Don’t you just love the crisp winter mornings? The frost on the grass, the chill in the air, the crunch of the snow underfoot? No? Well you’re not alone. Thousands of people choose to escape the cold of the UK winter in favour of guaranteed sunshine. With competition for your winter pound strong, this is the time to set sail for a welcome dose vitamin D and some warm weather.
December through to April sees wonderful weather in destinations as diverse as South-east Asia and the Caribbean, so choose between some of the world’s best beach resorts as well as some of the most iconic cultural gems.
A perennial favourite, the Caribbean beckons those seeking winter sun within a reasonable flight time. Choose laid-back Mustique for beach-chic with a touch of celebrity status or perhaps Antigua where some of the Caribbean’s finest beaches complement a turbulent and fascinating colonial history. The beaches of Jamaica are similarly renowned, though the interior, with the peaks and waterfalls of the Blue Mountains and the Rio Grande river satisfy those who wish to venture beyond the palm-fringed shoreline. Whichever island you opt for, consider a villa rental for privacy and independence, especially if you’re travelling as a family or a group of friends.
When you think of India, you think of Rajasthan or the Taj Mahal, the great cities of Mumbai, Calcutta and New Delhi or perhaps the peaks of the Himalayan foothills. But there’s a little part of India that not so many people go to, hiding right down in the south on the tropical western coast. Kerala has everything you could ask from a winter sun retreat with heritage, sandy beaches and 12 hours of sunshine each day. Head to Varkala to soak up the hippy 70s vibe or Fort Cochin for historic buildings and gourmet restaurants.
South Africa may be about as far around the globe as you can get, but its longitude is almost equal to that of the UK so jetlag is not on the agenda. The weak rand also makes this an economical choice this winter. Cape Town is the place to be, with everything you could ask for right on your doorstep: Crystal clear ocean, sandy beaches, excellent restaurants and some of the world’s best vineyards just down the road– what are you waiting for?
Thailand’s climate is at its best during our winter months. A fringe of photogenic islands marks a limestone outcrop along the country’s western Andaman coast. Kaleidoscopic fish and coral delight snorkelers and divers whilst pristine beaches have long inspired film makers and travellers. Koh Yao and Koh Lanta are two of the most popular islands along this stretch of coast. The Gulf of Thailand offers similarly beautiful beach retreats, including Koh Samui and Koh Kood, both easily accessible from Bangkok. Thailand has some of the finest beach spa and wellness resorts in the world making this the ideal choice for those seeking a more holistic winter retreat.
With 13 hours of daylight and 7 hours of daily sunshine between December and March, Brazil’s north-east Bahia coast has beautiful beaches, laid-back villages, authentic pousadas and tropical mangroves to explore. Head to the sleepy former fishing village of Trancoso which, despite its present-day popularity, has retained its slightly hippy charm. The social hub of Trancoso’s ‘Quadrado’(village square) is just a gentle ten minute stroll from a beautiful beach with atmospheric beach bars. Venture a little further to to Espelho Beach where a long reef protects an idyllic stretch of sand.
Whilst many of us still espouse the tradition of the summer holiday, why leave sunshine until the summer months? Far better to escape the winter chills for more exotic climes and return to delight in the knowledge that the spring and the promise of summer are just around the corner.
Contact travel experts Red Savannah for more advice on travelling to any of the destinations mentioned on +44 (0)1242 787800.