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As temperatures drop and the nights begin to draw in, many minds turn to sunnier climates and people often wish they were somewhere far away. Every winter, thousands of Brits escape the UK weather to head abroad – not to ski or enjoy the snow, but to find somewhere warm and sunny.
There are a wide variety of destinations around the world that offer winter sun, so it can be difficult to decide where to go. Below are our top ten winter sun destinations to give you a bit of inspiration.
One of the most obvious places to find winter sun, Australia truly offers something for everyone. The Aussie spirit is infectious and creates an outgoing, adventurous and relaxed atmosphere. Explore Sydney for a taste of the metropolitan, or head for the coast for surfing, sun-worshipping and barbeques on the beach.
Remember that our winter is Australia’s summer, so all the well-known beaches will be busy. To get away from the crowds, head to the Whitsunday Islands on the east coast. Here you’ll find 74 tropical islands, 66 of which are practically untouched! Perfect.
We also recommend taking a road trip along the Gold Coast, as this will give you the opportunity to see Byron Bay, splash about in the warm, blue waters and explore the lush green rainforests.
Known as ‘the Jewel of the Atlantic’, Bermuda is a stunning island paradise. Fantastic weather, pink sandy beaches, an interesting history and warm culture combine to create one great destination – no wonder it’s been voted ‘Best Island in the Atlantic/Caribbean’ so many times.
To find the best beaches, make your way to the south shore. Horseshoe Bay is usually the most crowded, so we suggest you go to Warwick Long Bay instead – it’s just as beautiful. If you can drag yourself away from the beach, Bermuda’s capital, Hamilton, boasts a great selection of shops, museums, restaurants, gardens and galleries. There really is so much to see!
There’s so much more to Brazil than just football. For one, it provides sun-seekers with more than 4,500 miles of stunning coastline. In fact, Brazil is full of natural beauty, from the Amazon River to the Iguassu waterfalls.
If you’d like to see a bit of everything this country has to offer, stay in Rio. After all, no trip to Brazil is complete without seeing its most famous landmark – the Christ the Redeemer statue. You’ll need to travel up to the Sugarloaf and Corcovado mountains to see the statue up close. Both mountains offer amazing views of the entire city and its bays and beaches. Don’t forget that camera!
California is the perfect location for people who are seeking a winter destination that has it all. One morning you may be sunning yourself on the beach, but by the afternoon you could be hiking up a mountain. Another bonus is the fact this American state enjoys mild winters with little rain and tons of sunshine – they don’t call it the Golden State for nothing.
For those days you’ve dedicated to lying on the beach, head to Santa Monica, San Diego or Santa Barbara; for adventure and sightseeing, don’t miss Los Angeles, Death Valley and Palm Springs. Why not time your trip to coincide with some of the many events they plan over the winter period, such as the Oscars?
The Canary Islands are the perfect place to escape the rat race and recharge your batteries. With over three thousand hours of sunshine each year, lovely beaches, great nature, a wide variety of activities, and relaxing spa treatments, you will definitely get the break that you are craving. There are a variety of islands you can visit and stay on during your trip, but wherever you go, you’ll enjoy wonderfully warm weather – during December, temperatures remain around 20 degrees.
Tenerife is one of the most popular destinations among Brits; perhaps thanks to its wide variety of beaches, thriving nightlife and choice of water sport activities. If you and your family would prefer to head somewhere a bit quieter, the smaller islands of La Gomera, El Hierro and La Palma are unspoilt and perfect for those who want their own piece of paradise.
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.
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!
Hopefully our list has helped you find your dream winter holiday destination. Just remember to make sure your passport is in date and buy the right travel insurance cover. Wherever you choose to go and whatever you decide to do, we know you’ll have a fantastic time.*Please note, Holidaysafe's online prices automatically include a 15% discount against our Customer Service Centre prices. This code entitles you to an additional 5% off your policy, and is a discount from the base price, not including the additional cost of optional extensions or any additional medical premium.
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