With the cool nights starting to draw in and the mornings growing ever darker, the long, hazy days of summer already feel like a distant memory for many of us.
If you want to escape the cooler, wetter weather for a blissful week or two, but don’t want to travel far – more time on the beach, less on the plane! – then here are five winter destinations where the sun spends its holidays, and which you can get to – minus the hassle of a very long-haul flight.
While the sea surrounding Cyprus may get a bit chilly in the winter, there is plenty of sun on this island all year long. With winter temperatures hovering pleasantly around 20c , there is also a lot to see and do after you’ve had breakfast on a sunny terrace and taken your morning walk along the beach.
Take your pick from the nature reserves, sandy white beaches and historical sightseeing opportunities, then pop into town to take a look around or simply relax and unwind with some mouth-watering Greek-Cypriot food and local wines in one of the traditional tavernas. No wonder Cyprus still remains one of the most popular year round timeshare favourites – especially for Brits!
Photo: Pafos bay – Cyprus Tourism Organization
2) Marrakesh, Morocco
Wander around the ancient medinas and take in the sights, smells and sheer, mesmerising mystery of Marrakesh. Perfect for stocking up on Christmas shopping, or for sitting in a café in the afternoon sun (you can expect temperatures of around 23C on average), Marrakesh is one of our favourite winter breaks. Prepare to fall in love with magical Morocco as it dazzles your senses with exotic aromas, friendly locals and vibrant colours. If you feel the need for a day on the beach, the sandy shores of Agadir and Essaouira are just 2-3 hours drive west although most of the top resorts, including Swiss timeshare specialists Hapimag, have a cool blue pool to bask by. Don’t miss the freshly-squeezed orange juice – it’s like a sweet, fresh, orange elixir and Morocco is famous for it!
Just a hop, skip and a jump away from the coast of Africa, Tenerife enjoys all the scorching temperatures of the continent – but with a distinctly Spanish vibe. Even the coolest months can give you temperatures of around 23C, so winter sun worshippers won’t be disappointed. Head to Guia de Isora, on Tenerife’s west coast, it’s an up-and-coming resort with sweeping views of the Atlantic.
4) Cape Verde
Cape Verde is just over six hours flying time from the UK so it’s not one of the shortest on this list but we’ve squeezed it in because for 2-3 extra hours on the plane you’ll be greeted by a whole other world of Afro-Caribbean-style lifestyle, food and music.
With its captivating blend of Brazilian, Portuguese and African cultures, Cape Verde is a winter break with a difference. Its relatively untouched beaches and resorts mean you can expect Caribbean-esque like sands (think white, picturesque beaches), while the food is sure to get your mouth watering. Even in December, you can expect six hours of sunshine and highs of around 26C.
With its lush green scenery, you can see why Madeira was nicknamed the Floating Garden. Expect plenty of bougainvillea-lined streets and villas, lilac jacaranda trees and sweeping green hills. The capital city of Funchal was founded in 1424 and boasts colourful gardens, a cobbled old town and traditional restaurants. In December, you can expect to see temperatures of around 20C during the day.