for sunbathing and enjoying delicious tapas with a glass of sangria in chiringuitos (traditional beach restaurants) in winter.

On top of that, Malaga is a modern Mediterranean city full of great restaurants (including nine Michelin star restaurants), traditional tapas bars, and bodegas. Tapas bar hopping is one of the best things to do in Malaga

You might be surprised, but the city is rich with museums. There are more than 30 museums in Malaga. In addition, Malaga is the birth town of Pablo Picasso. Consider strolling through the museums and admiring the artwork of Pablo Picasso, especially in the colder months when there are no crowds to block your view.

For some fun, decompress in traditional Arab baths, take day trips and visit traditional Andalusian white villages in the area, or hike jaw-dropping El Caminito del Rey


Daily average temperature in January is 63° F, but can reach 72° F during the day.

Best Way To Reach Destination

Malaga-Costa del Sol International Airport serves Malaga. The airport is the largest in southern Spain and one of the busiest. It connects Malaga with many Spanish and international destinations. 

Hotel Recommendation

Milijana says, “Book a room in the 5-star Vincci Selección Posada del Patio with a rooftop swimming pool in the center of Malaga to have a fabulous winter vacation in the capital of Costa del Sol.

Best places to visit in Europe in January
Turin, Italy (Photo courtesy of Natalie & Robson from The Best Of Turin)

Turin, Italy

By Natalie & Robson from The Best Of Turin

Turin is the capital of the Piedmont region in Northern Italy and one of several fantastic places to visit in Piedmont. It is one of the largest cities in the country and is surrounded by the impressive Italian Alps. It offers a rich history, incredible architecture, outstanding museums, delicious food. Although it has all these great attributes, it’s still under the radar for many international tourists.

What makes Turin a great European destination to visit in January?

The answer is easy. You can combine a winter city break with snowy slopes and winter sports in Turin.

When in Turin, you must visit the Royal Palace to learn about the Savoy Dynasty and how Turin became Italy’s first capital. Also, it has over 10 palaces and royal residences that are UNESCO heritage sites. Most of these palaces are open to visitors and are within the city or its’ surroundings. The most impressive ones would be Venaria Reale, Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi and Palazzo Madama.

Once you are done with the historical sites, you can visit some of Turin’s museums like the Egyptian Museum – one of the largest collections in the world – or the Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile, which pictures the important industrial past of the city.

Food is another big thing. Take time to stroll around the Porta Palazzo Market, one of the biggest open-air markets in Europe. Then, savor a nice meal at Mercato Centrale, known for serving the best local ingredients and traditional recipes paired with the world-famous Barolo wine from the region.

A stop at Valentino Park for the best views of the Po River is a must too. If it’s snowing, go there anyway. The park looks like a fairytale when covered in snow.

Talking about snow, Turin is only one hour and 40 minutes by train from Bardonecchia, one of Italy’s best-known ski resorts. The resort has 49 pistes and 21 ski lifts located 2,750 meters above sea level. 

January is a good month to hit the slopes, as snow is guaranteed. Bardonecchia is a small mountain town that gets busy in winter. So staying in Turin is an excellent option as the city has more hotel choices. You can easily go for a day trip to the mountains. When in Turin, you will be surrounded by the snowcapped mountains all the time, offering fantastic views.


January is the coldest month in Turin, the average highest temperature in the city is 45ºF, and the lowest is 27ºF. It doesn’t snow much in Turin, so consider yourself lucky if it snows and the city is covered in white. In the mountains, it will be colder and snow is abundant.

Best Way To Reach Destination

Getting to Turin is easy. The city has a small international airport – Torino Airport, which is connected to the city by public transportation. Another option is to fly to Milan, which has 3 international airports. There are different ways to travel from Milan to Turin, including driving one hour. You can also get from Milan to Turin by train or bus.

Hotel Recommendation

Natalie & Robson say, “Regarding where to stay in Turin, the options are endless. You can book a room at a luxury hotel like Hotel Principi di Piemonte, or in a mid-range accommodation like Opera35 Suite&Studio. For budget travelers, the Hotel Tourist is a good option.”

best cities to visit in Europe in January
Lisbon, Portugal (Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Lisbon, Portugal

By Mary from Be Right Back by Mary

Located in the south of Portugal, Lisbon is a popular destination in Europe in January for anyone looking to escape grey damp weather and Christmas season melancholia. 

Spend four days in Lisbon exploring the highlights and main landmarks of the city. Some of the best things to do in the city include visiting the Alfama district, known as the oldest and most charming district of Lisbon. You will recognise the neighbourhood by the authentic orange coloured roofs.

St George Castle is also a must-see both for the history and the incredible 360° views it offers of Lisbon and the Tague Estuary Natural Reserve, the largest wetlands in Portugal. To avoid waiting in line at the castle, tickets can be purchased online in a few minutes.

Another fun thing to do in Lisbon is rent electric scooters and travel through the city to the Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge and the Jeronimos Monastery, a World Unesco Heritage Site.

In the winter months, a fair number of European destinations are very quiet with shops closed and restricted hours for museums. However, Lisbon is bustling all year round. Everything is open and the city feels alive! At the same time, the city doesn’t feel overcrowded at this time of the year, which means you won’t be waiting in long lines for each museum.


One of the main reasons for Lisbon being one of the best European cities to visit in January is, of course, the weather. With temperatures going as high as 60°F (16°C), and only about 7 days of rain, January is a great month to visit for anyone looking for a dose of sunshine.

Best Way To Reach Destination

The closest airport is Lisbon airport. Lisbon airport is very easy to navigate both at arrivals and departures. The heart of the city is only about a 30 minute drive with taxis, buses or ubers waiting for you. 

Hotel Recommendation

Mary says, “If you are in Lisbon for a special occasion and are looking for a romantic hotel, Casa Balthazar is the place to be!”


Last Word

January is the best time to visit many European destinations. If they offer winter sports and outdoor activities, you will be able to enjoy all that is offered. On the other hand, if they do not, and it is low season, whether it is busy cities or beautiful beach destinations, you will get fantastic flight and hotel deals. In addition, you will only be sharing restaurants and attractions with locals without the fierce summer crowds.

Europe has many wonderful places to visit in January. Where are you going?

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