Off-season prices and exceptionally warm weather await those who can escape to the Mediterranean now

Andalusia is basking in 20°C next week – Getty

The lack of snow may have prevented fun on the slopes, but the exceptionally warm weather is good news for sun seekers. After all, for those who prefer breaks with less ice cream and more ice cream, there is no greater luxury than escaping into the heat while Britain basks only in a cool drizzle.

The beginning of 2023 brought record-breaking temperatures across much of Europe. In Poland, Denmark and Belarus, where it’s usually around freezing this time of year, the mercury has recently hit teenage levels. And in Spain and Portugal, already known for their mild winters, the weather was warm enough to escape to the beach. Even the northern Spanish city of Bilbao, which is not traditionally known as a place of winter sun, registered 25.1°C on New Year’s Day.

Met Office experts attribute the rise in temperatures to masses of warm air moving over the continent from the west coast of Africa, and believe it is a reflection of the increasing warm weather phenomena the world is experiencing. Nevertheless, as more typically winter conditions return soon, you need to act fast for a last-minute break in the sun.

The Costa del Sol is already well known as a winter getaway. Average temperatures in January oscillate around 15 ° C, and the sun shines 325 days a year. However, the region is expected to be positively spring-like next week, however, as the thermometer hits 21C. And on top of this unexpected bikini-friendly weather, off-season rates at some of the region’s top places to stay mean travelers can score a luxury beach holiday at (relatively) bargain prices.

At the finest hotel in the area, the Marbella Club, you’ll pay £400 one night the following week (a significant saving from £708 in May). It’s the same at the nearby and equally respected Puente Romano, where a double room now costs £334 a night, up from £667 in May.

The Algarve was also sunnier than usual, peaking at 23°C on December 27. Although it’s not that hot right now, we’ll see a high of 19C next week (several degrees warmer than the January average). A mini heatwave coincides with surprisingly low flight prices in the off-season. Depart from London for just £30 per person return with Wizz Air from Gatwick. Or head a little further afield to the woefully underrated city of Funchal in Madeira, where temperatures are forecast to stay at 21°C for the foreseeable future (an average of five degrees higher per month). Ryanair flights from London Stansted cost around £37 this month.

It's warm enough in the Algarve right now for a beach break - Getty

It’s warm enough in the Algarve right now for a beach break – Getty

But it’s not just traditional hot spots that hang out in the winter sun. Over the festive period, Marseille residents shared photos of sea bathing, tropical sunsets and outdoor dinners on social media, which felt more like Christmas in the Caribbean than in France when the temperature soared to 20°C.

Last year, this southern city sizzled, where the mercury refused to fall below 25°C for 113 days in a row. In the summer it was simply too hot, and the unpleasant stickiness was intensified by crowds of tourists. However, now is the perfect time to take in Marseille’s museums and get a dose of unexpected sunshine. Unlike most of the Riviera, it is a year-round city, with most restaurants, bars and hotels staying open, offering a more local flavor than during peak season. Eat under the Tuba Club seaside umbrella or enjoy the sunset from the terrace of Le Petit Nice Passedat.

Meanwhile, January is usually not the time to get away from the Balearic Islands, but the islands’ exceptionally warm weather means their empty beaches are tempting. Winter is the time to enjoy a more authentic side of Ibiza, with bright sunshine and 19°C forecast for next week. Join international expats in Santa Gertrudis to explore galleries, shop, and spend long lunches in the city’s market. Or go hiking to discover Mallorca’s mountains – while summer temperatures can be unbearable, it’s currently 18°C ​​in spring and is perfect for exploring (book your guide at

You should be able to pick up flight and hotel deals here as well. Skyscanner offers flights to both islands from around £30 which is a significant saving in high season. Meanwhile, prices in some five-star hotels in Ibiza are much lower than in summer. Book a double room at The Standard in a fantastic location in Ibiza for £185.

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