Start the year as you mean to go on with a stint of winter sun! From your very own slice of Caribbean paradise to the year-round glow of the gorgeous Canary Islands, there's plenty of holiday hotspots to dose up on vitamin D. So don't wait for summer to see the mercury move above 3°C, treat yourself to some much deserved 2021 winter sun and trade your snow boots for flip flops!
Time seems to stand still in the long winter months, just wishing for blue skies and golden rays to come in and replace those grey, rainy days! If the idea of waiting for winter to pass feels like forever, then why not steal some extra weeks of sunshine with a winter sun holiday? Wave goodbye to chilly winds and say hello to welcomingly warm temperatures instead. With most destinations rarely falling below 20°C, this is your chance to break out the t-shirts and shorts, relax in your private pool and top up your tan in style…
Sunshine isn't solely reserved for summer in these winter sun destinations! From Cyprus' bronzed beaches to Barbados' breeze-blow palm trees, here's some of the best places to escape the UK's colder climes…
March is a match made in heaven for a back-to nature adventure! Landscapes are beginning to wake from their winter slumber, bursting at the seams with wild flowers and beautiful blooms galore. Top of the list for outdoorsy experiences is the sub-tropical Portuguese island of Madeira. Nicknamed 'the floating garden', it's not hard to see how it earnt the title. Overflowing with some of the most dramatic scenery in Europe, you'll find everything from sky-high mountains to plunging valleys and fairy tale forests.
Dust off your walking shoes and see how many of the levada trails you can trek. Madeira has over 500 miles of hiking routes to choose from, crossing over panoramic peaks and weaving through waterfalls. Some even plunge you into complete darkness as you navigate your way through ancient caves and tunnels! Temperatures are touching 20°C by March with blissful breezes to keep you cool as you explore the island's natural wonders. Whether you're scaling Pico Ruivo or peering over the popular lookout point at Cabo Girão, Madeira's natural beauty won't fail to take your breath away.
Another Canarian crowd-pleaser, the gorgeous island of Gran Canaria has been a winter holiday hit for decades. Here it's all about the beach, with ribbons of golden sand and endless expanses of footprint-free coastline to uncover. Blessed with glorious blue skies and highs of 22°C, you can fly and flop here in just over four hours. So whether you make a beeline for bustling resorts and busy bays or prefer sleepy seaside towns and quiet coves, you'll be beach bound before you know it!
Topping most traveller's bucket lists are the infamous sand dunes at Maspalomas. Poster child for the entire island, the iconic nature reserve covers a whopping 1,000 acres. Have your camera at the ready for this one, after all you don't see this kind of landscape every day! Lapped by exotic blue waters and sprawling out as far as the eye can see, you'll feel as though you have the place all to yourself if you wander far enough.
No one-trick pony, Gran Canaria has plenty of other strings to its bow. From its cultural capital of Las Palmas to its generous helping of golf courses, there's more than enough to see and do to beat those winter blues!
Clue's in the name with this one! Beloved by everyone from the oldest man child to the tiniest tot, Florida makes it onto most people's bucket lists. Bright lights and heart-racing rollercoasters are just the beginning of a fun-filled February, with UNESCO World Heritage Sites, international space stations, magnificent shopping malls and beautiful beaches to boot! Daily temperatures average at 24°C – a welcome companion on any winter sun holiday.
Orlando can't help but put a smile on your face, always beaming brightest in magical lands and fantasy-fuelled theme parks. Walt Disney World Resort steals the show with endless entertainment, fantastic fireworks and all of your favourite childhood characters, while the Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ at Universal Studios™ is just as spellbinding. Whether you're mingling with Mickey Mouse or mastering the art of riding a broomstick, the list of amazing attractions will keep your itinerary action-packed from the moment you touchdown on the tarmac.
Florida's pulling power goes beyond cartoons, with a whole host of blissful beaches lining up along the gorgeous Gulf Coast. Even the sea got the winter sun memo with tempting temperatures of 23°C. Linen-soft sands, teal-tinted waters and spectacular sunsets are just the start of the Gulf Coast's irresistible charms.
