Winter Travel

The best holiday destinations for a sunny January holiday

January is the perfect time to jet off to somewhere fabulous, including warm, sunny countries across the globe. From Mexico to Australia, there are loads of idyllic, paradise holiday destinations to visit for a sunny January holiday.

 - 11 Min Read
Last updated and fact checked:
The best holiday destinations for a sunny January holiday
  • We all need a bit of sunshine every once in a while, especially during the cold and rainy UK winter months
  • There are plenty of sunny January holiday locations, including long-haul destinations and European spots
  • Cape Verde, the Maldives, Costa Rica and the Canary Islands are all popular winter holiday destinations
  • Avoid the January blues this New Year with a fun, sunny, affordable January trip to a paradise location
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January is one of the coldest months of the year here in the United Kingdom. That’s why this month is the perfect time to head abroad, finding an idyllic paradise to spend a sunny January holiday with your loved ones.

We’ve put together some of the best holiday destinations to visit in January, including family holiday ideas, romantic getaways and beautiful hidden gems for you to explore.

Just because the UK is cold and rainy doesn't mean you can't enjoy a bit of sun somewhere great this January.

Whether you're looking for a solo holiday, an adults-only getaway, or an all-inclusive package for the whole family, our selection of holiday providers has you covered. Click below to start your holiday search!


Australia is one of the most popular January holiday destinations for a sunny winter. This is understandable, given they're enjoying the height of their summer while it's freezing over here.

With everything from vast beaches to natural wonders, Australia is the perfect place to get warm temperatures and sunshine every day.


Sydney is a fantastic choice if you want to head to Australia.

This location is a city break, beach holiday and culture trip all in one! You can visit the Opera House, take a walk along Harbour Bridge or head to Sydney Aquarium for the day.

There are also over 100 beautiful beaches in Sydney, including the world-famous Bondi beach and secret coves to explore with your loved ones.

January is the hottest time of the year in Sydney, but there is a high chance of rain due to the constant humidity, so make sure to bring your umbrella.

The Caribbean

January is the ideal time to take a trip to the Caribbean.

While it takes up to a day to fly here, depending on your destination, there are so many amazing things to do once you arrive, with fun activities for the whole family.


Barbados is a popular Caribbean holiday island located in the eastern Caribbean.

In January, Barbados reaches an average temperature of 29°C, with plenty of warm sunshine during the day.

There are many things to do in Barbados, such as scuba diving, snorkelling, swimming with dolphins and various water sports. 

Or you can just spend your time sampling all the delicious local food you'll be able to get your hands on!

January is the dry season in Barbados, making it the perfect place to escape the cold and rainy UK weather.


Jamaica is another popular Caribbean destination for tourists in January. Unlike the UK, Jamaica experiences summer weather all year, with temperatures reaching 30°C in January.

Millions of Brits have visited this incredible country in recent years seeking sun and adventure.

A January holiday to Jamaica could be the perfect way to beat those winter blues and give you and your family something fun to look forward to during this long, cold month.


January is the perfect time to visit Mexico. Spend hours lounging on the beach with your loved ones and add to your tan with eight hours of sunshine every single day.

Mexico is known for its delicious food and stunning hotels, drawing in over 500,000 British nationals annually.


With palm trees, sandy beaches, and turquoise waters, Cancun is the heart of the Mexican Caribbean.

It's a perfect destination for people of all ages. You and your kids and grandkids can enjoy sampling local delicacies or dive right into the clear waters found all along this amazing coastline.

Cancun is worth a trip even just for a warm walk along one of its stunningly clean beaches. However, this sunny January location also has plenty of history and culture to explore and some of the best holiday resorts in the world.

Kiara Gallop from Gallop Around The Globe also had this tip: "If you fancy taking a break from the beach and checking out some of the Yucatan Peninsula’s Mayan temples and colonial cities, there are several within easy reach. Valladolid, with its laid-back charm, is just two hours away. You'll also find the Mayan ruins of Coba and Ek Balam in the same sort of vicinity."

