The winter coats are back on, London summer and a rather short Autumn have come and gone and like many, I am longing for winter sun destinations to escape the winter blues. I love a good winter getaway. Last year winter saw me exploring Dubai and Israel, the year before I did a month long trip in Namibia, Botswana and Zambia and the year before that winter was spent in Malaysia, Cambodia and Thailand’s best beaches. You can find many of the reviews from these trips on the blog but I will link to them below as well. So in this post you will not only get some tried and tested dreamy winter destinations but the inspiration for the best December beach destinations and if you are looking for the best places for January sun, I got you! Whether you are looking for short haul or long haul, you not only have options for best winter sun holiday destinations in Europe and for Africa, Asia, Caribbeans and beyond.
Top Winter Sun Destinations
I am sure it’s already obvious that I love scoping out winter breaks and have been known to grab the deals to the best holidays at Christmas and jet off somewhere sunny. So you are looking for pleasant winter temperatures to escape the chill, there is plenty to go round below. If you are looking for winter sun family holiday or couple’s getaway cheap destinations or a luxury break blending beautiful scenery, great beaches, friendly locals and intoxicatingly delicious food, we will have you jetting off in no time.
The Best Sites For Deals
These are some of the sites I usually check out for winter break deals. If you are travelling from the UK and Europe check out LastMinute, EasyJet Holidays. and eDreams. Also if you are after all-inclusive deals then LastMinute and Expedia are great too. If I have particular destinations in mind I usually check flight deals on Expedia and Trip. If you are someone that prefers escorted tours across multiple countries or want to check out a particular destination but not sure about going alone or are apprehensive then check out a group tour. For example, a lot of people want to visit Africa but somehow fear the continent because of what you have seen in the media then you can get your first bite by group tour on your own.
The trip I did with my husband involves a round trip covering Zambia, Botswana, and Namibia. That was all planned by me, we rented cars and drove from Botswana to Namibia and flew between some cities, the roads are great in Namibia and Botswana and all pretty safe. If the thought of planning such a trip is daunting, then check out G Adventures as they have a similar itinerary all marked out and you get to enjoy winter sun experiencing beaches, sand dunes and safaris all rolled into one beautiful adventure.
The same if you want to do an escorted trip in Asia or South America. Check out Contiki(18-35-year-olds), Wendy Wu Tours( £50 off with this code: WWT0918oD – until 31/12/18), or Riveria Travel or Pacific Holidays. If you are in the camp of self-planners who book flights and hotels then also check out Booking.com for hotel deals. This is my go-to whether booking hotels for business trips or trips for pleasure. Without further ado, below are my tried and tested winter sun destinations for December, January and February winter escapes.
- 1 Dubai, United Arabs Emirates
- 3 Cape Verde
- 4 Gran Canary
- 5 Siem Reap & Song Saa Island
- 6 Kuala Lumpur & Langkawi
- 7 Cape Town
- 8 Tenerife
- 9 Thailand: Bangkok & Phuket
- 10 Sri Lanka
- 11 Marrakesh
- 12 Mexico
- 13 Sydney
- 14 Cairo & Egyptian Ruins
- 15 Livingstone, Zambia
- 16 Seychelles
- 17 Andalusia, Spain
- 18 Mauritius
- 19 Caribean Islands
- 20 Maldives
Dubai, United Arabs Emirates
This is the second largest og the United Arab Emirates and home to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa and boasts beautiful beaches and some of the worlds best hotels that are not just 5 star but seven stars! With the likes of Burj Al Arab and Atlantis Palm which was built around the myth of the lost continent of Atlantis, the ocean-themed resort is the majestic gateway to The Palm.
This place also host amazing new year’s even parties if you stick around to ring in the new year there. Dubai is popularly known for luxury shopping, ultramodern architecture, desserts and lively nightlife scenes. But, it’s also an escape away from winter, middle of the of the year seems to the high temperature in Dubai, August is the hottest month in Dubai with an average temperature of 96° f [36°c]. The best time to take a winter sun vacation to Dubai is October to February.
If you can stand the Arabian heat during the summer period many hotels offer great deals, and some even thrown in free meal meals at onsite restaurants. I have written about a few of my trips to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, covering things to do in Abu Dhabi, what to wear in Dubai in addition to a guide on the best areas to stay in Dubai with hotel guide.
