As winter temperatures turn chilly, we can’t help thinking about where to get that next bit of sunshine. Where do you go for warm winter weather though? And where are the best value winter sun destinations?
To give you a helping hand, we’ve rounded up ten budget-friendly holiday hotspots where you can enjoy a dose of vitamin D without the price tag this winter.
An eternal favourite, Tenerife is well-loved for its year round sunshine. Between November and January, average temperatures peak in the early twenties, making it easy to forget any winter blues as you kick back on sandy shores. It’s a great time of year to get stuck into outdoor activities including quad bike tours and hikes in Teide National Park, or treat yourself to a boat trip – November to February are the best months to spot dolphins and whales.
Cyprus treats visitors to beautiful nature reserves and quiet beaches that are much less crowded during the winter months. Go strawberry picking in the countryside or take advantage of the slightly cooler weather to wander around the historical sights of Paphos and Limassol. Pleasant 20°C temperatures mean beach days are still on the cards too, as are boat trips and sea cave tours – head to Ayia Napa to see some of the best.
If the sizzling hot temperatures put you off visiting Sharm el Sheikh in the summer then winter is the perfect time to enjoy a relaxing break in this popular Red Sea resort. You’ll find plenty of beachfront hotels offering all-inclusive package deals where you can sit back and soak up some sunshine by the pool. Or if you’re seeking adventure, head underwater to explore vibrant coral reefs on a scuba-diving tour or tear up the dunes on a 4x4 jeep safari.
Lanzarote’s incredible landscapes and majestic beaches make it a hit with holidaymakers any time of year, but winter is a fantastic time to make the most of the island without the peak season crowds. The sea temperature remains warm enough for watersports so you can try your hand at kayaking, windsurfing or jet-skiing. Away from the beach, lace up your hiking boots and check out Lanzarote’s volcano-filled interior – don’t miss Jameos del Agua, a hollow lava tube that has been transformed with tropical gardens, restaurants and even a natural auditorium.
With soft white-sand beaches, turquoise oceans and palm trees swaying in the breeze, Cape Verde’s tropical islands could easily be mistaken for the Caribbean. In reality, just a six-hour flight from the UK will bring you to this sub-tropical archipelago off the west coast of Africa. Take advantage of the blissful warm weather (temperatures average 26°C) and treat yourself to a winter sun beach escape. You’ll find plenty of package holiday deals in Boa Vista or Sal, where you can chill out on the sand and enjoy a cocktail while watching one of Cape Verde's spectacular sunsets.
Searching for winter sunshine closer to home? With daytime temperatures hovering in the high-teens and incredible low season deals to be snapped up, the Algarve is an easy pleaser. The popular resorts of Albufeira and Lagos still have plenty going on if you’re after family fun on the beach or popular activities such as golf and sea kayaking. Alternatively, make the most of the quieter hotels with a romantic getaway, exploring quaint fishing villages and historic old towns at your leisure.
Head to Morocco in peak summer and roasting temperatures pushing 40°C can make it hard to enjoy exploring the inland cities. Visit in winter, however, and you’ll be treated to sunny days with more manageable highs of 20°C – perfect for a winter sun city break. Get your haggle on in Marrakech’s action-packed souks, pop into a rooftop cafe for a fresh mint tea, or meander your way through the ancient alleyways of Fez’s medina.
Translating to ‘Coast of the Sun’, the Costa del Sol certainly doesn’t disappoint as a winter sun destination. Running along southern Spain’s Mediterranean coast, the region experiences mild temperatures around the high-teens during the winter months, plus there’s the benefit of cheaper hotel deals in popular resorts such as Malaga and Marbella. Look to Benalmadena and Torremolinos for a typical Spanish seaside getaway, while couples may prefer Puerto Banus’ stylish marina or Mijas’ picturesque scenery.
Whether you’re after culture-filled mornings exploring city sights or adventurous afternoons island-hopping on your winter sun break, Malta has the lot. You can expect temperatures averaging 16°C – perfect for visiting the pint-sized capital, Valletta, known for its Baroque buildings and grand churches. A short ferry ride or boat tour will bring you to Malta’s sister islands, Gozo and Comino, known for their beaches and lagoons. While the sea may prove a little chilly for swimming, the weather is still warm enough for pleasant picnics and beachside strolls.
With year-round sunshine and some of the Canary Islands’ most epic beaches, Fuerteventura deserves a spot on any winter sun destination round up. You can find bargain package deals in the popular resorts such as Corralejo and Costa Caleta throughout the winter months and with average temperatures around 20°C, beach days are a delight. Watersports are big here, so take to the waves for wind- and kite-surfing before soaking up some rays atop golden sand dunes – Corralejo has some of the island’s most spectacular.
Do you have a favourite winter sun holiday destination? Drop us a tweet @icelollyholiday and let us know!