Best holiday destinations in January

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Looking for some winter sun in January? We've got you covered! To help you decide where to go, we've gathered our favourite holiday destinations near and far at this time of year.

Top five destinations to visit in January

Finding exotic conditions in January will certainly involve a long haul flight. While you'll enjoy some sunshine closer to home in the likes of the Canary Islands and the Red Sea, you're unlikely to experience especially high daytime temperatures.

The real question is, how far are you willing to travel to find the weather you want? Below you'll see our pick of places that enjoy either warm or hot conditions in January. The one thing you can count on is that they all have an abundance of sunshine.

Where to go on holiday in January © nopphadon - Fotolia.com
Where to go on holiday in January © nopphadon - Fotolia.com

1. Goa, India

  • Flight time from London: 10 hours
  • Daily high: 32°C
  • Hours of sunshine: 10
  • Sea temperature: 28°C

Top of the list in January has to be Goa in India, which is both the hottest and sunniest holiday destination at this time of year. Although temperatures are sizzling during the day, they usually drop by more than 10°C after sunset, so it's cooler at night.

Palolem Beach, Goa, India © Mikhail Nekrasovk - Shutterstock.com
Palolem Beach, Goa, India © Mikhail Nekrasovk - Shutterstock.com

Goa has two distinct sides: the busy, bustling north, with flash resorts and bars aplenty, and the quieter, more laid back south, with a handful of large resorts and lots of secluded places to stay. Wherever you settle in Goa, be wary of the sea, which can sometimes be rough, generating rip currents, so take note of lifeguard advice before diving in.

Recommended for Goa

Read more: Guide to Goa beaches, Why Goa is still India's hippest beach destination & Things to do in & around Goa

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2. Chiang Mai, Thailand

  • Flight time from London: 16 hours
  • Daily high: 28°C
  • Hours of sunshine: 9

Thailand's a hugely popular destination during the winter months, yet while Bangkok and the southern coastal regions attract many travellers, the sights to the north are attracting increasing numbers of visitors.

The interior, elevated city of Chiang Mai is a real treat in January with little cloud cover and conditions that are a touch fresher than you might find by the sea.

Winter sun in the mountains, Chiang Mai © Lestermandersson - Wikimedia Commons
Winter sun in the mountains, Chiang Mai © Lestermandersson - Wikimedia Commons

There's little chance of seeing any rain (as it's the driest time of year), and only moderate heat and humidity which, coupled with the warm temperatures, makes it ideal for exploring the surrounding countryside and tackling jungle treks.

Evenings can be cool sinking by more than half to around 13°C, so remember to pack a few extra layers, as well as a good SPF for the very high UV by day.

Recommended for Thailand

Read more: 24 hours in Chiang Mai

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3. Gambia

  • Flight time from London: 6.5 hours
  • Daily high: 32°C
  • Hours of sunshine: 8
  • Sea temperature: 22°C

Are you a curious traveller? You might want to consider Gambia. This tiny west African nation is becoming increasingly popular as more and more people cotton on to its fabulous weather, especially when it comes to winter sun.

Days are hot, sunny and dry with only moderate heat and humidity, although evenings can be surprisingly cool. Given its lack of cloud cover, which is hugely beneficial by day, Gambia doesn't retain the sun's warmth, so the temperature can drop by as much as 50% after dusk to around 16°C.

Along the beach in Gambia © petermilli - Flickr Creative Commons
Along the beach in Gambia © petermilli - Flickr Creative Commons

This, combined with the cooling currents of the Atlantic, also prevent the sea from heating up too much; while it's warm enough for some to enjoy you might want to sniff out accommodation with a heated pool.

Recommended for the Gambia

Read more: Mini guide to Gambia & 8 unique things to do on holiday in Gambia

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4. Barbados

  • Flight time from London: 8 hours
  • Daily high: 28°C
  • Hours of sunshine: 9
  • Sea temperature: 27°C

Another fantastic destination when searching for the sun in January is the Caribbean; a perennial favourite which enjoys its best weather during this time.

While Jamaica and the Dominican Republic are both very pleasant, it's Barbados to the south that promises the most amount of sunshine - you'll be greeted with long sunny days and toasty temperatures.

Chilled out in Barbados © BasL - Flickr Creative Commons
Chilled out in Barbados © BasL - Flickr Creative Commons

Barbados offers reliable conditions with high heat and humidity, and balmy evenings no cooler than 21°C. If idyllic Barbados sounds like your kind of Caribbean retreat, just be aware that while it's entering its dry season at this time, you may still see a shower or two but don't be put off.

