Winter Sun – Find the Perfect Places to Get Away

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Looking to escape those long, dark nights and the dreary English weather? Taking in those rays and sipping margaritas on the beach could be closer than you think. If you’re in need of some vitamin D, there are plenty of holiday destinations for some much needed winter sun. 

Black framed Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses on top of a pile of books on the beach

Credit: Link Hoang

If you’re lucky enough to be able to avoid the price hikes of the school holidays, there are even better deals to be had. You can live it up Down Under, or discover a little bit of paradise in the Caribbean. Explore the sparkling waters of the Maldives, or island hop in Thailand. And you can enjoy a spot of luxury too. With 4 and 5-star hotels, and plenty of all-inclusive and adults-only resorts to choose from. So swap the blankets for beach towels, and take a look at our pick of the best winter sun holiday destinations.

Australia

Australia is both a country and a continent, in the Indian Ocean. It’s the sixth largest country in the world, and it’s geography is extremely diverse. From the snow-capped mountains of the Australian Alps, to large deserts, beautiful beaches and tropical forests. 

Australia’s climate varies greatly throughout the eight states and territories. There are four seasons across most of the country and a wet and dry season in the tropical north. The seasons are at opposite times to those in the UK, with summer running from December to February. This makes it the perfect destination for a winter sun holiday.

Things to do

Why not climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge for unrivalled views from a height of 440 feet. Or if snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef is on your bucket list, check out this exciting day trip from Cairns for the chance to see tropical marine life in the clear waters. And how about getting close to nature on a tour from Adelaide to Kangaroo Island, one of Australia’s most popular wildlife destinations.

Where to stay

Stay in the heart of Sydney at the 5-star Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel. Boasting a swimming pool and free WiFi, it’s just a 15-minute walk from Circular Quay, where you can visit the Sydney Opera House and the Museum of Contemporary Art, or view the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Built in the early 1900s, the hotel is a 20-minute walk from the historic Rocks district. The shopping options of Pitt Street Mall and the Queen Victoria Building are also within 15 minutes’ walk. Wynyard Train Station and bus stops are just a 2-minute walk away.

Why not climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge for unrivalled views from a height of 440 feet. Or if snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef is on your bucket list, check out this exciting day trip from Cairns for the chance to see tropical… Click To Tweet

Caribbean

Each Caribbean island flaunts its own distinct cultural and historical characteristics, meaning there is always something new and exciting to explore. But they’re all united in offering incredible natural beauty and beaches. Try Cuba for culture, the Dominican Republic for all inclusive resorts, Barbados for delicious food and drink, St. Lucia for adventure and Jamaica for a laid-back retreat.

A woman laying on a surfboard in the sea in the Dominican Republic

Credit: Kevin Wolf

The Caribbean islands enjoys a hot climate all year round. With wetter weather between May and October, it’s the perfect winter sun destination.

Things to do

Watch the sunset from the deck of a spacious catamaran during an evening St. Lucia cruise. Spend 2 hours cruising up the West Coast of St. Lucia with unlimited drinks from the open bar. Munch on complimentary snacks and groove to music from the onboard sound system while you watch the sun sink below the horizon. Or why not ride a horse right into the warm Caribbean waves on a unique horseback tour that covers the best of Jamaica’s north shore by land and by sea.

Where to stay

Nestled on Bavaro Beach in the Dominican Republic’s Punta Cana region, the 5-star Barceló Bávaro Palace is an all-inclusive resort, beside one of the 10 most stunning beaches in the world. The all-inclusive program includes breakfast, lunch and dinner at one of the 12 restaurants in the complex. Dining options include Japanese, Italian, French, and Mexican food.

300*250 UK

Maldives

Located on top of a vast underwater mountain range in the Indian Ocean, and made up of around 1,200 coral islands and sandbanks, the Maldives is a place like no other. The pearl string like islands cover a land area of 298 km2, and are surrounded by crystal clear water. These islands are protected by a reef structure, housing one of the most exclusive and spectacular underwater life. 

The capital, Malé, is home to a popular fish market, and produce market where you can buy local fruit and veg. It’s a crowded and fascinating place, and is a real contrast to the laid-back pace of island life. With near-perfect temperatures and a generally dry climate, it’s one of those idyllic destinations that’s always in season. Although it’s best to go November to April if you can to avoid the monsoon season, where the weather can become a little more unsettled. 

Things to do

You won’t be short of things to do in the crystal clear waters of the Maldives. You can swim with Manta Ray’s, take a once in a lifetime submarine tour or explore the beauty of the Maldives on a jet ski whilst cruising for dolphins. 

Where to stay

If you’re thinking of having a luxury holiday in a paradise destination, then the Hotel Riu Palace Maldivas is the ideal place for you. This all-inclusive resort in the Maldives is located on the private island of Kedhigandu and it offers an all-inclusive 24-hour service, free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, a wide range of cuisines and many relaxation and entertainment options. The hotel has Junior Suites located in various villas, as well as the exclusive overwater suites, some of which have small private pools.

Thailand

The islands of Thailand are the stuff of castaway fantasies. White sand and rustic-chic beach shacks by the stunning turquoise sea. With over a thousand islands, from the super-spas of Koh Samui to barefoot beach-bum in Koh Lipe. While Koh Lanta remains quietly chilled out with lovely places to stay on beaches that stretch for miles.

As the monsoon season winds down in November, sunny days return, making winter the best time to travel in Thailand.

