There are two types of people in Britain – those who loved every minute of this summer’s heatwave and didn’t want it to end, and those who were counting down the days until temperatures returned to normal.
Chances are, the people in the first group will be looking to extend the sun by jetting off to somewhere that’s still bathed in warmth during the UK’s colder months. If you’re planning a winter sun holiday in 2018, here are some of the hottest destinations on offer – both in terms of temperature and popularity.
The Canary Islands always feature on lists of winter sun destinations and for good reason. However, this year you have even more choice because a new island has joined the fray. Car-free La Graciosa was granted official status as a Canary Island earlier this year and the winter months may present the perfect opportunity to explore this remote paradise. Other draws include excellent walking opportunities (which you can also enjoy on La Gomera) and wild beaches.
If, however, you would prefer to visit one of the more lively Canary Islands, Lanzarote, Tenerife and Gran Canaria are all great options at this time of year. Average temperatures of around 20 degrees and plenty of sunshine hours will mean you can relax on a beach whilst everyone back home is wrapped up in their coats.
If you’re casting your gaze further afield, Mexico’s beaches provide the perfect place to relax when Jack Frost arrives in the UK. Historically, Cancun has been the most popular spot to do nothing on golden sands, but a wave of new-age spa hotels has tempted many travellers further south to Tulum. If you would rather be more active, there are also plenty of opportunities to try things like snorkelling, diving, bungee jumping and zip-lining all along the Riviera Maya.
For a more authentic trip, head to the Pacific Coast instead. Areas like Puerto Vallarta and Rincón de Guayabitos will have fewer tourists and offer a closer link to nature, delicious seafood and local history.
If it is history you’re after, though, you can’t beat Malta for a short-haul winter sun destination. The capital, Valletta, has been the European Capital of Culture throughout 2018 and so you will be able to experience the last few events towards the end of the year – including the closing spectacle on 15th December. This UNESCO World Heritage Site will keep you busy with dramatic fortresses, historic city gates and brand new museums.
It’s important to remember that Malta is three islands, not one. And both Gozo and Comino are wonderful natural retreats in which to relax after a few days exploring the main island. Regular ferries can take you across the small stretch of Mediterranean Sea to enjoy breathtaking landscapes, the famous Blue Lagoon swimming hole and continued high temperatures.
Visiting Cambodia during the UK’s winter means that you will miss the sweltering heat of the summer (which can easily top 35 degrees) and arrive in time for the mercury to level out at a much more enjoyable 25°C. Whilst the mainland is home to spectacular temples and other cultural attractions, recent new hotels have made the islands of the Koh Rong archipelago a must-visit winter sun destination.
The attraction of places like Koh Rong, sister island Koh Rong Sanloem and the tiny private island of Song Saa is removing yourself from the stresses of daily life and truly relaxing amongst the white sands and wild jungles. If, however, you do want to do more than sunbathing, there are fishing trips, water sports, rope courses and other activities to enjoy. Also, at night, you can marvel at the iridescent glow of the plankton along the shoreline.
Boutique hotels, fantastic restaurants and other attractions have helped to change Madeira’s image in recent years. Once seen as underwhelming and stagnant, this Portuguese overseas territory is now attracting holidaymakers of all types – beachgoers, nature lovers, wine enthusiasts and more. Average temperatures may not be as hot as Cambodia or Mexico but a four-hour flight time is a good pay-off.
Remotely located in the Atlantic, the natural scenery features volcanic peaks, lush valleys and serene lakes. All this means Madeira is great for extreme activities like paragliding and gentle bike rides through beautiful surroundings. If you like things at a slower pace, the historic water canals (known as levadas) create excellent hiking trails or you can simply tour some of the welcoming wine estates.
If you would like the team at TravelQuest to help you plan your winter sun break, we have plenty of recommendations to share. Call us on 0800 021 3237 or contact us through the website.