Gaaah – I don’t about where you are, but here in the south west it’s been so flipping grey this January. We’ve been lucky to escape pretty much all of the snow but the trade off has been solid cloud and rain for what feels like forever. Every now and again the sun pokes its head through the clouds but it’s gone far too quickly and we’re back to the gloom.
So, desparate for a bit of winter sun, when Clickstay contacted us to see if we’d be interested in putting together a wishlist of sunny escapes, I was only too happy to oblige.
According to the weather forecast as I write this, it’s 18 degrees and sunny in Málaga right now. I know, the Costa del Sol has more of a reputation as a package holiday destination than a short break kind of place, but I maintain that Málaga is a pretty much perfect place to go for a city break. The city itself is a fantastic mix of laid back and vibrant and over the last decade, it has transformed itself into a cultural and gastronomic hub with fantastic food and world class museums including a regional branch of the Centre Pompidou. It’s also really easy to get to, with direct flights running from many regional airports and a flight time of around 2.5 hours.
I’ve been to Paphos quite a few times over the years as I have family that live there and I never say no to going back. I actually prefer to go slightly off season as it’s quieter and not quite so baking hot as it is in the summer (something that I don’t mind, but that my skin hates). You can’t beat a walk along the historic harbourside, a day trip out to the epic Kourian archaological site with its hillside ampitheatre that looks straight out over the Mediterranean, or (weather-permitting) a drive up into the Troodos mountains for a mountain walk or visit to the new geopark. And, of course, at least one evening must be spent indulging in a Cypriot meze feast – the perfect opportunity to sample some of the island’s delicious delicacies.
My favourite meze spot has to be Costa’s Koloni Tavern – it’s extremely popular, especially at weekends, so booking is essential!
Italy is somewhere I’ve rather neglected on my travels so far, I’m sad to say. Keri and I took a short trip to Rome years ago but that’s all really. There’s a few places I’d love to visit including Pompeii and Turin (for the world-famous Egyptian museum) but I think that Tuscany is probably the classic Italian holiday destination – I’d love to spend some time exploring the towns of Florence, Siena and Pisa and pottering round the beaches, mountains and vinyards of the province.
4. Koh Samui
Further afield, I can’t not put Koh Samui on my list. I got married there on Christmas Eve a few years ago so I have the perfect excuse to use it as a winter sun destination. It’s a bit rainy there right now but it’s still 25 degrees and it does generally brighten up during February and March. We were there last May and spent a wonderful five days driving round the island and up into the mountains, enjoying drinks and Thai food on the beach and watching sunsets from the pool (remind me – why am I not there now?).
I’m going to cheat and just putt the entire country of ‘Portugal’ as my fifth choice because, like Italy, it’s a place that’s forever been on my list but I actually know very little about it so have no idea where best to visit. Having seen a fair bit of Spain in the last couple of years, I’m really interested in comparing it with its Iberian peninsula neighbour. Would I want to go to the Algarve? The historic UNESCO city centre in Porto? Faro? Or head out to the sunny island of Madeira for hiking and scuba diving as well as beaches and restaurants? I don’t know yet so more research is required – if you’ve got any recommendations, I’d certainly love to hear them.
This post was written in collaboration with Clickstay but all winter wishlist destinations are my own!
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