With the holidays over for another year and the first signs of spring still some way off, January can be the perfect month to pack your bags and head off to enjoy an impromptu vacation. But where to? Whether you’re in the mood for a bit of winter sun or feel like seeing in the new year with a generous helping of culture, you’ll find ideas for the best January vacations coming up. Dive in to discover budget picks, family-friendly spots, powdery havens for winter sports, and destinations that all but guarantee romance.
Fall in love with Granada
Sprawled at the foot of southern Spain’s Sierra Nevada mountains, the Andalusian city of Granada is surely one of the most romantic places to visit in January in Europe. Loved-up pairs can admire the serene Islamic architecture and tranquil reflecting pools of the hilltop Alhambra and enjoy hand-in-hand strolls through the delicately manicured rose gardens of the Generalife. Then comes the chance to explore the bustling Albayzín quarter, perhaps before watching the sunset from Mirador de San Nicolas, dining in an old-school tapas bar, and seeing out the night in an intimate flamenco club.
Say aloha to Hawaii
With pristine white-sand beaches, brilliant blue waters, and near-perfect temperatures throughout the year, there’s never really a bad time to visit Hawaii. January brings averages in the low 80s, though sunny days are not the only thing on the menu. The first month of the year also marks the start of peak whale-watching season in the Aloha State, the shallow Auau Channel and the southern shores of Oahu among the best places to take the kids to catch a glimpse of the thousands of humpback whales that arrive each year to play in the Pacific.
Winter sun in Cape Verde
A ten-strong cluster of islands in the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Verde is one of Africa’s best places to travel in January for warm weather. For some, the magic comes courtesy of the nation’s sun-soaked beaches, for others, the archipelago's appeal lying firmly in its intriguing mix of Creole, Portuguese, and African cultures. Then comes Cape Verde’s traditional morna, a lilting, melodic sound that drifts from the doorways of brooding bars in the breezy island capital of Mindelo.
Explore land and sea in Bergen
Blending big-city status with a small-town vibe and a youthful mood, Bergen sits along Norway’s rugged south-western coast. There’s plenty to like about this city by the sea – not least the UNESCO-tagged Bryggen heritage area with its old Hanseatic Wharf and famous fish market. The Fløibanen funicular railway climbs the side of Fløyen Mountain, though winter sports enthusiasts can ski, sled, and snowboard on any one of seven majestic mountains that surround the city center. Back at sea level, there’s the option to combine stays in Bergen vacation home rentals with a cruise through some of the nation’s prettiest fjords.
All the fun of Florida
With America’s very own backyard crammed with unforgettable winter vacation destinations, would-be travelers looking for the cheapest places to travel in January can start their search for vacation home rentals close to home. The Sunshine State is known across the globe for the family-friendly vibe and Disney delights served up in Orlando, but if a slower pace is on cards, you need only head south where Latin-inspired Miami and the palm-fringed Florida Keys stake their claim to being among the best places to visit in January in the USA.
Colonial culture in San Miguel de Allende
Vacationers eager to start the year in a cultural frame of mind need look no further than San Miguel de Allende, an atmospheric colonial-era city and UNESCO World Heritage Site in the central highlands of Mexico. It’s a January travel destination that's best known for the pink-hued church towers that rise above the bustling El Jardín. Quirky museums and art-filled galleries, steamy hot springs, and the glorious landscapes of the 170-acre El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Garden add to the city’s charm.