Throughout the winter months, there’s only so much I can take of piping hot radiators, wearing socks to bed and clutching my hot water bottle for dear life as I fall asleep – not to mention the dark mornings, and even darker evenings. Last year, I managed to escape the winter weather for a week when I went to the Algarve, Portugal. Although this isn’t among the top winter sun destinations and the temperature was fairly mild, it wasn’t nearly as cold as it was back home and we practically had the beach to ourselves!
This year, I’ve decided to endure the cold spell so I can save money for my travel plans throughout the rest of this year, beginning with the Netherlands in May. However, if you are thinking of treating yourself to a week or two in the sunshine, here are the top winter sun destinations I’d recommend checking out.
Discover three of the top winter sun destinations
1. Just to relax – Visit the Azores
This tropical Portuguese island in the middle of the Atlantic enjoys warm temperatures all year round, reaching 18°C throughout most of January. It’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy some winter sun.
Pack your comfiest trainers and take in the stunning greenery and scenery. Visit some of the natural wonders on the island, bathe in the volcanic hot springs, or plan a trip to one of the sea fronts lined with restaurants, where you can sample traditional Portuguese dishes and stock up on pastel de nata. Book a whale watching trip for a chance to see one of nature’s mightiest creatures, the blue whale, in the flesh or just spend your time relaxing on one of the island’s man-made beaches.
What to pack: You’ll need comfy hiking clothes, shoes that don’t cause blisters and swimwear for lounging in. Take a light jacket for the evening – the Azores is pretty relaxed, so something casual like a women’s military jacket or bomber will do.
2. Sleep all day, party all night – Plan a trip to Rio de Janeiro
Winter is the best time to visit Rio; with Rio Carnival taking place in February, the festivities are everywhere. Enjoy samba music wherever you go, parades, costumes and lots of dancing to cure the winter blues.
Book tickets to the more popular events such as the main Sambodrome Parade. If the carnival gets too much you can chill out by the hotel pool, basking in temperatures of around 27°C, while everyone back at home is complaining about the cold spell.
What to pack: Take your best party outfits, ready to dance ’til you drop and soak up the lively atmosphere. Bold colours and a little sparkle are the way to go, for both men and women. Don’t go anywhere until you’ve read this ultimate Brazil packing list!
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3. Beach bum – Get to the island of Phuket
The gorgeous island of Phuket is a paradise chaser’s dream. With crystal clear water, white sand and hot temperatures from December to April, this island in Thailand needs to be on your bucket list. There’s so much to do, from visiting some of the gorgeous beaches around the coastline, to volunteering at the Soi Dog Foundation for a day by caring for, and playing with, the rescued dogs. Alternatively, if culture and exploring is more up your street, head out on an excursion to one of the nearby temples, or Old Phuket Town – an Instagrammer’s dream.
What to pack: Take clothes that’ll enable you to keep cool, while also staying comfy. Sun dresses or shorts and t-shirts are ideal, with a bikini or trunks for the beach. If you visit a temple, take a sarong so that you can cover up as a sign of respect.
Feeling inspired? Take a look at some of the travel deals available and treat yourself to a getaway in one of the top winter sun destinations for 2018.
What are your top winter sun destinations?