Still a surprisingly underrated and undiscovered destination, Cape Verde (a cluster of volcanic islands off the northwest coast of Africa) is blessed with some amazing beaches, where tall dunes meet clear tropical seas. The climate is warm and friendly. Highs in January can reach the mid-20s. Here, there are so many beaches such as Corvo Beach, Sao Vicente Beach or Santa Maria Beach. Explore the best holiday resorts for couples and families here.
Get your winter sun in Gran Canaria, one of Spain’s Canary Islands, off North-western Africa. It’s known for its black lava and white sand beaches. Summer in Gran Canary runs from Mid-May till the end of September. It gets hot quickly in the Cumbres. If you want to relax and enjoy the sun you can go to the beachside visit Playa Del Ingles or Las Canteres. Check out Booking.com to find the perfect spot to relax on this beautiful island.
Siem Reap & Song Saa Island
One of my favourite Asian destinations and not only perfect if you are after a cheap winter sun getaway but you can also have plenty of luxury cheaper than many destinations out there. This is also one of those perfect destinations for winter long stay holidays without blowing the budget too much. I have also had the pleasure of ringing the new year in Siem Reap. Siem Reap is a Northern Cambodian village, that has been upgraded to a town.
There is never a bad time to visit Siem Reap. The weather is warm to hot all year long, but its main dry season runs from November – March, with little or no rain from December – January but still a cool temperature. You can consider visiting Siem Reap and the Temples Angror or Battambang then head off to experience Cambodian beaches on Song Saa Island. This is where you will find eco chic villas that have been built from timber, decorated with revived Khmer pottery. You can read about my tips on the best temples to visit in Siem Reap, things to do in Siem Reap beyond temples and a guide to where to stay in Siem Reap on the blog.
Kuala Lumpur & Langkawi
Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia and also the largest city in Malaysia. The middle year months have very comfortable weather with high temperatures that are quite warm. These months see the least precipitation with 7 to 9 days of precipitation per month. Summer runs from June – August making it the busiest season for tourism in Kuala Lumpur, so lodging and other accommodations may cost more than usual.
If you are heading out for winter sun, you will be rewarded with amazing weather. For one of the best holidays at Christmas time, a Christmas break in Kuala Lumpur is well worth the trip as they put on a show in the city. We explored the Batu Caves, stayed right in the city at Mandarin Oriental looking out at the Petronas Towers with the amazing KLCC Mall right next to our hotel was a treat.
If you are an island lover, you can also escape the city hustle and bustle and head to Langkawi and surrounding beautiful islands like the Tioman Island, or the Redang Island. There is an amazing collection of hotels and resort waiting to welcome you. The Datai in Langkawi comes highly recommended.
Cape Town is a coastal city in South Africa, February is the hottest month in Cape Town with an average temperature of 73°F (23°C) , the best time to visit Capetown to escape winter ranges from November – April because they experience their warm/dry season around this period.
Then there’s the white sandy beaches, iconic scenery, and exceptional cuisine and wine. If you’d like to relax at the beach side you can visit the Beta Beach, Bakoven, Bikini Beach and cool bay, Gordon’s Bay, and the Sunset Beach, Blouberg. To experience winter sun in style, check into One & Only in Cape Town which features a majestic backdrop of Table Mountains.
Tenerife is the largest island in Spain. Its glorious weather makes it the perfect holiday destination 365 days of the year. The Canary Islands boasts a subtropical climate, which makes them an appealing holiday destination at any time. The Canaries are probably the closest place to find winter sun, and Tenerife is tantalizingly temperate. With an average high of around 20°C, Summer runs from May -October.
Tenerife is not too hot, neither is it too cold. You can visit the beaches to unwind and relax, you can visit the Abama beach or the La Laguna. If you are a lover of luxury resort accommodation I highly recommend Bahia Del Duque and Ritz Carlton Abama. Bahia Del Duque resort feels a small beachfront town and Ritz is a Moorish style private estate atop a hillside with stunning gardens stretching down to the sea. Both also overall inclusive as well as being family friendly.