Sun-drenched and seductive, Cyprus ticks all your winter sun boxes. With Spring just around the corner, mild temperatures of 19°C are a massive improvement on the UK's colder climes. Kitted out with attractions for every kind of holidaymaker, February is a prime time to enjoy all this idyllic island has to offer. Picturesque harbour towns and hilltop villages are bathed in golden sunbeams, while historic treasures and archaeological wonders are much easier to explore in the winter season. Culture vultures can take full advantage of the lack of crowds while wandering Cyprus' UNESCO-listed landmarks – particularly in Paphos, where a whole host of ancient attractions are on the agenda!
Not wanting to leave anyone out, nature lovers are spoilt for choice when it comes to epic adventures in the great outdoors. Tackle the trails through the magnificent Troodos Mountains or walk the wilds of the rugged Akamas Peninsula. At its centre you'll find the Avakas Gorge, with towering walls and craggy crevices that stretch out for 5km. All that exercise is bound to leave you hungry, and winter is a good a time as any to feed yourself happy! Cyprus caters to foodies the world over, with everything from mouthwatering meze to traveller favourite – halloumi cheese. Tuck in at a traditional taverna as you watch a showstopping Cypriot sunset.
Don't let the month of the year dictate your vitamin D dosage! January is just as good a time as any to bask on beautiful beaches and sun yourself on tropical shores. So while your friends are busy layering up and cosying up by the fire, you could be sipping on cocktails and slipping into a state of rum-induced relaxation. The Caribbean is your number one candidate for banishing those winter blues, serving up jaw-dropping scenery and sizzling temperatures of 26°C and counting.
Whether you're after sand, sea and splash on one of Antigua's 365 beaches, or nature-focused adventures on the exotic island of St. Lucia – there's no such thing as a bad choice here. Discover hidden coves perfect for couples and sweeping bays for your little ones to take their first swim. Take to the Caribbean Sea on a catamaran and watch the glittering turquoise waters as you float around Barbados' first-class coastline. Get your heart racing as you zipline through the luscious rainforest in the Dominican Republic, or simply tuck into the iconic jerk chicken dish in Jamaica while losing yourself to smooth reggae beats.
Wherever you chase the January winter sun, life doesn't come more laid back than a holiday in the Caribbean.
If the Caribbean seems slightly out of reach, set your sights closer to home with traveller favourite, Tenerife. Part of the amazing Canary Islands archipelago, this dreamy destination has more than earnt its reputation as one of the best places for winter sun. With temperatures of 21°C in January, there's no limit to beach days and outdoor adventures. Plus at just over four hours of flight time, holiday heaven is closer than you might think!
Home to the highest point in all of Spain, Mount Teide dominates the diverse island of Tenerife with its lunar landscapes and volcanic lava sculptures. A sight to behold, you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd flown to another solar system for a second! Nature is the name of the game with this tourist treasure, and what better time to explore than with a welcome winter breeze? Summer's sizzling temperatures are more likely to have you heading for the beach, so be sure to take full advantage of the magnificent mountains and national parks while you can. This is a hiking destination of the highest order!
Tenerife's stunning shoreline is still a winter sun staple of course, with a whole host of sandy spots to sink your toes into. Watersport aficionados will love the way the Atlantic winds whip the waves into action, while adrenaline junkies can enjoy Jet Ski safaris, banana boats, fly boarding and all kinds of wet and wild rides. Now that's what we call sun, sea and splash!
Holidays don't have to cost the earth, so get 2021 off to a flying start with a cheap winter sun deal. Choosing to escape the colder climes doesn't just mean you'll be the envy of all your friends, it also means you'll bag yourself a bargain at a fraction of the cost. Picture it now… Christmas in the Canaries, January in the jungles of St. Lucia, February in Fuerteventura – the list goes on! Flexibility is your friend, so if you're able to travel during the off-peak months you'll find a flurry of discounts and offers up for grabs. Plus, apart from the pocket-friendly prices, destinations will be quieter and you'll likely have the beach all to yourself. Now that's what we like to hear!