We’re already a week into January, heading towards spring, so if you’re longing for sunnier climes and balmy temperatures in the coming months but can’t face the prospect of jetlag, there are quite a few options within just a few hours’ flying time of the UK.
Some of the destinations we’ve singled out are popular favourites, others are a little more “off the beaten track” and all have one thing in common: they’re in, or very close to, desert terrain.
Here’s our pick of the warmest, “most reliably sunny” destinations in February, closest to Britain.
The Canary Islands
You can often bag a flight bargain to the Canary Islands, and direct flights from across the UK only take around four hours. Of the larger, more popular islands we love Tenerife, which boasts beautiful landscapes, family activities and generous temperatures in the mid-20s. If you crave somewhere more remote, hop on the ferry from Tenerife to beautiful La Gomera, or you could even try La Graciosa, just north of Lanzarote.
The magic and mystery of beautiful Morocco lies less than a four hour flight time from the UK (you can get to Marrakech in 3.5 hours) – and there’s plenty to see and do in the the land which in many ways is a stepping stone between North Africa and Europe. Adventurers can delve the hustle and bustle of Marrakech (where Hapimag have a gorgeous resort!), discover the exotic Fes or bathe in the sun on the beach.
If you’re willing to travel a little further, you can enjoy the ancient wonders of Egypt in five hours. In Cairo, you’ll find eight hours of sunshine and temperatures of about 20°C – perfect for visiting the Pyramids. Meanwhile, the tourist region of Sharm El Sheikh by the Red Sea boasts luxurious beach hotels and glorious temperatures of 24°C.
Going somewhere you’ve never been to before is one of the big travel trends of 2015, so why not make this winter/early spring the time to explore the dramatic landscapes of Oman? Take a drive across the country to discover remote beaches, historic forts and villages, vast dunes and authentic Arabian hospitality. Better still, you can expect temperatures of around 25°C and at least nine hours of sunshine a day.