26 September, 2017

Don’t pack away your Havaianas quite yet – winter sun is calling and it’s got your name on it.

The only antidote to chilly days and long nights is a break somewhere toasty. Whether you’re after tropical heat in faraway climes or a gentle dose of warmth closer to home, there are plenty of options for soaking in the rays.

Time-wise, the best window for your escape is November. Not only will you nab the cheapest airline deals then (booking flights a few weeks in advance), it’s also the moment when winter gloom typically sets in.

Have your Factor 50 handy as you explore the best places to visit for a winter sun hit…

Winter sun in Jordan

Wadi Rum in Jordan at sunset.

Jordan is a great place to visit for winter sun, not least because it’s off-radar for a lot of people. Temperatures are still warm around 25°C, but the nights are cool and refreshing.

Wander the heaving markets of downtown Amman, ride camels in the Wadi Rum or soak in the other-worldly landscape of the Dana Nature Reserve – where you can sip mint tea with native Bedouin on the rooftop of Feynan Ecolodge. This award-winning retreat is in the middle of nowhere and has no electric lights, so the sky is ablaze with a billion stars come darkness.

A visit to Petra – Jordan’s ancient rose-red city carved from quartzose sandstone – is not to be missed. Book a night-time tour, when the rocks glow by the mystical light of thousands of candles.  Finish with a road trip to the Dead Sea, where you can float in the sea as you read a newspaper, or soak in nutrient-rich mud. All while topping up your tan, naturally.

Fancy exploring Jordan’s delights? Head here

Flight time from London: 5 hours

Winter sun in South Africa

Winter sun

Land of eternal sunshine, South Africa, is a top pick for your winter sun fix.

Bathe in temperatures around the mid-twenties mark as you sample world-famous wines from Stellenbosch’s vineyards. Paddle board the Cape Peninsula, abseil down Table Mountain and swim with seals in Plettenberg Bay.

No trip here would be complete without a safari, where you can marvel at giraffes, elephants, lions and more in their natural habit. Of course, most luxury lodges come with a pool for a spot of sunbathing in-between game drives.

Just don’t be surprised if the occasional monkey pops by to join you…

Want to tick South Africa off the list? Step right this way

Flight time from London: 12 hours

Winter sun in Colombia

Colourful Colombia is home to some of the world’s most spectacular beaches. We’re talking palm tree-fringed havens with powdery white sands and a notable lack of crowds.

Head to Tayrona National Park for picturesque coastal stretches framed by lush swathes of rainforest and dramatic mountain foothills. Temperatures linger around 32°C: perfect conditions for a spot of snorkelling in luminous waters.

Revel in the energy of the beautiful Cartagena, where you can linger over a Coco Loco cocktail or two (trust us, they’re delicious), while soaking up the rays on a rooftop bar. A day trip away from here lies the Rosario Islands, a beautiful Caribbean archipelago that you can explore by private boat.

Is Colombia calling? Plan your trip

Flight time from London: 12 hours

Winter sun in Morocco


With its labyrinth of souks and effervescent markets, Morocco is a country that tempts at every turn.

Meander around Marrakech’s tiny alleyways, as you peruse stalls crammed with spices, silks and silver jewellery. Just outside the city lies the Agafay desert, where you can balance atop a camel for a bumpy – yet beautiful – sunset ride before settling down to a night’s glamping in luxury tents.

Don’t forget the coastal village of Taghazout, where the mercury hovers at 25°C in November. If you can tear yourself away from your hotel sunlounger, it’s ideal for a spot of surfing. The point breaks in this region are legendary.

Need to cool off? High Atlas awaits; a remarkable mountain range dotted with Berber villages that is ripe for walking, trekking and general exploration. Oh, and don’t forget a visit to a traditional hammam – just don’t scrub off that sunshine glow in the process…

Keen to marvel at Morocco? Be our guest

Flight time from London: 4 hours

Winter sun in Vietnam

Vietnam is a brilliant place to head come winter, offering a tropical climate and cultural highlights galore.

Hanoi, the country’s charming capital, is cooler than its southern neighbour, with temperatures of around 17-22°C in November. It’s the perfect setting in which to explore the buzzing, moto-filled streets of the city, with pretty lakes, pavement cafes serving steaming bowls of pho and the faded grandeur of French colonial buildings.

Out on Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site, you can pootle around thousands of limestone islands with towering cliffs and spectacular craggy grottoes. The breeze in the air means you won’t be as bothered by mosquitoes when you bed down at night on a traditional junk boat.

As you head down the country, it becomes warmer and there are gorgeous beaches to explore at both Hoi An – a beautiful lantern-lit town that specialises in tailoring – and Phan Thiet.

Feeling the call of Vietnam? Embrace it

Flight time from London: 12 hours

Images: Shutterstock

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