The best time of year to visit every country in the world (in one table)

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There are a lot of reasons that people travel at non-ideal times. Holidays, work, school calendars, fare-sales, etc. For some people, off-season travel affords the opportunity for less crowds, cheaper hotels and unexpected discoveries.

I’ve had some incredible experiences travelling in the off-season. A morning in Kyoto in January immediately comes to mind. I’d been fighting wind and slightly above-freezing rain for three days trying to explore the city. Waking up before sunrise on my last morning, I found the rain had turned to giant, soft snowflakes. I spent the next several hours exploring the historic district of Higashiyama in a snow globe. I was completely by myself amongst the shrines, temples and gardens, the snow muffling any sound except for the distant chanting of monks and click of wooden water features. It’s a day that I’ll never forget and one that seared a love of Japan into my bones. Low-season has its merits.

a group of people walking on a path with umbrellas
Folks who have been to the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in high season probably never imagined it could be this empty…the benefit of visiting during freezing rain in January.

That said, I’d never suggest that someone visit Japan for the first time in January (unless they’re planning to ski). Much of the country is cold, dark, rainy and windy, often making exploration difficult. Are there still treasures to be found? Absolutely…and it’s still an enchanting country. However, there’s simply more comfortable times of year to be there.

But which times are those?

Why we built this table

My wife is a college professor and much of our travel availability is based around the summer and school breaks. Unfortunately, much of the world is hot, crowded or rainy during our North American summer, and her spring and winter breaks can be an awkward time as well. Because of that, I’ve been wanting a summary of the “best” times of year to visit the various parts of the world. There are many opinions and resources out there, but there’s not a lot of good references that can be easily paged through and sorted by both geographical area and month. That’s what we’re aiming to build here.

We put a lot of effort towards helping our readers earn points and miles. At the same time, we also want to show the best ways to redeem those points and miles once they have them by spotlighting opportunities to get outsized value or grab hard to find hotels and award flights. We hope that this table will be another resource to help folks strategize and build imagination for the many ways that points and miles can enrich their travel.

“Best” should not be read as “the only time that people will enjoy.”

Any “best” list is, by nature, subjective…to some degree, this table is as well. Everyone has different goals and preferences when they travel and nice weather or lower crowds might not be high on that list. Look at the recommendations below as a starting point to planning, as opposed to being an admonition to not travel to a given country or region outside of the indicated months. I’m sure there will be some who disagree with some of the recommendations (“I love Saudi Arabia in the summer!”). As always, we’d love to hear any input folks might have.

a field of lavender with a mountain in the background
Let’s shoot for door #2, shall we?

Methodology

In order to make this table, we cross-referenced best time of year travel recommendations from: Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Bradt, Fodor’s and Travel + Leisure, mixing in regional travel sites where appropriate. The goal was to find months of overlapping agreement between all of these “authorities,” prioritizing optimal weather and moderate crowds. This isn’t always possible and it certainly isn’t complete. For example, October is a great time to visit much of China, but not “Golden Week,” the first-ish week of the month when almost the whole country is on vacation at the same time.

There’s currently 270 entries here and we hope to grow that over time to try and capture as much specificity as possible. Many countries have different regions with varying optimal times to visit depending on elevation, latitude, exposure to oceanic effects and so on. We’d like to be able to continue to refine this guide accordingly. We also hope to eventually add an interactive map that shows options for award-booking as well.

Table of the “best” times to visit every country in the world

This table can be searched by region or country by entering the name into the search box. It can then be sorted by month by simply clicking the up/down arrows. Alternatively, you can start by choosing the month and scrolling down (but it will be a long list). The default display is 10 results at a time, but that can be changed to 25, 50 or 100. There is a scroll bar at the bottom that allows for viewing every month of the year (mobile users can scroll left to right by touch).

*A country’s inclusion on this list doesn’t mean we think right now is an appropriate time for tourists to go there. Please use good judgment and check travel advisories before heading out.

RegionJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
North America
Canada - Maritimes
North America
Canada - Ontario, Québec
North America
Canada - Midwest
North America
Canada - Rocky Mountains (Alberta/BC)
North America
Canada - BC Pacific Coast
North America
Canada - North
North America
United States - Northeast
North America
United States - Mid-Atlantic
North America
United States - Southeast
North America
United States - Midwest
North America
United States - Upper Midwest
North America
United States - Texas
North America
United States - Southwest
North America
United States - Rocky Mountains
North America
United States - Pacific Northwest
North America
United States - California
North America
United States - Alaska
North America
United States - Hawaii
North America
Mexico - Mexico City
North America
Mexico - South (Yucatan, Oaxaca, Veracruz, etc)
North America
Mexico - Central Pacific Coast
North America
Mexico - Baja California
North America
Mexico - Central Highlands
Caribbean
Bermuda
Caribbean
The Bahamas
Caribbean
Turks and Caicos
Caribbean
Cuba
Caribbean
Cayman Islands
Caribbean
Jamaica
Caribbean
Haiti
Caribbean
Dominican Republic
Caribbean
Puerto Rico
Caribbean
US Virgin Islands
Caribbean
British Virgin Islands
Caribbean
Anguilla
Caribbean
St Kitts and Nevis
Caribbean
Antigua and Barbuda
Caribbean
Montserrat
Caribbean
Guadaloupe
Caribbean
Dominica
Caribbean
Martinique
Caribbean
Saba
Caribbean
Sint Eustasius
Caribbean
Saint Barts
Caribbean
St Lucia
Caribbean
St. Martin
Caribbean
St Vincent and the Grenadines
Caribbean
Barbados
Caribbean
Grenada
Caribbean
Trinidad and Tobago
Caribbean
Bonaire
Caribbean
Curacao
Caribbean
Aruba
Central America
Belize
Central America
Guatemala
Central America
El Salvador
Central America
Honduras
Central America
Nicauragua
Central America
Costa Rica
Central America
Panama
South America
Venezuela
South America
Colombia
South America
Columbia - Amazon
South America
Guyana
South America
Suriname
South America
French Guiana
South America
Ecuador
South America
Peru
South America
Bolivia
South America
Brazil
South America
Paraguay
South America
Uruguay
South America
Chile
South America
Chile - North
South America
Chile - Patagonia
South America
Easter Island
South America
Argentina
South America
Argentina - Patagonia
Europe
Greenland
Europe
Iceland
Europe
Faroe Islands
Europe
Norway
Europe
Norway - Fjords
Europe
Sweden
Europe
Finland - South
Europe
Finland - North
Europe
Denmark
Europe
Ireland
Europe
Northern Ireland
Europe
England
Europe
Wales
Europe
Scotland
Europe
Estonia
Europe
Latvia
Europe
Lithuania
Europe
Belarus
Europe
Poland
Europe
Germany
Europe
The Netherlands
Europe
Belgium
Europe
Luxembourg
Europe
Leichtenstein
Europe
France
Europe
France - Alps
Europe
Switzerland
Europe
Austria
Europe
Austria - Alps
Europe
Czech Republic
Europe
Hungary
Europe
Slovakia
Europe
Slovenia
Europe
Slovenia - Mountains
Europe
Ukraine
Europe
Moldova
Europe
Croatia
Europe
Bosnia
Europe
Serbia
Europe
Montenegro
Europe
Kosovo
Europe
Albania
Europe
Albania - Mountains
Europe
Macedonia
Europe
Bulgaria
Europe
Romania
Europe
Greece
Europe
Cyprus
Europe
Malta
Europe
Italy
Europe
Italy - Mountains
Europe
Monaco
Europe
Andorra
Europe
Spain
Europe
Portugal
Europe
Russia
North Africa
