What are the top winter sun destinations?


The winter sun holiday has become a staple in so many of our calendars. But there’s a trick to choosing the best destination, and it’s all about timing.
Whether you’re after guaranteed, 30-degree weather to top up your tan, or just milder temperatures so you can go sightseeing, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite spots around the world.
The great thing about travelling during the UK’s winter is that you can get some excellent deals on your flights and accommodation. Just make sure you’ve got your over 50’s or over 60’s travel insurance in place so you can truly relax when you’re away.

Where is the cheapest place for winter sun?

If you’re in desperate need of a burst of Vitamin D, but you’re looking to keep things low-budget, there are some cheaper winter sun solutions we think you’ll love.

  • The Canaries – Best for otherworldly landscapes

Each island of this Spanish archipelago has something entirely unique to offer, yet all of them are united by their ability to dazzle visitors during the winter season. With the Gulf Stream keeping the coastline warm all year round, there’s something for everyone here.
The Canaries are geared up for winter travellers, no matter what kind of break you’re looking for. There are countless resorts and buzzing bars in the coastal resorts if you fancy a more lively atmosphere, contrasted with almost deserted black sandy beaches and rolling dunes in other parts of the archipelago.
Weather: The weather remains at a solid 21 degrees Celsius throughout winter, with lows of 15 degrees at night time – a pleasant temperature indeed.
Cost: With budget airlines like Ryanair and Jet2, flights from the UK are always very cheap throughout the winter months. The price of living is mid-range if you’re thinking of enjoying some of the various attractions on offer. Other than that, it’s a relatively inexpensive trip if you book your accommodation well in advance.
Flights: Around 4 hours to Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and La Palma. So wake up in drizzly England, and be walking on the beach by nightfall.
Top places to visit: Can’t decide which to visit? Why not take a cruise and go island hopping? Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, for example, are a 25-minute ferry ride between one another.
If you’re after a lively, cultural hub, we recommend Gran Canaria. This offers a cultural taster of Canarian cuisine and music, and all basic amenities and resorts are close at hand to ensure your comfort.
We recommend booking a place to stay overlooking the Maspalomas Dunes in Gran Canaria, or taking a coach tour through the volcanic Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote, which is the closest thing to a lunar landscape that the Earth has to offer.
Pull-on your walking boots and head to La Palma for a hiking paradise suitable for all levels, or embrace the pageantry of Canarian culture in Tenerife, when the island’s electric Carnaval de Santa Cruz arrives in the streets in February.
For something a little more off the beaten track, there’s the unspoilt tiny islet of La Gomera, which is lusciously green, and can be reached by ferry.
Alternatively, Fuerteventura is a beach lover’s paradise. The coastal towns might be exactly what you’re after, particularly in the winter months, when you’re likely to have entire sandy beaches to yourself.

  • Cyprus – Best for a peaceful Mediterranean setting

Far away from the larger crowds, Cyprus is a relaxing haven with a mild winter climate, and you don’t have to travel too far from the UK for some peace and quiet. In fact, this is one of the warmest destinations in the Med during the colder months – it’s largely considered to be the idyllic meeting point between east and west.
Known as the birthplace of the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, Cyprus is perfect for a romantic getaway with crystal clear waters to wash away those winter blues. You can choose whether you want to stay in one of the comfortable all-inclusive resorts (of which there are many), or secluded, village living.
Weather: You can expect average temperatures to stay between 22 and 23 degrees Celsius during the daytime, and drop to about 12-14 degrees Celsius at night.
Cost: You’re looking at around £250 per person for accommodation for a three-star hotel package, to £500 for all-out luxury, although you can probably find cheaper.
Flights: Around 4.5 hours. There are three airports to choose from depending on where you’re going, Larnaca, Paphos and Ercan; all of which have regular flights to and from the UK throughout winter.
Top places to visit: There’s still plenty of sunlight at this time of year, making it ideal for sightseeing. Embark on some independent exploration through this island’s ancient villages, or you can keep things simple in one of the larger towns of Larnaca or Limassol, which are close to many amenities. Sprinkled with whitewashed churches and rustic cottages, you’ll never be too far from the coast in Cyprus.
The bright orange sun sets over the ocean around Cyprus with the rocky shoreline and a rock arch in the foreground

Where can I go on holiday in January for sun?

There’s no denying that January blues are a legitimate thing, so if you’re suffering after the festive season, book yourself a winter break. Whether you’re looking for a long-haul trip, or a short getaway somewhere in Europe, we can help you decide which is best.
If you don’t require super-hot temperatures, there are a number of close-by destinations to choose from. This, of course, is a matter of personal preference. That said, here’s our pick of the best sunny spots for January:

  • Barbados – Best for luxurious island living

A classic winter sun destination with a loyal following of travellers every season, Barbados is an eternal tropical paradise.

This island is alive with rich heritage, gorgeous cuisine and friendly Bajan locals. The glittering beaches of this Caribbean island are unrivalled, and is considered to be a safe holiday destination for tourists staying in the resorts.
It’s well prepared for winter tourists of all ages, with excursions organised by almost every hotel, and all-inclusive packages. The west coast of the island is rather glam and upmarket, and despite its exotic exterior, feels somewhat familiar for British tourists thanks to its manicured cricket greens.
Weather: Sunshine is guaranteed with temperatures of 29-30 degrees in the daytime, and warm, balmy nights of around 23 degrees Celsius.
Cost: Prices are at a premium for tourists at this time of year, so be prepared to fork out.
Flights: Non-stop flights from London and Manchester to Bridgetown in Barbados take around 8h 30.
Top places to visit: We recommend visiting the city of Bridgetown for a taste of real Bajan food and heritage, or the crystallised natural wonder that is Harrison’s Cave.

