13 of the best winter sun locations

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Whether it’s the drop in temperature or your leftover annual leave, you may find yourself dreaming about basking in the winter sun on a beautiful beach.  Whatever your motivation, you’ve probably always wondered: where are the best places to go for sun in December, January or February? 

Here we’ve compiled a list of the top winter sun destinations, with all the information you need to make the right choice.

1. Marrakech, Morocco

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Best for: Cultured city escapes
Average temperature: 20ºC / 68ºF
When to go: November – March

Like other countries in the Northern Hemisphere, Morocco has a seasonal climate. Whilst the summer months can see temperatures reaching highs of 40ºC, winter offers a milder climate with averages around 20ºC, meaning it’s an excellent choice for relaxed sightseeing and one of our top winter sun destinations.

Make the most the glorious weather and visit the Medina of Marrakech, where you can find everything from handwoven carpets to intricate gold work. At night, the main square, Jemaa el-Fnaa, comes alive with snake charmers and storytellers enacting Morocco’s rich traditions. Art-lovers will appreciate the Jardin Majorelle, a beautiful cactus garden painted in a striking shade of cobalt blue. History buffs should head to the Saadian Tombs, a mediaeval mausoleum housing the bones of royals and dignitaries down the ages. Explore more of Flash Pack’s group solo trips to Morocco.

2. Cuba

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Best for: Caribbean beaches
Average temperature: 26ºC / 79ºF
When to go: December – February

Cuba enjoys pleasant tropical temperatures in winter, with a spell of dry weather running from November to mid-April, making it an excellent choice for a winter sun break. 

Havana is one of the country’s star attractions, with its Unesco World Heritage Old Town, beautiful ruins and historical atmosphere. Cuba is a very musical country and you’ll hear the rhythms of salsa and jazz drifting through the streets wherever you go. History-lovers will be well-served with revolutionary landmarks at every corner, while iconic vintage cars create a real sense of nostalgia through the streets.

On the coast, the white-sand beaches of Cayo Levisa are wonderfully warm during these months, with clear blue seas and palm-fringed shores. Looking for some winter sun? Take a look at Flash Pack’s Soulful Cuba itinerary.

3. Krabi, Thailand

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Best for: Rock-climbing adventure
Average temperature: 31 – 34ºC / 89º – 93ºF
When to go: December – February

Thailand is one of the best places for winter sun, with pleasant dry weather and temperatures averaging between 31°C and 35°C.

The province of Krabi is a firm favourite, with its pristine shoreline, warm blue seas and craggy limestone cliffs. The islands of the Andaman Sea are a huge draw, with Phi Phi luring travelers to powdery beaches and spectacular snorkeling opportunities.

Just under two hours by ferry, Railay Bay has some of the best climbing spots in the region. You’ll find options available for all levels of experience, whether you’re a seasoned rock-climber or looking for your first introduction to the sport. Beyond climbing, there are hidden jungle lagoons, mysterious caves and ancient temples, the perfect stomping ground for the region’s mischievous monkeys. For more adventures, see Flash Pack’s Thailand trips.

4. Belize

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Best for: Rainforest adventure
Average temperature: 28ºC / 82ºF
When to go: November – April

As a tropical country, Belize has two seasons: wet and dry. November to April marks the dry season, meaning just as the Northern Hemisphere moves into winter, Belize is gearing up for glorious sunshine. So, if you’re looking for a warm winter getaway, why not consider Belize?

Whilst it may be tiny, its widespread tropical charm cannot be ignored. Inland, the dense jungle of Pine Mountain Ridge offers activities like ziplining and canyoning, with some epic hikes to be had, too. Along the coast, you’ll find crystalline seas perfect for snorkeling and soft white beaches crying out for a spot of sunbathing.

The islands of Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker boast pretty Caribbean towns, with their lush shores frequented by reef sharks and turtles. Whether you’re looking for wildlife or beaches, Belize is one of the most spectacular winter sun locations. Explore more of Flash Pack’s trip to Belize.

5. Baja California, Mexico

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Best for: Snorkelling with sea lions
Average temperature: 25 – 27ºC / 77º – 80ºF
When to go: November – April

Mexico has a diverse climate, varying considerably depending on where you are in the country. Along the coast, winter brings warm, dry weather, with temperatures lower than the summer months but pleasant enough to enjoy a spot of sunbathing or sightseeing. Sea temperatures during this period average around 20C, providing good conditions for swimming and snorkeling.

