Above: Lisbon, Portugal - RUDY BALASKO / GETTY IMAGES

Joys of the Off-Season

Image of Lisbon, Portugal during twilight blue hour - RudyBalasko / Getty Images

Every year I look forward to January. In Europe, it’s the easiest time to avoid crowds. One of my favorite winter destinations is Venice. On a recent January visit, we had Peggy Guggenheim’s ordinarily claustrophobic palazzo almost entirely to ourselves — and we battled the chill with frequent breaks for cicchetti and grappa. I’ve had equally delightful winter visits to Florence, Barcelona, Lisbon and Sicily, all of which tend to be quite mild even in the depths of winter.

In early 2023, it will feel especially satisfying to get out of the country, as the dollar hasn’t been this strong in a generation. Should I head to London, where, at the time of writing, the British pound goes for a ridiculous $1.11? Maybe I should have a Savile Row suit tailored, one of life’s treats that has so far eluded me. But with the euro at parity (or better) with the dollar, Paris is also hard to resist.

Of course, what’s true of Europe is also true of elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere: Kyoto is overrun in April, but misty and mysterious in winter (and the currrent exchange rate is an insane 145 yen to the dollar). Two weeks of omakase dining and onsen relaxation sounds like a fine way to kick off 2023. The choices are as numerous as they are enticing — the only mistake would be not to go anywhere at all. Here’s to another year of discovery. —Andrew Harper

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Above: Lisbon, Portugal - RUDY BALASKO / GETTY IMAGES