If you’re looking to escape those winter blues and catch some rays of sunshine, take a look at our top 10 winter sun destinations. Whether you’re looking for a buzz of energy in Barbados or a romantic getaway for two on the sandy beaches of Madeira, we have everything covered – from where to stay to the best places to eat…
The sun streams down but the cool breeze wraps around you in a way that’s invigorating, you look up to see tiny boats dancing on the waves as you sip away on your drink of choice, thinking to yourself ‘it doesn’t get much better than this.’ Sounds perfect, right?! If you’re nodding, Cyprus might just be your ticket to a much-needed break and a chance to catch some vitamin D. Get your adrenaline pumping on a jet ski (just remember to check you have the right <activity pack> on your travel insurance), or curl up on the beach with your favourite book as temperatures reach highs of 17 degrees this time of the year.
Where to stay in Cyprus:
If you want to capture those scenic views, why not try one of Cyprus’ Boutique Hotels? Casale Panayiotis has its own spa and hydrotherapy spa so you fully relax and unwind.
Where to eat in Cyprus:
Hondros offers ultimate Cypriot recipes including seafood, salad and signature style dips. With the option of eating alfresco in the winter sun or, if you tend to feel the cold, you can get cosy inside the quaint restaurant decorated with classic Cypriot décor.
If you don’t want the hassle of a long-haul flight, but you do want to catch some heavenly rays of sunshine, a flight from London to Madeira (3 hours 50 minutes) should do the trick. Take a hike at Madeira Levada if you’re feeling particularly energetic or sit back and take it easy on a mesmerising Whale and Dolphin spotting safari. Scuba diving for the dare-devils and maybe a walk around one of many majestic gardens. Whatever you choose to do, Madeira is a must for a bit of winter-sun…
Where to stay in Madeira:
Belmond Reid’s Palace is, ‘paradise perfected in a clifftop haven’ according to its website. You’ll be transported into a world of bliss, tropical gardens and panoramic views.
Where to eat in Madeira:
Restaurante do Forte is the place to be if you’re looking for a picturesque candlelit dinner overlooking the scenic views, whilst listening to live music. What could be better for a romantic getaway?
The sun always shines on the Caribbean, so what could be more perfect than a beach towel and some SPF? Also, a little useless fact for you, Barbados is one of the only few other places that drive on the left! The Caribbean island is buzzing with energy and liveliness, a place where the party never ends and the sun never goes down. It’s one of our top places to catch some winter sun and, if by chance you are looking for some downtime, you can kick back and relax on the dreamy West Coast – it’s always a good time in Barbados.
Where to stay in Barbados:
The Crane rests on a stunning beach with incredible views; with an indoor and outdoor spa you couldn’t possibly go wrong. The resort also has a number of places to shop so you don’t have to go too far for those souvenirs.
Where to eat in Barbados:
The Nishi Restaurant is a diverse mixture of English, Caribbean and Asian dishes. With the option of three seating areas, people can either dine in the open Courtyard, the air-conditioned Sushi Bar or the Downstairs Dining Room, which can also be booked out for private parties.
If you’ve jumped on the train of sustainability, you might want to make a little visit to Cuba. Get inspired by some thought-provoking bird-watching or explore the endless nature reserves and enigmatic forests. Find yourself falling back through time by visiting the pristine Spanish colonial architecture. Havana’s deeply embedded culture of cigars and Cadillacs will have you sitting back and enjoying the ride.
Where to stay in Cuba:
Malecon 663 Boutique Hotel is an ultimate blend between undeniable Cuban tradition and chic modernist interior. Only a few miles from Revolution Square and Castillo de San Salvador de la Punta; there are a number of things you can do.
Where to eat in Cuba:
Although restaurants are exquisite in their own right, Cuban street food has a draw like no other. Live like a local with tantalising Pan Con Pasta and signature Corn dishes available from driveways and street trolleys – these authentic meals are definitely one for the books.
Namibia is a rarity in itself. With fewer visitors than its neighbouring countries, there is so much more to explore. From exotic wildlife to understated cafes, you can wander the lush green pastures or take in the tranquil views of the granite peaks in Spitzkoppe. Namibia offers the perfect balance of naturist adventures at the Etosha National park and the extraordinary wildlife of Kalahari, home to lions, oryx and meerkats.
Where to eat in Namibia:
Anchors @ the Jetty Restaurant has a mouth-watering menu and is a must after you’ve built up your appetite touring around. Set against a perfect serene backdrop, watch the sunset as you enjoy your evening meal.