Cabo San Lucas is known for its beautiful blue seas and intriguing rock formations, best explored on a boat ride along the coast. Further north, the mysterious island of Espiritu Santo beckons with its desolate, volcanic terrain and biodiverse shores. Keep an eye out for dolphins, whales and sea lions exploring their natural habitat. Discover all that Mexico has to offer on a Flash Pack group tour.

6. Oman

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Best for: Wild wadi swimming
Average temperature: 26ºC / 79ºF
When to go: October – April

Oman has a hot desert climate, with temperatures reaching overbearing levels in the summer. Come winter, it’s more pleasant, with average temperatures of 26ºC and ranking Oman as one of the top winter sun destinations.

The capital Muscat overlooks the Gulf of Oman, which in winter is graced with a refreshing sea breeze. With a rich history dating back to antiquity, the streets of Muscat are lined with classical Arab architecture offering a wealth of culture to be explored.

Further inland, Oman’s oases offer respite from the desert heat. Known as wadis, these emerald lagoons are usually found in valleys and ravines, surrounded by rugged desert. Fringed with palm trees and boasting some of the most eye-catching waters, they are one of the most impressive experiences Oman has to offer. Try Wadi Bani Khalid and Wadi Shab where you can swim in the pools. See more of Flash Pack’s Oman adventure.

6. Cape Town, South Africa

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Best for: Swimming with penguins
Average temperature: 28ºC / 82ºF
When to go: December – February

Like other countries in the Southern Hemisphere, summertime in South Africa runs from December to February, coinciding with the Northern Hemisphere’s winter months. Average sea temperatures are around 20ºC, making it a perfect winter sun destination.

New to South Africa? Cape Town is an excellent place to start. Table Mountain attracts adventure-lovers, with its epic abseiling opportunities. Nearby Stellenbosch produces some of the world’s finest wines, offering tastings in incredible settings. The coastline is carved by magnificent Atlantic waves all year round, making it a great place to learn to surf. And, if you venture just a little further south, you’ll reach the Cape Peninsula, one of the few places where you can encounter African penguins in their natural habitat. Explore all that the country has to offer on Flash Pack’s South African adventure.

7. Egypt

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Best for: Historical sightseeing
Average temperature: 19ºC / 66ºF
When to go: December – February

Whilst summer temperatures in Egypt can reach highs of 35ºC, winter offers a pleasingly cooler climate with fewer crowds. This means that you can enjoy the best of Egypt without competing for space with tourists, making it a top destination for winter sun

Start your adventure in Cairo, from which you can easily visit the ancient city of Giza, home to the Great Pyramid and legendary Sphinx. Follow the Nile south to Luxor, a city constructed on the site of ancient Thebes. From the 16th – 11th century BC, Thebes was the seat of power for Egypt’s pharaohs. The remnants of this legacy can still be seen today, with the ancient city much like an open-air museum, with walls carved with hieroglyphics and adorned with sacred statues. You’ll also find the Valley of the Kings, the ‘gateway to the afterlife’, where pharaohs and nobles are buried. The Temple of Amun-Ra is equally impressive, built as an offering to the God of Luxor, believed in ancient Egypt to have created the universe. Continue further south along the Nile and you’ll discover Aswan, a southern city in the province of Nubia. Visit the Unesco-founded Nubia Museum to learn all about this ancient African culture. You can see some of these remarkable landmarks, and more, on Flash Pack’s Egyptian adventure.

8. Kerala, India

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Best for: Lazy beach escapes
Average temperature: 28ºC / 82ºF
When to go: December – February

The best time to visit India’s far south is from December to February when temperatures cool to a pleasant average of 28ºC. The rest of the year is either hot or humid, with monsoon season falling between June and October. Visit in winter and you’ll be greeted with beautiful, sunny climes without the humid heat of the summer months.

Kerala, in particular, is a wonderful spot for chilled escapism. With a long stretch of coast overlooking the Arabian Sea, Kerala’s golden beaches are made for basking in the winter sun with a book in hand. Mountain-lover? Head a little inland to the Western Ghats, a mountain range even older than the Himalayas, for scene-stealing hikes.

And if you’re after local culture, visit Kochi for traditional Kathakali performances. Originating from Kerala, it’s one of India’s most revered and sacred dance forms, with participants enacting ancient Hindu stories using only facial expressions. Explore more of Flash Pack’s Indian adventures.

9. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

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Best for: Carnaval in February
Average temperature: 29ºC / 84ºF
When to go: December – February

Summer in Brazil runs from December to March, making this a brilliant destination for a winter sun escape. Rio de Janeiro is one of the world’s best city escapes, where golden beaches expand beneath rugged mountains on the doorstep of a vibrant and energetic city. Why choose between mountains and beach, city or nature when you can have them all?