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is known for its hot weather, and it experiences lots of sunny days in January.

With beautiful beaches, gorgeous waterfalls and stunning hotspots, what's not to love?

You can explore nature at the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Preserve or take a trip to the incredible Arenal Volcano just northwest of San Jose.

With temperatures consistently hitting 30°C - 35°C every day, head to Costa Rica to escape the cold winters back home.

You'll definitely need to switch on the air-conditioning in your hotel!

Sri Lanka

Lying just 30km off India's southeastern coast, Sri Lanka could be the perfect destination for your next beach holiday. Sri Lanka's beaches are hugely popular with swimmers but are great if you just want to kick back and relax, too.

Sri Lanka is known for its fantastic weather, with temperatures hitting 32°C in January.

If you're heading on a January trip with your partner, there are loads of couples' activities to enjoy across the country. From classes on how to make an authentic Sri Lankan curry to mountain bike lessons, there's something for everyone.

Sri Lanka is also known for its hot, balmy evenings, so make sure to pack light clothes if you're planning a holiday there this January.


Dubai reaches temperatures of 24°C in January, and the months between November and February are ideal times to visit this modern city.

Unlike the UK, Dubai only experiences an average of one day of rain throughout January. So if you want dry, warm weather, Dubai is the place for you!

This incredible city is known for its architecture and stunning skyscrapers, but there's a lot more to it than that. For example, you could go shopping at the Dubai Mall or enjoy the Atlantis water park with your kids or grandkids.

Or why not bring in the New Year at one of Dubai's fantastic high-rise hotels, looking down over the entire city?


Thailand has a reputation as a gap year drinking spot, but it's far more than just a party location for teenagers and twenty-somethings. It is also a beautiful January holiday destination with an active nightlife for all ages and plenty of white sand beaches, history and culture for you to enjoy on your trip.

A direct flight from London takes over 12 hours to reach this holiday destination, but it is well worth a visit during the cold UK winter months.


Bangkok, Thailand's capital, is one of the most popular holiday spots in the country.

There is a lot to explore in this modern city, including:

  • The Grand Palace
  • Sea Life Bangkok Ocean Centre
  • Assumption Cathedral
  • King Prajadhipok Museum

Bangkok is the perfect place to celebrate the New Year, with plenty of welcoming bars and restaurants where you can eat and drink in style.


Many tourists also head to Phuket, a popular beach resort and an excellent potential holiday destination for your January getaway. Phuket has over 30 beaches to explore, including those at Surin, Nai Harn and Bang Tao.

Although January is wintertime in Thailand, it is still hot throughout the month. Temperatures range between 30°C - 35°C, while humidity drops to a more comfortable 50% - 60%.


Swap grey fog for bright blue skies with a winter trip to Vietnam!

Vietnam is a stunning country, rich in history and culture. You don't need to worry about rain, as January falls during Vietnam's dry and sunny season.

The weather here is mild and dry, meaning you can enjoy visiting all the sights without dealing with unbearably hot weather.


Hanoi is a popular holiday destination for tourists from across the world.

Although Saigon is the capital city, Hanoi is known for being more welcoming and intimate for travellers. It is Vietnam's second-biggest city and has plenty of incredible historical spots to visit.

Hanoi is full of fun activities for your January trip. For example, you could explore the markets of Hanoi, drive around in a moped, or head to the Ba Vi National Park, a beautiful place to enjoy a stroll with your partner or plan a family trip.


Modern, tropical and exotic, Singapore is between Malaysia and Indonesia and reaches super high temperatures during the winter.

January is the coldest month in Singapore, but temperatures can still get to over 30°C on balmy, humid days.

There's lots to do in Singapore. The Botanic Gardens are a popular tourist destination, or you could spend the day at Singapore Zoo.

Although Singapore experiences lots of heat and sunshine, January lies in the Northeast Monsoon Season, so you can expect heavy rainfall on most afternoons and evenings.


