BEST DESTINATIONS FOR JANUARY SUN

by
Christian Stan, at 5 Jan. 17, in Hot right now, News, Special

With the decorations down, the Christmas tree shedding its last needles in the street and drizzle streaking the windows, the mental image of swaying palm trees and whooshing waves is never more potent. Here are the top destinations to travel in January if you are looking for the sun.

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LOS ANGELES

While America’s biggest city (New York) battles winter at its fiercest, its second largest is soaking up temperatures in the low 20s Celsius. In truth, it should be no shock that Los Angeles is so sun-kissed in January – this, after all, is a metropolis of year-round golden climate.

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But this lack of mystery does nothing to diminish the possibilities for relaxation on LA’s shore – on Venice Beach, in Santa Monica, or further afield in Malibu.

HONG KONG

One of the most fascinating city in the Far East, Hong Kong burns brightly on the map of the region – half Chinese metropolis, half global icon.

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It calls to every camera amid the skyscrapers which dot the Central district on its core island. But take the famous ferry across Victoria Harbour and you can try the delights of the mainland in Kowloon – not least the Mong Kok area, with its markets and street food.

LAZARNOTE

“Lanza-grotty” was the dismissive moniker that was attached, in the Eighties, to the fourth biggest of the Canary Islands.

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It was always an unreasonable slur – because, even if this sunny outcrop deals in unfussy breaks in resort areas such as Playa Blanca and Costa Teguise, it can also claim a growing range of luxury properties, alluring Spanish culture in the capital Arrecife, and volcanic majesty in Timanfaya National Park.

DUBAI

It’s the best time of the year to go and visit Dubai. It can be easy to sneer at Dubai – to claim that its skyscrapers are ridiculously big, to suggest that its enormous malls are a substitute for any element of culture, to say that its artificial-island construction projects are over-reaching and silly.

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But the glitziest of the United Arab Emirates does not care a jot – and nor do the millions of tourists who flock to its beaches knowing that the sun will have its hat on.

COSTA RICA

A country that boasts warm weather and soft beaches will always be alluring. One of the jigsaw pieces that make up Central America, Costa Rica is lapped by both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

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You can gaze at both bodies of water simultaneously from the top of the Irazú volcano – but also enjoy cosmopolitan afternoons in the national capital San José.

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DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

The country which makes up two thirds of the second biggest island in the Caribbean (Hispaniola) has sometimes been overlooked as a holiday option.

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But it is coming into focus thanks to the luxury resorts that dot its south-east corner, around the settlement of Punta Cana. The temperature generally clips the high 20s Celsius at all times. The European winter also largely avoids the hurricane season (June-November).

BARBADOS

So tied to the UK in terms of history and flight connections that, at times, a holiday here can feel like a trip to the British seaside – albeit with temperatures that occupy the upper 20s Celsius throughout the year – Barbados is a stalwart of Caribbean tourism.

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For many, it revolves around the luxury resorts on the west coast, but venture to the capital Bridgetown for heritage and excellent food.

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MALDIVES

The Indian Ocean’s most celebrated cluster of islands has its nominal rainy season in May-November, so is in full sunny fettle by January.

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In truth, the time of year makes little difference to the experience in a vast archipelago that sits in the equatorial zone. Visitors can bank on temperatures of 30C whenever they travel.

GOA

Goa is India’s smallest state, with just 63 miles of coast on the Arabian Sea is longer.

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But what a coastline it is: a haven for those keen to relax on warm sands – particularly in the resort areas Calangute and Candolim.

ZANZIBAR

Some travel agents recommend Zanzibar as an exotic destination, while others will tell that it is a perfect island for diving and water sports. For US, Zanzibar is much more than this.

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It is a destination for the senses, an island that vibrates and that will conquer your heart with its traditions, culture and warm, smiling people. You only have to open your heart, close your eyes and live in the now.

PHUKET, THAILAND

With a dry season from December- April, there are few more reliable destinations for a sunny escape from the European winter than Phuket.

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Thailand’s biggest island is a holiday icon, grown from backpacker bolt-hole to mainstream favourite. For the most part, it faces west into the Andaman Sea, in resort areas like Patong, Karon and Kata – while the sunsets from Phromthep Cape at the southern tip are the stuff of legend.

VIETNAM

Once a byword for war, Vietnam has shrugged off its ghosts to become a coveted corner of the Far East. Traces of the conflict linger but are now historic sites (such as the Cu Chi Tunnels).

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Elsewhere, the country looks forward in the busy streets of Hanoi, and amid the new buildings of Ho Chi Minh City, while Halong Bay is a wonder of limestone scenery.

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