With Christmas and the New Year on the horizon, it is an exciting, yet stressful, time of year for Britons.
While the big day on December 25th will surely be worth it, the hassle of buying presents, cards and food can all become a little too much to handle, especially when the miserable weather shows no signs of letting up.
However, a trip to the sun could be all that you need to put the hectic Christmas and New Year period behind you and kick off 2017 the right way.
Here are some of our top choices for exciting trips this coming January.
Start 2017 with culture and sun with a trip to Ovda
Ovda has become a travelling hotspot for Britons in recent years thanks to its close proximity to the delightful Eilat, where lush beaches, fascinating culture and the spectacular Red Sea await.
While many European cities deal with rain, wind and even snow at this time of year, Eilat has year-round sunshine. Temperatures in January can reach around 20 degrees, providing the perfect conditions for proactive and laid-back travellers alike.
January’s mild temperatures could make it the ideal time to visit Timna Park, which is one of the world’s most picturesque desert parks. Expect mind-boggling rock formations, picturesque hiking routes and amazing ancient copper mines.
Eilat’s magnificent beaches mean watersports are increasingly popular among travellers so, if you’ve always wanted to give surfing or snorkelling a try, the Princess and Dekel beaches will not disappoint.
Welcome the new year in beautiful Lisbon
If you’re looking for a destination offering wondrous architecture, a laid-back atmosphere and a calendar full of amazing events, Lisbon should be top of your list in 2017.
While January is one of the coldest times of the year in Lisbon, it remains relatively mild with temperatures around 15 degrees, creating the perfect conditions for exploring everything this thriving metropolis has to offer.
A great place to start is the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, where Antonio Ole. Luanda, Los Angeles, Lisboa will be exhibited on January 7th. The show takes a look at Angolan art including installations, paintings, drawings, photography and film from acclaimed creative Antonio Ole.
As for music, Scottish rock superstars Biffy Clyro will perform at the Lisbon Coliseum on January 27th, playing hits from their latest album Ellipsis. The venue itself is a wonderful architectural feat, too, and has been home to some of the city’s top creative events since its development in 1890.
Music and stars await in Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria has long been a favourite destination of British holidaymakers thanks to its lush climate, tranquil atmosphere and extraordinary beaches.
While many destinations face adverse weather conditions at the start of the year, this gorgeous island in the Canaries continues to enjoy sunshine and mild-to-warm temperatures. This means amazing beaches such as Maspalomas and Montana de Arena are potentially even more inviting thanks to the low crowds!
When it comes to events, January sees the arrival of the Canary Islands International Music Festival, where over 600 musicians from across the world meet on the islands to perform. In Gran Canaria, the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria will host shows from La Mahler Chamber Orchestra (January 7th), Katia and Marielle Labeque (January 17th) and many more. Other venues with scheduled performances include the Castillo de Mata and the Museo Nestor.
The dark nights of January make it the perfect time to try out stargazing. Astro GC have tours available that allow tourists to see the wonder of the night sky from the Maspalomas hills, where galaxies, constellations and a variety of planets can be viewed using equipment provided by the team. Whether you’re a space enthusiast or not, this experience is truly unforgettable.
Explore Lanzarote’s volcanic past and present
With the same fantastic climate as its neighbour Gran Canaria, a trip to Lanzarote this January offers the perfect escape from the UK’s bitter cold and rain.
On January 6th, the island participates in Dia de Reyes (King’s Day), which closes the year’s Christmas celebrations with bonfires ignited in memory of those who set Bethlehem ablaze to keep the North Star away from King Herod. It gives a fascinating insight into the passionate Christian culture followed on the island.
The milder winter temperatures make some of the island’s year-round attractions even more appealing, such as the breathtaking Timanfaya National Park. The volcanic area is perhaps too expansive to explore in the searing summer heat, but January weather makes it far easier for tourists to make the most of the spectacular scenery.
If you want to learn even more about this unique island’s history, the Cesar Manrique Foundation near Costa Teguise should not be missed. The museum is based within the artist’s former home and features artworks influenced by Lanzarote’s awe-inspiring natural environment.