A few months make you long for something brighter and hotter than the January sun in Europe. And with Britain mired in a mood-depressing mix of rail strikes, flu and seasonal drizzle, it’s time to start daydreaming of swaying palm trees and lapping waves.
Enter the Caribbean dressed in the best clothing of the season and boasting great hotels, sweet beaches and cloudless skies. Elsewhere, the Maldives offers a classic fly-and-flop option, while Los Angeles and Buenos Aires are on hand for sunny city getaways.
Dust off those passports and get ready for warmer climates. Here’s our roundup of where to go for the January sun.
You want: 19C-24C
While America’s largest city (New York) fights the winter in the fiercest way, the second largest absorbs temperatures up to 20 degrees Celsius. In fact, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Los Angeles is so sun-kissed in January – it’s a metropolis with a year-round golden vibe, after all. But this lack of mystery in no way diminishes the possibility of resting on the coast of Los Angeles – on Venice Beach, in Santa Monica or further in Malibu.
Check out our roundup of the best hotels in Los Angeles. Fly direct from Heathrow with Virgin or BA.
“Lanza-grotty” is a disparaging nickname given to the fourth largest Canary Island in the 1980s. It has always been an unreasonable insult – because while this sunny outcrop offers simple breaks in resorts such as Playa Blanca and Costa Teguise, it also boasts a growing range of luxury properties, beckoning with Spanish culture in the capital Arrecife and volcanic majesty in Timanfaya National Park.
Check out our selection of the best hotels in Lanzarote. Cheap flights to the island are offered by Ryanair, EasyJet, Jet2 and Wizz Air.
It’s easy to mock Dubai – to claim its skyscrapers are ridiculously large, to suggest that its huge shopping malls replace any element of culture, to claim that its artificial island projects are exaggerated and stupid. But the most dazzling of the United Arab Emirates doesn’t care one bit – nor do the thousands of British tourists who flock to the beaches knowing the sun will be wearing a hat.
Check out our roundup of the best hotels in Dubai. Fly direct from Heathrow with BA or Gatwick with Emirates.
A country that boasts warm weather and soft beaches will always be tempting. One piece of the puzzle that makes up Central America, Costa Rica is surrounded by both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. From the top of the Irazú volcano, you can look out over both bodies of water at the same time, but also enjoy cosmopolitan afternoons in the country’s capital, San José.
Check out our roundup of the best hotels in Costa Rica. Fly direct from Gatwick with BA.
You want: 25C-29C
With its mountainous and lush interior, Granada is just right for those who want a dose of adventure to balance out lounging by the sea. It is also located at the southern ends of the Atlantic hurricane belt, which makes it less likely to experience stormy weather than some other Caribbean islands.
Check out our roundup of the best hotels in Granada. Flights arrive via Antigua or Barbados.
So linked to the UK in terms of history and air links that at times a holiday here can feel like a trip to the British coast – although temperatures hover around 20 degrees Celsius all year round – Barbados is a steadfast center for Caribbean tourism. For many, it revolves around luxury resorts on the west coast, but head to the capital city of Bridgetown for heritage and excellent food.
Check out our roundup of the best hotels in Barbados. BA and Virgin fly direct from Heathrow to Bridgetown.
The country, which makes up two-thirds of the second largest island in the Caribbean (Hispaniola), has sometimes been overlooked as a vacation option. But it is gaining prominence thanks to the luxury resorts that are located in the southeastern corner, around the settlement of Punta Cana. The temperature generally cuts high 20 degrees Celsius all the time. The European winter also largely misses the hurricane season (June-November).
Check out our roundup of the best hotels in the Dominican Republic. Tui flies directly.
You want: 30C+
The most famous group of islands in the Indian Ocean has its nominal rainy season from May to November, so it is already in full sun by January. In fact, the time of year does not make much difference to the experience in the vast archipelago located in the equatorial zone. Visitors can count on a temperature of 30 ° C during the journey.
If you’re looking for a package, try Tui or BA – or check out our roundup of the best hotels in the Maldives.
This patch of East Africa is a must-see destination for safari enthusiasts, both for the amazing spectacle of the Great Wildebeest Migration to the Serengeti and for the lesser-known wildlife in Ruaha National Park. Added to this is the scenery – the volcanic caldera of the Ngorongoro crater, the snowy power of Kilimanjaro, the soft beaches of Zanzibar.
Tui, Kuoni and Abercrombie and Kent offer packages to the country.
Argentina is rarely thought of in terms of pure sunshine. It is, after all, a country that stretches (almost) to the glacier-laden foothills of South America (Chile owns the tip of the continent). But Buenos Aires basks in the blaze of the upper 20s in January – casting the evocative streets of La Boca, the steakhouses of San Telmo, the bright resurrection of Puerto Madero’s docks and the trendy bars of Palermo in a beautiful light.
Here are the best hotels in Argentina. Fly direct from BA or via Madrid with Iberia.
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This guide is being updated with the latest information.