13 of the Best Destinations for Winter Sun

13 of the Best Destinations for Winter Sun

Did you know that one in three Brits suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of depression that can be triggered by a lack of vitamin D that comes from the sun? For some it can be debilitating and they will need professional treatment, but for those who suffer from a more mild case of the ‘winter blues’ there are lots of things you can do to keep it at bay, including prescribing yourself a big dose of winter sun.

During the heart of winter the UK gets just eight hours of sunlight (often fighting to be seen through the clouds!), so December, January and February are the perfect times to escape to warmer climes and drench yourself in some well needed sunshine. Whether you want to travel mid or long haul you’re spoilt for choice of winter holiday destinations – here’s our personal recommendations!

Our top winter holiday destinations


Skip the crowds on the Gold Coast or in Cairns, and head to the Sunshine Coast for a day on the beach. There are plenty of quiet spots and loads of great food options. If that’s not your thing though, think about heading to Tasmania, which is still warm, but probably not as hot and humid as Queensland – it’s also home to beautiful scenery and top notch food.

Sadly, Australian summer days aren’t as long as European summer days, but you’ll definitely come home with a tan. Make sure you use that sunscreen though – you don’t want to come home as red as a lobster.

Expect: 9 hours of sunshine, temperatures between 18-36°C


cambodian boy | Ladies What Travel

Visit Angkor Archaeological Park’s ancient temples, discover what else Siem Reap has to offer or head to the coast. Cambodia isn’t just hot, it’s also humid, so make sure you’re balancing out your activities with relaxation time that includes a cold drink in your hand.

Expect: 8 hours of sunshine, temperatures between 21-32°C


The beautiful Varadero beach.
The beautiful Varadero beach.

Whether you’re after a beach holiday in Varadero or want some city culture, Cuba’s got you covered. Havana is a great place to go to find out about the country’s tumultuous history, or you could venture further afield to somewhere like Viñales, where you can meet Cuban cowboys and discover the most amazing countryside views.

Expect: 8 hours of sunshine, temperatures between 20-27°C


Dubai | Ladies What Travel

Just a seven hour flight from London, Dubai is a great winter holiday destination for Brits. Shop to your heart’s content at the souks or mega malls, head to the Atlantis Water Park, or get closer to nature by sleeping under the stars in the desert – you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to activities.

Expect: 8 hours of sunshine, temperatures between 16-26°C


Known as the ‘Pearl of the Orient’, Goa is know for its lovely beaches and the wide variety of watersports available here. Goa also has a number of churches, temples and ancient structures which people love visiting, and foodies will love Goan cuisine which focuses on seafood dishes.

If this takes your fancy, why not have a look at some other top destinations to visit in India?

Expect: 11 hours of sunshine, temperatures between 21-31°C


Morocco is one of the closest destinations from the UK for a decent chunk of winter sunshine, but be warned, it can still get quite chilly, with lows down to single figures. Either head to the hustle and bustle of Marrakesh, or if you prefer to take it a bit easier, check out Essaouira (we recommend staying at the beautiful Jardin des Douars).

Expect: 10 hours of sunshine, temperatures between 7-20°C


Oman is becoming more and more popular as a winter holiday destination, and we can see why. It offers not just great weather, but a more authentic Middle East experience plus the chance to snorkel around remote coral reefs and go camping in the desert. If that’s slumming it a bit too much for your liking, then you’ll love the growing number of affordable luxury hotels popping up all over the country.

Expect: 10 hours of sunshine, temperatures between 17-27°C

South Africa

Just like Australia, in South Africa the weather is the reverse of ours – when our winter arrives their summer begins. So, make the most of that fact and head over there to enjoy the fine wine and white beaches. The more active what the country has to offer, from hiking and bungee jumping through to biking and surfing.

Expect: 11 hours of sunshine, temperatures between 15-26°C

Sri Lanka

Spot Leopards or elephants on safari in one of Sri Lanka’s national parks, visit an ancient city within the country’s Cultural Triangle or unwind on one of its pristine beaches. Want to know more? Here’s our Sri Lanka top five!

Expect: 8 hours of sunshine, temperatures between 22-3°C


Bangkok, Koh Samui, Koh Jum, Koh Lanta,  Phuket…the list of winter sun destinations in Thailand goes on and on.

This is a popular destination for people looking for a tropical escape during our grey winter months and you can see why. Amazingly warm waters that are perfect for snorkelling, jaw-dropping views, white beaches and palm trees – what more could you want?

For culture vultures there are some amazing hidden gems, and of course, for those looking to party you can’t forget those full moon parties!

It’s also an amazing destination for foodies, as Lou found out, and a firm favourite of the Ladies What Travel team!

Expect: 9 hours of sunshine, temperatures between 21-33°C

The Caribbean

Head to the rainforests of St Lucia, take in a Caribbean festival like Crop Over in Barbados or even go swimming with pigs in Exuma. There are so many islands to explore and so much to do that it’s easy to see why this region continues to be high on Britain’s list of winter holiday destinations!

