While many of us naturally seek out sunny spots for summer, it’s easy to forget about the array of destinations that offer glorious year-round sunshine. When it’s cold and miserable at home, getting away for some winter sun not only boosts our mood, but also our body’s internal clock, serotonin and energy levels.
And, whether you prefer temperatures to be soaring or like them warm but mild, nothing rejuvenates the body and enflames the soul like a healthy dose of vitamin D. No matter how you define your perfect sunny day, you’ll find at least one sunny winter travel destination that piques your interest. So, it’s time to pack away your umbrella, banish your raincoat and seek out some all important year-round sunshine.
Where is it sunny all year-round?
If you’re looking for a travel destination with year-round sunshine, Colombia’s position close to the equator means, away from the mountainous regions, it enjoys tropical climes throughout the year. In the same region, Brazil also sees glorious climes all year but, if you want guaranteed sunshine, stick the the north and east coasts.
Across the Atlantic, temperatures in Morocco come winter don’t tend to dip below a pleasingly moderate 20ºC, while the northern Mediterranean regions see the barometer hitting 30ºC. Parts of South Africa are reliable for sunshine all year thanks to it’s location in the Southern Hemisphere, including Cape Town during the months of December to March. Asia is a given for winter sun, with wonderful opportunities for sun-basking days and temperate evenings in Jordan, India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Bali.
Here we list the top places to visit for guaranteed weather all year round.
Land of sultry salsa rhythms, incredible coffee and amazing beaches, Colombia’s location on the equator means there’s plenty of locales to choose from for year-round sun. The Caribbean coast is home to cities where the tropical sea laps against palm-fringed beaches. Further inland, you’ll find the high-altitude sprawl of Bogotá, bordered by the Andes, with sky-high energy to match its scenic surroundings.
Then there’s Medellín, nicknamed the ‘City of Eternal Spring’, which has reinvented itself in the wake of the Escobar era and now brims with beauty and a revitalized spirit. Temperatures are generally dictated by altitude but, as a solo travel destination, Colombia is most popular during the dry season of December to March.
Rio de Janeiro may be the undisputed party mecca of the Americas with its scenic cityscape, pristine shores and rugged mountains, yet Brazil has much more to offer off the beaten trail. For an alternative to sipping cocktails at the Copa, go on a bicycle tour along the scenic coastline, explore the Amazon by boat, rock a cable car up Sugarloaf mountain or chase waterfalls at Iguazu. There’s also UNESCO-listed towns, like coastal Paraty with its cobbled streets, plus nearby islands like Ilha Grande.
Brazil is home to a tropical climate, with average temperatures of 20°C in the south of the country and 28°C in the north throughout the year. During summer (December to March), those temperatures can reach up to 41°C in some of the cities (like Rio de Janeiro and Salvador). For a solo trip, the shoulder months of April and October are best.
India is the birthplace of several major religions and home to over 1.3 billion people. With a diverse array of cultures, stunning natural landscapes and world famous food, it’s high on the list of sunny places to visit. From the iconic Taj Mahal and pearly beaches of Goa and Kerala to the lush beauty of Kashmir and ancient temples of Khajuraho, this country is bursting with magnificent sights and unique activities.
Perfect for sunseekers, India has an average of 300 sunny days a year. It’s a great winter destination, with peak season lasting from November to March. To beat the crowds and benefit from better rates, plan your solo visit around the shoulder season from September to October or March to April. For hikers, the Himalayas are at their best late summer, but for less-crowded walks, visit from spring onwards.
Vietnam is a jewel in the crown of Southeast Asia and the home of the world’s best coconut candy (worth the flight alone). Navigate swampy rivers, explore emerald valleys and still find time for a sunset boat ride along Halong Bay. Ho Chi Minh City is the powerhouse of Vietnam complete with modern skyscrapers, ancient temples, floating markets and a thriving nightlife. When the going gets too hot (as Ho Chi Minh and Phú Quốc can do), look out for the hand-painted signs reading “Bia Hoi” – it means fresh beer.
The weather elsewhere in the country varies a lot depending on where you are. In the north, Hanoi has a more temperate climate and tends to just get hot between June and August. It’s warm in the central region from March to October. The dryer months of March, April and May are the ideal time for countrywide solo travel in Vietnam, but regardless, you’re likely to find year-round sunshine if you work around the seasons.
Sri Lanka has a rich culture and magnificent natural landscapes abound. It’s a tropical country sitting close to the equator, so tends to have warm weather all year. The island is rich in lush forests, white sand beaches and offers eight UNESCO World Heritage sites. On the tiny island, roughly the size of Ireland, you will also have the opportunity to observe elephants and roaming leopards in their natural habitat.
The temperature doesn’t typically vary much – you can expect an average of around 27-29°C most days. Summer temperatures reach well over 38°C, while monsoon season hits the northern regions from December to March, and the southwest from June to October. Much like Colombia, the main factor impacting the temperature is altitude. For traveling solo as a whole, your best bet is the shoulder seasons of September, October and April when you can still expect that sweet spot of sunshine.
