Top 10 short-haul sun spots

As the UK starts its inevitable slide into grey skies and freezing temperatures, the prospect of escaping to warmer climes seems more and more attractive. We present our top ten short-haul winter-sun destinations to give you some ideas for where to go when the weather becomes a little too cold for comfort…

BARCELONA

Current temperature 19 degrees, flight time about 2 hours

As Summer in the Catalonian capital Barcelona has been known to last well into our Winter – November temperatures sometimes rise to the 20s – it’s a perfect place to thaw out when the cold sets in. With its glorious array of Gaudi-designed architecture and several kilometres of beaches within close reach, Barcelona offers the ultimate blend of cultural city break and Mediterranean beach holiday. Search and compare flights to Barcelona.

TENERIFE

Current temperature 27 degrees, flight time about 4 hours

Long a summer favourite, Tenerife’s popularity extends to the latter seasons too. Holidaymakers from throughout Europe flock to enjoy the sub-tropical climate that close proximity to North Africa affords the island. Flight times are relatively short, making a week-long break is a very viable choice, yet the Canary Isles still feel more exotic than comparable destinations – perhaps the reason why so many ‘Spaghetti Westerns’ were filmed here over the years. Search and compare flights to Tenerife.

IBIZA

Current temperature 20 degrees, flight time about 2 hours

The party never stops at La Isla Blanca, no matter what time of day or year it is. It’s just as well, then, that temperatures still average around 20 degrees at the height of the day during the final few months. However, if yoga and sunbathing sound preferable to clubbing the days and nights away, then explore the many faces of Ibiza and choose the aspects that appeal the most to you. Search and compare flights to Ibiza.

BODRUM

Current temperature 23 degrees, flight time about 4 hours

While the waters around this Turkish port-city are often warm enough for swimming in the penultimate month of the year, the same certainly cannot be said for the likes of Brighton and Blackpool. With this in mind, many actually prefer to visit outside the high season: the weather in Bodrum remains favourable long after the crowds have departed, leaving the beaches and off-peak accommodation rates for canny winter sun-seekers. Search and compare flights to Bodrum.

COSTA DEL SOL

Current temperature 25 degrees, flight time 2.5 hours

For many travellers Malaga means the airport that’s left as quickly as possible for resorts such as Benalmadena and Fuengirola, but it’s a wonderful city in its own right, with plenty of culture as well as beaches and temperatures that rarely fall below 10 degrees in the depths of winter. Should a cloudy day force you away from the beach, there are plenty of sights such as the Museo Picasso, Museum of Popular Art and Customs, Diocesal Museum, Castillo de Gibralfaro and Cathedral. Search and compare flights to Malaga.

THE ALGARVE

Current temperature 22 degrees, flight time about 3 hours

Is there anywhere better to sit out the grim, grey winter than on that beautiful stretch of sandy beach on which the sun beats down? In January, temperatures can top 28 degrees. The beaches are of the softest sand with just the right number of rocky outcrops for small children to clamber over, the Atlantic Ocean laps the shore, wild weather at sea is not unheard of, and the gentle pace of life in the small towns and villages of the Algarve offers a cure for rat-raceitis. Search and compare flights to Faro.

PAPHOS

Current temperature 28 degrees, flight time about 5 hours

Sun can be sought successfully in this southern Cypriot city right up until the year’s close: temperatures in December have been known to surpass 20 degrees. Rich in intriguing history, Paphos is a UNESCO World Heritage Site strewn with archaeological sites and artefacts from the Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods. The mosaics of New Paphos in particular attract much admiration. Search and compare flights to Paphos.

LARNACA

Current temperature 28 degrees, flight time 4 hours

The second Cypriot city to make our list, Larnaca lies on the eastern side of Cyprus. This part of the island has the hottest and driest climate. It’s an excellent choice for a package break, the airport is conveniently close to the beach resorts and the city is known for its beaches, water sports, nightlife and beautiful palm-lined sea-front. Search and compare flights to Larnaca.

COSTA CALIDA

Current temperature 21 degrees, flight time about 2.5 hours

Off the tourist track, (as much as any part of perennially popular Spain could it) the Costa Calida gets at least 315 days of sunshine every year. This region is in southeastern Spain, a land of beautiful beaches, calm waters, small towns and gentle landscapes. And lots and lots of golf courses. Search and compare flights to Murcia

MARRAKECH

Current temperature 23 degrees, flight time 3.5 hours

The “Red City” is not on the coast so there are no beaches to flock to, but there are magical gardens. Marrakech is renowned for its lush gardens. And its Old Town, its souks, the Koutoubia Mosque and Bab Agnaou. Even in January, as Britons turn up the thermostat to its highest setting, Marrakesh is basking in temperatures of around 20 degrees. Search and compare: flights to Marrakech.

(Image: Larry Johnson)