Winter sun escapes
Our favourite hot spots
Winter in the UK can be rather drab, wet and cold making it the perfect time to flee to sunnier climes. With this in mind, we went in search of the best destinations for winter sun: from the sand dunes of Oman to the bohemian beach towns of Goa and all the way to the shores of the Caribbean Sea.
Blessed with one of the most distinct and varied landscapes in Africa and pleasant weather year-round Cape Town offers an exciting experience to lovers of the great outdoors and anyone looking for a cosmopolitan yet relaxed city to visit. February and March are ideal months for heading to the area’s game reserves including the Western Cape.
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The tiny Arabian country of Oman has become a firm favourite among intrepid travellers looking for sun, sand and adventure. Muscat, the capital, is a laid-back city with lots of with world-class resorts. Visit Wadi Shab – the stunning valley with rock pools and caves, dotted with shady date palms. In the south-east of the country is the town of Salalah, renowned for its pungent frankincense and close proximity to the Qara Mountains.
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Located on the west coast of India, Goa has often been described as the Ibiza of the east, and it’s easy to see why. Its coastline is made up of idyllic beaches, especially in the north. Anjuna Beach, on the west coast, is probably the most famous and this is also where the Wednesday flea market takes place.
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With average temperatures reaching 30 degrees, the Seychelles is the perfect destination for a beach or diving holiday. But that’s not all, the Festival Kreol takes place in October; the International Fishing Competition and the annual underwater film and image festival in November. Bird lovers can’t miss the spectacular bird-watching in April which is the breeding season.
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The Dominican Republic may not be the first choice for most travellers from the UK but this is changing. This Caribbean destination has guaranteed year-round sunshine, miles of sandy beaches and quaint colonial towns, ideal for those escaping the winter gloom. Punta Cana, on the eastern tip of the country, is where the airport, luxury resorts and lush gold courses are located.
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Cuba is another great choice for those looking for a Caribbean holiday combined with culture. A short drive from the capital, Havana, is Hicacos Peninsula, in Matanzas province where Cuba´s well-known seaside resort Varadero is located. Cayo Largo del Sur, lies just offshore, with white sandy beaches, palm trees, grapefruit fields, parrots and excellent diving.
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Located on the Pacific side of Mexico, Puerto Vallarta may not be as popular as Cancun or Cabo but it’s a great choice for a trip during winter when humpback whales and dolphins can be spotted off the coast. While its stunning beaches and great restaurants are the main reason people visit Vallarta, there are plenty of activities available including horseback riding, diving excursions and exploring underwater caves.
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If you’re looking for an exciting Easter trip across the Atlantic then Miami is the place to visit. Its exotic districts - Coral Gables, Little Havana and Coconut Grove provide plenty of entertainment and shopping while Ocean Drive’s stylish restaurants and sultry clubs will keep you up till dawn. Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit, although you may not have time to actually relax and enjoy the beach.
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Updated April 2013