06 Nov

Where to find winter sun

With the cold days and dark nights closing in, aren’t we all just ready for some vitamin D again? ABTA has listed a few destinations to help you in planning for a holiday in the sun this winter. 

We’ve headed south to destinations on the coasts of Africa and to the Middle East where you can find super havens in the desert, including advice on average temperatures, amount of daily sunshine and flight durations from the UK.

Dec – Jan temp: 23- 25 degrees
Hours of sunshine: 6.4
Flight time: 5 hours

One of the biggest draws for Egypt is its luxurious resorts on the Red Sea, where travellers can dabble in learning to dive in its warm waters. Since the restrictions on flights between the UK and Sharm el-Sheikh have now been lifted, ABTA travel companies are beginning to sell holidays to the destination once again whilst continuing to sell holidays to resorts in Hurghada and Marsa Alam. 

Egypt’s Pyramids are also iconic and you can book a day’s tour from Cairo, the country’s capital. Don’t hesitate to find a good value holiday in Egypt now Sharm el-Sheikh is back on the map this winter and a travel professional can create a bespoke package for you.

South Africa
Dec – Jan temp: 25- 28 degrees
Hours of sunshine: 8.1 hours
Flight time: 12 hours

Want a hotter climate without jetlag? Well South Africa could be just the ticket, with just a two hour time difference you could get an overnight flight and wake up feeling fine (depending on how well you can sleep on flights – maybe treat yourself to an upgrade?) 

Fly to Cape Town and visit Table Mountain which towers over the city, the penguin colony on Boulder's Beach, the wine estates and Kruger National Park.

The city of Durban was included in ABTA’s Travel Trends 2019 as a top destination to visit. Stunning beaches border the fun and buzzy city of Durban which is also close by to Kwa Zulu Natal – incredibly, diverse landscapes and chance to see the “Big Five” animals, the unforgettable Drakensberg Mountains and the ancient rock art of the San people. 

South Africa offers huge range of experiences and is a great value destination for all travellers.

Dec – Jan temp: 31 degrees
Hours of sunshine: 9 hours 
Flight time: 5 hours

Nicknamed the ‘smiling coast’ for its friendly welcome and guaranteed sunshine, Gambia is a great winter sun destination. If you’re you a discerning traveller, you’ll find real luxury. The small West African country has wonderfully golden beaches which stretch for miles – look out to the Atlantic Ocean where you could get lost wondering where you’d end up if you started sailing.

The Gambia is also the same time zone as the UK, so you can fend off the jetlag and wake up nice and early to get down to the Kololi beach as soon as possible, which is one of the most popular. 

If you’re looking for something more, you can go on a guided bush safari to Bijilo Forest Park or buy locally made souvenirs at the Senegambia Craft Market. You could even go fishing for barracuda as a paid for experience or if you’re less keen to catch it and more interested in the restaurants, eat out for locally caught fish at dinner. 

Cape Verde
Dec – Jan temp: 24-27 degrees
Hours of sunshine: 8 hours 
Flight time: 6 hours

If you’re looking to go further south than the Canaries, Cape Verde would be your next stop. Directly west to Gambia and a past Portuguese colony, Cape Verde has year round sunshine and a wide cultural range, being a mix of Portuguese, Brazilian and African influences. 

Geographically, it’s a group of ten islands and many visitors hop between them for days out, with the most popular being Boa Vista and Sal, both gifted with beautiful sand dunes and long golden beaches. A great day out would be to head to Playa de Estoril on Sal, which has golden white sand and turquoise waters and several places to hire out water sports equipment. Try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding, surfing, kayaking. It will be hard to leave!

Dec – Jan temp: 23 degrees
Hours of sunshine: 8 hours
Flight duration: 7 hours

If you’re looking for five star luxury and non-stop shopping, Dubai would be your dream destination and you’ll be dazzled by the whiteness of the sand, the size of the skyscrapers as well as after taking a Jeep trip to the desert. If you’re there for New Year, you’ll see a very impressive pyrotechnic firework display next to the Burj Khalifa and water-music dance at the Dubai Fountain where thousands gather to watch. Make sure you book a table for dinner as well as popular restaurants with a view of the fireworks will be booked up.

Dec – Jan temp: 25-27 degrees
Hours of sunshine: 10 hours
Flight duration: 7 hours

The Sultanate of Oman is a largely undiscovered jewel on the Arabian Gulf and an activity lover’s paradise. The sea offers spectacular diving options as well as dolphin and whale watching and sailboats for hire, ranging from traditional dhows to racing catamarans. Oman is also home to a number of nesting sites for marine turtles on some of its protected beaches, which can only be visited with an official permit. The mountains are considerably cooler than other parts of the country making it perfect for trekking. In the south, visitors can see the greener side of the country and look for streams and waterfalls in Salalah. After all, this activity holidaymakers can relax in the old world charm and first-class hotels of the capital Muscat.

So, what’s holding you back…probably not the dark, cold and wet days here in the UK?