Want to escape from the chill of winter with your family but don’t know where you should go? From soaking up the rays in the Seychelles to a safari in South Africa, we have discovered the best winter sun holiday destinations across the world to help you decide.
Why go? The Atlantic coast has warm winters (around 20°C) and long, sandy beaches. It’s a good choice for families who don’t want to fly too far but want a taste of the exotic. What better present for the kids than surfing lessons in Taghazout? Or how about staying at a traditional Berber camp? You’ll be able to roll down sandy dunes all day and finish it off by sleeping under the stars of the Saharan Sky.
Top tip: Children will love browsing around souks for crafts and leatherwork.
Flying time: 3.5 hours.
Why go? With amazing beaches, reefs and jungle (including what’s claimed to be the original Garden of Eden), it’s a great winter sun destination for diving, snorkelling and walking. The average winter temperature is 28°C with six to seven hours of sunshine every day. What kids wouldn’t want to open their presents among giant tortoise?
Top tip: Praslin, Desroches and Mahé are the best islands for families.
Flying time: 10 hours.
Why go? Winter temperatures in the Caribbean are reliably around 26 to 27°C and there’s plenty of sunshine. Combine this with idyllic beaches and warm seas, and you can’t go far wrong. Cuba has a fascinating culture and lots of comfortable resort hotels. Take the kids to dance classes and immerse yourselves into the rich culture that Cuba offers. It’s even perfect for any aspiring mermaids for when you visit the lagoons and open caves!
Top tip: Pick an all-inclusive package to help with budgeting.
Flying time: 9 hours.
4/10 Canary Islands
Why go? Winters here are akin to British summers. They are generally warm, with average temperatures around 20°C but with a chance of breezes and a little rain. There’s a range of accommodation available, from good-value self-catering to large hotels with kids’ clubs. Let your inner adventurer come out and explore the wildlife that the Canary Islands have to offer. Everything from whale watching to wild life spotting at Oasis Park; and if that isn’t enough for you then add on Timanfaya National Park. Marvel at whats left behind after more than 1oo volcanoes exploded at this site in the 1730’s.
Top tip: Make sure your resort has a heated pool; the sea will be chilly for swimming at this time of year.
Flying time: 4 hours.
Why go? You like it baking hot (around 30°C) and you love watersports, diving and snorkelling. Oh, and ultimate luxury! The kids will absolutely love adventuring in the shallow lagoons with the myriad of rainbow of fish. If they want to take it a step further why not try diving or snorkelling the coral islands of the Maldives and exploring what the underwater world has to offer! The island has many opportunities for families of all ages, everything from glass bottom boat trips to surfing.
Top tip: Be prepared for short bouts of heavy rain and some humidity, but lots of winter sun!
Flying time: 10.5 hours.
Why go? This scenic island can be wet during the winter months but temperatures still hit 30°C and there are eight hours of sunshine a day. It’s a melting pot of Asian, African and European cultures plus there’s a huge variety of activities that are suitable for families. Just ask the giant tortoise at the Crocodile and Giant Tortoise Park and Nature Reserve! Take the kids and explore Mauritius in ways they won’t forget via hanging bridges and zip-lines. It’s a holiday they won’t forget!
Top tip: The best beaches are in the north of the island.
Flying time: 12 hours.
Why go? Expect temperatures to be around 24 to 25°C, with up to eight hours of sun a day during our winter. Orlando is the big draw and offers families plenty in the way of outdoor activities (fishing, cycling, golf) as well as vast theme parks. Perfect for any inner Harry Potter fans as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is right around the corner. Spend Christmas at Hogwarts with your little witches and wizards!
Top tip: Book early – Florida is always popular during the school holidays.
Flying time: 8.5 hours.
Why go? There is virtually no rain, temperatures hover around 30°C and there are 10 hours’ sunshine a day – what more could you want from a winter holiday? This southern state has a glorious coastline and good resort hotels. What better way to spend your holidays than bathing an elephant? It’s an experience you and your kids will not want to miss! Why not stay in a tree house as well, where could be a better place to open your presents on Christmas morning?
Top tip: Head to Mararikulam for beautiful sandy beaches.
Flying time: 10 hours.
9/10 South Africa
Why go? Temperatures average 26°C with up to 11 hours of sunshine a day – the ultimate vitamin D fix! South Africa is home to one of the longest ariel cable trails, perfect for you and the older kids to take in the beautiful forested valleys with all the fun of zip lining! If it’s adventure you want it’s adventure you’ll get with “Geckoing” down the Sabie River. Perfect for children above the age of 12, the little inflatable rafts are steered with special webbed gloves giving you an experience of a lifetime!
Top tip: The two-hour time difference means no jet lag.
Flying time: 12 hours.
Why go? The dry heat (around 25°C) and cloudless skies make Egypt a popular winter sun destination. In Luxor you can expect up to 10 hours of sunshine a day. A tour to the Great Pyramids or the Valley of the Kings will bring school lessons alive. Kids and adults both will love running and rolling down sand dunes and exploring the insides of pyramids until their hearts desires. Then why not end the day with a trip down the Nile and meeting some baby camels? Couldn’t imagine anything better.
Top tip: Choose well-paced, small-group tours that are specially designed for families.
Flying time: 5.5 hours.
For more of what you love…
Visit Majorca for a sunny holiday away from home, or try out these coastal cottages in the UK for a relaxing holiday without travelling too far.