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5 Places to Soak up the Sun this Winter

5 Places to Soak up the Sun this Winter

CENTRAL AMERICA, DESTINATIONS, EUROPE, FLORIDA, GREECE, LUXURY TRAVEL, SPAIN, UNITED STATES

Grab the thermals and slippers, because (and I don’t want to be the one to break this to you), winter is coming. It’s been a better summer than most here in the UK, but it’s no surprise that every year families, solo travellers and groups of friends head off in search of some vitamin D as winter closes in. And whilst the southern hemisphere basks in glorious sunshine collectively thinking about whether to wear the polka dot bikini or the pin stripe swimsuit, we’re left wondering where can we catch just a glimmer of warmth or sunshine. Here are five places to top up the tan this winter.

Cape Verde

Cape Verde is just a couple of hours away from southern-most Europe, so if you plan on heading to the Canary islands and don’t mind enduring compromised legroom for a while longer in exchange for a dramatic temperature increase, keep heading onwards to Sal, Cape Verde. This is the ultimate winter destination to simply kick back under a parasol with a cocktail for a full-on roasting session in the sun. Even the nights are warm, with lows of 20 degrees in December. If sitting on the beach becomes too much for you, take a boat to Fogo island to experience Mount Fogo, an active volcano that can be climbed with the help of a local guide. As the bulk of visitors stick to the beaches, the majority of the Cape islands remain largely unspoilt. This is one for those with kids or those who want winter sunshine at a low cost.

Cape Verde| Winter sunshine | Carmen's Luxury Travel

Costa Rica

Costa Rica presents a plethora of opportunities to experience a new adventure daily and a whole new way of life. ‘Pura Vida, meaning ‘pure life’, has been adopted and embraced as a mantra by the relaxed and friendly people of Costa Rica for the past 50 years. With opportunities to glamp deep in the rainforest existing side by side with luxury hotels perched on the some of the world’s finest beaches- Costa Rica has something for everyone. Eco-tourism is massive here, meaning you can feel less guilty about any extra time spent in the sky to get here. The opportunity to surf, jungle trek, relax on stunning beaches and wake up to the sounds of wildlife all in one place will ensure the adventurers out there get their fix. Visit between December and April, as this is the driest season where temperatures still average 21-26 degrees.

Costa Rica | Winter sunshine | Carmen's Luxury Travel

Greece

For those of you who are looking to fly as little as possible in order to get your dose of sunshine, Greece is the one. Visiting Greece during the winter is a very different experience to that of summer. It’s when Greece is at its quietest, so there’s far less shoulder barging at tourist attractions and archaeological sites across this historical group of 6,000 islands. It’s a wonderful time to experience island hopping, as although the ferries are less frequent, they are still running and will be substantially less crowded. With temperatures at a slightly cooler 14 degrees, winter is the perfect time to enjoy those hill walks in search of ocean vistas and hidden tavernas in which to sample fine wines and fresh olives. In fact, the all-year-round sunshine is one of the main reasons why people up sticks, leave home behind and invest in luxury properties in Greece.

Greece | Winter sunshine | Carmen's Luxury Travel

Florida

The average temperature for December clocks in at 16 degrees, and whilst that’s not the dream scenario for beach bathing, it presents the ultimate opportunity to explore the world-famous theme parks during low season. With shorter queues, less people and a more agreeable climate in which to explore the parks, you’ll get more done and the whole experience will be far more enjoyable. Many of the theme parks also offer memorable Christmas and New Year celebrations with parades and fireworks- just take your pick! Track down a local grove and sample Floridian oranges straight from the sunshine state’s trees and top it off by cruising through the Florida Keys on a swanky yacht.

Florida | Winter sunshine | Carmen's Luxury Travel

Lanzarote

Situated just 100km from the relentless heat of the Sahara Dessert, the most northern Canary island, Lanzarote, is our pick of the close-to-home destinations when it comes to value for money. Situated on the same latitude as Florida, this beautiful island enjoys sunshine all year round. Despite its position off of the west coast of Africa, Lanzarote boasts an authentic Spanish culture, which means there’s ample opportunities to indulge in fine Mediterranean foods and wine. You’d be brave to swim in the sea during this time and the evenings will be slightly cooler, but the sheer volume of strikingly diverse landscape to be explored far outweighs the cons. Known as the ‘Island of 1,000 Volcanoes’, the country is dominated by lava fields and mountains in the north. Flights from the UK during the winter are low cost and frequent.

Lanzarote | Winter sunshine | Carmen's Luxury Travel

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About the author

Ian Garstang is a travel writer and marketing specialist working in the luxury travel market. Ian is the editor at Luxury-Travels.net and has worked with such brands as GHM Hotels, Four Seasons and Aman. Ian was named Hotel Club's 'Bali Expert' and Nominated in the top 20 luxury travel bloggers on USA Today. Ian has written for various websites that include A Luxury Travel Blog, Luxury Asia News and Travelo Cafe.

39 Comments

  1. Krysti
    October 12, 2016 at 3:09 am
    Reply

    Love this inspiration! So far on this list I’ve been to Greece- but I would love to visit the others one day, especially Costa Rica!

    • Ian Garstang
      October 13, 2016 at 12:17 pm

      Glad the post could inspire your travel bucketlist! Thanks for the comment Kyrsti.

  2. Magda
    October 12, 2016 at 11:40 am
    Reply

    Love it! I intend on avoiding cold weather for as long as I can!

  3. Aisha
    October 12, 2016 at 1:57 pm
    Reply

    Great recommendations! Pinning this for future reference 🙂

  4. Liz
    October 12, 2016 at 5:37 pm
    Reply

    I’ll be (hopefully!) heading to Florida for a bit this winter! It’s the best time to do some outdoors exploring in the state.

