Time flies when you're having fun, even more so when it's in the scorching summer sun! But before you know it summer's come to an end, with basking and topping up your tan all over in the blink of an eye. You're left craving the delicious scents and tastes of a barbecue, yearning to put your shorts back on and grab a dose of Vitamin D. A winter sun break means you're not waiting another year to dust off those comfy flip flops! Give yourself a sunny pick me up with some winter sun in 2019.
With the temperature plummeting rapidly towards freezing, there's only so many extra layers you can chuck on before enough is enough! But before you reach your cold weather boiling point, how about enjoying average temperatures well into the 20s? For some of you this might be the ideal climate. Warm enough for beach days and sunbathes, but cool enough to get out there and explore your new surroundings.
The evenings might get a little cooler, but this is where heated pools and Jacuzzis come into their own! And there's nothing like gathering around the barbecue to grill up a feast at sunset. A little slice of summer in the middle of the cold weather, in a home from home that offers you all those comforts you'd normally miss while you're away. Jetting away for some 2019 winter sun is the ideal tonic for gloomy mornings and rainy days. Grab a glow this Bonfire Night, top up your tan in time for Christmas or just enjoy a warm break away from it all…
Head for Cyprus in the winter months and you'll be scratching your head, wondering why there aren't more holidaymakers making the most of this wonderful island. The summer crowds are long gone, yet the temperatures are still hovering around a toasty 20 °C. It might not be the beachiest of weather, but surely there's more to these shores? Well, their loss is your gain! You'll simply get its amazing sights almost all to yourself.
Paphos often takes the plaudits when it comes to Cypriot tourism, with visitors singing its cultural and historic praises. And you can't blame them! This is the home of the enthralling Tombs of the Kings and the delightfully discoverable Kato Paphos Archaeological Park. The types of monuments where you'll overhear visitors saying 'well, I never knew that' and 'who would have thought Cyprus had a story as fascinating at this'. Petra tou Romiou offers up a little mythology in the form of Aprhodite's Rock, supposedly the spot where the Goddess of Love emerged from the depths of the sea. Plus there's Paphos Old Town, where the architecture takes centre stage – a real joy for those who love mooching around quaint streets.
It's easy to fall for the charm of Paphos, but there's a whole host of Cypriot gems to discover before it casts its spell over you! Like laid-back Larnaca, where chilled days are bookended by morning coffees on the seafront promenade and long drinks as the sun sets behind sand and palms. Just slightly inland its Turkish Quarter is a relic of a bygone era. Local trinkets you might have found centuries ago hang in shop windows, narrow laneways are an ambler's dream and the Church of Saint Lazarus a 17th century treat. On your visit to Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque you'll struggle to decide what's more breathtaking, the monument or its lakeside location! The surroundings might just edge it by a spindly pink leg – Larnaca's Salt Lakes are a pit stop for migrating flamingos in the winter months. Back to the seafront and it's the castle that catches the eye, a monument with a truly remarkable past. Built by the Byzantines, spruced up with a few Ottoman additions and converted into a Prison under British occupation.
Limassol flies under the radar, but this is a port town with plenty of its own charm. With an impressive castle in the old part of town and an archaeological museum packed with fascinating relics. Like Larnaca the seafront promenade is a huge draw, offering idyllic scenery as you stretch your legs. And its location sets you up perfectly to head up into the Troodos Mountains! A world of traditional villages, hiking routes for all energy and experience levels, and some stunning natural beauty. The Millomeri Waterfalls are well worth checking out too! Winter sun awaits on this island gem…
With their favourable location off the African coast, the Canary Islands bask in sunshine all year long! Where better for some 2019 Winter Sun? Each has its own unique personality, so it's time you got to know each one a little better.
A true volcanic wonder, the sheer amount of comparisons Lanzarote gets to lunar landscapes or number of times it's referred to as out of this world tell you everything you need to know about its astonishing terrain. Let the volcanic adventure begin! Timanfaya National Park is packed with deep craters, sandy red mountain peaks and rock sculptures in the most intriguing shapes. Although they're dormant, there's plenty of volcanic activity and bubbling magma beneath the surface! A trip to the visitor centre gives you the inside scoop on how it all works and the searing temperatures that lie beneath. There's even a restaurant nearby that uses this geothermal heat to power up their barbecue! A volcanic grill like nothing you've seen, smelt or tasted before…
Beach lovers are spoilt for choice, on an island that's equally as rocky and rugged as it is golden and idyllic. Plus those Atlantic Ocean breezes make watersports a true treat. Culture vultures will be singing the praises of Lanzarote's seemingly one man tourism band – César Manrique. A talented artist whose vision transformed the ordinary into the extraordinary. He turned a quarry into the Cactus Garden, a volcanic tube into the tropical garden-like Jameos del Agua, and an old military fort into the outstanding Mirador del Rio viewing platform. Learn more about this visionary at the foundation and museum named after him, the latter sitting in his former home.
