readers’ favorite trips to banish the winter blues

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Winter fun in Highlands, Glencoe

When it comes to an exciting journey to a new place during the darkest and most boring time of the year, nothing beats an impromptu journey. South of the village of Glencoe, Glencoe Mountain Resort (micro-boards for two from £75 per night) offers accessible sledding and skiing and beautiful winter walks – an experience close to Scandi for those on a budget. Breathing in the refreshing Scottish air and enjoying the stunning views are the tonics we all need to keep us going until spring. Sleeping in a cozy micro hut adds to the adventure and ensures you get the most out of this short getaway.
Claire Renton

Night walk, Lancashire

Snowy walk in Rivington as the sun goes down.

Snowy walk in Rivington as the sun goes down. Photo: Chris Bull/Alamy

We discovered the joys of night walking during quarantine winters. We live in the midst of high light pollution, but a short drive from Rivington, near Chorley, in Manchester, full of accessible woodland and steppe. The bare trees and high steppe allow enough moonlight to walk safely without torchlight, awaken all the senses, and fully embrace the beauty of dark winter evenings. I like to look at the city lights from afar, the colorful sunsets at tea time and the fresh cold air.

Scenes and hot chocolate, Turin, Italy

Bicerin is the traditional hot drink of Turin.

Bicerin is the traditional hot drink of Turin. Photo: Alamy

Home to Juventus, Fiat and Lavazza coffee, the city of Turin is full of churches, museums, palaces and squares but sees few tourists in the off-season. Don’t miss the Mole Antonelliana tower, whose elevator goes up to an observation deck at 85 meters. My favorite view is from Torre Campanaria, where you can see the skyline including the Mole for a €4 bargain. Afterwards, warm up with a glass of traditional drink. biserineA layered mix of hot chocolate, espresso and frothed milk. I am blessed with the winter sun; If you’re not, there’s an eclectic mix of world-class museums and 18km of covered walking trails to explore.
Christine Arkadon

Horizontal rain cleared cobwebs, Yorkshire Dales

Pen-y-ghent in the Yorkshire Dales

A walker in Pen-y-ghent. Photo: Rebecca Cole/Alamy

A trip to Pen-y-ghent in the Yorkshire Dales in January is a surefire way to blow Christmas cobwebs. The forecast looked clear and it was a beautiful morning when we arrived, but the higher we climbed, the more the weather turned – high winds and heavy, horizontal rain. All of this added to the fun and challenge of climbing to the top and made the bottle of tea and sandwiches at the top a little more rewarding. The weather cleared for the landing and overall it was a great January walk and ended with a pint in front of the welcome fire at the Golden Lion in Horton-in-Ribblesdale.

Wester Ross, Scotland’s wild coast

The summit of Slioch and Loch Maree.

The summit of Slioch and Loch Maree. Photo: Stewart Smith/Alamy

We had a great time spending New Year’s Eve and the following week at Poolewe Beach House (from £900 a week, for nine). It’s a two-hour drive from Inverness and quite far, but only six miles from Gairloch, where we go every day for coffee and hot chocolate. There are so many amazing beaches out there that go on forever. For visitors in the spring and summer, Inverewe Garden is nearby. Poolewe is between two beautiful bays – the sea bay Ewe and the inland Maree.
Morag Yule

Chase the waterfalls, Snowdonia

Aber Falls

Aber Falls. Photo: Alan Barr/Alamy

A gorgeous Snowdonia waterfall is our cure-all for the January blues – a gentle trail that climbs two miles from the village of Abergwyngregyn, just off the A55, to the foot of Aber Falls. We took the whole family in a stroller, wheelchair and picnic, enjoying mountain ponies and amazing views on the way and finishing at Cafe Hen Felin or Aber Falls Cafe. On other days, we walked on our own and finished with a tour of the nearby Aber Falls distillery. Whether refreshing or relaxing, this treatment works for everyone.
Susanna C.

A turnip skewer, Extremadura, Spain

Jarramplas in Piornal.

Jarramplas in Piornal. Photo: Fotoeventis/Alamy

Related: Turnip fever: Jarramplas festival in Spain

Many people visiting Spain have heard of the Tomatina festival, which involves throwing tomatoes. Less famous but equally absurd is Jarramplas (January 19-20), located in the village of Extremadura in Piornal (140 miles west of Madrid). A local volunteer dons a colorful bogey suit and runs around playing a small drum, while locals throw turnips at them as punishment for being a cattle thief. As with most Spanish fiestas, it is an extraordinary show that provides an excuse to socialize and party in the streets and squares.
Sarah Collings

Guardian Travel readers’ tips

Every week we ask our readers for recommendations from their travels. A number of tips will be featured online and may appear in print. Visit the reader tips homepage to enter the latest contest

Hikers’ paradise Madeira

Levadas are irrigation channels that meander through the hills of Madeira.

The Levadas are irrigation channels that wind their way through the hills of Madeira and offer walkways. Photo: Nigel Francis/Alamy

Madeira has always been my choice for an adventurous mid-winter vacation. Lying off the northwest coast of Africa, the island is synonymous with winter sun package holidays. But this mountainous island has much more to offer. It is a hiker’s paradise with some of the most astonishing landscapes in the world. Those looking for a quiet hike can stick to the famous mountain. levadas Those who want to speed up their heartbeat with (narrow irrigation channels) may prefer the more challenging one. verandasA network of well-maintained trails connecting the islands’ highest peaks, some reaching 1,850 metres.
Cassandra Jackson-Baker

Cornwall’s indoor subtropical paradise

Paradise Project.

Paradise Project. Photo: John Barratt/Alamy

The exhilarating hikes are all very good but if it does tip over, only the very hardy ones will head for the hills and shores. I prefer to go places where the weather doesn’t matter, so Project Eden is my go-to spot to banish the winter blues. I love to awaken the senses with the sights and scents of the warmer, sunnier times ahead and be inspired for garden projects and creating a little paradise in my own backyard. For adrenaline seekers, there are plenty of opportunities to glide, dive, jump and swing thanks to Hangloose Adventures and its zip wires and airways. For those who want to be educated about protecting our beautiful planet, this is the place to go to grasp what you can do to help. And for what happened right after the change of scenery – it certainly is.
Tracy Belcher

Winning tip: beautiful way to the Côte d’Azur

Promenade des Anglais, Nice.

Promenade des Anglais, Nice. Photo: Imageplotter/Alamy

Our best blues decision in January was to take a short train break to the Côte d’Azur near Nice in late January. It was easy to take the Eurostar and TGV and get to Nice in one day – our train left London St Pancras at 9.30am and arrived in Nice at 8pm. The tourist office has accommodation links for all tastes and budgets. Last year we found the beaches empty, the temperatures temperate teens, the restaurants comfortable and unhurried. We bought local transport tickets from and discovered the hilltop artists’ community St Paul de Vence and the seaside villa of Rothschild. The market in Antibes and the Picasso Museum were a pleasant cross-border hop on the coastal railroad to Italy to wander around the gardens and old town of Sanremo.
Rosie Edwards

Please use the comments to share your own January blues favorites.

Next week’s reader tips will be about health breaks in the UK and Europe. Fill out the form to share your experiences

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