Desperate for a dose of vitamin D? Can’t wait to top up that tan? We’ve got ten places where you are guaranteed to find sunshine if you fancy escaping another Irish winter.
With its pleasant winter climate (it’s still 21°C in October) sea-and-mountain scenery and the old colonial charm of its capital Funchal, Madeira is made for a low-key relaxing winter holiday. For those wanting a little more action, the island also offers water sports including windsurfing and sailing.
Year-round sunshine is no mirage in Dubai. If you can tear yourself away from the largest shopping malls in the world, take an excursion into the desert by jeep and camel or simply soak up the sun and atmosphere in the more traditional Heritage Village. Find out how to live like a millionaire in Dubai without spending a fortune.
Havana is opening up to tourists more and more each year, and it probably got something to do with Havana’s tropical climate and guaranteed warm weather all year round – in winter, the average temperature is around 23°C. Characterful colonial homes, a bustling atmosphere and sandy beaches, oh and then there are the rum cocktails…there’s no shortage of things to see and do whilst soaking up the sun, and we’ve rounded-up some of the best to help you plan your winter break.
If the main aim of your trip is to spend as much time at the beach as possible, then Cyprus might be the perfect destination. Choose from energetic resorts, rocky coves, deserted bays and great expanses of sandy beaches – all offer warm sunshine and clear blue waters. Winter is the ideal time to visit Cyprus, as temperatures stay around 20 degree and the beach resorts are much quieter.
The landscape here also bursts into life once winter creeps in, giving you plenty to explore. We recommend spending at least one day of your trip in the Troodos National Forest Park. It’s the largest on the island, with more than 9,000 hectares of forest to walk and hike through. Culture-lovers should head to Limassol, which boasts a vast range of historical attractions, including a medieval castle that dates back to the 14th century.
India features on the bucket list of many avid travellers who want to explore the culture, history and architecture of the country. However, it also has a great range of beaches, natural environments, activities and wellness centres – so why not combine all of these elements for a once-in-a-lifetime trip?
During our winter, Goa is the warmest place in the northern hemisphere; temperatures tend to stay around 32 degrees! Central Goa is wonderful for families, offering plenty of water sport activities and diving spots, but the beaches outside the centre are far quieter. If it’s fine-dining, nightclubs and bustling markets you’re after, go to North Goa, where towns like Baga fulfil those requirements.
South Africa is a great destination for winter sun and outdoor activities. If you don’t cope well with jetlag, then this destination is perfect, as it’s in the same timezone as the UK. There’s so much to do in this beautiful country; you could spend your trip relaxing on the beaches, or being adventurous by going mountain walking, safari riding and shark cage diving.
Whatever you fancy doing, Cape Town is a must-visit, as it has a great choice of beaches, luxury hotels and some stunning scenery. It’s fantastic for wine-tasting and fine-dining too, so you certainly won’t go hungry or thirsty. Whilst you’re in Cape Town, be sure to make the trip up South Africa’s most iconic attraction, Table Mountain. The view up there is incredible; you can see over the entire city.
With some of the mildest winters in the US (22°C-23°C) an array of pristine beaches and theme parks galore, Florida is a firm favourite at any time of year. But if the thought of queuing at the parks in the sweltering heat of summer is too much to handle, then the balmy winter days are a great alternative time to visit. And just in case screaming your head off whilst travelling at 1000mph isn’t your cup of tea, here are 7 things to do in Florida that don’t involve theme parks.
On the edge of the Sahara desert, Marakkech and Agadir remain warm throughout the winter. Chill on the beach with a backdrop of snow-capped mountains, or if that’s not relaxing enough, really treat yourself with a visit to a steamy spa-like Hammam for a blissful pamper.
Sri Lanka is another stunning winter sun destination which has something to offer every type of traveller. Beach-bums will love the 1,000-mile coastline, with its soft sands and tropical palm trees, and animal-lovers must visit the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage and the Yala and Udawalawe National Parks, where they’ll get the chance to see leopards, deer and buffalo up close.
Don’t forget to pack sunscreen, though; temperatures reach around 29 degrees during winter! You also get a lot for your money here in Sri Lanka, so why head anywhere else?
Thailand is renowned for its fantastic beaches, and the winter period is the best time to visit this gorgeous country. We suggest going to the beach city of Pattaya on your travels, as it’s packed full of loud and colourful cabaret shows, bars and restaurants. All the locals are very welcoming too, making it a great destination for families.
Head to the beaches just south of Pattaya to sample the various water sport activities available. The braver members of your party may want to try something more extreme, like paragliding or bungee jumping. Don’t forget to get an authentic Thai massage while you’re here, too!