Already fantasising about your next dose of vitamin sea? Thankfully, it’s never too soon to book a winter sun holiday – especially when the dreary wet weather starts to kick in. To help point you in the right direction, we’ve picked our favourite winter sun destinations that will happily see you through November to the end of March (and possibly even April). They all have the right balance of good weather and low-season benefits. Each of these destinations also has enough to keep you on your feet, or on the flip side, to ensure you’re relaxed every step of the way!
1. Lanzarote, Canary Islands
The Canary Islands are a renowned destination for catching some winter sun. But how did Lanzarote snag the pick of the bunch? For starters, Lanzarote’s ethereal beauty simply can’t be contested. But combine that with the knowledge that it’s one of the cheapest destinations for short-haul winter sun and you’re onto a winner. As a winter sun destination, Lanzarote really does tick off all the boxes (if not most): plenty of sunshine – with temperatures between 19-24°C, relaxation and adventure. So, while you happily escape the summer flurry of British holidaymakers, use your time on the island to truly explore every offering going.
Unmistakeable beaches, extraordinary geology and interesting sights – most of which have been aesthetically designed by the late Cesar Manrique. If you fancy really getting up close to the islands culture and architectural integrity, visit the Cesar Manrique House Museum which is well worth the £10 entry fee.
The paradise island knows as Land of the Gods, or more commonly Bali, is one of the most unique travel destinations in the world. The tropical climate here makes it perfect for a winter sun holiday. Spending long hot days among the natural splendour of the island, unmatched by any other place in the world, is a dream for many. If you can picture yourself having adventures on white sand beaches with sparkling blue waters on one side and rugged, wild volcanoes on the other, Bali is the place for you. Just as many people gather here for the exciting nightlife and luxury, as for the incredible surf and for fun-filled family holidays. The happy and peaceful culture is attractive to most travellers, and you are sure to get on well with the laid-back locals.
The north side of Bali is more popular among tourists and has loads to offer in terms of culture and food (Bali has some of the best vegetarian cuisines you’ll ever taste in your life). However, you might find yourself coming across some of the most beautiful greenery, rice patios, waterfalls and villages on the less crowded south side of the island. Another magical place to visit if you are a true nature-lover is the small island of Nusa Penida, less than an hour by boat from the mainland.
Romantic old-world harbours, long stretches of sandy beaches and compelling history – Cyprus is a cracking choice for your winter sun escapade. Although Cyprus will appeal to most travellers, it’s especially great for those seeking a balance of not too hot, not too cold temperatures. Now, you may already know a thing or two about the divide between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, but crossing the line between the South and North (which we couldn’t recommend enough) will put the country’s complex history into perspective – all the while you experience the two Cypriot communities which are both equally as interesting.
But it’s certainly not a trip to Cyprus if you don’t sink your teeth into some meze, which is a delicious way to familiarise yourself with the local cuisine. The dishes are small but incredibly filling. From hummus, sausages, kebabs and everything in between – try anything and everything. Your taste buds will thank you for it.
The dizzyingly beautiful Morocco is where the most diversity can be found. From the whirlwind markets of Marrakech, the remarkable sand dunes of the Sahara desert to the breathtaking backdrop of snow-capped mountains – it’s as though it was created for endless travel adventures.
Enjoying Morocco starts with the simple pleasures like drinking a mint tea in the nearest cafe as you watch the world go by. That’s exactly as the locals do! But of course, there’s more to Morocco than meets the eye, for example, you can to learn how to roll couscous (and then devour it all), take up camel trekking, or eat your body weight in tajines. And don’t forget to indulge in a luxury spa treatment or two to really elevate your winter sun getaway. You deserve it!
The Caribbean is truly the epitome of a winter sun destination. With its low humidity and mild evening temperatures, winter is the best season to take a trip to the Caribbean. As you might know, however, the Caribbean is much more than just one destination. In fact, its made up of over five thousand islands, reefs and cays, each and every one of which has something unique to offer. As there are so many Caribbean destinations to choose from, a great way to decide on which one suits you best is to check out our handy quiz for a personalised recommendation.
A few things a winter holiday to the Caribbean is sure to deliver is white sand beaches, cerulean waves and lush green forests inhabited by beautiful flora and tropical birds. Snorkelling and scuba diving is a dream in these waters, where colourful fish, imposing shipwrecks and coral reefs abound. In fact, one of the best ways to explore the island coastlines is by water. Hiring a powerboat or going on a kayaking tour are great options for budding explorers. But these islands also have amazing communities and cultures to discover in between catching waves and digging your toes in the sand, and a Caribbean holiday should never be rushed. Consider yourself on ‘island time’.
There are many sides to Thailand, and the rich cultural heritage seeps through them all. Many tourists will find themselves in the energetic and vibrant party city of Bangkok or the vibrant heart of Chiang Mai. While these are both incredible destinations to visit, one of the best things about Thailand is that not far from these metropolitan hubs the traditional farming village is still thriving alongside small-scale fisheries and Buddhist temples. Theravada Buddhism unifies all aspects of life in Thai culture, and the tiered temple rooftops are iconic of the country. Thai culture can also be tasted in its famous cuisine, made with fresh local ingredients like lemongrass, chilli and seafood wherever you go.
Active travellers will love the mountain treks available in northern Thailand, where hill tribe villages and whitewater rafting abound in the fresh air. Thailand is also an amazing, and quite cheap, place for avid and budding scuba divers. Outside the Thai island of Ko Tao, you can even dive with whale sharks!
We hope that’s given you some inspiration to see you through the winter/spring months. If you haven’t found what you’re looking for, or you’re just yearning for more, have a read of our Top 50 Summer Holiday Destinations!