Visit Rio in February and you’ll find yourself in the thick of the world-famous Carnival, undoubtedly the highlight of the year. Beyond the frivolity, the beaches are home to majestic waves, perfect for budding surfers. And, of course, Christ the Redeemer, the iconic mountain-top statue overlooking the city and the sea, it one of the city’s top spots to visit. Enjoy some winter sun in Brazil as part of a Flash Pack group tour.

10. Luang Prabang, Laos

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Best for: Buddhist temples and heritage
Average temperature: 27 – 29ºC / 80 – 84ºF
When to go: December – March

Like neighboring Thailand, the winter months coincide with Laos’ dry season. Temperatures average around 28ºC, making it one of the best places for winter sun. 

Luang Prabang, the former royal capital, is one of the country’s prettiest towns. With a deeply spiritual local culture, you’ll witness monks in saffron robes collecting alms each morning before daybreak. The streets are fringed with ancient temples decorated in mosaics depicting Buddhist stories, and boutiques sell handmade crafts and textiles. A little further south, you’ll find Kuang Si Falls, a beautiful three-tiered waterfall deep in the rainforest, perfect for a wild swim after a jungle hike. Explore more on Flash Pack’s Laos adventure.

11. Yucatán, Mexico

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Best for: Wild cenote swimming
Average temperature: 28ºC / 82ºF
When to go: December – March

The winter season sees temperatures on the Yucatán Peninsula hover around 28ºC, providing balmy conditions for exploring the region’s archaeological and cultural sites, and enjoying a dose of much needed winter sun.

What can you expect on an adventure in Yucatán? Firstly, impeccable beaches. Isla Holbox is simply beautiful, with striking white sands and aquamarine waters home to a diverse range of wildlife. Snorkeling is a must. And, at the Cancún Underwater Museum, you can swim your way through a series of sculptures and artworks surrounded by coral reefs.

There are also impressive Mayan ruins. From Chichen Itza, one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, to Tulum Ruins, the wealth of history is remarkable. There are also plenty of cenotes, secluded lagoons that are often located inside caves, with ethereal waters that will cast away any winter blues. Discover what Mexico has to offer on a Flash Pack group tours.

12. Hoi An, Vietnam

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Best for: Delicious food and cultural heritage
Average temperature: 25ºC / 77ºF
When to go: November – February

Whilst summer in central Vietnam sees temperatures reach 35ºC, winter brings cooler weather, which is pleasantly refreshing.

Looking for a relaxing winter sun escape? Swap the bustle of Hanoi for the lantern-lit streets of Hoi An. Located on the coast of Central Vietnam, this historical port city has a unique atmosphere, owing to its blend of Chinese, French and traditional Vietnamese influences. Hoi An’s cosmopolitan history has also left its mark on the local cuisine, with grilled meats paired with spicy salads, rice noodles and banh mi, an elaboration on the French baguette.

The Old Town, a Unesco World Heritage Site, is renowned for its historical character, with Japanese houses, Chinese pagodas and tailor shops lining the streets. Tailoring is a respected local craft in Hoi An, with a breadth of Vietnamese silk also produced. Whether you’re looking to explore cultural gems, get a taste of delectable cuisine or indulge in some bespoke tailoring, Hoi An offers a memorable experience for any solo traveler. Explore Hoi An as part of our Vietnam adventures.

13. Sri Lanka

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Best for: Ancient Unesco ruins
Average temperature: 27ºC / 80ºF
When to go: November – February

Like other tropical countries, the best time to visit Sri Lanka is during the dry season, which coincides with the cold winter months in across Europe and the US. With sea temperatures averaging 27ºC, Sri Lanka’s golden beaches are some of  the best places for a spot of winter sun.

Beyond the unspoilt beaches, Sri Lanka is a country steeped in ancient history and Unesco World Heritage ruins. At Sigiriya, one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic sights, the fifth-century city is carved from a slab of sheer rock towering over the landscape. At Polonnaruwa, once the religious heart of Sri Lanka, the ancient relic is lined with temples and crumbling Buddhas, best explored by bike. These sites offer an impressive glimpse into Sri Lanka’s historic past. Take a look at Flash Pack’s Sri Lanka adventure.

If you’re craving the warmth of winter sun, try a group solo adventure with Flash Pack, where you’ll explore some of the best winter sun locations alongside other like-minded travelers.

Got a story or adventure that could inspire a solo traveler like you? Tag @flashpack on social or email [email protected] to be featured.

Images: Flash Pack and Unsplash

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