Looking to book a last minute holiday in January? You’ve pretty much got three choices when it comes to a break away during the first month of the year: a Winter minibreak where you embrace the coldest of seasons, a Winter sports holiday where it’s all about being active on the slopes (and in the bar), or a trip to a tropical paradise where you’ll actually get to feel the heat of the sun on your skin again.
Life’s Prism selected nine destinations across these categories that are a safe bet for a January holiday, from long haul beach holidays and far flung city breaks to places that bit closer to home — like the Canary Islands and France — that offer shorter flights so you can get your R&R on stat. Browse our picks here, and start dreaming of your new year adventure.
Cape Town, South Africa
Stunning scenery, hot temperatures, and hip nightlife await you in Cape Town. South Africa’s second largest city is a nature-lover’s dream destination, too, from the incredible views and hikes around Table Mountain to the whales in the ocean.
January is Summer in South Africa, with 11 hours of sunshine and maximum temperatures of 27 degrees Celsius on average. There’s hardly any rainfall either, with an average of 8 mm throughout January.
Don’t be put off by this Canary Island’s ’80s nickname of “Lanza-grotty” — there’s much more to this Spanish island than Brits abroad seeking cheap Winter sun.
There are lots of luxury properties around the coast, cultural gems in the capital Arrecife, and otherworldly volcanic terrains in this Unesco biosphere reserve. Lanzarote has 300 volcanic cones and breathtaking scenery in Timanfaya National Park, plus beaches for surfing and resorts for cocktails.
Average highest temperatures are 20 degrees with an average of seven hours of sunshine per day. It takes just over four hours to fly from the UK to Lanzarote (with plenty of low-cost flight options), and there’s no time difference.
Sydney is well worth flying to the other side of the world for, with its iconic landmarks, like the Sydney Opera House, Bondi Beach, and Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Down in the southeast of Australia in New South Wales, Sydney is in full summertime swing in January (the hottest month), with average high temperatures of 27 degrees and eight hours of sunshine a day. It’s humid too.
Sydney is 11 hours ahead of the UK, and it takes at least 21.5 hours to get there with one stopover, but you could make this a two-centre trip, with a stopover somewhere like Singapore, Hong Kong, or Dubai.
Tignes is one of the most reliable European ski resorts for good snow at this time of year (and even into Summer, for that matter). It’s made up of a few purpose-built resorts at different altitudes and is very much about being snow-sure rather than being a quaint chalet village.
What it offers is affordable, excellent quality Winter sports for every level of skier and snowboarder, from beginners’ pistes to a world-class snow park.
Subtropical beaches are in abundance in Cape Verde (or Cabo Verde), an archipelago of 10 different islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of West Africa.
Although January is the coldest month in Cape Verde, that’s all relative — it’s still enjoying average daily maximums of 25 degrees, along with six hours of sunshine. The sea is warm enough to swim in, and there’s hardly any rain either, with an average of 3 mm across the month.
If you want it hot, hot, hot, then Singapore is the place. Although January is the coolest month, it’s still 30 degrees, and humidity levels average at 85 percent. However, bear in mind it’s also monsoon season, when afternoons and early evenings can experience continuous heavy rainfall — adding up to 246 mm in the course of the month.
If you don’t mind a downpour, then you’ll be rewarded with a jaw-dropping, high-rise urban landscape with a multicultural population.
Designer shops in luxurious malls, huge skyscrapers, and glitzy beaches tempt many Brits to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates in Winter. Take in the view from the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, or immerse yourself in the month-long Dubai Shopping Festival.
You’ll find the average high in January is 24 degrees, and the sea is warm enough to swim in at 21 degrees.
Alta Ski Area, Utah, USA
The Alta Ski Area in Utah is considered to have some of the USA’s best snow, so if you’re serious about your Winter sports, then you’ll be impressed by the cloud-like powder.
It’s just for skiers as boarders are banned (one of just three areas in the US that outright bans snowboarders) and is all about the snow, the history, and the lodges — no fancy nightclubs or boutiques here.
The Caribbean is a safe bet for high temperatures at this time of year, and in Barbados, the average daily maximum is 29 degrees. Luxury resorts and white sandy beaches await.
Barbados has an average of nine hours of sunshine each day, with refreshing winds and very warm sea temperatures for scuba diving and snorkelling. January’s also one of the driest months, with an average of 82 mm rainfall in January.