  • Cancun, Mexico – Best for blending beaches and heritage

Cancun strikes the perfect balance between relaxation and incredible nightlife ­– no matter what your age. With more sports bars, cocktail lounges and restaurants with live music than you can shake a stick at, you certainly won’t run out of things to do throughout the winter months here.
Despite the endless shopping malls, amenities and all-inclusive resorts to enjoy, there’s also a whole wealth of ancient Mayan history on your doorstep. The sparkling beaches in the northwest of Mexico are unlike anything you’ve ever seen, so be prepared for some seriously lazy beach days.
Weather: Guaranteed daytime sunshine temperatures of 28 degrees Celsius, and the evenings a toasty 20 degrees.
Cost: You can find great all-inclusive deals for a winter holiday to Cancun, but costs can really start to add up if you’re planning lots of activities outside of your hotel.
Flights: Flights are around 10+ hours from the UK to Cancun International Airport (CUN).
Top places to visit: Dive deep into the ancient fabric of Mexican culture and visit the Mayan Pyramids on a guided tour, deep in the jungle.
A view over a large resort in Cancun, Mexico, on the sandy shoreline on a clear sunny day

What countries are hot in the winter?

If you struggle with the dark mornings and chilly nights in the winter months, we’ve come up with some countries that will satisfy your craving for warm sands and glorious sunshine:

  • Cape Verde Islands – Best for rich, unspoilt culture

Tucked away in the Atlantic Ocean, this is a country for truly switching off and soaking up the rays – no matter what month it is. The landscapes here are unlike any other, as there’s nowhere quite like it. The locals are famously hospitable, and you’ll be welcomed with open arms.
There are many well-developed hotels and resorts if you want everything to be taken care of, and you’ll lose yourself exploring its glittering white beaches. Winter travellers will soon forget its winter after a week enjoying the Creole rhythms and warm evenings.
Weather: The temperature rarely budges from a gorgeous year-round 20 degrees Celsius, and you’ll have between 5-9 hours of sunshine per day. Doesn’t that sound incredible?
Cost: The cost of living is really quite cheap here, so tourists can get a lot for their money.
Flights: A direct flight from the UK is around 6 hours.
Top places to visit: Behold the sight of baby turtles on the Boa Vista beach, or enjoy traditional music and cuisine on the island of São Vicente. Or why not sit back, relax and go island hopping on a boat trip for the day?

  • The Gambia – Best for a warm welcome

With welcoming locals and gorgeous sunshine in the winter, it’s no wonder this place is known as the ‘Smiling Coast’. It’s one of the smallest African countries, so you can get around quite easily.
The Gambia climate is mild all year round, and you’ll be spoilt with how much space you’ll have on its rolling golden beaches. For the nature lovers out there, this is a bird-watching paradise. Witness some of the most diverse landscapes in the world all in one place – and if you’re lucky, some of its monkeys, hippos, hyenas, and leopards, too.
Weather: Between October and December, you can expect totally cloudless skies, and hot, dry temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius in the daytime.
Cost: The Gambia is great value for money once you’re there. Restaurants, bars and shops are incredibly cheap.
Flights: 6-7 hours in length. During winter, there are twice-weekly direct flights to the Gambia from London Gatwick.
Top places to visit: Sit back and relax on a boat trip along the Gambia River, taking in the sights and the abundance of wildlife. The winter months are the prime time to spot exotic birds flying. Depending on the atmosphere you’re after, there are lively resorts such as Kololi Beach, or more tranquil places such as Bijilo.
A view along the coastline of The Gambia littered with palm trees on a cloudy day

Where is the warmest place to go on holiday in February?

February can be somewhat bleak back at home, so if you want to turn up the heat, you should consider the following all-star destination.

  • Dubai – Best for sophistication at a reasonable price

There’s no better way of describing Dubai’s metropolis than oozing style and grace. With more winter events than any other time of year, we recommend Dubai for those that enjoy an action-packed events calendar.
Dubai has got to be one of the most luxurious places to stay in the world, but contrary to popular belief, isn’t somewhere where you have to break the bank. Visitors will have everything they need, from shopping malls and amazing restaurants to pristine beaches overlooking the Arabian Gulf.
Just make sure you have the right over 50’s travel insurance if you’re going to be taking part in any activities while you’re there.
Weather: During the day between the months of November and March, expect temperatures to exceed 25 degrees.
Cost: Cheaper than you think - booking accommodation can be around £200 per person, and it’s a tax haven, making it a shopper’s paradise.
Flights: Around 7.5 hours. There are flights from all major UK airports to Dubai throughout the winter.
Top places to visit: As Europe’s event calendar cools off, Dubai’s begins to heat up. The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix kicks off in November, along with the Dubai Rugby Sevens. The winter events keep on flowing right through to March, so you’ll never run out of things to see or do.
A look down the coastline of Dubai over many skyscrapers  on a clear day

Get covered for your winter sun trip with over 50’s or over 60’s travel insurance

Age is just a number, and certainly shouldn’t diminish your wanderlust for exploring new, exotic destinations. The winter is a great time to travel, as there are a multitude of exciting and new places on offer. All you need is comprehensive over 50’s or over 60’s travel insurance.
You can ensure that all of the smallest details are covered with Insurance Choice, specialists in over 50’s and over 60’s travel insurance policies. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, see if we can find the right cover for you, at a price that suits your budget.
Get a quote today.