How depressing is it to wake up in the morning in the dark? For most commuters out there, starting the day in the cold and dark and ending the day as the sun sets is depressing and stressful. There are conditions called SAD that exist and these pop up as the nights get earlier and the mornings start later. Being in darkness is not the best for us, and it’s for this reason that so many look out for winter escapes. There’s a beauty in the frostiness of the winter months, there’s no doubt about it. Snowflakes so individual you’ll never find two the same. Icicles that hang prettily from shop windows and doors. Cosy nights curled up with a book in front of a roaring fire. The trouble is, that doesn’t always mean you want to be stuck inside for four or five months while the cold winds blow outside.
Every year, birds migrate en masse to seek out warmth and sunshine, and lately, winter sun holidays have become so popular that people are following the pattern of the birds. Hopping on a plane with a cheap winter deal clutched in your hands to seek out those last vestiges of sunshine is a shining light for those who can’t bear the depressive commute in the dark. It’s never too soon to start daydreaming about going abroad for a break, and there’s also no need to wait for the summer, either. So, if you’re desperately seeking sunshine, where are the best places to find it when the cold sets in at home?
A popular tourist destination, Lanzarote has more than one side. The fourth biggest of the Canary Islands, Lanzarote is a little sunspot as the colder months draw in at home. With stunning scenery and a warm climate year-round, Lanzarote is one of the popular options for winter sun holidays. Sure, not every holiday resort will have all their amenities open, but that doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy yourself. Finding villas to rent in Spain is easy enough, and booking in advance can ensure you get the best deal for your destination choice. Lanzarote is the perfect escape for a week off work once those holiday blues have passed and you need something to bridge the gap until spring begins again.
Surrounded by both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, Costa Rica is a country that has hot weather and sunshine throughout the year. Climb the Irazu volcano and view both bodies of water at the same time, or simply laze on the sugar white beach and luxuriate in the rays of sun hitting your face. Soak up the culture and enjoy food to die for in any number of resorts. There’s something lovely about relaxing in the sun when you know that the wintery weather is left behind you, and Costa Rica can send you on a long-haul flight to paradise.
Cuba is one of the biggest destinations of winter sun-seekers. It’s not all cigars, but it is all sunshine, beaches and amazing choices for a drink by the ocean. There’s no busy, musty commute to look forward to, nor is there any need to be bored! Within reach of Havana, Cuba is the perfect destination for the explorers out there who would love to seek out the Hispanic architecture. It works well as a destination for families, but even a sole sun-seeker can find tranquillity in the heat!
It’s a long-haul option, but the ‘Sunshine State’ certainly lives up to its name. Life in Florida couldn’t be further from the frosty commute at home and it also has Universal and Disney World for all those who want an adventure. Of course, Florida has so much more to it than Orlando and the theme parks. There is Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Jacksonville to explore and almost 1,500 miles of sandy beaches and warm ocean to get to know. Winter sun? Yes, please!
Back to the Caribbean, Barbados is so well connected to the UK that it can feel like little more than a quick hop through the sky to reach the seemingly endless oceans and delicious, home cooked food. Luxury resorts are aplenty along the coast but for those who want to do more than lounge on a sandy beach, the capital Bridgetown is great for heritage and history. Bring a few good books and you won’t want to leave Barbados!
Seeking winter sun doesn’t always mean looking for the sandiest beach, but Dubai does have those in spades! Shopping. It’s all about the shopping. Whether you choose to head to Dubai before or after the holidays, you can get so much done while you’re out there. It’s a glitzy place to be, full of history and architecture to explore, and trendy bars and restaurants serving up delicious local cuisines. The heat is amazing for the time of year, so topping up that tan has never been as easy as when you visit Dubai.
The dry season in Thailand ranges between December and April, meaning that your January getaway is perfectly placed for a time of fun in Phuket. Facing west toward the Andaman Sea, Phuket is a place to be in tune with nature; meeting tiger cubs and riding your first elephant are on par with the spa resorts and sunsets.
Rio De Janeiro
Famed for its summer carnivals, Rio De Janeiro is also known for its Mardi Gras, held in February. See the home of Christ the Redeemer while dancing to the samba sounds. Book into one of the many hotels or book a villa, either way you can break up those miserable mornings by boarding a flight to cultural paradise. There’s no reason to wait round, especially not to book your South American holiday. Winter sun has never been so accessible!
While Sri Lanka enjoys two huge monsoon seasons, the South of the island itself is usually clear of the monsoons between October and April. This means the temperatures soar to 30 degrees during the day and it makes December simply ideal. You can find some excellent Sri Lankan deals online, finding the best cultural resorts and luxury food and activities you could imagine.
Back to the Canaries, Spain is one of the most reliable winter sun options out there. Volcanic majesty, hiking trails and beaches of endless sands and calm seas, Tenerife has cheap deals year-round but especially during the winter months. Santa Cruz has some of the best historical landmark to be seen and plenty of restaurants to visit and sample from. Take a hike along some of the many trails of Mount Teide for something to do and places to see.
Finding winter sun is one of the easiest things to do, so make sure you budget throughout the year and on those long commutes, think about what you want from your holiday. Whether you’re searching for a week on the best beaches in the world or you’re looking to explore museums and architecture, there are options all over for you. There’s no need to bear with the long, cold months if you have the opportunity to go out into the world and explore! There should always be excitement and booking yourself a well-deserved break is important to keep you motivated, happy and away from conditions like SAD, which we mentioned earlier. Go and find your winter break and make it a hot, happy and healthy one!