The best places for winter sun to escape the cold

cheap winter holidays

by Emily Gilbert |
Updated on

If you're dreaming of escaping the winter chill and basking in the warm embrace of the sun then look no further. We've curated a list of the best places for winter sun for a getaway you won't forget.

From idyllic beaches to captivating cultural experiences, these hidden gems and well-known paradises are perfect for budget-conscious travellers seeking a sun-filled getaway. Whether you're a beach lover, an adventure seeker, or a culture enthusiast, these cheap winter sun holidays have something special in store for everyone.

As you'll need to travel a little further afield for some sun at this time of year, you'll need something a little bigger than a cabin bag for your travels, as you can expect the flight to be no less than 4-5 hours so you'll want more than a few nights away. So, pack your suitcase, ditch the winter coats and count down to an unforgettable escape to these budget-friendly winter sun destinations.

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

Average flying time: Approximately 4 to 5 hours from major European cities.
Average high temperature (Winter): 21-24°C (70-75°F)

Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, is an ideal destination for budget-conscious travellers seeking a winter sun escape. The island's diverse landscapes range from golden beaches in the south to volcanic mountains in the north. The highlight is Mount Teide, Spain's highest peak and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you can take a cable car to the summit for breathtaking views. As well as outdoor activities like hiking and water sports, Tenerife offers charming towns like Santa Cruz and La Laguna, known for their historic architecture and lively atmosphere. Don't miss the opportunity to sample local Canarian cuisine and delicious seafood. If you fancy another Canary Island instead, there are plenty of Gran Canaria hotels to choose from that might be more your cup of tea.

Dubai, UAE

Average flying time: Approximately 6 to 7 hours from major European cities.
Average high temperature (Winter): 14-26°C (57-79°F)

Dubai winter sun

For a city escape where you'll also find white beaches, water parks, fine dining and huge shopping malls, then there really is no better place for a winter holiday than Dubai. With temperatures in the summer averaging at 41 degrees, winter really is the best time to explore this Middle Eastern destination but you'll still want to make sure you pack your sun cream in your travel toiletry bag. It's also a great place for every age, making it a perfect holiday for families wanting to keep the young ones entertained. Highlights include desert safaris where you can ride camels, the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa and the many beaches.

Bali, Indonesia

Average flying time: Approximately 15-18 hours from the UK.
Average high temperature (Winter): 30-32°C (86-90°F)

Bali offers a mix of cultural experiences, such as visiting ancient temples like Uluwatu and Tanah Lot, and opportunities to connect with nature, including exploring lush rice terraces in Ubud. Beach lovers will find their paradise in areas like Kuta, Seminyak, and Nusa Dua, where you can soak up the sun, indulge in beachside massages, and surf the waves if you're feeling brave. Bali's bustling nightlife, art markets, and delectable cuisine, including traditional dishes like Nasi Goreng and Babi Guling, make it a fantastic all-round destination.

Goa, India

Average flying time: Approximately 9-10 hours from major European cities with layovers.
Average high temperature (Winter): 32-34°C (89-93°F)

This laid-back and budget-friendly destination is famous for its beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and Portuguese-influenced architecture. During the winter, the weather in Goa is perfect for sunbathing and enjoying beach shacks that serve delicious seafood and refreshing drinks. Explore the scenic Dudhsagar Waterfalls, visit historic sites like the Basilica of Bom Jesus and Fort Aguada, and immerse yourself in the lively markets of Anjuna and Mapusa. Goa also hosts numerous music festivals and cultural events during the winter season, making it an excellent choice if you're seeking a mix of relaxation and entertainment.


Average flying time: Approximately 3-4 hours from major European cities.
Average high temperature (Winter): 18-22°C (64-72°F)

Morocco, a country that straddles both Europe and Africa, offers a blend of cultures, traditions, and landscapes. Marrakech, known for its bustling souks and Djemaa el-Fna square, is a must-visit destination for an immersive cultural experience. Take a stroll through the blue-washed streets of Chefchaouen, explore the Roman ruins of Volubilis, and experience the enchanting Sahara Desert on a camel trek. Winter is the perfect time to enjoy Moroccan cuisine, including tagines, couscous, and mint tea, while the weather remains mild for comfortable outdoor exploring.


Average flying time: Approximately 4-5 hours from major European cities.
Average high temperature (Winter): 20-25°C (68-77°F)

With its rich history and iconic landmarks, Egypt is a captivating winter sun destination that won't break the bank. Cairo, the capital, offers the opportunity to explore the Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx, and the Egyptian Museum. A Nile River cruise between Luxor and Aswan will allow you to witness ancient temples, tombs, and the Valley of the Kings. The Red Sea resorts of Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh provide sunny beach escapes with affordable accommodation options and excellent snorkelling and diving opportunities in crystal-clear waters.

