5 top winter sun destinations

The chilly season is upon us, but it's easy to get some winter sun not far from home, visit the Middle East, Africa and Southern Europe this season to soak up the rays

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The long summer days are over, the nights are drawing in and our summer tans are well and truly fading. However, you don’t have to hibernate until May, it’s easy to jet off to somewhere sunny with beautiful beaches and exotic flavours in the coming months, without breaking the bank. See below for five destinations with almost guaranteed sunshine this season.

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Dubai

Winter highs of: 30°C

Flight time from UK: seven hours.

This bold, brazen billionaire’s playground in the dessert has more than footballers wives, gold vending machines and designer watches. It’s the most liberal of the strict Arab cities around it, and, with virtually no rainfall at all, it’s a beach lovers paradise.

What to do: Throttle through the dunes by 4×4, ride a traditional water taxi, eat the catch of the day a stone’s throw from the beach and climb the world tallest building.

Filmed here: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Wall Street.


Visit Dubai with Radio Times Travel, see here for more details


Morocco

Winter highs of: 22 °C

Flight time from UK: Three and a half hours

In this exotic land lies rusty red, dusty desert, rich mosaic architecture, bustling markets wafting with smells of local spice, old colonial capitals and rugged mountain ranges. Morocco will capture your soul and your imagination.

What to do: Camel treks through the desert; drink gallons of sweet mint tea, soak in a traditional hammam, and gorge on street food.

Filmed here: Game of Thrones, Atlantis, Gladiator and Lawrence of Arabia.


Visit Morocco with Radio Times Travel, see here for more details


Sri Lanka

Winter highs of: 31 °C

Flight time from UK: 11 hours

Often pegged as an ‘India light’, this teardrop-shape island has the spice of its rough and ready neighbour, but the laid back pace of Thailand. Amid the wildlife-rich jungles, dirt tracks and tea plantations, vistors will find pockets of European architecture, a legacy from the Portuguese invasion and dozens of colonial-chic boutiques hotels.

What to do: Visit the UNESCO Galle Fort, go whale watching and surfing on the coast, walk in the jungle and save a turtle (Bundala National Park have set up overnight turtle watches on Rekawa Beach, to combat illegal trade). Then recharge on deliciously milky Sri Lankan curry.

Filmed here: The Bridge on the River Kwai, Indian Jones and the Temple of Doom, Paradise Road.


Visit Sri Lanka with Radio Times Travel, see here for more details


Portugal

Winter highs of: 22 °C

Flight time from UK: Two and a half hours

Beautiful Moorish architecture, breathtaking cliffs, cobbled streets and Roman ruins are just some of the things that await discovery in the Algarve. Venture to the small villages outside the touristy beaches for the quiet life, hidden castles and cute local restaurants. 

What to do: Village hop, shop for mats, copper, pottery, and try almond and fig sweets. Play golf – there are seven champion courses in the area, explore the 124 miles of sandy coastline, go on a regional wine-tasting tour of the vineyards, and nosh on seafood. 

Celebrities spotted: Nelly Furtado and Joaquím Cortés, David Cameron, Pamela Anderson, David Beckham and Cliff Richard.


Visit Portugal with Radio Times Travel, see here for more details 


Canary Islands

Winter highs of: 24 °C

Flight time from UK: Four and a half hours

This cluster of seven volcanic islands, are 600 miles south of Spain but 70 miles from Africa’s western coast, meaning the landscape is lush. Tenerife is the largest and liveliest of the isles, Fuerteventura arguably has the best beaches and La Palma is the most verdant.

What to do: Climb the slopes of Mt Teide and throw snowballs, sun yourself at a secluded bay and wander through tropical gardens and banana plantations. Meanwhile, the adventurous can try windsurfing or surfing in this world-class wave spot.

Filmed here: Fast & Furious 6, Moby Dick, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Gallery, Wrath of the Titans.


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Visit the Canaries with Radio Times Travel, see here for more details