Winter sun: top 8 destinations

If you want winter sun and you're looking to escape to somewhere where the weather is warm or even hot, we have you covered. Here are our top destinations for a large dose of much-needed winter sunshine.
Teresitas beach near Santa Cruz de Tenerife on Canary islands, Spain. Photo: Shutterstock
Teresitas beach near Santa Cruz de Tenerife on Canary islands, Spain. Photo: Shutterstock

1. Dubai: the luxury winter sun Emirate

Winter in Dubai is much like summer everywhere else. With average temperatures of 25–30°C (77°F–86°F) in October and February, it actually makes for a better time to visit than during the hot summer months. Stepping off the plane you will be greeted by uninterrupted blue skies that continue over the high rise city, its sandy beaches and the clear water of the Persian Gulf. 

Dubai is a playground with so much to occupy your time, so take to the water parks for a refreshing splash, or dive into the sea for some fun watersports. Then head to the desert in a 4x4 or just bask in the luxury that is readily available all over Dubai. 

Do all this and more on an Insight Guides Dubai Family Stopover trip and enjoy the five-star luxury that defines Dubai, from shopping in vast malls and discovering top restaurants to simply relaxing poolside in some of the world's best hotels.    

2. Oman: the authentic desert country

For a more authentic, quieter, Middle East experience that includes just as much luxury, why not book an Insight Guides Best of Oman trip? With year-round temperatures much the same as Dubai, Oman is cooler (but still hot) in winter - perfect for enjoying the rustic interior and natural features this country offers. 

Head into the desert, trek on camels through small villages, meet the Bedouin people and learn about their nomadic lifestyle. Explore the Wahiba Sands in a 4x4 or camp under stars in the warm night air and cool off by bathing in an oasis. 

For the luxury and culture, head to the cities of Muscat and Nizwa, tour ancient desert forts and other historic attractions while spending your evenings feasting on local dishes in traditional Omani restaurants. 

3. Abu Dhabi: the fast-paced UAE capital

With Abu Dhabi's final Grand Prix taking place in November and temperatures of 25°C (77°F) accompanied by bright sunshine, winter is a good time to visit the capital of the United Arab Emirates.  The streets will be buzzing with atmosphere and you can look forward to celebrations and parties around every corner. 

Insight Guides Abu Dhabi Luxury Stopover trip includes a Yas driving experience to complete the Formula 1 theme, but if Formula 1 is not your thing there is plenty more to keep you occupied. Tour the city to see the iconic Grand Mosque, visit the Louvre Abu Dhabi or go marvel at the luxury for sale in Marina Mall. 

Sunrise on the beach at Perian Gulf in Abu Dhabi

Winter sun on Persian Gulf beaches in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Shutterstock

4. Tenerife: the popular winter sun Canary 

With a much shorter flight and no time difference with the UK, make more of your holiday by staying in Europe and heading south to Tenerife, the largest of Spain's Canary Islands which has average temperatures of 24°C (75°F) from November to February.

Winter is perfect for exploring Mount Teide National Park and less challenging than in the heat of summer. You can spend days hiking and biking across the island on mapped out routes, then head to the coast and take advantage of the sun-warmed Atlantic to try water sports such as kitesurfing or paddle boarding. And with landscapes varying from barren volcanic rock to lush forests, Tenerife is also home to an abundance of flora and fauna.  

5. Thailand: wall-to-wall winter sunshine

Winter in Europe marks high season in Thailand and from November to February the weather is at its best when humidity subsides and rain stops to leave days of wall-to-wall sunshine. Spend the dry season strolling around the cities and exploring temples, parks and palaces. 

Then hop from island to island, making the most of the longer day lengths to lie on idyllic white-sand beaches, backed by a sea of tropical vegetation. Or jump into the ocean and explore a colourful new world of coral round some of Jacques Cousteau's favourite dive sites off these shores.

Insight Guides Thailand Discovery is a perfect winter trip from lively Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Phuket for a full range of experiences from urban adventure to cultured cities and island beaches. 

6. Maldives: Indian Ocean paradise in winter

If all you want from your winter sun holiday is to lay on a perfect beach, occasionally slipping into the slightly cooler water in order to refresh, then the Maldives is for you. 

Spend every day waking up to sunny skies and temperatures of 27°C (80°F). Leave your luxury room for a tasty breakfast and then wander out onto the beach where you can cheerfully stay marooned for your entire stay. When you want to dip in the water to cool off, why not consider a bit more activity and take a mask and snorkel? You'll find tons going on underwater around these idyllic coral islands. 

If you prefer something even more active, consider diving or surfing or combine a trip to the Maldives with a stop in Sri Lanka on an Insight Guides Luxury Sri Lanka and the Maldives trip. 

Cocktails overlooking Maldives resortMaldives resort. Photo: Shutterstock

7. Malaysia 

Malaysia is hot and humid all year round and between November and February temperatures are around 27°C (80°F) with the humidity making it feel a lot warmer and bringing some afternoon rain showers. 

Nevertheless, you are guaranteed sunshine so spend sunny mornings relaxing by the pool in Kuala Lumpur, before exploring the city sights in the afternoon. Journey high up to the observation deck of the Petronas Towers to see Kuala Lumpur from above, then visit the Batu Caves and search the local markets for traditional cuisine and Malaysian souvenirs. 

Head to the islands of Penang and Langkawi for pristine beaches in a rural and remote setting and see the Cameron Highlands in their verdant glory, whilst enjoying afternoon tea in the midst of the vast tea plantations. If you want to do all this and more, think about booking an Insight Guides Splendour of Malaysia trip this winter. 

8. Cambodia

Take to Cambodia on an Insight Guides Beaches and Temples trip in winter for something more traditional, cultural and slower paced. Cambodia's dry season runs from October through to April and temperatures rarely dip below 20°C (68°F) during this season and the humidity is also significantly lower. 

Winter weather makes perfect conditions to trek around the Khmer sites and Cambodia's major cities. Start at vast Angkor Wat, with its ruined temples engulfed by banyan tree roots. Then cruise over Tonle Sap lake and walk the streets of Siem Reap before travelling to the capital, Phnom Phen, for a guided tour. 

After all that, aim for a more of relaxing time by heading south in Cambodia to laze in the sunshine on the sandy beaches as the clear water laps the shore.