Sri Lanka

Average flying time: Approximately 10-12 hours from major European cities with layovers.
Average high temperature (Winter): 30-32°C (86-90°F)

Sri Lanka's tropical climate and diverse landscapes make it an attractive destination for those seeking warmth during the winter months. Head to the southwest coast, where you'll find beautiful beaches like Unawatuna and Mirissa, perfect for swimming, surfing, and relaxing. Explore the cultural triangle, including the ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, as well as the impressive Sigiriya Rock Fortress if you fancy a hike. In the central region, visit the picturesque hill town of Ella and enjoy the scenic train journey through the tea plantations. Don't forget to try Sri Lanka's famous dishes, such as hoppers, kottu roti, and spicy curries.

Costa Rica

Average flying time: Approximately 10-12 hours from major European cities with layovers.
Average high temperature (Winter): 27-32°C (81-90°F)

Costa Rica's biodiversity, eco-tourism opportunities, and warm climate during the winter season make it an excellent choice for nature enthusiasts. The country is home to several national parks, including Manuel Antonio and Tortuguero, where you can spot diverse wildlife such as monkeys, sloths, and colourful birds. Adventure seekers can enjoy zip-lining through the rainforest, whitewater rafting, and hiking to volcanoes like Arenal. Relax on the Pacific or Caribbean coasts, where you'll find budget-friendly accommodations and a laid-back atmosphere.

Cape Verde

Average flying time: Approximately 6-7 hours from major European cities.
Average high temperature (Winter): 25-28°C (77-82°F)

Cape Verde, an archipelago off the coast of West Africa, offers an affordable winter sun escape with a mix of African and Portuguese influences. Sal and Boa Vista are popular islands for beach lovers, with long stretches of sandy shores and turquoise waters, as well as water sports for those looking for a thrill. For a taste of Cape Verdean culture, we recommend visiting the capital, Praia, or the lively town of Mindelo on São Vicente. Enjoy the local music, known as morna, and sample the delicious national dish, Cachupa.


Average flying time: Approximately 11-14 hours from major European cities with layovers.
Average high temperature (Winter): 31-34°C (88-93°F)

While some parts of Thailand experience cooler weather during the winter, the southern islands, including Phuket, Koh Samui, and Krabi, offer warm and sunny days. These destinations boast beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and numerous budget-friendly guesthouses and hostels. Explore stunning limestone cliffs and crystal-clear waters in Railay, indulge in delicious street food and exotic fruits at local markets, and take a boat trip to the nearby Phi Phi Islands.

Dominican Republic

Average flying time: Approximately 8-10 hours from major European cities with layovers.
Average high temperature (Winter): 27-30°C (80-86°F)

The Dominican Republic, located in the Caribbean, offers an abundance of affordable all-inclusive resorts along its pristine coastline. Punta Cana is a top choice for travellers seeking a relaxing beach vacation with activities like snorkelling, catamaran cruises, and beach parties. In the capital, Santo Domingo, you can explore colonial architecture, visit the historic Zona Colonial, and immerse yourself in the local culture.


Average flying time: Approximately 10-12 hours from major European cities with layovers.
Average high temperature (Winter): 28-30°C (82-86°F)

Belize, with its English-speaking population and diverse natural beauty, is a budget-friendly gem in Central America. Snorkel or dive the Belize Barrier Reef, the second-largest barrier reef system in the world, and discover the stunning Blue Hole. Explore ancient Mayan ruins like Xunantunich and Caracol, nestled in the lush jungles. Be sure not to miss a visit to the Cayo District for its adventurous outdoor activities such as cave tubing and zip-lining.

Cape Town, South Africa

Average flying time: Approximately 11-13 hours from major European cities with layovers.
Average high temperature (Winter): 22-25°C (72-77°F)

Cape Town combines a mix of stunning landscapes and vibrant urban experiences. Visit Table Mountain, either by hiking or taking a cable car, for breathtaking views of the city and surrounding coastline. Take a scenic drive to Cape Point, where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet, and explore the nearby penguin colony at Boulders Beach. Cape Town also boasts a vibrant food and wine scene, with lots of budget-friendly eateries and wine farms in the nearby Cape Winelands.

Features & Reviews Editor Emily Gilberthas been a journalist since 2016 and has worked across a variety of specialist and lifestyle brands both in print and online. Specialising in travel content and product reviews, Emily is the first to know about all the exciting new releases, her favourite being gadgets for the home.

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