Winter Travel

The ultimate guide to winter sun holidays

A winter sun holiday is a holiday or short break that gives you the chance to enjoy sunny weather abroad, even in the depths of winter. There are many amazing places to soak up the rays across the globe.

 - 11 Min Read
Last updated and fact checked:
The ultimate guide to winter sun holidays
  • A winter sun holiday is a trip to hotter climes for Brits during the cold UK winter months
  • There are plenty of family-friendly or adults-only holiday destinations to visit in Europe or further afield
  • Many sunny spots have a lot of interesting history and culture to explore during your trip
  • Escape cold temperatures, top up your tan and have lots of fun with a winter sun holiday
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Here in the United Kingdom, the winter months can feel long and never-ending.

A winter sun holiday allows you to enjoy the sunshine during the British winter, visiting a country that is warm and sunny while it's cold and dark at home.

It's easy to see why the chance to head to a destination where you can find a bit of sun during the long winter months would appeal. And there's a host of travel opportunities for you to explore, including adult-only holiday destinations or fun package holidays for the whole family.

We've put together this guide to help you find the ideal winter sun holiday destination. So let's explore some of the best paradise locations to visit in winter, including idyllic destinations worldwide that will beat those winter blues!

Whether you're looking for a solo holiday, an adults-only getaway, or an all-inclusive package for the whole family, our selection of holiday providers has you covered. Click below to start your holiday search!

Family-friendly holiday destinations

A family winter sun holiday is the perfect chance for us to create lasting memories with the people we love.

There are plenty of family-friendly destinations available across the world, including all-inclusive holiday resorts. These holidays include everything you might need, such as food, drinks, meals and activities.

As such, these can be the ideal locations to rest and reset with a winter holiday for the family. Plus, if the kids have just gone off to university or flown the nest, a winter holiday gives everyone time to catch up and relax together.


Mexico is a fantastic winter sun family holiday destination.

It's very family-oriented, and many of Mexico's attractions are ideal for the whole family.

Tourists from across the world head to destinations like Cancun every year to visit idyllic beaches, turquoise waters and fascinating aquariums.

Many of the family-friendly resorts in Mexico have kids’ clubs, meaning you can rest and relax by the pool or even head to the spa while the kids enjoy themselves.

Little ones, teens, parents and grandparents; a winter sun holiday in Mexico suits people of all ages and interests.


Florida is a popular choice for families during the cold winter months back home. Depending on where you are in the UK, it can take up to 15 hours to fly to Florida, but this destination is an affordable long-haul option.

Many Brits head to Florida for blue skies, palm trees and stunning white sands, but there are plenty of fun activities to enjoy. Why not try out snorkelling or head to Florida's well-known nature spots?

Florida also has many fun places to take the kids or grandkids, including Miami Zoo, Universal Studios and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Spain and Portugal

Many family-friendly holiday destinations in Europe offer fun and affordable options close to home.

Portugal and Spain are stunning European spots. Although cities such as Madrid are cold during the winter, the Mediterranean coast remains warm and sunny, and the ideal temperature for a winter sun holiday.

Benidorm in Spain is one of the most popular holiday destinations for Brits, with over one million people visiting each year.

There are also some fantastic waterparks up and down the coast of Portugal. Whether you take the kids and grandkids to Slide and Splash or Water Park Splash Wave, they'll never get bored!

Your children can enjoy the local waterpark while you top up your tan, enjoy a few drinks or head out to explore a bit of the local history and culture.

The Canary Islands

The Canary Islands offer some of the best winter sun holiday destinations, including the islands of Tenerife and Fuerteventura.

You can catch a quick flight to the Canary Islands for an affordable and fun family holiday. Eating out is relatively inexpensive in Tenerife and Lanzarote, so you can afford to treat yourself and the family to a few delicious meals out, too.

The sub-tropical climate of these Spanish islands offers warm and sunny weather - the perfect escape from the British winter months.

Avoid those winter blues and enjoy quality family time with your loved ones.

