The start of the year can be a pretty miserable time to be in central or northern Europe. With the festive thrill of the Christmas and New Year season behind you and the hopeful glint of the annual summer holiday far away in the future, now is a great time to cheer yourself up with a journey to one of the top five winter sun holiday destinations, somewhere where the sun always shines – even in winter!
Top Five Winter Sun Holiday Destinations
If you’ve had enough of the early nights, the never-ending rain and the spine-numbingly low temperatures of winter, pack your bags and book a trip to one of these sun-kissed top five winter sun holiday destinations.
Canary Islands, Spain
Although the Canary Islands are owned by Spain, they have a totally different subtropical climate, which means they enjoy loads of sunshine and pleasantly warm temperatures all-year-round. Tenerife is the most popular Canary Island to visit, with family-friendly holiday resorts, dark volcanic beaches and fun-filled tourist attractions, but there are other options available, too.
La Palma is home to a handful of rural guesthouses, wine routes between family-run bodegas and unparalleled star-gazing opportunities, whilst La Gomera is even more off-the-beaten-track and is known for its stunning forest walking routes, quaint fishing villages and fabulous viewpoints which are a photographer’s dream.
Just like the Canary Islands, Madeira is owned by Portugal but boasts a much better climate. During winter, the island experiences an average high temperature of 18°C with around seven hours of daily sunshine, making it the perfect place to warm up this winter.
Thanks to its pleasant climate, Madeira is picture-perfect throughout the year, which means that even if you visit in winter, you’ll still be able to admire its verdant tree-covered mountains and colourful flower-lined promenades – but gorgeous views aren’t all the island has to offer. Visitors can also enjoy a wealth of water sports, boat excursions, mountain walks and artisan markets.
Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt
For something more exotic this winter, consider Egypt. Due to the country’s previous problems, flights and accommodation here are remarkably cheap, making it perfect for small budgets. From remarkably affordable five-star hotels and postcard-worthy beaches to amazing scuba diving and action-packed water parks, Sharm el Sheikh is a great place to relax and take it easy or get active and do as much as you can – whichever works for you.
On the other hand, if you prefer your holidays to be a bit more cultural, ditch Sharm and book a Red Sea cruise instead for the chance to go inside genuine pharaohs’ tombs, see authentic hieroglyphic paintings and gaze upon the lavish jewellery rulers’ wore in their heydays.
Whether you’re a solo traveller, young family or retired couple – a holiday in Florida offers something for everyone. Winter is possibly the best time to visit the state, when average daily high temperatures are 22°C-26°C and the sea is a wonderfully warm 24°C. Since winter is considered to be out of season, you should be able to bag some amazing deals on flights and accommodation at this time of year, too.
For action-packed days out, there’s a huge selection of world-class theme parks, water parks and safari parks, but if you’re after a more relaxing experience, Florida also has white sandy beaches, unparalleled shopping opportunities and captivating museums.
Auckland, New Zealand
Whilst most of Europe is suffering bitingly cold temperatures in winter, Auckland in New Zealand is basking in the sunshine. Average temperatures here during this season are similar to that of Florida, with clear blue skies and oodles of sunshine almost guaranteed every day.
For foodies there are Michelin-starred restaurants and wine tasting in vineyards, whilst culture vultures can explore naval museums and embark on guided Maori tours. Animal lovers are treated to on-ice penguin encounters and incredible bird watching, whilst adrenaline-junkies can test their bravery by hang gliding and bungee jumping.