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Palm trees on stunning beach in exotic holiday destination

Escape the cold and get some winter sun

Getting away in the winter months is essential for many and more affordable than you may imagine. Jetting off to feel the warmth of the sun is also a great way to give your health and wellbeing a boost - so there's no excuse. Use our search tools today to start your winter sun adventure.

Where to go for sizzling winter sun?

Choosing where to go on a 2013 or 2014 winter sun break is an important decision. Here's our rundown of the best destinations for fun in the sun this winter.

A firm favourite for many Brits over the winter months is the Canary Islands where daily temperatures are in the 20s. Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura are the most popular islands, but you should also consider the smaller La Gomera and La Palma which offer a quieter and simpler offering. Many of the resorts are ideal for cheap winter sun breaks and you'll find some great value deals.

 

Two other great options in the Atlantic are Madeira with its fantastic dramatic sea cliffs and the Cape Verde islands, a Caribbean-style paradise only recently being opened up.

 

The Caribbean

The Caribbean itself is a fantastic collection of more than 7,000 islands organised into 28 separate island nations. The winter months are the best time to visit as hurricane season is over and temperatures regularly hit 30 degrees.

The value-led islands of the Dominican Republic and Cuba have direct charter flights from the UK and offer all-inclusive deals at budget prices. The classic islands of Barbados, Jamaica, St Lucia and Antigua offer excellent quality and picture-postcard beaches and cater for all price points from self-catering to luxury all-inclusive winter sun breaks.

And there are other great options in the Caribbean to explore too such as the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas(excellent for diving), Grenada(the Spice Island), and Trinidad and Tobago (renowned for carnivals). And, of course, pretty little St Kitts and Nevis or St Vincent and the Grenadines including Mustique, one of the favourite hideaways of the rich and famous.

 

Wow-factor destinations

If you are looking for somewhere with the wow factor then head to Dubai or Abu Dhabi in the UAE with their high-end hotels, amazing service, shopping malls and spotless beaches. Nearby Oman is the new luxury destination of choice for many, with hotels offering exceptional service, amazing design and world-class food and drink.

To the west, Egypt is known for its Red Sea resorts around Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada with their fantastic diving and snorkelling and extensive hotel choices giving something for every type of budget. This African country is joined by Morocco and Tunisia in the year-round sun stakes with both countries having great beach options. Check out Agadir for a French-influenced break and trips to Marrakech.

 

Fun in Florida

For many, Florida remains an exciting winter sun destination, whether you head to the theme park areas of Orlando complemented bya spot of sunbathing by the pool or you opt to stay in the Gulf Coast resorts such as St Petersburg or Clearwater. Alternatively, go for the trendy option of South Beach in Miami for sunbathing by day and partying with the in-crowd by night. Add in a drive down to the Florida Keys and you have an ideal winter break organised and ready to go.

 

The Indian Ocean

Indian Ocean destinations are also big hitters. On its eastern shores lies Thailand with the resorts of Phuket and the Phi Phi islands. But don't forget Thailand's other great winter sun locations of Koh Samui, Pattaya and Krabi - all firm favourites with Brits. South of Thailand you'll find Malaysia with Penang.

Heading west you'll hit Sri Lanka, shaped like a tear drop at the southern end of India and lined with glorious beaches, Buddhist temples and its famous elephants.

Next up is Goa with its mix of Indo-Portuguese culture, full moon parties and sweeping golden sands. Or, head over to the Maldives for a tropical island paradise and the stuff of desert island dreams.

Then there's the Seychelles, a location for honeymooners including Prince William and Kate and Mauritius, an island circled by its own barrier reef with white-sand beaches, huge sugar cane plantations and craggy pitons.

Finally, the Kenyan coast around Mombasa offers lazy days on Indian Ocean beaches and the chance to couple up your holiday with a mini safari to see the wildlife of Africa.

 

Alternative options

Of course, much of the Med is still great to visit in winter with regular blue skies and warm days to brighten up your winter sun break. The Spanish Costas, Algarve, Cyprus and Malta are open year round along with many resorts in Majorca and Turkey. And many are ideal as cheap winter sun destinations with low prices outside of school holidays.

Finally, why not really go for it and consider South Africa's Cape Town and Durban areas, the beaches of Brazil and Argentina, Australia's cities and coasts or the west coast of the USA south of Los Angeles?

Where's great for families, couples or groups?

Finding the right winter sun destination for you and your circumstances is key to ensuring holiday success. Our tips will make this decision easier.

 

“I'm travelling with my family”

Families should consider locations such as Florida for all-action non-stop entertainment or Dubai which is packed with activities and the wow factor.

The Caribbean is also well suited to families - although we advise ensuring that you pick a hotel that is child friendly and has kids' clubs to ensure you get the most from your winter sun break.

For budget-conscious families, the Canaries are the best choice of all. Resorts on the four main islands cater well for family groups, from the choice of eating out options through to accommodation types which range from all-inclusive through to self-catering.

 

“I'm travelling with my other half”

Couples will find many resorts quieter in the winter months with families tending to only go away in the main school holiday periods around Christmas, New Year and Easter. If you really want to get away from it all then Caribbean islands, Mauritius, the Seychelles and the Maldives are great options to consider.

 

“I'm travelling in a group”

Larger groups should consider both the Canaries for value as well as the Med resorts which operate year round to help keep costs down. Otherwise, head to Dubai or Florida where there is enough to keep everyone entertained on a winter sun break as well as great shopping and nightlife.

How to plan the perfect winter sun break?

A winter sun holiday should mean a great tan, a restful break and memories to dine out on. Our top tips will have you on your way in no time.

Our 10-point guide is all you need to plan a great winter sun break.

1. Start by understanding what you want from your trip -just some sun and a heavenly beach, or maybe added culture and some shopping?

2. Set a budget for your holiday including your spending money.

3. Do your research. Our destination and resort guides will help you to decide the sort of places that are right for you.

4. Still not sure? Run a search on our site leaving the destination option open and we will present you with a range of options together with handy temperature guides and the top reasons to visit.

5. Now you are narrowing down your options, compare a range of destinations using our search tools to filter by board type, star rating and resort.

6. Click through and book your holiday with one of many leading holiday partners.

7. Once you have confirmed your trip, start looking at your holiday extras. Take out travel insurance, organise airport parking and book your car hire before organising your holiday money.

8. Don't forget to check your passport is in date, whether you need a visa (Goa is an example of a place whereBrits need one) and make sure you have checked health requirements.

9. Get packing, organising your holiday wardrobe to fit within your luggage allowance and pre-book any additional allowance you may need before going to the airport.

10. Don't forget to bear in mind how strong the sun is in your destination and keep applying the sun-cream -after all you're after a tan and not burned skin.