The Maldives

The best time to visit the Maldives is between November and April, making it the perfect choice for a bit of winter sunshine.

In December, temperatures can reach up to 31°C and rarely fall below 27°C.

The days are hot and the evenings balmy, creating an ideal winter holiday spot if you want to escape the cold.

You and your family could celebrate a hot Christmas or go island-hopping for the New Year on this stunning and picturesque island group.


Madeira is an incredible, beautiful paradise for those looking for a bit of sun during British wintertime.

Unlike the UK, Madeira experiences year-round warm weather, making it a great place to soak up the rays.

The Madeira Aquapark is lots of fun if you'll have the kids or grandkids with you. The island also includes plenty of family-friendly beaches to visit during your winter holiday.

There is also a lot of history and culture to explore in Madeira. History lovers can visit the capital city Funchal to tour museums, parks, gardens and historical monuments.

Adults-only destinations

Modern life can be stressful, and we know that sometimes you need a break where there won't be kids and larger families everywhere.

It's easy to find package holidays or locations in specific destinations catering exclusively to adults. So whether you want quiet, sunny days by the pool or to enjoy things like day trips and spa treatments, it won't take much to find the right option for your needs.

Whether you're heading abroad solo, with your partner, or planning a trip with your friends, we all need to take time away from our hectic lives and get a bit of sun in the wintertime.

Cape Verde

Cape Verde is a sunny destination like no other!

This stunning Portuguese island offers beautiful, warm seas and incredible volcanic spots. You and your partner can take a walk in nature or tan yourself on the beach.

Just off the coast of Africa, a holiday to Cape Verde can help you escape the UK in search of warmer weather, heading off on a winter sun holiday to an exotic and idyllic destination.

Make sure to take plenty of photographs in this island paradise.

The Caribbean

The Caribbean is a popular choice for adults-only holidays, including a wide range of island locations such as the Dominican Republic, Barbados, Jamaica or Antigua.

The Caribbean contrasts significantly with life here in the UK, especially during the winter. As well as enjoying the local scenery and trying out local foods, there are many memorable activities to enjoy, including:

  • Swimming with dolphins
  • Diving with sharks
  • Snorkelling

Head to the Caribbean for a couples’ trip or arrange a winter sun holiday for you and your friends.

From sipping drinks on a stunning beach to diving and snorkelling in bright blue ocean waters, there’s something for everyone on these gorgeous island destinations.

Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria is one of the most beautiful Canary Islands and a popular spot for a romantic, adult-only getaway.

This island is known for its white sand beaches. These beaches are sandy and sunny even during the winter, with temperatures reaching highs of 19°C in November.

This temperature is ideal for those of us who want to enjoy a bit of sunshine without dealing with intense heat every day.

You could watch the sunset at Maspalomas Dunes or stroll along Mogán Canals, a beautiful local fishing village known as "Little Venice."

Indian Ocean destinations

There are many fantastic holiday destinations across the Indian Ocean, such as Mauritius, the Maldives and Seychelles.

These luxury destinations have some of the world's best hotels. So head off to your Indian Ocean destination in November to avoid most tourists and have some kid-free time before Christmas. 

You could even island-hop around the Maldives or Seychelles, seeing as much as possible on your trip.

Remember, we featured the Maldives as a family-friendly destination, too, so make sure you choose the right type of resort for the break you want!

Cyprus and Turkey

Cyprus and Turkey are fantastic winter sun destinations for an adult-only trip.

Cyprus is known for its incredible 59 blue flag beaches, perfect for a sunny holiday while the weather is cold here in the UK. This country also has some of the cleanest beaches in Europe.

There are many historical sites to explore in Turkey, which is a perfect location for a cultural couples' trip. For example, you could visit the Blue Mosque or even tour the legendary Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.


Thailand is an excellent choice for an adults-only winter holiday, with abundant sunshine and much warmer weather than the UK.

Known for its vibrant nightlife, there are many bars and pubs to explore in Phuket. The Koh Tao pub crawl is a popular option for tourists looking for lots of sun and fun!

