With the summer holidays already a distant memory, it’s time to get excited about some winter sun. We look at the best places to go…
Fly a little further to get the sunshine you crave in the winter months, and you won’t be disappointed. There are some great destinations to pick from – whether you are looking for a classic beach-style holiday or something a bit more luxurious; there is something to suit all budgets.
The Canary Islands
The number one winter sun destination! This group of seven islands has something for everyone, and with temperatures around 20c throughout the winter months and a flight time of under five hours, it’s easy to see why they’re so popular.
The most well-known islands are Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Tenerife. If you want a large resort with masses to keep the family busy, then look no further than Playa del Ingles in Gran Canaria. It is a resort which has something for everyone, whether you are looking for lavish meals out, family fun at a theme park, buggy racing on the dunes, a day at the beach or dolphin and whale spotting on the sea, plus much more. The beach stretches for miles and there is a wide range of accommodation on offer from simple self-catering apartments through to an all inclusive 5* boutique hotel.
Top Tip: Try the Papas Arrugadas, the local dish of wrinkly salted potatoes with Mojo sauce.
Madeira is an archipelago in the North Atlantic Ocean to the southwest of Portugal. 400 miles north of the Canary Islands, this stunning island is where the Portuguese global football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was born.
The capital, Funchal, is located on the south coast of the island and is a haven for culture seekers. With an average high temperature of 21c in December, this beautiful island is a great place to soak up some sunshine and culture over the winter. Madeira is a mountainous island with stunning flora and fauna with high volcanic peaks, making it perfect for hiking and walking.
On the northern slopes of Madeira Island, the valleys contain native forests which have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Fancy something relaxing after exploring?
Why not sunbathe on one of the stunning beaches and take in the culture and local food in the evening.
Top Tip: Explore the North of the island with its natural parks, waterfalls and wild horses.
A longer flight than the Canary Islands or Madeira, but well worth it. At around 12 hours flight time, Mexico is a great choice for couples and families with older children. It is well known and loved for its hospitable people, love of spicy foods and its cultural history.
Whether you are looking to go on an adventure in the southern jungles or want to explore the snow-capped volcanoes in its northern deserts, Mexico won’t leave you disappointed. With its long coastline and crystal clear sea, take some time out soaking up the rays on one of Mexico’s many beaches.
Explore some of its history and culture with a visit to Chichen Itza, the famous Mayan site that is now one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The capital, Mexico City, is known for its ancient canals, art and culture as much as for the sumptuous smells and tastes of its street food.
Top Tip: Avoid travelling in September as this is Mexico’s hurricane season.
No winter sunshine holiday list would be complete without the US state of Florida. Famous for its amusement parks including the Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Studios and SeaWorld, the state of Florida is one of the most visited holiday destinations in the world!
With so much to see and do, you will need longer than a week here. The Walt Disney World Resort alone has four theme parks, two water parks, four golf courses and thirty-six hotels to choose from!
Florida is also home to Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center where the Apollo flights were launched. The Florida Reef is also the only living coral barrier reef in the United States and has a plethora of stunning marine life which you can visit at one of the National Parks. For sport, Florida offers a great chance to see one of the USA’s main sports firsthand: Florida has three NFL teams, two NBA teams and two MLB teams.
Top Tip: Pre-book your tickets online to avoid queues during the busy season.
Check before you travel
Some of our suggested destinations are further afield than you may usually travel during the summer holidays. Always check if a VISA is required. You can check on the gov.uk website for all travel requirements for certain countries. It will also include up-to-date information regarding weather warnings and extra travel advice.
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