Fuerteventura feels a little less rough around the edges, boasting some of the finest beaches the Canary Islands have to offer. Corralejo is probably the island's most idyllic, backing onto the sand dunes of the National Park. Although Cofete and El Cotillo run it pretty close, with their golden sand and sparkling shades of sea blue! There's still a few volcanic delights too, with Ajuy a brilliantly black beacon of dark sand – those seas just seem even more mesmerising. A firm family favourite, thrill-seeking slide riders and animal enthusiasts feel right at home in the Acua Water Park and La Lajita Oasis Adventure Park. For a different side to Fuerteventura, head for Betancuria – a traditional village tucked in the bottom of a deep valley. The rolling green hills are the perfect accompaniment to those whitewashed houses.
With its blackened beaches and towering mountains of Teide National Park, you could be forgiven for thinking Tenerife is just another volcanic island. But there's plenty of surprises hidden up its sleeves! It simply means that when you stumble upon those rural beauties, the greenery seems that little bit greener. Much of the island's Northern tip is covered by the Anaga Country Park, a blend of tropical forests and native plantlife. Not to mention the striking Laurisilva trees, only found in a few other European destinations – be sure to keep your eyes peeled for these beauties. Icod de los Vinos easily claims the crown of Tenerife's most iconic shrub, an 800 year old Dragon Tree that's leaves and branches above the rest. This doesn't mean that you should skip the island's volcanic sights though! The views from Teide's peaks are utterly sensational and on clear days you might even spot neighbouring islands, while those dark beaches offer volcanic scenery from a new perspective.
Leaving Gran Canaria until last makes it sound a little bit like the Canary Islands' greatest hits! Maspalomas is home to undulating sand dunes that lead onto an equally impressive beach, while a trip inland leads you to towering mountains and craggy rocks. Although the staggering 80m Roque Nublo is a towering sight unrivalled in the Canaries and Pico de las Nieves promises amazing views over the island below. Gran Canaria's beaches are a blend of loved by locals spots, scenic sands for relaxing in style and bustling bays where there's always something going on! Like its neighbours, it's also a haven for all sorts of watersports – with perfect windsurfing conditions in the east and surfing paradise in the north. The south's shores and beginner-friendly, sheltered from strong winds that pros love. We might have left it until last, but this beautiful island is by no means least! It's simply a case of picking the perfect spot for your winter getaway…
With a fascinating history that's found as you wander around and enough natural beauty to fill endless boxsets of wildlife documentaries, the chances of getting bored in the Dominican Republic are slim to none.
A new and exciting chapter began in 1492 when Christopher Colombus arrived and sparked centuries of Spanish rule. The Conquistadors influence can still be felt on the cobbled streets of Santo Domingo, a capital with monuments dating all the way back to the 1500s. The Alcázar de Colón became the first fortified palace in the New World in 1510, while construction of the Primada de America Cathedral was completed in 1540. So keep your eyes peeled for these two famous monuments and many more!
As with many parts of the world, colonisation meant an influx of slaves from Africa – another culture that has left its mark on the Domnican Republic. Along with the traditions of the indigenous Taino population, these three cultures have largely shaped modern life in this Caribbean paradise. But don't just take our word for it - hear it, feel it and taste it for yourself! Merengue music is a mix of Latin beats and African drumming, its infectious energy bringing streets to life as the sun goes down. A pinch and dash of all three adds an equally irresistible flavour to restaurants menus, packed with hearty stews, plantain prepared in various ways and fresh fish soaked in a range of local sauces. With so much beautiful coastline, it's no wonder that the Dominican Republic serves up so many salty sea delights. And that takes us nicely onto the 800 miles of coast…
Take a second to picture your ideal Caribbean beach. The sea breeze tickling your skin, a chorus of crashing waves and swaying palms echoing around, your feet sinking into soft white sand as you take a stroll – welcome to the Dominican Republic. Although there are plenty of the long stretches for those idyllic walks into the sunset, these shores pack plenty of surprises. Cabarete is renowned in the world of windsurfing, while Playa Fronton is a secluded paradise reached only by boat trippers and forest trekkers.
Look beyond the shores and a world of rolling hills, mountainous beauty and more awaits inland. Did you know that the Dominican Republic is home to the highest and lowest points in the Caribbean? Pico Duarte is the highest peak, while the low of Lake Enriquillo is a world of fascinating wildlife – think crocodiles and flamingos. The Damajagua Falls are home to 27 cascading waterfalls, which you can even climb up and slide back down (on some but not all). El Limon checks in at a staggering 130 foot drop, so be sure to tick this one off your list.
Wash it all down with a glass of Brugal Rum – the country's favourite tipple since 1888! Don Andres Brugal Montaner's aim was to perfect the art of rum production and if today's tastes are anything to go by, that mission has been comfortably achieved. A great reminder of your time on these shores and ideal winter warmer for when you head back to our considerably colder climes.