Holidays & Travel

Beat January blues with these dazzling sea and sky escapes

Banish Blue Monday dread by dreaming of some vibrantly-hued holiday breaks instead, says Sarah Marshall.

There’s nothing like dreaming up a holiday to boost your mood
The main pool at Ifuru in the Maldives (Alamy/PA) There’s nothing like dreaming up a holiday to boost your mood

A sobering slap in the face after weeks of festive delirium, January could be the world’s harshest reality check. Work schedules are back in full swing, bank balances have hit rock bottom, and it’s probably raining outside.

By the third Monday in January – in this case the 15th – most of us are ready to throw in the towel, leading the date to often be declared the most depressing day of the year.

But there’s no reason why we should all wallow in self-pity and despair… Being blue isn’t always a negative state of mind – switch thoughts to azure oceans and cerulean skies, and suddenly the world starts to look like a better place.

We’ve selected some of the brightest holiday ideas o you can swap those January blues for more soul-soothing ones…

Island hop on a cruise

Odyssey of the Seas (Michel Verdure/©2021 Michel Verdure for Royal )

Surround yourself with every shade of blue on a cruise through the Caribbean. Onboard the 4,198 passenger mega-ship Odyssey of the Seas, observation capsule North Star promises 360-degree views, 300ft above sea level. Setting sail from Florida, call into some of the best beaches on Aruba and Royal Caribbean’s very own private island in the Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay. There’s also a chance to stop at Curacao, the former Dutch-governed island famous for it’s electric blue liqueur.

How: The eight-night Southern Caribbean & Perfect Day full board cruise costs from £748pp. Flights extra. Departs April 13. Visit or call 0344 493 4005.

Fly through sea and air


There’s no better way to fully immerse yourself in sun, sky and scenes of blue sea than by skydiving above an Indian Ocean paradise. Launched last September, Ifuru is a private island resort with the first permanent skydiving dropzone in the Maldives, designed in collaboration with world champion skydiver Will Penny. Between November and March, guests can glide above tropical islands in the Raa Atoll while dolphins play in the waves. Alternatively, take the opposite direction and travel below water to dive with whale sharks.

How: A seven-night all-inclusive stay costs from £3,108pp, including flights and transfers. Email or call 01670 510580.

Walk through a painting

Port Cros National Park
Port Cros National Park (Alamy/PA) Port Cros National Park (Alamy Stock Photo)

It’s called the Côte d’Azur for a good reason. Beguiled by the French Riviera’s light and colours, artists like Matisse, Monet and Renoir all found inspiration for their palettes along this blue coastline, while Chagall and Picasso even called it home. Discover the region’s cinematic scenery on an easy-going hiking trip through the Provencal countryside, including France’s smallest national park, Port Cros. Expect to walk between two and four hours per day.

How: The six-day Walking the Côte d’Azur & Golden Isles tour costs from £1,120pp, including B&B accommodation. Flights extra. Available from April 1 to October 25. Visit or call 0800 008 7741.

Embrace wild extremes

A dhow tour in Oman
A dhow tour in Oman (Yellowwood/PA) A dhow tour in Oman

Contrasted against ochre sands, Middle Eastern skies look bluer than anywhere else on the planet. At this time of year, when temperatures are comfortably warm without being searingly hot, wild and rugged Oman is a delight to explore. Wander through spice markets in Muscat and hike through the Hajar Mountains. Cool off in wadi oases and camp overnight in the Wahiba Sands desert to admire the stars.

How: A nine-day escorted Undiscovered Oman trip costs from £2,799pp. Flights extra. Departs February 10. Other departures available. Visit or call 0207 846 0197.

Look above and below the surface

El Gouna
El Gouna El Gouna (Alamy Stock Photo)

Don’t be fooled by its name; Egypt’s Red Sea boasts a myriad of colours. One of the world’s top dive destinations, it’s packed with multi-hued soft corals and vibrant fish life, with air temperatures of 25C making it an ideal winter sun getaway. A 30-minute drive from Hurghada International Airport, the lagoons of El Gouna host more than 100 bars and restaurants, including the cool adults-only Cook’s Club with it’s own saltwater lagoon and private beach.

How: A seven-night B&B stay costs from £560pp, including flights. Select dates in February. Use code BIGSALE. Visit or call 0330 551 5165.

Discover natural beauty

Rio Celeste in Volcan Tenorio National Park, Costa Rica
Rio Celeste in Volcan Tenorio National Park, Costa Rica (Alamy/PA) Rio Celeste in Volcan Tenorio National Park, Costa Rica (Alamy Stock Photo)

Stretching is wings as wide as the length of a pencil, one of the world’s largest butterflies can be found fluttering through rainforest canopies and along the sparkling coastlines of Costa Rica. The blue morpho is one of many shimmering creatures inhabiting one of the most biodiverse places on our planet, which has become a premier beach and wildlife destination. Split time between the jungle and choose from two coastlines lapped by the Pacific Ocean or the Caribbean Sea.

How: A 10-night trip costs from £5,325pp, including mixed board accommodation and flights. Visit or call 03330 604 425.