Things to do

Explore the natural treasures of Phang Nga Bay on a full-day boat and kayaking adventure from Phuket or Khao Lak. Paddle around the glorious limestone cliffs and inside the ancient caves of Hong Island and Panak Island, swim and soak up the sun on Lawa Island and see one of Agent 007’s most iconic filming locations at James Bond Island. 

Where to stay

A 1-hr drive from Phuket International Airport, The Sands Khao Lak by Katathani is a stunning 5-star resort situated by Nang Thong Beach. Guests can relax with pampering massages or take a dip in the pool. You can also enjoy a great selection of Thai, western and seafood dishes at the top class restaurant.

Cyprus 

Cyprus is a classic destination for people looking for some sun, sea and sand. Whether you’re looking for an all-inclusive resort or you would rather be a bit more independent, there’s plenty to see and do on this Mediterranean island.

The third-largest island in the Mediterranean, it’s full of history and has cultural influences from Greece, Turkey, and beyond. On the coast, you can expect average highs of around 16 to 18 degrees, while it’s a little cooler inland.

Things to do

Why not take a tour of Cyprus this winter or even start thinking about how to enjoy yourself in the spring? Highlights of Cyprus include Paphos and the beautiful Troodos Mountains.

Where to stay

The Elysium Hotel in Paphos, is set in the heart of the historical district, within a 5-minute drive of Tombs of the Kings and Paphos Archaeological Park. The hotel has been tastefully designed to reflect the rich history that Cyprus offers. Byzantine architecture and features clashed with Greek, Roman and Medieval influences, create a unique 5-star hotel. Each element of Elysium has been designed with the utmost care and attention in order to provide luxury accommodation to each valued guest.

Malta

For another island adventure, head to Malta. This too is an island that has been influenced by a number of different cultures and nations, and it’s an incredible destination for history lovers. 

Of course, if you’re more of a beach person, you could head to somewhere like Golden Bay or St George’s Bay. You won’t be melting in tropical temperatures here, but you can expect comfortable temperatures of up to 17 degrees in the winter.

Things to do

The 16th century capital of Valletta is an amazing place to explore, where you can see how both Europe and Africa have shaped the island. Or take a little day trip to two of the nearby islands on a sightseeing cruise. Departing from Bugibba, head first for Comino where you’ll have time to swim and snorkel in the Blue Lagoon. Then continue to Gozo to explore the island, by foot or on an optional bus tour.

Where to stay

With a stay at Grand Hotel Excelsior, you’ll be centrally located in Floriana, just a 4-minute walk from Grand Harbour and 9 minutes by foot from Upper Barrakka Gardens. The hotel has a private sand beach, a full-service spa and 2 restaurants to enjoy.

Mexico

Set between the U.S. and Central America, Mexico is known for its Pacific and Gulf of Mexico beaches and its diverse landscape of mountains, deserts and jungles. Ancient ruins such as Teotihuacán and the Mayan city of Chichén Itzá are scattered throughout the country, as are Spanish colonial-era towns. In capital Mexico City, upscale shops, renowned museums and gourmet restaurants cater to modern life.

Mexico’s beaches get fantastic weather in winter. It also sees dry weather along the Caribbean Sea. Temperatures range from around 20 to 24 degrees, depending on how far south you go.

Things to do

You could spend your time in Mexico learning about the fascinating history and culture if you want to take an interesting tour. Or live it up in Cancun, where the party don’t stop ’til the sun comes up!

Where to stay

Make yourself at home in one of the 617 air-conditioned rooms at the all-inclusive Crown Paradise Club Cancun. Pamper yourself with a visit to the spa, which offers massages and body treatments. Or enjoy the 3 outdoor swimming pools, outdoor tennis courts, and sauna. You’ll be a 4-minute walk from Delfines Beach and 8 minutes by foot from El Rey Ruins. Plus 2.6 miles from Aquaworld and 4 miles from La Isla Shopping Mall.

United States

The US offers a number of great choices for winter sun. Holidays to Florida offer something completely unique. On one side of the coin you’ve got the state’s world-famous theme parks, on the other you’ve got some of the best beaches north of the Caribbean. Known as “The Sunshine State”, Florida has pleasant weather for most of the year. You’ll just want to avoid hurricane season which peaks in September/October.

South Beach in Miami, Florida

Credit: Matt Alaniz

California can be an incredible place to soak up the sun too, although it’s better to look at the south of the state instead of the north. Head to LA in January and February, and you get the joy of temperatures of up to 20 degrees and an average of only five rainy days a month.

Things to do

Experience two popular tours in one day on a guided Kennedy Space Center and Central Florida Everglades Airboat Safari from Orlando. First, look for alligators and other wildlife while discovering Florida’s swamplands on a thrilling airboat adventure. Then, visit the Kennedy Space Center for hours of touring the exhibits, including NASA’s launch headquarters, the Space Shuttle Atlantis and more.

Where to stay

Enjoy panoramic views of Biscayne Bay from the recently renovated Hilton Miami Downtown hotel. Discover miles of white sandy beaches and South Beach entertainment only minutes away. The hotel is only 15 minutes from Miami International Airport (MIA) and five minutes from the Port of Miami. Plunge into the outdoor rooftop pool and admire the Miami skyline view. Or enjoy your favourite frozen cocktail or a casual lunch poolside at CityVu Pool Bar.

There are plenty of other choices for where to go for winter sun. You can find your perfect destination and the best travel deals here on Made4Travel.

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