Avoid the winter blues and escape to one of these wonderful winter sun destinations. After all, your body NEEDS the vitamin D.
This post will give you ideas for that perfect winter sun holiday. The sort that a doctor would prescribe to ensure you’re not in danger of a vitamin D deficiency! If waking up to a cold, dark, dull winter’s day has you yearning for blue skies and the feeling of the sun on your skin, our winter getaways are exactly what you need.
There are a few European destinations which are hot in the summer and moderately warm in the winter, making them perfect for sightseeing trips without the crowds. One such destination is the island of Malta. For the most part, however, it is cold in Europe throughout December, January, and February. Europe is perfect for a proper ‘winter fun’ holiday, less good for a ‘swim in the sea and return with a suntan’ holiday. Our favourite winter sun destinations therefore involve a longer time in the air. But totally worth it!
For inspiration on how to use your annual leave to maximise your time off work over Christmas (and at other times of the year) read:
BARBADOS: Swap Hot Chocolate for Pina Coladas
|Flying time from the UK||8.5 hours|
Why Barbados is a great winter sun destination
This vibrant, colourful, glorious Caribbean island enjoys average high temperatures in the high 20s (°C) throughout the winter months. December marks the end of the hurricane season in Barbados and the start of the dry season so the rainfall levels drop throughout the winter. Guaranteed winter sun!
Barbados has the beaches you would expect from a Caribbean tropical island, particularly on its south and west coasts. You know the sort we’re talking about: powder soft fine white sand, gorgeous warm azure waters, palm trees gently swaying in the breeze. After all, the west coast isn’t called the ‘platinum coast’ for nothing! But it also has great surfing beaches and the sort of waves that pound against the cliffs in the north and east of the island.
Away from the beaches (assuming you can tear yourself away), visit the subterranean world of Harrison’s Cave; join the locals at a fish fry; catch a film at the Globe Drive-In open air cinema; dine in some of the island’s best restaurants, and did someone mention rum? Your holiday to Barbados would not be a proper Caribbean experience if you didn’t visit a rum distillery and have one or two samples (or ten).
Our accommodation pick: Beach View in Paynes Bay
For more on Barbados read:
DUBAI: Swap Snow for a Desert City
|Flying time from the UK||7 hours|
Why Dubai is a great winter sun destination
As you would expect from a city in the desert, Dubai gets hot. And when we say ‘hot’ we mean temperatures upwards of 40°C! Visit in the winter, however, and you’ll experience pleasant balmy days in the mid-20s (°C). Additionally, there’s no more than one day of rain per month, if that. You can see why Dubai makes it onto our list of great winter sun destinations!
Dubai has a reputation for doing everything bigger and better, and it certainly lives up to its reputation! Amongst other things you can visit the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest tower); marvel at a lost world under the sea at the Lost Chambers Aquarium; relax on the beach; watch a performance or take a backstage tour at the Dubai Opera House (our personal favourite!), and shop ’til you drop at one of Dubai’s many shopping malls and souks.
Oman is another place that is great to visit in the winter as the temperatures are cooler (but still warm) making travel more comfortable. It’s also a great destination to pair with Dubai to make a twin-centre holiday. For a guide to planning twin-centre holidays read Top Tips For Planning a Multi-Country Itinerary.
Our accommodation pick: Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights
MAURITIUS: Santa Will Find You in the Southern Hemisphere
|Flying time from the UK||12 hours|
Why Mauritius is a great winter sun destination
Mauritius has a reputation for being a luxury holiday destination, with a price tag to match. Go during the winter months, however, and you stand a very good chance of getting a decent travel bargain. Why? Well November to May is cyclone season in Mauritius and January and February are the islands wettest months. This makes it sound worse than it actually is because the rain usually falls in short downpours before the sun comes out and dries everything. Temperatures are usually in the mid to late 20s (°C), although they can go up to 30°C, meaning swimming in the Indian Ocean is like taking a lovely warm bath!
Of all of the places on this list, Mauritius is our favourite winter sun destination.
Writing this article is hard because we keep daydreaming about beaches and Mauritius has us daydreaming more than ever. Those in Mauritius are sublime, but there’s more to this Indian Ocean island than postcard-perfect paradise beaches. Hike through Black River Gorges National Park; go waterfall hunting throughout the island; marvel at the seven-coloured earth in Chamarel; discover cultural and holy sites and celebrate Chinese New Year in the only country outside Asia that observes the day as a national holiday; spot the rare pink pigeon and learn what happened to the now extinct dodo; go walking with lions; relax in the Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens, and learn about the country’s history of sugar, tea, and rum production.
Our accommodation pick: Maritim Resort & Spa
For more on Mauritius read:
MIAMI: Rub Shoulders with Celebrities
|Flight time from the UK||10 hours|
Why Miami is a great winter sun destination
Celebrities descend on Miami during the winter months thanks to its warm weather and low humidity. Although the winter months are considered the ‘coolest’ months, that’s a good thing in Miami. In fact, it may well be the best time to visit this glamorous, diverse, and buzzing city. This is one winter sun destination where you’ll want to relax and party in equal measures.
You won’t be short of things to do in Miami. Miami Beach is famous for its beaches and its strong Latin American and Caribbean influences make it a melting pot of culture and flavours. Get a head start on your new year health goals and join in with Miami’s fitness culture; admire the Art Deco architecture and visit the galleries and museums by day before partying the night away at one of Miami’s exclusive clubs; grab a seat at a cute boutique café and people-watch to your heart’s content, or get your spot on South Beach to see and be seen. If you want to be closer to the natural world, the Everglades National Park is right on your doorstep. Just don’t get too friendly with the crocodiles and alligators!
For more on Miami read:
PANAMA: Swap Your Woolly Hat For a Panama Hat
|Flight time from the UK||Around 15 hours (indirect only)|
Why Panama is a great winter sun destination
Panama has two coastlines, bordering the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean in the south. Its tropical climate means it is hot all year round, but there is a difference in the rainfall across the country. For example, during the winter months temperatures in Panama City (the capital) are in the 30s with rainfall decreasing dramatically throughout the season. In the mountainous Chiriqui Province the weather is similar, but in the north rainfall is abundant.
There is so much to do in Panama that it would be easier to write a list of the things you can’t do! In the capital alone you can explore both the cosmopolitan metropolis and the ruins of the historical capital, hike through tropical rainforests and national parks, relax on beaches and marvel at the Panama Canal. Throughout the country you can climb mountains (or an extinct volcano), visit coffee farms, get your adrenaline rush from adventure sports, go horse riding, birdwatching, sports-fishing, or flop on the beach on one of the many stunningly beautiful islands.
Panama makes for one epic winter sun destination!
Our accommodation pick: Bocas del Mar, Boca Chica, Chiriqui
For more on Panama read: