Is there a better time than January to go on holiday? It’s certainly the time of year when we feel we need a change of scene and a pick-me-up. The Irish weather is cold and dark, we’re likely to be experiencing a post-Christmas slump, and generally we probably just need a bit of cheering up! A holiday can really lift our mood and kick off the New Year in style – here’s our guide to the best holiday destinations in January.
Spain is a much-loved holiday destination and is still hugely popular. If you associate it exclusively with summer sun though, you’ll miss out on the undoubted delights that a winter holiday can offer. This is a varied country which has appeal all year round. The winter months are a great time to explore some of Spain’s cultured and entertaining cities – Madrid and Barcelona top the list, while the likes of Granada, Cordoba and Seville are absolutely delightful. Time your visit accordingly and you may catch one of Spain’s renowned festivals. But if it’s a beach holiday you want, the Costa del Sol still delivers with winter temperatures around 17 degrees. Generally, resorts are less crowded and the perfect place to chill out and banish those January blues.
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Thailand remains a classic destination at this time of year and for good reason. It never experiences true cold weather, instead having two main seasons – dry and wet. The peak of the wet season runs between July and October, so it will be hot and humid, whereas January falls in the dry season. This is the best time to travel, and the average temperature is still a lovely 27 degrees. A holiday in Thailand is rich, vibrant, fun and above all else affordable – tourists can stay in luxurious holidays at reasonable rates and eating out costs a fraction of the price you’d expect to pay at home. Gorgeous white sand beaches and a buzzing nightlife makes Thailand one of the best holiday destinations in January without a doubt.
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Portugal, and particularly the gorgeous Algarve region, is one of the leading winter sun destinations in Europe. In the early months of the year the sun is still out, boosting temperatures to as high as between 17-20 degrees; certainly pleasant enough to stroll around the many beaches, take a dip in pool or sea, and eat al fresco. There are a number of lovely destinations ideal for a long weekend – or a lengthier break – for couples or families, including Sagres, Albufeira, Lagos and Vilamoura. If a city break takes your fancy, Lisbon is great place to escape to. Take a look at flights and hotels to Portugal here.
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If you don’t want winter sun or a long haul flight, there’s no shortage of closer destinations that can still deliver a lovely getaway in January. Takes Bruges as an example. This charming Belgian city is a superb choice for a long weekend; wrap up warm and soak in the romance of its medieval feel, with cobbled streets and striking architecture. If you’re a foodie, there are a fewer better places to spend time in – the cuisine scene in Bruges is excellent, with a range of bistros and, of course, there are more types and flavours of beer than you can taste. If you’ve had a hectic and full-on Christmas, Bruges is the perfect place to unwind and wander at your own pace.
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Mexico has a tropical climate and the best time to visit is between November and April – making January right in the middle of peak season. Temperatures are gloriously hot, often staying around the 20-degree mark even at night. With its beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters, it’s a haven for adventure sports fans – a top-class destination for snorkelling, scuba diving and other watersports. Cancun is Mexico’s headline act, a resort with a five-star reputation and a party atmosphere, not to mention beaches stretching for 14 miles. This is a Mexican paradise deserving of inclusion on any list of the best holiday locations in January.
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THE CANARY ISLANDS
For reliable temperatures and a great beach holiday without undertaking a long haul flight, the Canary Islands remain extremely popular, serving up sun all the year round and resorts which are family friendly. The biggest, and probably busiest, member of the islands is Tenerife. If you’re looking for somewhere a little quieter to recharge those flagging January batteries, try Fuerteventura or Lanzarote. Both have excellent beaches and winter temperatures around 22 degrees. For Lanzarote, Puerto del Carmen with plenty of bars and restaurants complementing the island’s best beach. In Fuerteventura, head for Corralejo or further down the coast to Costa Caleta.
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Dubai, the second largest of the seven states that make up the United Arab Emirates, is known for its imposing buildings, glamorous hotels and expansive beaches. The emphasis is on luxury and a five-star lifestyle – the hotels are stunning and holidaymakers can really indulge themselves. Iconic landmarks include the Burj Khalifa, one of the world’s tallest man-made buildings and the Burj Al Arab; easy identified by its sail-shaped design. The heat can be too intense for some in the peak summer months but January falls within the cooler season with average highs of 25 degrees. If you’re considering a holiday in Dubai don’t forget to bring some spending money – there is a seriously impressive shopping scene here.
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The rainy season is May to November so January is perfect. The Maldives provides a chilled-out idyllic escape with what will feel like a million miles away from frosty mornings – making it, surely, one of the best holiday destinations in January. If it’s a lazy, laid-back holiday in the sun you’re craving, the Maldives is hard to better; temperatures can hit the 30s and there are miles upon miles of pristine beaches. To break up the sun worshipping, why not go diving or snorkelling and try spotting some of the many underwater species – including octopuses and turtles – that occupy the ocean? We have over 170 hotels and villas in the Maldives for you to choose from.
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So, if you’re looking to start the year off in style, why not browse our selection of best holiday destinations in January? Happy New Year!