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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.