If you’re craving winter sun (and let’s face it, as the rain sets in, who isn’t?) then read on for TNT‘s pick of the best long and short haul travel adventures. Sunshine guaranteed.
Winter sun in Africa
Africa’s smallest country is perfect for winter sun as it’s exotic, hot and relatively cheap and easy to reach. Package tours to the coast make an ideal base for visiting fishing towns, traditional villages and nature reserves.
If you’re in Kenya, chances are you’re looking for animals. The Masai Mara is the quintessential park for spotting the Big Five (lion, buffalo, rhino, leopard and elephant) but it’s not the only place for an animal encounter. Amboseli is famed for elephants, framed against a Kilimanjaro backdrop, while Lake Nakuru is renowned for flamingos.
Red Sea resorts have plenty to attract travellers in search of winter sun. If you’re deterred by Sharm el Sheikh’s package holiday vibe, try Dahab – Egypt’s backpacker Mecca. Both offer fine beaches, world-class scuba diving and chilled-out bars. For a more active alternative, scramble through the Sinai Desert’s Coloured Canyon or join a midnight hike up Mount Sinai to witness a desert sunrise.
Morocco’s vibrant cities and colourful markets are the perfect antidote to a drab British winter, with Marrakesh the best of the bunch. Head south to Essaouira or Agadir to hit the beach – the former is good for watersports, the latter boasts a wonderfully sheltered beach. If you tire of lounging in the sun, venture inland for a ski resort in the Atlas Mountains.
The best option for a winter visit to Tunisia is to delve into the Sahara. Too stifling to explore at other times of the year, an early winter trip is ideal. Sci-fi fans can follow the Star Wars trail, taking in a dozen movie locations. Start in the Grand Erg Oriental, a vast sand sea occupying the south-western corner of Tunisia. Head east to the troglodyte homes of Matmata, stopping in Tataouine before ending on the beach-lined island of Jerba.
Winter sun: short haul
The Algarve caters to all travel types, with its idyllic beaches, laid-back seaside towns and rugged beauty spots. Even if it’s not sunbathing weather, the coast still has its allure, especially in the Costa Vicentina Natural Park – a fine spot for surfers, hikers and photographers.
It seems too perfect that the most exquisite corner of mainland Spain is the part most suited to winter travel. Even if the Andalusia sun doesn’t shine enough for a beach visit, you can admire the dazzling architecture of Seville and Granada, sample stellar tapas and spot Europe’s only wild monkeys in Gibraltar.
You’ll likely have a beach to yourself in winter, but if the weather doesn’t co-operate you can enjoy myriad monasteries, churches and castles. Even the party-hard resorts of Ayia Napa and Paphos are lined with monuments and museums. As an added bonus, you can ski down Mount Olympus from January.
Words: Lucy Corne