Winter sun holidays aren’t just fantastic for the soul, there are plenty of health benefits too. The benefits of getting a little sun each day include improved mood, health and sleep patterns. What’s more, the sun’s UV rays can even help to fight obesity and lower blood pressure. Whether you suffer from the Winter Blues, or just can’t face the long, dull months of cold and rain that seem to stretch endlessly ahead, winter sun could be your answer.
So, if the short days and cold weather are making you dream of grabbing some well-earned rest in the sun, check out some of our favourite destinations, where you can relax and enjoy yourselves, in warmer climes.
Tenerife may be the stereotypical place to go for a winter holiday, but if you are willing to go a little out of town, you will be rewarded with a winter sun holiday that is far from average. In fact, Tenerife is to the Europeans what Hawaii is to the Americans: a cheap flit to the sun to escape the winter. Home to incredible restaurants, stunning beaches and Spain’s tallest mountain, Pico del Teide, Tenerife brings vibrant nightlife and tourist attractions to the traditional Brit abroad, as well as offering authentic Canarian culture and cuisine for the more adventurous sunseeker. For great nightlife, water parks and tourist attractions, head to Play de las Americas in Southern Tenerife: for a more cultural experience and breath-taking surroundings, go north to La Laguna.
The Canarian winter is similar to British summers; temperatures tend to hover around 25°C. Unlike the Great British Summer, the Canary Islands experience little rain during winter; a light breeze makes the temperature great for sight-seeing.
Flight time: Flights to Tenerife take around 4 hours from the UK.
Luxury, heat, delectable cuisine, snorkelling and water sports: what is there not to love about the Maldives? Adults and children of all ages will be mesmerised by the beautiful tropical islands, with white sand beaches and warm lagoons. Many of the small islands in the Indian Ocean archipelago are home to just one hotel: an incredible way for people to get the ultimate desert island experience – in luxury! If you are travelling with family, or like to remain active on holiday, opt for one of the larger islands. If you get itchy feet, you can always take a glass-bottom boat trip or explore the stunning underwater world surrounding you.
Climate: The Maldives are hot, with temperatures hovering around 30°C. Occasional tropical rain storms and frequent dips in the warm Indian Ocean should be enough to cool you down; if not, you can always relax in the shade of a palm tree and enjoy a cooling cocktail.
Flight time: Direct flights to the Maldives will take around 11 hours from UK airports.
Dubai offers a little of something for everyone, including tropical climates, world-class shopping, cuisine from internationally renowned chefs and traditional souks. In Dubai, you can experience luxury, relaxation and authentic Arabian culture in one action-packed holiday. The fast-growing metropolis provides a plethora of sights and experiences, ranging from the uber-contemporary to the exquisitely traditional. There is no other place in the world where you can take a camel ride in the desert, shop in some of the world’s largest malls, or take to the slopes for some indoor skiing.
Climate: During the British Winter, Dubai is hot, with temperatures ranging from 25-30°C, with an occasional shower to provide pleasant relief from the sun.
Flight time: Direct flights to Dubai from the UK take around 7 hours.
With just two hours’ time difference, South Africa is the perfect destination for long-haul winter sun, without the jet lag. With incredible vineyards, awe-inspiring safaris, stunning beaches and vast, lush countryside, South Africa has something for all the family. Take in the stunning scenery in one of the longest aerial cable trails in the world, see magnificent animals in their natural habitat, or soak up the sun with a delicious glass of South African wine.
Climate: Typical temperatures during the UK winter (South Africa’s summer) average at around 26°C, although can reach the low 30s. With 11 hours of sunshine a day, South Africa is ideal for your winter vitamin D fix!
Direct flights to South Africa from the UK will take around 12 hours.
With its tropical climate and irresistible fusion of Caribbean and Latin Culture, Miami is the perfect place to indulge in some winter sun, with a little luxury and culture thrown in for good measure. By day, you can try your hand at deep-sea fishing or enjoy snorkelling or diving. Take in a few galleries, indulge in some retail therapy, or simply walk along South Beach and admire the stunning art deco architecture. Come the evening, when the city awakes to party, you can enjoy a delicious cocktail in one of the plentiful trendy bars and nightclubs, or dine like royalty in your choice of high-end restaurant. If you are looking for the ultimate, decadent winter sun holiday, Miami will not disappoint.
Climate: Temperatures during the UK’s winter are in the mid-twenties, with the sea temperature remaining warm at about 25°C. Although the days are shorter in Miami during winter, don’t let this put you off: it just gives you more time to enjoy a cocktail under the stars as you take in the lights of the beautiful city.
Flight time: Direct flights to Miami from the UK will take around 9 hours.