Freezing temperatures and short, dark days make many of us contemplate sunnier shores and investigate places to go for winter sun.
It’s not just about finding a sun-drenched beach either.
Travellers are increasingly starting to take their main holiday of the year in the winter months to escape the dark, dank days of the year.
From short-haul hops in Europe to far-flung paradise islands, there’s a perfect sunny spot somewhere for every luxury traveller.
Here are some of the best places to go for winter sun, which you may not have considered.
Places to go for winter sun
1. Canary Islands
Although the Canary Islands are part of Spain, their Atlantic location near Africa, and atmosphere, are a world apart from the Mediterranean and they have more exclusive attractions than you’d imagine. The island cluster is most known for Tenerife and Lanzarote, but there are hidden gems such as La Palma – perfect for stargazing, and hiker-friendly La Gomera too.
Needless to say, Tenerife is an ideal place to base yourself if you can’t pick just one beach – the island is home to around 500. Although some of the beaches are touristy, you’re still able to enjoy some luxury in the five-star resorts of Costa Adeje and the boutique hotels of Garachico in the north. The north of the island is also the place to head to for cultural experiences such as UNESCO World Heritage Site which makes up the town of San Cristóbal de La Laguna.
Lanzarote is one of the most underrated winter sun destinations – in fact at any time of the year. It has so much that appeals to luxury travellers from excellent hotels to art (don’t miss César Manrique’s works of built environment art and sculptures that dot the island), plus the delectable young wines of the La Geria region and the fascinating, volcanic landscape.
Just four hours flying time from the UK, you can expect temperatures in the low 20C during the winter, perfect for exploring and positively balmy by British standards.
2. Goa, India
If something a little more exotic and warm is on the agenda, then head to the Indian state of Goa.
From the Portuguese-influences of the old town, to the peaceful vibes of the beaches – Goa offers something truly unique for the discerning traveller. And what better way to enjoy a spot of yoga than in the birthplace of the practice – India.
You’ll find health and wellness a priority when you visit Goa, and there’ll be plenty of time to enjoy some serious relaxation with a traditional Indian massage and a stay in one of the many luxury hotels, like the Karma Royal Resort.
With direct flights from the UK, Goa is a great choice for winter sun.
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As the US relaxes rules for Americans travelling to Cuba and the country opens up to more tourists, there is a possibility that it could change significantly, so there is an impetus to visit the island soon.
Winter is the perfect time to head to this tropical Caribbean island which has been suspended in time.
Flying into the bygone chic capital of Havana is more than a practical start to your travels – it’s a must-visit. Take a little time to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site, marvelling at the old 1950’s cars and pastel hued houses before you explore the rest of the island.
Revel is the island’s plethora of five-star hotels, all offering private beaches, stylish rooms and beautiful surroundings. The Hotel Nacional de Cuba in Havana is a top choice.
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The home of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, the stunning Indonesian island of Bali is one of the best spots for affordable luxury and total relaxation.
Although it’s a long flight, at 16 hours from the UK, it’s worth it for the soft white sand beaches, crystal clear waters and incredible sunsets. And when you need to escape the beach, there’s plenty of sightseeing inland at the cultural heart of Bali, Ubud.
Take a trip to the Monkey Forest, which is home to hundreds of cheeky chimps, or relax with a traditional Balinese massage and yoga class.
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If you want guaranteed sunshine and a short-ish flight – head to the Arabian Gulf and the ever reliable Dubai. A mere six hours flying time from the UK Dubai offers guaranteed sunshine at comfortable temperatures in the mid 20C.
Enjoy fantastic shopping, luxury hotels and quirky activities – skiing in the desert anyone? Meal times have plenty of highlights – enjoy lunch with unlimited champagne at Yalumba at Le Meridien, while its four-hour marathon Friday brunch – a staple of Dubai dining – combines a buffet and à la carte options for just £76.
Hitting the beach is possible, but it may be a little on the cool side, so why not hit the spa instead? Dubai’s many five-star hotels have an abundance of spa indulgence.
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Little screams luxury more than the Maldives. The archipelago is famous for jaw-dropping sunsets, pristine white beaches and idyllic huts perched over the Indian Ocean.
The weather in British wintertime is en pointe, with eight hours of sunshine and 30C temperatures to enjoy.
So make sure you take regular dips in the perfect ocean to cool down!
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7. Sri Lanka
Nestled at the foot of India, this tiny island in the Indian Ocean makes a fantastic spot for intrepid travellers. Winter is high season here, and it’s no surprise, with temperatures at around 30 degrees with minimal humidity.
Although the south is more visited, the north is also jam packed with sights to see. From the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Galle, the incredible tea plantations in Ella to the laid back beaches on the south coast – Sri Lanka is a wonderful place to enjoy some winter sun.
Check for availability and compare prices for hotels in Sri Lanka.