Does the thought of a cold, rainy and downright miserable UK winter send chills down your spine? If you’re already dreading the end of the year and you’re keen to avoid it altogether, why not escape to the sun?
Whether you’re wondering where to go for winter sun at Christmas or you’re just desperate for another chance to soak up the sunshine and top up your tan before next summer rolls around, there are a whole host of different places you could jet off too this chilly season. For the lowdown on the best destinations for guaranteed sunshine and soaring temperatures, keep reading.
If you’re after warmer weather without the long flight, the Canary Islands might be the perfect winter break for you. In just under four hours, you could be soaking up the Spanish sun with a sangria in hand. It’s pretty much summer all year round in the Canaries, where temperatures average in the low to mid 20s regardless of what month it is. So, whether you head to Tenerife or Lanzarote, or you choose to spend your time exploring one of lesser known isles such as El Hierro or La Palma, you can expect pleasant weather as soon as you step off the plane.
Dubai offers sunshine all year round, making it the obvious choice if you’re looking for a much-needed break this winter. From November onwards, you can enjoy less humidity, making it easier to take advantage of some of the activities on offer, from desert safaris to camel trekking. Of course, you could just give in to Dubai’s three most famed temptations - sun, sea and shopping. Between a plethora of spotless beaches, the warm waters of the Persian Gulf and several impressive shopping malls, you won’t struggle to make the most out of your time here.
Even though winter is the coolest time to visit Mexico, you can still expect temperatures in the early to mid 20s most days, and its tropical climate makes it the ideal destination for those seeking sunshine at this time of year. The most popular holiday spots for a winter getaway in Mexico include the gorgeous Riviera Maya and its iridescent, turquoise seas, as well as Cancun for its sweeping, sandy beaches. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even travel inland to Chichen Itza to marvel at the El Castillo - an ancient temple built between the 9th and 12th centuries.
Winter on the island of Madeira feels just like spring in the UK. Its pleasant climate and mild waters makes it a great destination if you’re keen to get away towards the end of the year. For the ultimate in relaxation, you could enjoy the sandy shores of one of the island’s many beaches, while the volcanic peaks and fresh mountain scenery make it the perfect place to get out and about for long walks and hikes. You could even take part in a spot of dolphin or whale watching off the coast, or hire a car to take on the island at your own pace.
Boasting over 1,000 miles of stunning coastline and temperatures that rarely drop below 20 degrees even as the year draws to a close, it’s not difficult to figure out why Florida is a much-loved winter holiday destination for travellers. Whether you decide to hit up Miami Beach to soak up the sunshine, head to Key West to explore the state’s southernmost point or visit Orlando to absorb yourself in everything Walt Disney World has to offer, Florida is the perfect escape if you’re eager to avoid the harsh British winter.
While the surrounding eastern Mediterranean sea may be chilly during the winter, the island of Cyprus receives plenty of sunshine at this time of the year. A short flight from the UK, the island offers some of the best winter weather you’ll find without having to leave Europe. A typical winter’s day feels just like a spring with temperatures of around 17 to 19 degrees. One of the oldest civilisations in the Mediterranean, Cyprus is steeped in history. Even beyond its stretches of stunning beaches, there’s plenty of ancient ruins for you to explore during your getaway.
If a long flight time doesn’t phase you, Bali could be the ideal destination for you. Boasting gorgeously hot weather throughout the whole year, the Indonesian island offers everything you need if you’re looking for the ultimate blissful break. Whether you decide to indulge in a relaxing spa retreat, laze around on the beach or hit up the chic boutiques for a spot of shopping, there’s plenty to do and see to get the most out of your trip. During the evening, you could even attend one of the island’s famous full-moon parties.
The truth is, there’s no bad time to visit the Maldives. With average temperatures of around 30 degrees in December, you’re guaranteed picture perfect weather even if you choose to visit towards the end of the year. No matter which island you head to, you’ll find crystal clear waters and pristine beaches - the ideal setup for the ultimate in relaxation whether you’re visiting as a couple or with your family in tow. A do-able 10 hours away, the Maldives has everything you need and more if you want to get away from the cold this winter.
Perched on the edge of the Sahara Desert, Morocco boasts warm weather throughout the winter months. Plus, it’s a relatively short flight to get there, meaning you needn’t travel far to feel the sun on your skin. Marrakech is ideal if you’re keen to get lost within the famous labyrinthine souks, while Fez is the place to be for a slice of authentic Moroccon culture. For impressive coastal views, check out Agadir. Positioned in the foothills of the Anti-Atlas Mountains, the city is known for its wide crescent beach.
Situated just off the “toe” of Italy’s “boot”, Sicily is the largest Mediterrean island and experiences great weather even in the winter. Travelling to Sicily at this time of the year also means there are fewer crowds to contend with, allowing you to make the most of your getaway. Enjoy bright, blue skies and admire the almond trees in full bloom while you take in all that the island has to offer, including the stunning Baroque towns, remarkable archaeological sites and delicious cuisine.
If your winter plans include laying horizontal on sandy shores, you’re going to need to be prepared. To make sure your beach break is perfect from the get-go, it’s worth making sure you’re readily equipped for the occasion.
To ensure that you look and feel your best, comfortable swimwear is key. Whether you go for a classic all-in-one swimsuit or cute bikini, you should wear something that you know you’re going to feel great in when you’re strutting your stuff on the sand.
Take your beach style to the next level with a fashionable cover-up. From a sheer kaftan, pretty sundress or floaty kimono, you’re guaranteed to look totally chic whether you’re cooling off in the shade or sitting down for a bite to eat at a nearby beach bar.
For when you’re not sinking your toes into the soft, warm sand, appropriate footwear is essential. A pair of flip flops or sandals are your best bet as they’re quick and easy to slip on and off.
Despite the fact that it’s technically winter, it’s important that you take sun safety seriously while you’re away, so make sure you’re wearing plenty of sunscreen. Ideally, you should use a sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF) regularly throughout the day, making sure you’re reapplying it after you go for a dip in the water.
Your lips can be especially sensitive to the sun’s harsh rays, so it’s important that you do what you can to protect them. Applying a lip balm with SPF could help save your lips from becoming sore and blistering, which let’s face it, isn’t a great look.
If you want to leave the cold UK weather behind this chilly season, there’s plenty of choice when it comes to booking a much needed getaway. So, where do you plan on sunning away those winter blues?