Sprawling deserts, buoyant seas and ancient cities – what’s not to love? Beyond Jordan’s artistic and bohemian capital of Amman, the landscapes unfold to reveal yet more surprises. Vast mountains, red rolling dunes, salty seas and stunning archaeological sites, travel in Jordan is likely to be a series of moments spent in awe. If you’re into Hollywood filming locations, this magical country is the stuff of legends. Indiana Jones lassoed his way to the world famous Treasury at Petra, Lawrence of Arabia crossed the shimmering red desert of Wadi Rum, whilst Matt Damon made the most of this otherworldly landscape in The Martian.
Most of Jordan has an arid desert climate and an abundance of sunshine. However, in the north and west a more Mediterranean climate offers some cooler options. The best time to visit depends on what you’d like from your solo adventure. Things can get particularly sticky during the summer months when temperatures hit a toasty 40 °C, so the best time to visit is spring (March to May) or autumn (September to November).
With an eclectic mix of Arabic, European and African cultures and mild, Mediterranean climate, Morocco is nothing short of magical. From exploring the desert dunes on the back of a camel to shopping in fragrant bazaars and luxuriating in crystal clear waters, this diverse wonderland will leave you captivated and wanting more.
Once you’ve had your fill of mint tea in Marrakech, head for the Atlas Mountains before hitting the golden coast of Taghazout. Morocco has a subtropical climate, so winter nights can get a little chilly. To avoid melting in the scorching summer heat, plan your visit around mid-March to May. Spring and autumn are ideal for getting in some sunshine without facing extreme temperatures.
South Africa is a kingdom of spectacular wildlife, breathtaking sights and exciting activities throughout the year – you’ll even find fellow sun-worshippers in the form of penguins chilling on the beach. Whether it’s meeting wild game face-to-face on a safari, spotting whales from the Garden Route or snorkeling amid the kelp forest of the Cape Peninsula, you are sure to find something untamed and extraordinary.
Come rain or shine, South Africa tends to hold great temperatures throughout the year. For the traveling lowdown, peak season kicks off in November running through until March, where along the Cape Peninsula the temperature tend to stay around the 30ºC mark. During the winter months, Cape Town and Johannesburg still enjoy warm temperatures, with averages of around 17-20°C.
With average winter temperatures of 28°C, Bali is a sure-fire bet when it comes to catching some some year-round sunshine. Make a beeline for this tropical paradise for surfing, spirituality, snorkeling and more, all surrounded by palm trees, waterfalls and azure seas. From boat rides to beach parties and Balinese blessings, this sunshine haven has it all.
Indonesia’s most popular island is practically set up for solo travelers, with surf, sun and yoga all providing chilled out diversions for adventure lovers. Inland, there’s space for reflection, too, in the island’s tiered temples, rice terraces and brooding volcanic landscapes. Given its proximity to the equator, Bali has a tropical climate, so expect year-round averages of 31°C. Those planning a trip here might find May, June and September to be more pleasant, when the the weather is warm and sunny but there are fewer crowds.
Finding sun in the shoulder months
In search of sun in the shoulder months? Planning an adventure towards the start or end of the calendar year often lets you tap into cheaper flight tickets and all-round lower costs. There are plenty of SOLO articles to help get you up to speed here, whether you’re looking for sunny April destinations or the best places for solo travel in October.
Destinations that are hot, hot, hot
Even if you’re a devout sun-worshipper, there are some destinations that provide the sun but can be a little too dry, hot or humid to make for a completely relaxing vacation spot. These sunniest places in the world don’t, some years, even see a drop of rain or so much as a breeze. That’s not to say they aren’t worth visiting but you’ll definitely need your sun hat and factor 50 all year round.
Yuma, Arizona, USA
Yuma has been identified by the World Meteorological Organisation as the sunniest place on earth. While it experiences an average of 4,015 hours of sunshine per year, it’s part of the Sonora Desert, which has an arid climate and very little rain. In fact, Yuma only sees up to 200mm a year, while temperatures reach 40°C for around a third of the year. Not the ideal climate for a relaxing trip.
Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Just 186 miles away, Phoenix takes the number two spot, averaging 3,872 hours of sunshine a year. Known as the Valley of the Sun, it sees around 300 days of sunshine a year, which is pretty much all of them. However, much like Yuma, its climate is very hot and dry, frequently exceeding 40°C.
Located in the Nile Basin in the southern part of Egypt, Aswan experiences around 3,863 hours of sunshine per year. Average high temperatures in the summer frequently hit 40°C, making it one of the hottest Egyptian cities, alongside Luxor. It’s also one of the driest desert cities in the world, with an average annual rainfall of less than 1mm. Some years, it doesn’t even see rain at all.
Ready to get some sunshine?
Now that you have know where to find the sun, it’s time to decide where your next adventure will take you. Perhaps you want to take a private boat to the Rosario Islands in Colombia or float weightlessly in the Dead Sea in Jordan. Maybe you’ve always fancied abseiling down Table Mountain in Cape Town or you’d love to spot wildlife from a bamboo raft in India.
With Flash Pack, whatever trip you have in mind, you’ll meet a like-minded group of travelers, all in their 30s and 40s. And you’ll all have the opportunity to encounter local, epic and memorable experiences, together. And, if you pick accordingly, a nice bit of sunshine.
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Images: Flash Pack