The Andalucia region has a Mediterranean climate with very hot, dry and sunny summers. Near the Mediterranean coastline there is an average of over 3000 hours of bright sunshine per year (this compares with nearer 1500 hours over much of England). Winters are generally mild, and while it can be rather wet when Atlantic low pressure systems track further south than usual, particularly in the west of the region, most winter months are still relatively sunny with a mean of 5 or 6 hours of bright sunshine per day. The shortest day is January 3 with 9:40 hours of sunlight; the longest is January 31 is 10:19 hours. The earliest sunrise is around 8:25am and the latest sunset is around 6:20pm.
January is Andalucia's coldest month with a mean daytime maximum temperature of 15°C (50°F), while the temperature typically falls to 6°C (42°F) at night, though nights are generally warmer near the coast than inland. Sea temperatures in January are a chilly 16°C (61°F)--too cold for swimmers, when compared with August's 24°C (74°F)!
Rainfall typically averages 70 to 80mm per January averaged over eight wet days, though the west of the region and the mountain ranges are more likely to be wet at frequent intervals than low-lying parts of the east. The sun shines on an average of about five hours per day, while sunshine is most reliable near the Mediterranean coast. Snow is infrequent near sea level, although on very rare occasions brief snowfalls are observed even along the Mediterranean coastline. In the Sierra Navada mountain range, snow is far more common and there are often ample opportunities to go skiing.
In January, temperatures in Andalucia stay relatively the same. At the beginning of the month, averages are around 8°C (46°F), with highs of 13°C (55°F) and lows of 1°C (33°F). This only rises slightly by the end of the month, to averages of 9°C (48°F), highs of 14°C (57°F) and lows of 1°C (33°F).
Where to Stay
Puerta de las Granadas
There are plenty of hotels to choose from in the region, including the highly-rated, yet relatively cheap, Puerta de las Granadas (Cuesta Gomerez 14). This 3-star hotel balances modern luxury with a historical ambiance that dates back from the 1800s. They offer fourteen rooms equipped with A/C and heater, satellite TV, minibar, safe, wifi and telephone.
Each room has a unique view, some overlooking the Carmen de Mauror, others the Cuesta de Gomerez, and some situated in the attic with magnificent views of the Alhambra and Cathedral. The hotel also offers a buffet breakfast cafe, outdoor patio and terrace, and options to rent a car with paid parking.
Macia Plaza Hotel
The Macia Plaza Hotel (Plaza Nueva 5) is a small, modest hotel in Granada located at the foot of the Alhambra, in the Arab neighbourhood of Albaycin. Its decor is modern and sleek, with each room offering A/C, free wifi and flat screen TV. Be sure to request a balcony room with a view of the sights!
Hotel Casa 1800 Granada
Those with a large budget can try out the expensive but luxurious Hotel Casa 1800 Granada (Benalua 11). Situated in a 17th-century building in the Albaycin quarter, this charming boutique accommodation is top of the line. Rooms are available as standard, superior, deluxe, junior suite or suite grand deluxe.
Hit the Beach
Matalascanas is the closest beach to Seville and consequently one of the more popular. It is a resort town, full of loud DJ music and high-rise apartment blocks. Outside of the town itself there are miles of empty sands, Donana National Park, accessible to pedestrians or cyclists.
Eating & Drinking Out
El Muelle de Arriate
El Muelle de Arriate (Estación de Arriate, Arriate) is a tasty, cosy restaurant in the middle of Arriate's old train station. The owner Frank cooks up delicious, homemade Mediterranean dishes like casseroles and salads.
Connoisseur Indian Restaurant
The Connoisseur Indian Restaurant (Calle Acuario | Local 4A CC Las Terrazas de Miraflores, Mijas) offers fabulous food on the Costa del Sol. They receive consistently excellent ratings, due to the delicious curries and breathtaking sea view.
Things to Do
Granada contains the beautiful palaces and gardens of Alhambra, built during the 14th century.
Rosario de San Aquilino
There are numerous festivals in the Granada area during January, including the Rosario de San Aquilino on the 4th January in Galera, which boasts live music throughout the day.
Fiestas de San Anto Y San Sebastian
The Fiestas de San Anto Y San Sebastian in Orce features dancing, music and soldiers, with a strong medieval theme. The Fiesta de San Anto Y San Sebastian takes place in Malaga near the Costa del Sol, which features feasts and local dances.
Castillo de Gibralfaro
Resting on a nearby mountain, the 10th-century Castillo de Gibralfaro provides some excellent sightseeing including a fortress and some stunning views of the city.