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Where is hot in January in Europe

Family villaExcellent golf coursesThe ancient site, KolossiSK Place Villas

Mike Gerrard By Mike Gerrard

If you want to find somewhere hot in Europe in the month of January, you’ll have to do some searching and be prepared to accept a few compromises. Like warm instead of hot. Like the very fringes of Europe. And maybe even going beyond Europe. Winter is winter, even in the south of France. The average high temperature in Cannes in January is 13°C, with an average low of 4°C. That is not hot.

1. Lanzarote

Average highs in January: 21°C
Average daily sunshine: 7 hours
Flying time from UK: 4 hours

Any of the Canary Islands is a good bet for winter sunshine, while staying on the very edge of Europe. It may not be boiling hot but there are few rainy days on Lanzarote in January. In case you do get rain, one of the best options is renting a villa. Look for one with a private pool to maximise sun time.

2. Tenerife

Average highs in January: 21°C
Average daily sunshine: 7 hours
Flying time from UK: 4 hours

Tenerife is another safe option for minimal rain and sunny days. The island is excellent for outdoor activities, like hiking, golf and watersports. The luxurious village-like Gran Hotel Bahia del Duque has five top golf courses all close by, and offers tennis, pitch and putt, and plenty to do on the beach. We recommend the Iberostar Hotel Anthelia for families, and the more intimate Hotel San Roque for couples.

3. Madeira

Average highs in January: 18°C
Average daily sunshine: 5 hours
Flying time from UK: 4 hours

Madeira gets more rain than the Canary Islands, an average of 13 days in January, so you might want to think about staying in a hotel which has its own facilities that are easily accessible if the weather looks a little iffy. Our recommendations include the 5-star Vidamar, the stylish Vine with its rooftop pool, and the more traditional Royal Savoy.

4. Cyprus

Average highs in January: 17°C
Average daily sunshine: 5 hours
Flying time from UK: 4 hours 30 minutes

With an average of just ten days on which it rains (and that can be just a quick shower), Cyprus is a great winter sun destination. It’s a good time of year for hiking and other activity holidays, and to make the most of what is quite a big island (the third largest in the Mediterranean), consider a fly-drive. Don’t forget there’s also Turkish-speaking North Cyprus, where Kyrenia is one of our favourite places.

5. Crete

Average highs in January: 16°C
Average daily sunshine: 3 hours
Flying time from UK: 3 hours 45 minutes

Although Crete seems to have few hours of sunshine, the figure is misleading as Greece’s largest island is cloudy rather than wet in January. Most rain falls in the mountains, so a holiday mixing beach and activities is your best choice. For the best weather head for the south coast, which is not far from North Africa. The island has become far more sophisticated in recent years, with a flourishing wine industry and a lot of new boutique hotels opening. You can opt for more traditional accommodation if you prefer, and there are eco-friendly options.

Beyond Europe

Given the limited options in Europe, you might want to think again and consider going a little further afield for some guaranteed sunshine. After all, if you’re going to the trouble and expense of getting to the airport anyway, does it really matter if you spend five hours on the plane instead of three?

The immediate countries to think about are those North African countries that border the Mediterranean. The most popular include Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. A little further afield is Cape Verde and The Gambia.

6. The Gambia

Average highs in January: 31°C
Average daily sunshine: 10 hours
Flying time from UK: 6 hours

Be prepared to sit on a plane for two more hours than flying to the Canary Islands and you’ll be in a place which has three more hours of sunshine a day and is on average 10°C hotter. That seems like a good trade-off to us. The Gambia has a lot to offer. You can have a lie-in-the-sun holiday if that’s what you want, but you should take the opportunity to head inland and visit the non-touristy villages. If you like wildlife, this is one of the best places in Africa for birdwatching. Check for any last-minute Gambia holiday deals.

7. Cape Verde

Average highs in January: 24°C
Average daily sunshine: 6 hours
Flying time from UK: 6 hours

Off the coast of West Africa are the ten islands that make up the Cape Verde group. January sees an average of only three rainy days, so if it’s your first visit you could consider island-hopping or even sailing between the islands yourself. If it’s beaches you want then stay on the island of Boa Vista, or if you’re more interested in culture head for Sao Vicente.

8. Egypt

Average highs in January: 22°C
Average daily sunshine: 9 hours
Flying time from UK: 5 hours

You’re guaranteed winter sun in Egypt, with resorts like Sharm el Sheikh basking in sunshine and usually seeing just one day of rain in the whole of January. It’s a very good time to take a Nile cruise, too, or go for broke and take a Classic Egypt holiday that includes Cairo, the Valley of the Kings in Luxor and a Nile cruise.

9. Morocco

Average highs in January: 19°C
Average daily sunshine: 7 hours
Flying time from UK: 3.5 hours

Marrakech remains one of the most popular city break destinations in North Africa, and you could combine it with a trip to the Atlas Mountains (where temperatures will be much lower). If it’s beaches you want then go further south to the Agadir coastline where it’s warmer and a little dryer. Essaouira is also on the coast, while if you want culture take a look at Fes, which is fascinating though not as much on the tourist radar as Marrakech.

10. Tunisia

Average highs in January: 16°C
Average daily sunshine: 5 hours
Flying time from UK: 3 hours

Thanks to the recent resumption of flights, Tunisia is firmly back on the tourist map. Flying time is less than to some European destinations, at just over three hours. For culture consider at least a few days in Tunis, which in addition to its own attractions like Carthage also makes good base for day tours to the country’s many archaeological sites. Other cities with great appeal include Tozeur and Kairouan. Some tour operators have pulled out of Tunisia. Check the latest Foreign Office travel advice.

Last updated: 10 May 2018

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