We may have passed the shortest day, but winter can already seem endless if you’re missing the sunshine.
The thought of leaving January’s gloomy skies behind and escaping somewhere hot can be too strong to resist. If you haven’t blown your budget on Christmas and fancy a break in the sun, have a look at some of these ideas and get packing.
Start the year lounging on the dazzling white sands of Lhohifushi, one of the Maldives’ 1,200 or so jewel-like islands scattered across the Indian Ocean. Surrounded by 83 acres of lush tropical gardens, Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi resort offers beachfront suites as well as over-the-water villas where you can dive into the sea practically straight from your bed. Hayes & Jarvis offers a seven-night all-inclusive holiday at the resort from £1,585, including flights and speedboat transfers, for a 10 January departure.
It’s high summer in Sydney, where you can flit from Darling Harbour to Bondi Beach via top-notch restaurants and superb national parks. Once you’ve explored the city, head up to the Blue Mountains and their two million acres of forests, gorges and waterfalls. Bridge & Wickers has a two-week, tailor-made, self-drive holiday that takes in Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the beaches of Jervis Bay. Prices start at £2,145 and include flights, room-only accommodation and car hire.
German tourists Mimi Wiebeling (L) and Pauline Lapetite carry surfboards as they walk into the surf wearing Christmas hats at Sydney’s Bondi Beach on Christmas Day in Australia, December 25, 2016. (David Gray)
Rio de Janeiro
Soak up the cool Fifties glamour of the sleek new Emiliana Hotel right on Copacabana beach. Its innovative concrete façade is in the same cobogo style of Brazilian architecture that made Brasilia such a modernist trailblazer. Dehouche offers a seven-night package at the hotel that includes a two-day spa experience, beach yoga and a trek in the Tijuca rainforest. Prices start at £2,990 and include flights, transfers and a private cultural tour, with departures from 4 January.
January is one of the drier months on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, where temperatures in Cancun usually reach 30C. Once you’ve had your fill of long sandy beaches, go diving or snorkelling along the coral reefs of Isla Mujeres. And while you’re on the Yucatan peninsula, don’t miss the chance to visit the monumental Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza. The Holiday Place offers a week’s all-inclusive holiday at the five-star Moon Palace Resort in Cancun from £1,669, including flights and transfers, departing 14, 21 and 28 January.
Why not book a trip to beautiful Malaga? (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
April brings a welcome warmth to southern Spain, just in time for Easter. Stay in the heart of Malaga’s underrated old town, where the elegant four-star Hotel Molina Lario is in a prime spot opposite the cathedral and a short walk from the Picasso Museum. Three nights’ B&B with Kirker Holidays start at £579 and include flights and transfers for departures from 1-6 and 16-30 April. Easter departures cost from £658.
You’ll think you’ve landed in Marrakech when you step inside Convento, a chic, riad-style townhouse hotel in the charming fishing town of Olhao. From the rooftop pool you can see the Ria Formosa Natural Park, whose beautiful beaches are a short taxi boat ride away. Doubles at the adults-only Convento start at £84, including breakfast, with i-escape.
Take the family to the 2017 European Capital of Culture for an Easter break in the sunshine, where temperatures are already in the 20Cs. The new Olympic Lagoon Resort faces a Blue Flag beach, but it also has five pools of its own. If you want to take part in Cyprus’s lively Easter celebrations, a seven-night all-inclusive break with Tots Too departing 14 April costs from £3,554 for a family of four. The price includes flights and transfers.
Mary Novakovich is editor at large at 101holidays.co.uk