Thailand: Bangkok & Phuket
- Bangkok is the capital and most populous city of Thailand. It welcomes more visitors than any other city in the world and it doesn’t take long to realise why, Bangkok is a city of contrasts with action at every turn. Among the very best of best cheap winter sun destinations to visit. It is also a perfect escape from winter, their dry season runs from March to June while their cool season around run from November – February. But the best time to visit Bangkok in other to avoid too much heat or too much cold is November to early December. Hence why this made for the best place for sun in December as we embarked upon exploring the Grand Palace Temple enjoying winter sun as this is one of the best place to go in December for vacation. The city is modern, there is plenty to see and do; from shopping to food, markets, temples and beyond.
- Phuket, a rainforested, mountainous island in the Andaman Sea, has some of Thailand’s most popular beaches, mostly situated along the clear waters of the western shore. Phuket weather is mostly mild, and it has a tropical monsoonal climate. It’s warm all year round, but it is hottest from April to May with temperatures ranging from 27°C to 36°C (80°F to 95°F). Humidity is high, at this time, which can make the days feel even hotter. The beach best beach you need to visit during summer, The Katz beach, Surin Beach and cool the Karon Beach. For a guide to the best areas to stay in Phuket and hotels check out my detailed guide. Also, check out some the best experiences not to miss out on in Phuket. and what to pack for a trip to Thailand.
The perfect introduction to Sri Lanka should encompass the best the island has to offer. Visit the Ritagala Monastery, explore Minneriya National Park, Climb the iconic Sigiriya Rock Fortress, enjoy Sri Lankan food while staying at some of the most stylish boutique hideaways Sri Lanka has to offer. I have shared tips on the best tours in Sri Lanka, covering budget and escorted tours in Sri Lanka that cover Kandy’s charming street markets, take the scenic train journey to Hatton then check out the Ceylon Tea Trails all the while enjoying the amazing weather on offer in the winter season.
Marrakesh, a former imperial city in western Morocco, is a major economic centre and home to mosques, palaces and gardens. It is the fourth largest city in the country. Marrakech is the most visited place in Morocco, which is the most visited country in Africa. Summer in Marrakech is a great time to visit. It can be hot, but there’s plenty of wonderful shade options and lots of sublime swimming pools in idyllic settings for cooling off and enjoying the summer. Summer runs from June – September and gets milder towards the end of the year but still perfect for winter sun. If you are after a blissful sanctuary in the heart of the red city then check into the steamy hammam at Le Spa at Four Seasons, where you can also enjoy view of the Atlas Mountains from your very private terrace.
The likes of Los Cabos or Riviera Maya have been welcoming couple and family alike for summer and winter getaway for a long time. Both offer miles and miles of sandy beaches where resorts are surrounded by emerald jungle and pristine white beaches. Holidaymakers are spoilt for choice with the likes Grand Velas, Rosewood Mayakoba or One & Only Palmilla resorts. For all-inclusive winter breaks deals to Mexico, check out LastMinute or Expedia.
Sydney is the state capital of New South Wales and the most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Located on Australia’s east coast, summer runs from December – February average maximum temperatures are around 26°C. It can also be humid at this time with an average humidity of 65 per cent. Explore the beautiful beaches along Bondi Beach to Coogee or get tips on tops things to do in Sydney plus where to get the best views in Sydney. This and Melbourne are among the best places to travel in the world in December and January as you get amazing weather to escape the winter blues and white Christmas in sight as you chill out on the beach with glowing skin.
Cairo & Egyptian Ruins
Cairo is the capital of Egypt. Cairo is famous for its own history, preserved in the fabulous medieval Islamic city and Coptic sites in Old Cairo. In Cairo days are commonly warm or hot, and nights are cool. Cairo has only two seasons: a mild winter from November to April and a hot summer from May to October. A visit to Cairo without seeing the Giza Pyramid can’t be counted as a trip. A stay at Marriott Mena means you can relax and have views of the Pyramids from your very own balcony. Experience your winter sun break in Cairo via a 3-7 day cruise on the Nile.
Livingstone is a town in southwestern Zambia, a few kilometers from the Zambezi River and the border with Zimbabwe. The best time to visit Livingstone for Summer ranges from August to April. Zambia is at it’s peak in October and super hot so best to visit around November- December for a milder weather but still warm. We had the pleasure of staying at a couple of places in Livingstone.
A stay at Royal Livingstone hotel means you have roaming Zebras on the grass outside your rooms as well as views of the roaring Victoria Falls from the pool and lounge areas. You can read about our stay in Maramba River Lodge. For a luxury stay on the Zambezi check out our stay at Tongabezi and for tips on things to do in Livingstone and adventures on Livingstone check out my posts on how to experience this beautiful African gem.