Where to stay in Namibia:
Desert Quiver Camp is a classic combination of modern style and archaic ambience. With a number of self-catering units, you can experience the city’s culture first hand. The resort also has a number of group activities to take part in – if you’re in the mood for a BBQ, Desert Quiver Camp is the place to be.
White sandy beaches, deep blue seas and the decadent rays of sunshine that you’ve been craving for the past 6 months. The Maldives is the perfect little island to explore for your winter sun destination. If you’re a fan of underwater activities, get out your snorkelling gear and discover a variety of the incredible marine life. With expert guidance and a number of dive classes to choose from, you can’t go wrong. Many of the resorts have their own PADI certified dive centre, just make sure you have your PADI certification with you so you can show it to the dive centre on your arrival.
Where to stay in the Maldives:
Furaveri Island Resort & Spa is the perfect embodiment of Maldives tropical essence. Take part in a zen yoga class or get your blood pumping with a bit of tennis because this place does it all.
Where to eat in the Maldives:
As far as culinary experiences go, The Far East more than just lives up to its expectation. With the option to eat al fresco or al a carte you can enjoy some of the best Japanese food the Maldives has to offer.
Visit the Greater Palm Springs in Southern California’s Coachella Valley. The mid-century architecture is complete with vintage boutiques and undeniable Hollywood vibes. Palm Springs was home to the likes of major 1950’s celebrities music legend Frank Sinatra and vintage actor Dean Martin. Referred to as the ‘Golden State’, California is a masterpiece of diverse landscapes and magnificent vineyards. Boasting a culture of trendsetters and some incredible restaurants there is a whole host of things to do.
Where to eat in California:
Atelier Crenn is the perfect modern French restaurant, a tantalising menu of seafood and fresh vegetables will more than satisfy your appetite. With three Michelin stars, this restaurant is well worth the visit!
Where to stay in California:
If you could stay in a hotel on the land, or if you could stay in a hotel on sea… which one would it be? The Queen Mary may be able to ease your decision. Not only is the ship a historical landmark it also has incredible entertainment value, the Long Beach hotel is sure to be an incredible experience.
With stunning heritage and an undeniable artistic flair, Brazil is more than just a winter sun destination. Visit Cathedral of Brasilia for some insights into the Roman Catholic faith or factor in some time for the breath-taking views by Iguazu Falls. Pristine white sandy beaches, palm trees, and a nice warm breeze, Brazil makes for the perfect winter sun destination.
Places to eat in Brazil:
D.O.M restaurant has the most impeccable food inspired by Chef Alex Atala and has achieved two Michelin stars. Using ingredients such as açaí, jambu and tucupi, what’s not to love?
Places to stay in Brazil:
Situated on the seafront, Hotel Solar Porto De Galinhas is a great place to stay and not just because of the hot tub and spa, the hotel is fully equipped with a swimming pool for adults and children alike as well as an incredible bar and restaurant.
Located in the Indian Ocean off East Africa, Seychelles boasts a wonderful abundance of tropical trees and exotic sea life. Diving and snorkelling, as well as exploring the beautiful reefs and mesmerising marine life will be on the top of your to-do list if you choose to visit Seychelles. Not far from cap Ternay and Vista Do Mar, and just a short trip from Silhouette Island there will be quite a bit of exploring to do. Just make sure you have a suitable travel insurance cover for any extra activities you take part in.
Places to eat in Seychelles:
Del Place Restaurant has some incredible signature cocktails as well as a broad variety of food, from homemade fish soup to smoked marlin, get creative and go all out with a passion fruit dressing.
Places to stay in Seychelles:
Kempinski Seychelles Resort Baie Lazare is not only a 5-star hotel but also has its very own diving resort. Whether you’re looking to indulge in a spa retreat or take part in some incredible activities, this is the place for you.
This little island is akin to paradise and has often been named as such with idyllic beaches and palm trees as far as the eye can see. The island is both super chic in the evenings yet fairly casual throughout the afternoons. If you’re travelling as a couple you can get the most out of the incredible restaurants with beautiful patrons and the best that life has to offer – you’ll be in for all things good on this little island of paradise.
Places to stay in St Barthes:
With its very own outdoor pool, Hotel Le Toiney is the perfect getaway, with VIP champagne, the private luxury suites offer more than just a hotel stay. The chic interior creates a mystique that is unparcelled.
Places to eat in St Barthes:
Orega uses some of the best ingredients in the business delivered from Tokyo, New York and Paris, this restaurant has a stellar reputation and is sure to fill your appetite.