Discover the top 7 destinations to stay in Spain in January. In the month where we have new resolutions, make travelling one of them. Find holiday rentals in Spain and attend a festive event, hit the January sales, ski in the Sierra Nevada or get some vitamin D in the Canary Islands. In these locations, you will find something for everyone, choose from cosmopolitan cities, to laid-back beach resorts.
Unlike other cities in southern Spain, Granada has a much colder climate in January with an average temperature of around 7 °C, but this makes it an excellent destination for a winter holiday in Spain. Just 31 km from Granada city, find the mountain range of Sierra Nevada. This one of the best ski resorts in Spain, and one that guarantees the most hours of sun in Europe. The Sierra Nevada offers more than 110 km of marked trails for skiers, snowboarders and freestylers of all levels, as well as the longest ski season in Europe.
Explore Granada itself – one of the most beautiful cities in Spain – and stroll through the labyrinth of streets in the Albayzín. This is the Arab quarter of the city and was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco. Also stroll around the Barrio del Sacromonte, where gipsy and flamenco culture flows through its cobbled streets.
Make sure to visit Spain’s second most famous monument, The Alhambra Palace, during your holiday to Granada. Head to the top of the Albaicin neighbourhood at Mirador San Nicolas for a stunning panoramic view of the city, snow-capped Sierra Nevada and the Alhambra. At the end of the day, treat yourself to a traditional Arab Bath at one of Granada’s spas.
January is an important month for the Donostiarras, the inhabitants of San Sebastian (“Donostia” in the Basque language). On January 20th, one of the most important celebrations of the city calendar is held, the traditional Fiesta de San Sebastián, dedicated to the patron saint of the city. The festival has its origins dating back to the early 19th century when the city was besieged and set on fire by Napoleon’s troops.
When the French troops entered the city solemnly playing their drums, they crossed paths with the women who breathlessly carried water to extinguish the fires, looking at them in a way that did not please the the men of the city, who began to make fun of the soldiers “playing “the water barrels with spoons and wooden sticks to provoke them. It was the beginning of the Tamborrada, this constitutes the most spectacular moment of the Fiesta de San Sebastian: on January 20th, a parade of men and women in period costumes take to the streets of the city playing the drums for twenty-four consecutive hours. A unique and exciting parade that is worth experiencing at least once.
The golden sandy beaches in San Sebastián are ideal for the summer, but there are still people that bathe in the winter, especially at the famous Playa de La Concha, even if the sand is covered with snow. Many locals here believe the benefits of a dip in the cold waters (to improve the immune system) outweigh the icy chill. Swimming in the sea in winter is one of San Sebastian traditions that continues to be upheld. If you are brave enough, join the locals and swim in the Atlantic at the most emblematic beach in northern Spain.
San Sebastián is one of the most important gastronomic capitals in Spain. Don’t miss the opportunity to try authentic Basque dishes accompanied by a cider, as cider season begins in mid-January, just a week before La Tamborrada.
Start the year with a dose of vitamin D. The Canary Islands are one of the best places to visit Spain in January as they are fortunate to enjoy an average temperature of 20 degrees and 9 hours of sunshine a day. If you miss the feeling of the sun on your skin, rent a villa in the Canary Islands and explore places like César Manrique’s Cactus Gardens located in Lanzarote or opt for some outdoor activities in Tenerife and visit the picturesque village of Masca.
Also in January, the Canary Islands Music Festival takes place, where orchestras from all over the world participate. This event kick starts the festival season in Europe. To find which island best suits your holiday preferences discover the differences between the Canary Islands.
The capital of Spain becomes a foodies paradise in January. Rent an apartment in Madrid and attend Madrid’s Gastrofestival, an annual event that showcases the city’s gastronomic offering and explores the link between the culinary arts and other artistic disciplines such as painting, literature, music, film, theatre, photography, design and fashion. Once you decide where to stay in Madrid, you will be able to find the Gastrofestival on every corner. Each neighbourhood has its own take on the festival in the bars, shops, museums and markets.
The chilly temperatures in Madrid January do not exceed 7 degrees, so this is the perfect time of the year to enjoy the most typical dish – Cocido Madrileño (Madrid stew) in a cosy location, sheltered from the cold. Explore the main tourist attractions in Madrid, stroll around Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol, Gran Vía, Cibeles and Puerta de Alcalá, and seek shelter in the city’s best museums.
Costa del Sol
Rent a holiday villa on the Costa del Sol, and enjoy average temperatures of 18 degrees in January. From Malaga city and all along the coast there is a range of diverse places to stay on the Costa del Sol.
Malaga city – the capital of the Costa del Sol – is one of the best Spanish cities for shopping in Spain. January is the best time to take advantage of the sales in this trendy city. Stroll through the streets and find the most beautiful clothes and shoes with incredible discounts. Scour everything in vintage shops to designer boutiques. Calle Larios (Málaga’s main shopping street) is a must for shopping addicts, with popular Spanish brands such as Massimo Dutti, Woman’s Secret and Bimba y Lola. As you walk up Calle Larios, on the left-hand side is Calle Liborio García, there you will find Zara, and at the end of Liborio García street, you will arrive at Calle Nueva, another popular street. Don’t forget to visit one of the shopping centres in Malaga for even more choice.
The Costa del Sol is synonymous with sandy beaches and year-round sun, but in January the sea might not be warm enough for swimming. However, the weather is pleasant enough for exploring the culture and landscapes of the region. Take some time to visit charming hilltop towns and white-washed villages such as Frigiliana, Mijas or Ronda.
Córdoba is one of the most beautiful cities in Andalusia, with impressive historical monuments. One of the best times to visit Cordoba is in the winter, during the summer the heat can be unpleasant. Walk around the city and discover the iconic Mosque-Cathedral (Mezquita), the Roman Bridge, Synagogue, Jewish Quarter, and visit the Medina Azahara – ruins that was once a majestic city that Abd-al Rahman III ordered to be built just eight kilometres outside Córdoba city.
Rent an apartment in Córdoba when the city celebrates its medieval roots. This event takes place on the last weekend of January. The Calahorra Tower and its surroundings transform into an old Medieval Market with more than 200 craft stalls taking you back to the Middle Ages. Here you can buy different cheeses, cakes, honey, sausages and much more. The atmosphere is fantastic with a heady scent of spices and vibrant coloured bazaars teeming with people. For the little ones, fun is guaranteed with entertaining parades, birds of prey displays, magicians, games and juggling. Here you will also see old trade workshops represented by men and women dressed in Medieval clothing, weaving on old looms.
Enjoy one of the most popular festivals on the island, by renting a holiday villa in Majorca in January. Palma celebrates it’s biggest day in honour of San Sebastián on the 20th. During the days leading up to this, there are concerts and bonfires that take place around the city. The night before the celebration, the festivities start with a huge bonfire in Plaza Mayor. A parade of giants and the legendary dragon Drac Na Coca liven up the streets of Palma and Celtic music is played by traditional “xeremiers”.
Whether you are travelling as a family, as a couple, or looking for an active holiday, there are plenty of winter activities in Mallorca. Apart from the white sandy beaches (ideally for the summer), Majorca has many beautiful towns as well as stunning natural landscapes. In January there is often a light layer of snow in the mountains of Sierra de Tramontana, so bring some warm clothes if you are planning to be active and discover this amazing side of Majorca at this time of the year.
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