Best Destinations to Escape the January Blues

Looking to escape the bleak, cold, and all-around depressing atmosphere that comes with January? Prefer to start 2023 in a more sunny, warm, and cheerier destination? With fewer crowds, discounted accommodation rates, cheaper flights and (fingers crossed!) blue-sky days, these destinations are perfect for escaping those pesky winter blues.


If you’re one of the unlucky ones like me to have a birthday land in January then a trip away is a must to escape the miserable mood that blankets the UK! My favourite destination to visit is Portugal, more specifically Lisbon! Having visited for the past three years I have been fortunate enough not to witness a single drop of rain just beautiful blue skies, perfect for exploring, and with the cooler temperatures, those endless hills Lisbon is famed for aren’t as daunting to climb. Like many European cities, Lisbon is faced with overcrowding during the peak summer months, not only that but accommodation prices skyrocket and there’s a high chance you’ll be met with huge queues to some of the city’s most popular attractions. However, visiting in January you can explore all the attractions without having to fight your way through the endless sea of bodies, and unlike other destinations in Portugal, such as the Algarve, Lisbon doesn’t shut down for the winter meaning restaurants and attractions are still open throughout the colder months. It may be the quietest and coldest month of the year but that doesn’t mean this vibrant city is lacking in things to do during January. You should also take advantage of this quiet month by catching a train to one of Lisbon’s most popular destinations, Sintra. The normally extremely crowded palaces are half as busy giving you the opportunity to really enjoy and immerse yourself in the beauty of this place. The surrounding forests also have a magical winter mist covering them, and the palaces like Pena Palace, Castelo dos Mouros, and Quinta da Regaleira develop a surreal fairy-tale quality that is unforgettable. Get flights for as little as £30 return from London and enjoy a whopping 10 hours of sunlight per day.

South Africa

Flight time 11.30hr

January may be one of Cape Town’s most busiest month, but that shouldn’t put you off from visiting. While we’re all suffering the winter blues, South Africa’s capital is enjoying hot, sunny days with clear skies and around 14 hours of daylight! The activities are endless in this small rugged city. Take hikes for breathtaking views or long strolls along some pretty stunning beaches. Rest assured, whatever you end up doing, you’re sure to find a photo opportunity or two along the way. If you like a good glass of vino from time to time, then Cape Town will be right up your street. Surrounded by lush valleys, with award-winning wine farms at every corner, it’s every wine lover’s dream destination. Be sure to try the Pinotage, which is unique to South Africa. If you’re slowly but surely being convinced that you should book yourself on the next flight to Cape Town but you’re thinking that such a great trip will come at a price — well, you’re wrong. The South African Rand is one of the best value currencies in the world at the time of writing which makes everything exceptional value for money. You’ll be astounded as to how far your money goes in terms of quality of accommodation, food and drink and how low the cost is for sightseeing. It’s also one of the cheapest destinations to spot the big five on a thrilling safari! Catch a flight for as little as £507 return and come join us on either our 9-Night Western Cape Safari Experience or our 14-Night South Africa Experience for the trip of a lifetime!


January is a great time of year to explore the country of Morocco. Although technically the coldest month to visit, daytime temperatures are very comfortable most days and visitors can expect much warmer temperatures than those they left behind in Europe. It does get chilly after dark so don’t forget to bring layers! January is a calm time for sightseeing in cities like Fes and Marrakech, which tend to get overly busy with tourists during the high season. It’s also the perfect time to break out your camera: conditions for photography are optimal during winter in Morocco when the air is clear and free of dust. Outdoor adventurers will find January to be a great time to experience the beautiful land of Morocco. Thanks to the relatively cool weather it’s the perfect time to explore the Sahara Desert or hike in the High Atlas Mountains. Enjoy fewer crowds at major tourist attractions and save on accommodation with many hotels offering low-season rates, and just a 3-hour flight away from the UK, the vibrant country of Morocco is the perfect winter escape. Why not join us this January on our 4-Night Mini Sahara Experience or our extended 7-Night Sahara Experience.

New Zealand

January marks the summer season in New Zealand so expect longer days and warm weather although January is one of the most popular months to travel in New Zealand, it benefits from having 60 million fewer people living there compared to the UK so you can still enjoy everything without the overwhemling crowds. Make the most of the warm weather with an endless list of outdoor activities. Go surfing, white water rafting, scuba diving, canyoning, hiking, sample glass after glass of wine at vineyards or just relax on one of the many beaches that line the country. No trip to New Zealand is complete without a good old fashion road trip. Its diverse scenery is packed into a country not much bigger than the UK, making it a brilliant destination for a road-tripping adventure with family or friends so rent a campervan and head out for an adventure of a lifetime! There are plenty of roads detouring to spectacular and remote locations where free camping opportunities abound and many New Zealand towns and cities offer designated areas where you are allowed to camp for free. I managed to catch the tailend of summer in New Zealand back in 2017 and I honestly wish I could have experienced it longer in full. It’s truly an amazing country and is 100% worth the 20+ flight time! Flights start from £1,300.

Costa del Sol, Spain

If your dream January escape involves soaking up the sun on empty beaches, exploring tranquil white-washed towns, and lounging at open-air terraces in the shade of fragrant orange trees, then Southern Spain is the place for you. You’ll be treated to temperatures of almost 20 degrees thanks to its subtropical climate on the Spanish Mediterranean coast, and with more than 5 hours of sunshine a day, you’ll have plenty time to top up your vitamin D levels. Flights to the Costa del Sol’s capital, Málaga, are frequent and, in the winter months, surprisingly cheap (I once bagged a return flight for £7!). In less than 3 hours you can be soaking up the Spanish sunshine and sipping on a nice cold ‘cerveza’. It can get a little hot to visit tourist attractions during the summer but January is ideal for cultural sightseeing. Enjoy a cultural tour of Malaga City, wander the streets of Frigiliana, a stunning white-washed town perched upon a hill or just sit back, relax and enjoy a tapa or ten in the sunshine. Find flights from as little as £34 return.

For any queries about the experiences mentioned above or any other experiences we offer, please don’t hesitate to get in contact at info@untravelledpaths.com.

Written by Lucy Kaufmann