Recommended for Barbados

Read more: Day trips for all the family in Barbados, 10 unmissable things to do in Barbados & 8 reasons to break away from the beach in Barbados

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5. Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

  • Flight time from London: 4 hours
  • Daily high: 19°C
  • Hours of sunshine: 7
  • Sea temperature: 19°C

Fuerteventura has long attracted families, couples and groups thanks to its inviting conditions year-round. As the second largest of the seven main Canary Islands (after Tenerife), Fuerteventura has plenty to offer and is a thoroughly delightful option for a holiday in January.

Cofete Beach, Fuerteventura © eyewave - Fotolia.com
Cofete Beach, Fuerteventura © eyewave - Fotolia.com

Weatherwise, Fuerteventura is comfortable in January with temperatures peaking just under 20°C. Although you'll find it a degree or two warmer in Gran Canaria, you'll get less sunshine there, and Fuerteventura also sees less rain than many of the other islands owing to its lack of high mountains.

At this time, Fuerteventura is comparable to Cornwall in July and August, although the sea is slightly warmer, yet still too chilly for many to swim. Evenings can also be a little nippy, so don't forget a jacket.

Book holiday accommodation in Fuerteventura direct with Iberostar Hotels & Resorts or Barcelo Hotels & Resorts.

Recommended for Fuerteventura

Read more: Fuerteventura for families, Stargazing in Fuerteventura & What to do on Lobos Island

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Additional holiday destinations for January 2022/2023

If you're still looking for somewhere to go in January for great hot and sunny weather, we have a few more suggestions worth considering. Africa offers up some really excellent weather in January, it's just a question of choosing the right destination for you.

If it's white sandy beaches and palm trees you're after, look no further than the shores of Malindi in Kenya. Here you'll find daytime temperatures reaching 31°C, nine hours of sunshine and lovely warm sea at 28°C. Thanks to the high level of heat and humidity it certainly feels tropical, while the extreme UV means you must take care in the sun.

Victoria and Albert Waterfront, Cape Town © mdmworks - Fotolia.com
Victoria and Albert Waterfront, Cape Town © mdmworks - Fotolia.com

If you're after less beach and more city then Cape Town has to be for you. The air is much fresher than Malindi, with low heat and humidity and temperatures rarely surpassing 25°C in January. There's lashings of sunshine, 11 hours or so, and only a small chance of encountering a shower. Evenings are cooler at 15°C and the sea isn't really for swimming at 19°C. Instead, you can make the most of the city's attractions and cosmopolitan buzz.

Finally, for those with a hankering for some long haul travel, Australia is still basking in summer weather at this time, and therefore definitely worth thinking about. Cities such as Sydney and Melbourne are hot during the day with cool evenings, nine hours of sunshine, low heat and humidity and barely any rainfall.

Meanwhile, if you're hitting the shores of the Gold Coast or Byron Bay, you won't be disappointed with temperatures in the high twenties, moderate heat and humidity and, crucially, warm water at 26°C.

Ultimately, deciding where to go on holiday in January will be dictated by what type of weather you want and how far you're willing to travel.

If it's a beach holiday with all the trimmings you're after, then you'll have to consider a long haul destination such as the Caribbean, India or Thailand. However, if you're simply looking for a break from the bleak British winter, a short haul hop to the Canaries, where you can explore any of the islands' eateries, shops, and hikes, would suit.

To find out more, skip to our weather in January section with even more destination ideas and climate details. Don't forget to visit our travel deals and discounts page for the latest money saving options to help you get away for less this winter.

Destination ideas for January 2023

  • Month: January
  • Daytime temperature: 22 - 28°C [remove]
  • Sunshine hours: 8 hours or more [remove]
  • Sea temperature: 25°C or warmer [remove]

