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 2023/2024 © nopphadon - Fotolia.com
Where to go on holiday in January 2023/2024 © 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 2023/2024

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 2024

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

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Rank Rating Score Destination
1 Weather Score for Agonda Beach in January is 83% 83% Agonda Beach
  Weather Score for Mobor in January is 83% 83% Mobor
3 Weather Score for Anjuna in January is 78% 78% Anjuna
  Weather Score for Arambol Beach in January is 78% 78% Arambol Beach
  Weather Score for Arpora in January is 78% 78% Arpora
  Weather Score for Arrosim in January is 78% 78% Arrosim
  Weather Score for Baga in January is 78% 78% Baga
  Weather Score for Benaulim in January is 78% 78% Benaulim
  Weather Score for Betalbatim in January is 78% 78% Betalbatim
  Weather Score for Bogmalo in January is 78% 78% Bogmalo
  Weather Score for Calangute in January is 78% 78% Calangute
  Weather Score for Candolim in January is 78% 78% Candolim
  Weather Score for Cavelossim in January is 78% 78% Cavelossim
  Weather Score for Colva in January is 78% 78% Colva
  Weather Score for Dona Paula in January is 78% 78% Dona Paula
  Weather Score for Majorda in January is 78% 78% Majorda
  Weather Score for Miramar in January is 78% 78% Miramar
  Weather Score for Morjim in January is 78% 78% Morjim
  Weather Score for Panaji in January is 78% 78% Panaji
  Weather Score for Sinquerim in January is 78% 78% Sinquerim
  Weather Score for Vagator in January is 78% 78% Vagator
  Weather Score for Vainquinim in January is 78% 78% Vainquinim
  Weather Score for Varca in January is 78% 78% Varca

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

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Kirsten Henton

Kirsten Henton

Kirsten Henton is Weather2Travel.com's editor. Kirsten writes, commissions and edits our travel features, liaising with our contributors and ensuring copy is spick-and-span. A member of the British Guild of Travel Writers, Kirsten also freelances writing articles on travel, history and the outdoors for titles such as Scotland Magazine and BBC Travel.

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