It can get too much, waking up on a dark, dull and chilly winter morning, before then embarking on a journey into the office through the mist, rain or hail, or whatever the great British weather wants to throw at us. The perfect antidote to the glumness of winter is an escape to the sun. Instead of traipsing around in a scene as described above, you can transport yourself across the globe to sunnier climates, placing yourself on the beach or by the pool with a cocktail in hand.
When it’s winter in Britain, there is always another location which is doused in sunshine, warmth and is the perfect out-of-season retreat. Many of us now see a winter holiday as one of the most important parts of our year, and for good reason. The availability of flights and great value inclusive deals now means that it is easier than ever to book a flight and hotel, pack your bags (including sunglasses and sunscreen) before jetting off leaving the UK and the perennial blanket of cloud we seem to be shrouded under year round.
Here are our ultimate destinations for catching rays of the winter sun:
The state of Florida has a little something for everyone, from the Miami nightspots and Cuban enclave,to Orlando, The Everglades and Key West.
With Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, Universal Studios to visit, you could spend your whole weekend in the theme parks, or why not journey to the ‘Space Coast’ and tour the Kennedy Space Centre.
Those with a heightened sense of adventure might want to travel south to the Everglades and discover the million acre plus marsh and grassy wetlands which is home to endangered wildlife, including alligators amongst many others.
The Miami heat might be for you if you’re after a break with an edge. Ocean drive is for shopping and nightlife, while South Beach is home to some of the hottest nightclubs in the world. The Latin culture in the Miami area sets it apart from other areas of Florida, and during your break, you’ll be able to waltz on the seafront, top up your tan and admire all the beautiful people who jet in from all over the world.
2. The Caribbean
The white powder beaches, clear blue waters and tropical sunshine of the Caribbean islands are the perfect tonic to the British winter. The best time to visit is from New Year to early March. With popular destinations like Jamaica as well as undiscovered paradise islands like Bonaire, shopping hotspots like St. Thomas and the Bahamas, wherever you go you’ll be able to find luxury and a relaxed vibe that cannot be replicated elsewhere.
The Caribbean is within easy reach of Europe. The variety of activities available, including diving, sailing or sampling the local delicacies as you kick back on the beach, has attracted plenty of world class hotels in this special destination.
The north African country of Morocco remains warm all year round. The city of Marrakech marries cultural delights with guaranteed sunshine in a location where you’re sure to find a variety of local foods and crafts.
The great thing about a winter break is that the city is generally free of large crowds.
Morocco is very popular as a family holiday destination, with the awe inspiring city of Marrakech sure to rouse your senses. From the early morning call for prayer and the amazing markets with their sights, sounds and smells, the Moroccan culture is one that you won’t find anywhere else on the planet.
If the city does become too much, the High Atlas Mountains are only a two hour drive away, and you could even book a day at a spa in one of the countries Riads for exotic relaxation.
Thailand is a little further afield, but there is something for everyone, including pristine beaches, great hospitality and food, ancient temples and bargain shopping. Break free from our winter with an exploration of the rainforest, discovering buddhist temples and lagoons to simply bathe in and let your worries disappear.
Humid all year round, with the people who’re always friendly and welcoming, you’re only a tuk tuk ride away from another memorable activity which will make you want to visit again and again.
5. South Africa
South Africa has it all. It is one of the most diverse holiday destinations in the world and with the options to go on safari and scuba dive, for example, no two days will be the same.
A winter break in South Africa is the perfect time to make the most of the sunny summer period in that part of the world. From ripening vineyards to rugged coastlines, to the abundance of wildlife on offer, the southern tip of Africa is the perfect destination when you want to get as far away from our dreary winter as you can.
6. Canary Islands
The Canary Islands are a great year round destination, making them the perfect place to spend a week away in during the winter months. The climate remains very similar off the coast of Africa from January to December and the fine sandy beaches, combined with the range of different islands to explore, means these Spanish islands have remained extremely popular.
Dubai is relatively new city that has grown out of the sands of the Middle East, and is now a mix of everything you could ever need when on a city break. From luxurious hotels, man made islands, the world’s tallest buildings, the world’s only 7-Star hotel and desert adventures to be had, a trip to the land of the Sheiks is not to be missed.
A winter break in Lisbon means many things, with the beautiful historical cityscape to the wonderful art museums, which contain European art from the 14th century right up to the present day. The city is fantastic for fine dining, and is considered to be on of the best city breaks on the continent.
The Portuguese city is compact with a friendly atmosphere, and if you’re looking for a beach holiday with a wealth of cultural sights, book your flight now!
Like the other selections on this list, Mauritius, a small island in the Indian Ocean, has fantastic weather all year round. Best known for its stunning natural beach coves, historic monuments, exotic wildlife, lush gardens and plentiful scenic spots where you can take time out and retreat from the world as it spins around you.
Many British travellers see Mauritius as a great winter sun destination, and with good reason. April is the wettest time of the year, while a 12 hour flight in the depths of winter will land you in a precious paradise, with guaranteed clear blue skies.
Whichever time you visit, you will be able to indulge in a spot of scuba diving, windsurfing on the lagoons which adorns the entire coastline.
10. Rio de Janeiro
Rio is known for its expansive, white sandy beaches and breathtaking landscape which dwarfs the city below. When in Rio, make sure you take a trip up the Sugar Loaf Mountain, or the towering Christ the Redeemer as well as sampling all of the sights, sounds and local delights.
The laidback culture, the expansive city and the Copacabana all tie in to create a city which is for good reason, touted as one of the greatest cities on the planet and of course, an excellent destination to catch the winter sun.
Ultimate Destinations for winter sun
When the evenings draw in and the temperature drops, you can either grin and bear it, or if you’re like us, you can chase the sun and find a real escape from your routine. Dark mornings are clearly not the way forward, and soon enough the summer becomes a distant memory. This doesn’t need to happen.
There is nothing better than jetting off somewhere hot when everybody else is having to travel to work with their gloves, scarfs and hats on. Winter decadence is easily achievable, when the cold takes a hold of the northern hemisphere, a trip south on a flight of only a couple of hours can really help you revitalise and rejuvenate.
When the peak season comes to an end in September, prices drop an crowds disperse. This means that there are some fantastic bargains to be found, and the pleasantries of out-of-season holiday destinations cannot be understated, allowing your family to relax and enjoy some downtime in the location of your choosing.
From Florida to the Canary Islands, Morocco or Thailand, the winter months are the perfect to visit these places and are great for escaping the bleak British winter which torments us each year. There are many diverse destinations to visit, and if you like to indulge in clear blue waters, tropical sunshine and love to kick back and watch the setting sun whilst sipping on cocktails and local cuisine, be sure to check out the destinations that we’ve covered in this blog.