Idyllic islands, powdery sand beaches, you can see why these islands are popular with couples and for family getaways. You can spend your days lounging on the stunning beaches with crystal clear water. Seychelles has around 115 islands, Palm trees framing the pristine beaches allowing you to relax in an unspoilt environment. If you are a lover of diving and snorkeling this is the island and explore the ocean’s gleaming coral and shimmering shoals. Here you will also find some of the rarest species like the heaviest tortoise. You can easily travel between Seychelles islands and discover the magic hidden its beauty. Some of the best resorts on the island include MAIA Luxury Resort & Spa Seychelles, Savoy Seychelles Resort & Spa, Iles Des Palmes Hotel Eco Resort and Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa.
Another among winter sun Spain options. Andalusia is a largely autonomous region of hill, rivers and farmland bordering Spain’s Southern Coast. It is known as one of the sunniest areas of Europe, the weather in Andalusia feels like a year-round summer. Explore the golden triangle major attraction of Seville, Ardales, Cordoba, and Grenada. The points of the golden triangle are conveniently connected by train, and it’s 45minutes from Seville to Cordoba and 1 hour or more to Granada. You can also visit the beach of Cala Honda to relax and enjoy your summer.
Things you might be needing for this trip are swimwear, sunglasses and sunscreen rather than your umbrella. So if you are desperate for a dose of vitamin D, or can’t wait to top up that tan, visit any of the places above. While you are in the region, interesting places to check out include El Choro and El Caminito Del Rey. If you are arriving via Malaga check out some of the coolest Airbnb beach stays in Malaga.
Cast away the winter blues in this East African island located in the Southern Indian Ocean. Famed for its rainforests, mountains, beautiful waterfalls and spectacular beaches. If you are escaping the cold and grey British winters then the warmth of the sun here offers that cozy protective blanks among the pristine sunny coastlines. You can have relaxation as well as adventures when exploring the nature park in Bel-Ombre by quad bike or take a catamaran tour to spot dolphins.
Explore Hindu temples, sugar cane fields or relax on the stunning beaches. If you are looking for a family break or a private couples or honeymoon getaway. There is plenty to choose from. Some of the best and favorite resorts on Mauritius and its surrounding islands are Lux* Belle Mare, Constance Prince Maurice, One & Only Le Saint Geran, Four Seasons Mauritius, St Regis Mauritius and Long Beach Sun Resort.
Islands like Barbados, Turks & Caicos, Bahamas, Anguilla and St Lucia are all waiting with award-winning Caribbean resorts with first class service. Great beaches, warm turquoise water, you can easily ferry hop between 60 British Virgin Islands that blend sun-bleached beaches with superb diving and sophisticated hideaways. Explore the Bahamas with its 700 islands or Barbados which is famed for its powdery sandy beaches perfect for honeymooners or family vacations with extreme relaxation among rolling landscapes. The option here are endless. For more on resorts ore deals on winter sun all inclusive holidays check out Expedia or Lastminute.
This is one of the best best winter sun destinations. If you are looking for a relaxing winter sun destination then the Maldives is it! Luxury comes as a standard in the Maldives. Breathtakingly beautiful tropical islands with a Salt Bae style sprinkling of palm trees edged with powdery white sand beaches. Clear sparkling turquoise waters perfect for beach lovers with picture perfect scenery as a backdrop.
Another island perfect for snorkeling and diving as well as watching the time go back while lounging on the beach. This is where relaxation and pure indulgence are the itineraries for the day. Swim with the fish and see marine life that is simply jaw-dropping. Among favourites for winter sun R&R are Amilla Fushi, Six Senses Laamu, Gili Lankanfushi, Kanuhura, Milaidhoo, Baros, Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru and One & Only Reethi Rah.
With all these beautiful countries to explore you can see why my getaways in winter usually involve a multi-country tour in a particular region on the globe. It’s just too hard to choose sometimes, so above I have given you options for where to get winter sun with not only best winter sun holiday destinations in Europe, options for warm winter family vacations, romantic couples getaways, winter sun all inclusive holidays and options for cheap winter sun destinations! So the question is, where are you going for your winter sun vacation?! 😀
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