Any holiday is a much-needed break from the stress and worry of modern life. A winter sun holiday will allow you and your partner or friends to rest, relax, and enjoy warmer climes while it's cold and wet back home.

Winter city breaks

If you want to combine hot weather with a city break, there are some incredible destinations you can travel to. Even though Dubai, for example, is a seven-hour flight from the UK, it’s still an option for a long weekend or a few days away during the week.


If you love to explore new cities, you don’t have to compromise between warm weather and culture with a trip to Morocco.

Even though there is more rain in the winter, temperatures are still very mild. In December, temperatures reach an average of 20°C.

Morocco is an excellent choice for a winter city break, with visits to Marrakech's many historic markets and trips to the Archaeological Museum in Tétouan always popular.

There is much less tourist traffic in Marrakech during the UK winter months, making it the perfect season to visit this gorgeous city.


There are plenty of short getaways available in Egypt.

The UK winter is arguably the best time to visit Egypt. The weather is glorious, and popular tourist destinations will be less busy than during the summer holidays.

The average daily temperature is 24°C, perfect for exploring Cairo or visiting the pyramids at Giza.


Dubai is also a popular winter city break for people across the world. This extraordinary city has many places to visit, including plenty of historical and cultural attractions.

The Dubai Safari Park and Dreamland Aqua Park are ideal for families. You and your loved ones could ascend the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, to enjoy an incredible view of Dubai below.

These fantastic holiday destinations are all warm in the UK winter months and provide plenty of fun, unique activities for friends and family looking for a shorter trip.

Cruise holidays

We've mentioned island hopping, but there's also the potential to do that on a larger scale by taking a cruise holiday this winter.  

Marcus Adams from Sparx told Age Times: "Cruising is also the perfect holiday to escape the dark and cold mornings and enjoy some winter sun. With so much choice and value, cruising is a perfect way to relax and unwind. Especially when you consider how much is included from incredibly designed spaces to world-class cuisine, fantastic entertainment and so much more.

"There is also an experience and destination to suit every budget. You can opt for the sheer convenience of sailing from Southampton and head for warmer shores such as the Canary Islands, Portugal and Madeira. Or why not take a fly cruise to explore destinations such as Florida, the Caribbean, Asia and Australia and New Zealand?"

Finding your perfect winter sun holiday

A winter sun holiday is a chance to enjoy a bit of sun, fun and warm weather.

When the temperatures drop and the days get darker, head out on a sunny winter holiday to find lots of sunshine and beat those winter blues. A winter sun holiday to one of these fantastic locations will help you escape the cold and dark at home. You'll also get a healthy boost of vitamin D and give your mood and energy levels a boost, too.

There are so many options for your winter holiday. Choose to go on a short getaway to a sunny city with your partner or head to a paradise beach resort with the whole family.

Exchange cold temperatures for warm, sandy beaches at one of these incredible locations and find the perfect destination to top up your tan this winter!

Winter sun holidays: FAQs

Where is the best place for winter sun in December?

There are plenty of places to visit for winter sun. The Maldives are ideal for a winter break in December if you’re looking for somewhere long-haul. Morocco is great for a short getaway, with mild weather and fewer tourists.

Where is the cheapest place for a winter sun holiday?

There are many affordable places to find a bit of winter sun. Orlando in Florida is a relatively cheap destination for a long-haul winter holiday, including plenty of options for kids.

Phuket in Thailand is also one of the cheapest places for winter sun. Head to Tenerife or Lanzarote to find a bit of sun during the long winter and enjoy affordable options to eat out.

Is there anything I need to know before I travel abroad?

It is important to choose a holiday that is ATOL protected. This is a financial protection scheme that protects many all-inclusive package holidays, and it is backed by the UK government.

The FCDO also provides essential travel advice to British nationals, helping people across the UK stay safe abroad.

Choose a holiday that is ABTA protected so that you receive a refund if anything goes wrong.

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