Discover the must-visit destinations for the perfect winter sun escape
As we head into the northern hemisphere’s winter months, many travellers will be wanting to swap the ski slopes for sunny beaches for their next holiday. Whether you’re wanting to escape to a tropical island, or discover the delights of a far-flung city, these must-visit destinations will guarantee winter sun, whatever you’re looking to do….
Dubai is a bustling cosmopolitan hub and one of the most desirable year-round vacation spots. Thanks to its sunny days, warm water beaches, fun-filled theme parks and desert safaris, the popular UAE destination is also a major drawcard for those wanting to experience some winter sun.
Winter is also a time where Dubai is bustling with events. Sport enthusiasts can head to the Sevens Stadium and soak up the atmosphere at the Emirates Dubai 7s, while those in need of a little retail therapy can shop ‘til they drop at the Dubai Shopping Festival. Whatever your interests, you should schedule time to see the floral wonderland of 150 million flowers at the Dubai Miracle Garden, before gazing up at the skies to watch the city’s famous fireworks display on New Year’s Eve. Meanwhile, for those wanting more outdoor adventures, you should visit the historic mountain town of Hatta, Dubai’s scenic exclave. From kayaking on Hatta Dam, mountain-biking the Al-Hajar mountains or visiting the historic forts, it is truly must-visit.
Beyond its famous cities and beaches, Thailand offers travellers a chance to discover some hidden gems. Take a trip to the Red Lotus Sea and witness the extraordinary sight where Udon Thani transforms into a sea of pink lotus flowers between November and February each year. Alternatively, you can head to Koh Kood, an unexplored island paradise boasting untouched white sand shores and clear turquoise waters. Ao Klong Chao beach is ideal for snorkelling, and visitors can leisurely explore the lush forests by foot or by bike.
Holiday-goers can also experience a journey aboard the floating train, making its return this year from November until January. Starting in Bangkok, passengers will be transported over Thailand’s biggest reservoir, Lop Buri’s Pasak Jolasid Dam, allowing travellers to capture the breath-taking views and make lasting memories.
With its pristine beaches, dense jungles, and a rich cultural heritage, Bali is a true paradise. Whilst many will be familiar with Seminyak for its beaches and shopping, and the lively Kuta Beach for entertainment and water sports, some of the lesser-known destinations to visit include Balian. Situated north of Seminyak, Balian offers travellers surfing and yoga on a volcanic beach set on a serene river estuary. Or visit Menjangan island, which features West Bali National Park and is renowned for its snorkelling.
For the more adventurous, climb Mount Batur, Bali’s third highest volcano. As you reach the summit, you can enjoy boiled eggs and tea made using the geothermal heated soil for breakfast. Whilst others might be keen to scuba dive and explore the historic USAT Liberty shipwreck.
If staying in a luxurious overwater villa has always been on your bucket list, then look no further than North Malé Atoll – the gateway to the Maldives. Here, you can unwind on white sand beaches, explore vibrant coral reefs, and enjoy incredible cuisine.
For diving and snorkelling enthusiasts, you should visit Baa Atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which becomes a sanctuary for manta rays and whale sharks in December. Meanwhile, Ari Atoll is famous for its beautiful coral and marine life, including reef sharks and sea turtles.
It’s said that the sun provides 90% of our vitamin D and with this destination known for providing year-round sunshine, why not consider Mauritius for your winter sun break? Culture vultures can learn more about the island’s history, visit museums and experience local markets in the lively capital city of Port Louis. While, for a slower pace, you can unwind on the multi-coloured sands and take in the breath-taking views from around the Chamarel region. For those wanting to get their blood pumping, you can hike the Black River Gorges National Park or see the world under the sea via scuba diving.
Whether you’re a family wanting a winter beach holiday, a couple looking for a romantic escape or an avid adventurer, Mauritius offers all this and more!