Western Sahara
North Africa
Morocco
North Africa
Algeria
North Africa
Tunisia
North Africa
Libya
North Africa
Egypt
West Africa
Mauritania
West Africa
Mali
West Africa
Niger
West Africa
Nigeria
West Africa
Benin
West Africa
Togo
West Africa
Ghana
West Africa
Burkina Faso
West Africa
Cote d'Ivoure
West Africa
Liberia
West Africa
Sierra Leone
West Africa
Guinea
West Africa
Guinea-Bissau
West Africa
The Gambia
West Africa
Senegal
East Africa
Sudan
East Africa
South Sudan
East Africa
Eritrea
East Africa
Djibouti
East Africa
Ethiopia
East Africa
Somalia
East Africa
Kenya
East Africa
Rwanda
East Africa
Burundi
East Africa
Tanzania
East Africa
Uganda
East Africa
Malawai
East Africa
Madagascar
East Africa
Mauritius
East Africa
Reunion
East Africa
Seychelles
Central Africa
Cameroon
Central Africa
Central African Republic
Central Africa
Democratic Republic of the Congo - North
Central Africa
Democratic Republic of the Congo - South
Central Africa
Republic of the Congo
Central Africa
Gabon
Central Africa
Equitorial Guinea
Central Africa
Sao Tome and Principe
Central Africa
Angola
Central Africa
Zambia
Southern Africa
Namibia
Southern Africa
Botswana
Southern Africa
Zimbabwe
Southern Africa
Mozambique
Southern Africa
Eswatini
Southern Africa
Lesotho
Southern Africa
South Africa
Middle East
Turkey
Middle East
Syria
Middle East
Iran
Middle East
Iraq
Middle East
Lebanon
Middle East
Jordan
Middle East
Israel
Middle East
Saudi Arabia
Middle East
Kuwait
Middle East
Bahrain
Middle East
Qatar
Middle East
United Arab Emirates
Middle East
Yemen
Middle East
Oman
Central Asia
Georgia
Central Asia
Armenia
Central Asia
Azerbaijan
Central Asia
Turkemnistan
Central Asia
Uzbekistan
Central Asia
Kazakhstan
Central Asia
Kyrgistan
Central Asia
Kyrgistan - Mountains
Central Asia
Tajikistan
Central Asia
Tajikistan - Mountains
South Asia
Afghanistan
South Asia
Pakistan - South
South Asia
Pakistan - North
South Asia
India
South Asia
India - Himalayas
South Asia
Bangladesh
South Asia
Sri Lanka - West
South Asia
Sri Lanka - East
South Asia
The Maldives
South Asia
Nepal
South Asia
Bhutan
Southeast Asia
Myanmar
Southeast Asia
Thailand
Southeast Asia
Laos
Southeast Asia
Vietnam
Southeast Asia
Vietnam - North
Southeast Asia
Cambodia
Southeast Asia
Indonesia
Southeast Asia
Indonesia - Maluku and Papua
Southeast Asia
Malaysia
Southeast Asia
Singapore
Southeast Asia
Brunei
Southeast Asia
Philippines
Southeast Asia
Timor-Leste
East Asia
Taiwan
East Asia
China
East Asia
China - South (+Hong Kong, Macau, Hainan)
East Asia
China - North
East Asia
China - West (Xinjiang and Tibet)
East Asia
Mongolia
East Asia
North Korea
East Asia
South Korea
East Asia
Japan
East Asia
Japan - North Honshu (Tohaku) and Japanese Alps
East Asia
Japan - Hokkaido
East Asia
Japan - Okinawa and Southern Islands
Oceania
Australia
Oceania
New Zealand
Oceania
Papua New Guinea
Oceania
Solomon Islands
Oceania
Vanuatu
Oceania
New Caledonia
Oceania
Palau
Oceania
Guam
Oceania
Northern Mariana Islands
Oceania
Marshall Islands
Oceania
Nauru
Oceania
Kiribati
Oceania
Tuvalu
Oceania
Tokelau
Oceania
Samoa
Oceania
American Samoa
Oceania
Wallis and Futuna
Oceania
Fiji
Oceania
Tonga
Oceania
Niue
Oceania
Cook Islands
Oceania
French Polynesia
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