Africa is a beautiful January holiday destination. There is a range of places to visit in this diverse, gorgeous continent, whether you want to enjoy a city break in Morocco, a safari in Kenya, or something completely different.

You can find waterfalls, national parks, museums, big cities, beaches, and much more in Africa. It is an incredible place with so much to offer.

South Africa

Many people describe the South African climate in January as almost Mediterranean, with warm weather and tonnes of sunshine.

If you're heading to Cape Town, the city experiences around eleven hours of daily sunshine during January and only five days of rain.

If you want to see as much of South Africa

 as possible, you could drive the Garden Route between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. The route takes in a range of terrain, including stunning stretches of coastline, and is 300km long.

Cape Verde

Cape Verde is also a popular location for Brits. In 2017, 23.6% of all visitors to Cape Verde came from Britain.

Although technically this is a Portuguese nation, Cape Verde is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, right off the coast of Africa.

This is the perfect destination for avid swimmers. The seas in Cape Verde are some of the warmest in the world. Cape Verde is also covered in volcanic hotspots for you to explore.

Canary Islands

Although there are many incredible far-flung destinations worldwide, you can also find sunny January holiday spots a little closer to home.

Spain's Canary Islands are a beautiful European holiday spot for Brits wanting to avoid long-haul flights but experience incredible winter weather.


January is the perfect time to visit Tenerife, as temperatures reach up to 21°C.

Similar to British summertime, this provides us Brits with warm temperatures but not unbearable heat.

It’s so important to get enough sun throughout the year, and a trip to Tenerife could help you get a nice boost of vitamin D even in the depths of the UK winter.


Lanzarote is a super popular holiday destination during the UK winter months. Jet over for a fun weekend with your partner or friends or choose a family-friendly resort that gives you everything you need.

Playa Blanca is a popular destination, with over seven hours of daily sunshine and beautiful sandy beaches.

The Maldives

If your kids have moved out or are returning to university, you can get on with checking items off your bucket list in January! Why not head to the Maldives for a romantic getaway with your partner?

The Maldives is a group of nearly 1,200 islands in the Indian Ocean. You can visit just one of the islands or go island-hopping as part of your trip.

January is a great time to visit the Maldives for warm weather and sunny days, although its tropical climate means temperatures and sunshine hours are pretty consistent throughout the year.

The Maldives is essentially one long chain of gorgeous beaches and turquoise waters. You can enjoy long walks along the coastline and dreamy visits to local historical sites with your loved ones.

This is the time to pamper yourself! The Maldives is home to some fantastic hotels, with many offering spa treatments on top of delicious food and exceptional service.

Getting some winter sun this January

January can often drag. After the fun of Christmas, it can feel like January lasts forever. But choosing a sunny destination for your next January holiday is easy!

Finding the perfect exotic, idyllic destination can help prevent the winter blues and give you a chance to celebrate the New Year with a bit of peace and quiet for yourself or with loved ones.

There are plenty of sunny January holiday destinations that offer fun activities, new experiences, comfortable hotels, delicious food, sandy beaches and lots of sunshine!

Whatever you're looking for in a January break, the tips in this guide should help you find the ideal trip for you!

January holidays: FAQs

What are the best places in Europe to go on holiday in January?

The Canary Islands, mainland Spain and Portugal are some of the best holiday destinations in Europe. All of these countries are warm, even during the UK winter months, and they are affordable options for a January trip. Mediterranean islands like Malta also experience a lot of sun in January.

What holiday destinations are hot in January?

There are lots of hot and sunny holiday destinations to visit in January. Singapore and Cancun reach 30°C in January. Rio de Janeiro is also a hot winter holiday destination, reaching an average of 29°C during this month. Closer to home, Lanzarote and Cyprus are also warm in January.

Where can I go for a winter holiday in January?

You have so many options for your January winter holiday! You could go to an island in the Caribbean, such as Jamaica, the Bahamas or Antigua, or jet off to Dubai for an amazing modern city break this New Year. Costa Rica, the Maldives and the Canary Islands are also popular choices during January.

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