Expect: 11 hours of sunshine, temperatures between 23-29°C


Cruise Halong Bay on a traditional junk or kayak along the shorelines of Danang before doing sunset yoga – you’ll be recharged and refreshed after a winter break to Vietnam.

This is also home to one of my favourite hotels to date, the Victoria Phan Thiet in Mui Ne, worth checking out if you venture to this part of the country!

Expect: 11 hours of sunshine, temperatures between 19-26°C


For a culture and hot weather fix, Qatar is the perfect place to go. The Capital city, Doha offers something for everyone, from art lovers to foodies. You can wander the Souq Waqif for hours checking out local wares (and the odd bit of touristy stuff); visit the Museum of Islamic Art for some culture; and of course, leave some time for chilling out in the sun. There’s plenty to do, so you’ll probably need at least three days and it can get very hot and humid, so definitely schedule in some time to relax.

And if you’re feeling extravagant, why not travel business class with Qatar Airways? Karis tried it for herself recently and loved it!

Expect: 10 1/2-11 hours of sunshine, temperatures between 17-30°C

Where will you go for some winter sun?

So there you have it, our ultimate list of winter vacation destinations. Are these the places you head to for winter sun? We’d love to hear where you’re heading for your winter holidays in early 2019 – let us know your plans in the comments below and also feel free to add your own winter holiday recommendations!

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By day Co-Editor Keri is a freelance journalist and copywriter, but spends most of her free time either travelling or planning her next trip!  A complete travel fanatic, she has a love of tropical climates, wildlife and afternoon tea (hence the creation of her Global Afternoon Tea Challenge!)

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  1. January 28, 2019 / 3:38 pm

    I’m feeling warm just looking at those photographs! But where am I going for a winter holiday? Lapland!

    • Keri
      January 28, 2019 / 4:56 pm

      Ha ha – don’t worry, I’m doing the same – Iceland in 2 weeks lol!

  2. January 29, 2019 / 7:52 am

    We don’t normally do a winter sun holiday, but three years ago we visited friends in Kenya in February and the weather was just perfect – warm and sunny in Nairobi and the Masai Mara (chilly evenings), hot and humid on the coast. Dreaming of that white sand now! #mondayescapes

    • Keri
      February 1, 2019 / 2:01 pm

      Ah sounds like bliss – I’m snowed in right now and could do with some warmth!

  3. January 29, 2019 / 12:16 pm

    Ooh yes I’d love some winter sun right now! I think South Africa was the last time we had a winter hols, time to plan another! #MondayEscapes

    • Keri
      February 1, 2019 / 2:01 pm

      Great idea!

  4. January 29, 2019 / 12:21 pm

    I’m sorely tempted by Cambodia. My son is obsessed with Lego people getting lost in the jungle and I feel this is a sensible reason to drag him to SE Asia! #Mondayescapes

    • Keri
      February 1, 2019 / 2:01 pm

      Sounds like a perfectly good idea to me! 😉

    • Keri
      February 1, 2019 / 2:02 pm

      Thanks Nicky!

  5. January 31, 2019 / 8:57 am

    Great selection! Don’t forget Malaysia too – we have sun all year round (and lots of thunderstorms!) #farawayfiles

    • Keri
      February 1, 2019 / 2:02 pm

      Shhhh, don’t tell them about the thunderstorms! 😉

  6. January 31, 2019 / 3:50 pm

    I could easily do with a winter sun holiday right about now, and any of these would suffice as I want to visit them all! #FarawayFiles

    • Keri
      February 1, 2019 / 2:02 pm

      Pick one and just book it! 😉

  7. February 1, 2019 / 5:54 am

    We are considering Goa for wintersun this coming Christmas

    • Keri
      February 1, 2019 / 2:03 pm

      Good choice – hope you enjoy it!

  8. February 1, 2019 / 6:04 am

    A nice list of destinations, and this was the perfect post to read on a very grey very wet rainy day. #farawayfiles

    • Keri
      February 1, 2019 / 2:03 pm

      Thanks Hilary, hope it brought a little sunshine to your day! 😉

  9. February 1, 2019 / 11:55 am

    Great selection, one of these days I’ll make it to Australia (fingers crossed) #farawayfiles

    • Keri
      February 1, 2019 / 2:03 pm

      Thanks Janis and hope you make it to Oz! x

  10. February 3, 2019 / 6:14 pm

    Such a great round up, giving me a serious case of wanderlust on this chilly day! If I had to pick one from this list it would be Thailand…I could do with those 9hrs of sunshine a day
    TluThanks for linking up to #MondayEscapes

    • Keri
      February 8, 2019 / 11:36 am

      Ah thanks Daisy – hope it inspired you to book yourself a sunny trip! x

  11. February 10, 2019 / 1:27 pm

    I could totally enjoy some Winter Sun this year, Cambodia, Thailand, South Africa, and Sri Lanka, all high up on my bucket list!! (totally daydreaming right now!) Thanks so much for linking up to #MondayEscapes

    • Keri
      February 16, 2019 / 12:58 pm

      My pleasure! Hope this inspired you to book a trip (or two! lol).

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