Looking to escape the cold and soak up the sun this winter? As the temperatures drop here they’re soaring elsewhere. Here we share our top pick of stunning winter sun escapes – luxe locations with beautiful beaches, Instagram-worthy scenery and plenty of opportunities to relax and unwind.
United Arab Emirates
A firm favourite for winter sun-seekers – the UAE offers everything a tourist could ever want – sun, sea and sand with a generous helping of incredible activities at your fingertips. Choose between cosmopolitan Abu Dhabi and the luxurious city lights of Dubai, or enjoy a calmer, more cultured experience and rugged scenery in neighbouring Oman.
Vibrant Mexico is a fantastic place to spend the winter months. Gorgeous food, beautiful beaches and carnival culture make it a great location for partygoers and culture vultures alike. Head over to the West side to Puerto Vallarta for a quieter, more authentic experience – or opt for tourist’s favourite Cancun if you want to go clubbing from dusk til dawn.
Palm trees softly sway as reggae music drifts from a nearby bar – the spicy scent of jerk BBQ reaches you on the sea breeze. Welcome to Jamaica – where a laid-back way of life is the law. Jamaica’s hotels are ultra-luxe, with plenty of day trips allowing visitors to soak up the country’s rich culture. Walk in the footsteps of its famous son Bob Marley, or visit a hillside hemp farm where medicinal marijuana and sustainable goods are grown and made.
The Maldives has long been a bucket list location – known for its stunning white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and tiny tropical islands. Our winter runs throughout the dry season in the Maldives – meaning there’s little rain, lower humidity and a lot of bright, hot sun. If you like to keep active you can take advantage of snorkelling trips to take in the beautiful coral reefs and fascinating sea life – but if you prefer to chill most hotels offer specialist spa facilities.
Vibrant, vivacious and breathtakingly beautiful – Thailand’s soft sandy beaches and thick green jungles have attracted tourists for years now. Krabi and Koh Samui offer a more cosmopolitan and cultured view into Thai life compared with touristy Phuket. Sample traditional Thai massage and a variety of delicious local dishes, made using local produce and aromatic spices for a true treat for the senses. If you have time, you must visit the island of Koh Phi Phi, where ‘The Beach’ was filmed – and bustling Bangkok.
Are your days feeling a little grey at the moment? Snaking souks and divine desert vistas can be yours with a trip to gorgeous Morocco – a vibrant and exotic country rich with colourful culture. Explore the famous markets of Marrakech, escape to the secluded Atlas Mountains or hit the beach in Agadir. Try a traditional Hammam for an invigorating scrub-down before being enveloped in luscious, beautifully scented natural oils. Temperatures remain at a balmy 16-20 degrees on average throughout November and December – ideal if you like it hot, but not Dubai hot.