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Rank Rating Score Destination
1 Weather Score for Antigua in January is 100% 100% Antigua
  Weather Score for Barbados in January is 100% 100% Barbados
  Weather Score for British Virgin Islands in January is 100% 100% British Virgin Islands
  Weather Score for Dominican Republic in January is 100% 100% Dominican Republic
  Weather Score for French Polynesia in January is 100% 100% French Polynesia
  Weather Score for India in January is 100% 100% India
  Weather Score for Martinique in January is 100% 100% Martinique
  Weather Score for New South Wales in January is 100% 100% New South Wales, Australia
  Weather Score for Oman in January is 100% 100% Oman
  Weather Score for Puerto Rico in January is 100% 100% Puerto Rico
  Weather Score for Queensland in January is 100% 100% Queensland, Australia
  Weather Score for Sri Lanka in January is 100% 100% Sri Lanka
  Weather Score for St Kitts & Nevis in January is 100% 100% St Kitts and Nevis
  Weather Score for St Lucia in January is 100% 100% St Lucia
  Weather Score for St Vincent & the Grenadines in January is 100% 100% St Vincent and the Grenadines
  Weather Score for Virgin Islands in January is 100% 100% Virgin Islands
17 Weather Score for Bahamas in January is 97% 97% Bahamas
  Weather Score for Cuba in January is 97% 97% Cuba
  Weather Score for Dominica in January is 97% 97% Dominica
  Weather Score for Guadeloupe in January is 97% 97% Guadeloupe
  Weather Score for Hawaii in January is 97% 97% Hawaii, United States
  Weather Score for Jamaica in January is 97% 97% Jamaica
  Weather Score for Mauritius in January is 97% 97% Mauritius
  Weather Score for Panama in January is 97% 97% Panama
  Weather Score for South Africa in January is 97% 97% South Africa
26 Weather Score for Ecuador in January is 96% 96% Ecuador
  Weather Score for UAE in January is 96% 96% UAE
28 Weather Score for Anguilla in January is 94% 94% Anguilla
  Weather Score for Cayman Islands in January is 94% 94% Cayman Islands
  Weather Score for Curacao in January is 94% 94% Curacao
  Weather Score for Grenada in January is 94% 94% Grenada
  Weather Score for St Barthelemy in January is 94% 94% St Barthelemy
  Weather Score for Thailand in January is 94% 94% Thailand
  Weather Score for Trinidad & Tobago in January is 94% 94% Trinidad and Tobago
35 Weather Score for Florida in January is 93% 93% Florida, United States
36 Weather Score for Brazil in January is 92% 92% Brazil
  Weather Score for Costa Rica in January is 92% 92% Costa Rica
  Weather Score for Indonesia in January is 92% 92% Indonesia
  Weather Score for Malaysia in January is 92% 92% Malaysia
  Weather Score for Mexico in January is 92% 92% Mexico
  Weather Score for Mexico's Caribbean Coast in January is 92% 92% Caribbean Coast, Mexico
  Weather Score for Philippines in January is 92% 92% Philippines
  Weather Score for Turks & Caicos in January is 92% 92% Turks and Caicos
  Weather Score for Vietnam in January is 92% 92% Vietnam
45 Weather Score for Argentina in January is 90% 90% Argentina
46 Weather Score for Bali in January is 89% 89% Bali, Indonesia
  Weather Score for Madagascar in January is 89% 89% Madagascar
  Weather Score for Maldives in January is 89% 89% Maldives
49 Weather Score for Red Sea in January is 88% 88% Red Sea, Egypt
50 Weather Score for Fiji in January is 86% 86% Fiji
  Weather Score for Lombok in January is 86% 86% Lombok, Indonesia
  Weather Score for Singapore in January is 86% 86% Singapore
53 Weather Score for Aruba in January is 83% 83% Aruba
  Weather Score for Cambodia in January is 83% 83% Cambodia
  Weather Score for Goa in January is 83% 83% Goa, India
  Weather Score for Kenya in January is 83% 83% Kenya
  Weather Score for Kerala in January is 83% 83% Kerala, India
  Weather Score for Mozambique in January is 83% 83% Mozambique
  Weather Score for Venezuela in January is 83% 83% Venezuela
60 Weather Score for Papua New Guinea in January is 81% 81% Papua New Guinea
  Weather Score for Samoa in January is 81% 81% Samoa
  Weather Score for Seychelles in January is 81% 81% Seychelles
  Weather Score for Tanzania in January is 81% 81% Tanzania
64 Weather Score for Pakistan in January is 80% 80% Pakistan
65 Weather Score for Cape Verde in January is 79% 79% Cape Verde
66 Weather Score for Palau in January is 75% 75% Palau
67 Weather Score for China in January is 74% 74% China
68 Weather Score for Western Australia in January is 72% 72% Western Australia, Australia
69 Weather Score for Peru in January is 68% 68% Peru
70 Weather Score for Cook Islands in January is 67% 67% Cook Islands
  Weather Score for El Salvador in January is 67% 67% El Salvador
  Weather Score for Namibia in January is 67% 67% Namibia
  Weather Score for New Zealand in January is 67% 67% New Zealand
  Weather Score for South Australia in January is 67% 67% South Australia, Australia
  Weather Score for Victoria in January is 67% 67% Victoria, Australia
76 Weather Score for Tasmania in January is 61% 61% Tasmania, Australia
  Weather Score for Tonga in January is 61% 61% Tonga

Metric (°C / mm)  |  Imperial (°F / inches)

Where to go on holiday for the best weather

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Kirsten Henton

Kirsten Henton

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