  5. EG III
    October 14, 2016 at 12:28 pm
    Reply

    Like others have already said, you’ve mentioned a lot of bucket list worthy places. The places that intrigue me the most, however, are Cape Verde and Lanzarote

  6. Jessica
    October 15, 2016 at 10:18 am
    Reply

    I had a winter escape to Lanzarote a few years ago when I lived in Belgium, what a beautiful island! Hope to return to the Canary Islands soon!

  7. Shelia
    October 15, 2016 at 10:59 am
    Reply

    Great list. I am trying to decide where to go this winter (I know, I am late!). We went to Lanzarote two winters ago and I concur, it is a great place to see. I would definitely return. You’ve given me something to thing about because Costa Rica is not on my short list and perhaps it should be. Thanks for the info!!

  8. Charles McCool
    October 15, 2016 at 11:26 am
    Reply

    Florida and Costa Rica are givens for me but thinking about Cape Verde and Canary Islands is wonderful. Perhaps I will give them a go this winter!
    Charles McCool recently posted…7 Fun Scenic Drives in FloridaMy Profile

  9. Kenny
    October 15, 2016 at 12:50 pm
    Reply

    Great ideas! Traveling from New Zealand to Korea, Taiwan and China this month – cold and so I think the next time I spend time to soak up the sun would be in Singapore in 3 weeks before heading to California and the South America in December! @knycx.journeying
    Kenny recently posted…London in a NutshellMy Profile

  10. Indrani
    October 15, 2016 at 10:20 pm
    Reply

    All the 5 places seem good by your description. I have been to Greece, but I would love to go there again.
    Learned about a new place “Lanzarote” in Sahara Desert… makes me curious.
    Indrani recently posted…Faces of India – 287 Rajasthani MusicianMy Profile

  11. Danik The Explorer
    October 16, 2016 at 6:17 am
    Reply

    Greece in the winter is pretty cold despite the sunshine 😀 But great pointers on the other places. Shame I am heading to China in -20 this winter 😀 😀 😀

  12. Fiona Maclean
    October 16, 2016 at 11:01 am
    Reply

    I love the idea of Cape Verde! Must go check that out
    Fiona Maclean recently posted…Trader Vic’s new Island Fusions MenuMy Profile

  13. This is a great list! I’d most love to visit Costa Rica and do some hiking and exploring, since it’s close to my home base in Florida. If I lived on the other side of the pond, however, Greece would top my list! I didn’t realize the weather was so nice year-round!
    Beth | Adventuring the Great Wide Somewhere recently posted…Why I Can’t Wait to Give Versailles a Second ChanceMy Profile

  14. Veronika Tomanova
    October 16, 2016 at 1:57 pm
    Reply

    So many sunny pla es to do! I would love to visit Costa rica. It has all the jungle and animals, so I think it would be a great adventure to do.

  15. Wandering Carol
    October 16, 2016 at 7:55 pm
    Reply

    I’d love to visit Costa Rica, though Greece has a lot of appeal, too. That said, I’ve been cold in Greece in late October, so I’ll probably give it a miss until warmer weather. All of these sound like great destinations though.

  16. Sue Reddel
    October 16, 2016 at 10:44 pm
    Reply

    I’ve only been to one of the spots on your list, Florida. You gave me lots of ideas for warm weather trips. Thanks!
    Sue Reddel recently posted…Making The World A Little Sweeter on Sweetest DayMy Profile

  17. Erika Bisbocci
    October 17, 2016 at 12:43 am
    Reply

    As a North American, I’ve heard very little mention of some of these places. Costa Rica and Florida are certainly the more popular options among Americans. I’ve been curious about Cape Verde since I started to learn Portuguese though and I’d love to visit. And Lanzarote looks beautiful and intriguing too!
    Erika Bisbocci recently posted…Gamlastan, Royal Palaces and the Stockholm ArchipelagoMy Profile

    • Ian Garstang
      October 17, 2016 at 4:40 am

      Sadly, flights to Cape Verde from North America can be difficult, which is probably why it is rarely discussed as a destination. I am a huge fan of both Costa Rica and Florida but they both offer very different experiences.
      Ian Garstang recently posted…Essential Amenities for the Ultimate Ski Trip in 2017My Profile

  18. Elena
    October 18, 2016 at 4:52 am
    Reply

    Some interesting choices here. Honestly, I wouldn’t think of Greece as a winter destination. On second thought, why not? I heard a lot good things about Cape Verde from my Portuguese friends (Cabo Verde as they call it). I am curious why you haven’t mention South America or Asia? Speaking of those, one of my favorite lesser-known winter destination is Uruguay. Their capital, Montevideo, and surrounding beach towns are unbelievably beautiful.
    Elena recently posted…The Pinnacles of NambungMy Profile

    • Ian Garstang
      October 19, 2016 at 4:02 am

      I’ve not had the pleasure of visiting South America, but I would love to go someday. Asia is always a great year-round choice for some sunshine, but I thought I’d pinpoint some slightly different locations this time round. Uruguay looks beautiful! Thanks for commenting.
      Ian Garstang recently posted…Essential Amenities for the Ultimate Ski Trip in 2017My Profile

  19. Sagar Kole
    October 21, 2016 at 7:55 am
    Reply

    Cool places to visit this winter. I loved Florida. Last year I was been there in Costa Rica. Great place it is! Thanks for sharing.
    Sagar Kole recently posted…Best Family Vacation Spots to Visit in 2017My Profile

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