Winter Sun Holiday Ideas 2021
By Richard Jones
Many of us have had to or chosen to forsake our overseas holidays this year. But although summer is well and truly over, that doesn’t mean you can’t grab some much-needed sunshine before the year is out.
With travel restrictions eased, why not think about booking a Christmas or New Year break away? Here are five winter warmers guaranteed to have you reaching for the suitcase and sun block.
Four Seasons Fairways, Quinta do Lago, Algarve
December temperature range: 9-18°C
Fly to Faro
Best for: Amazing golf courses, golden beaches and tile-clad old towns.
Continental Europe’s most south-western region has its own sunny microclimate that makes it warmer than the rest of Portugal. Admittedly, you won’t quite be in a bikini in winter, but the pleasant T-shirt temperatures mean that an increasing number of hotels and restaurants stay open year-round, and cities such as Albufeira retain a buzz. Nestled in the heart of the Algarve’s most prestigious development, just a short transfer from Faro International Airport, is the Four Seasons Fairways which offers stunning villa accommodation, safe and tranquil surroundings, first-class golf courses and clubhouse facilities and a genuine ‘home from home’ hospitality. Best of all, most of the villas have their own private pool.
Blue Sea Interpalace Hotel, Puerto de la Cruz
December temperature range: 11-21°C
Fly to Tenerife South
Best for: Vibrant beaches, bar-lined strips and lush landscapes in the north.
Located near the city centre of Puerto de la Cruz, the Blue Sea Interpalace Hotel is the perfect destination for couples and families. Nestled among lush green gardens and overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, there is a fabulous beach within walking distance, as well as a wealth of good shops, cafes, lively bars, restaurants and nightly entertainment to suit all tastes. Away from the hotel, there is also a wide range of activities for both nature and culture lovers on Tenerife with the volcano El Teide, black sand beaches, a new art gallery designed by Swiss firm Herzog and de Meuron and Santiago Calatrava’s concert hall in Santa Cruz. Kids young and old will adore the Thai-inspired thrills at the world-famous Siam Park waterpark.
King Evelthon Beach Hotel & Resort, Chlorakas, Chloraka
December temperature range: 10-19°C
Flights to Paphos
Best for: Blue Flag shores, ancient ruins and lip-smacking cuisine.
The 5-star all inclusive King Evelthon Beach Hotel & Resort is located on at Chlorakas Beach on the southwest coast of Cyprus, convenient for Paphos Town attractions and Akamas National Park. Featuring a lagoon-style pool and waterpark with seven slides and a lazy river, Kids’ Club and a range of a la carte restaurants, it is already a firm family favourite. Many of the lush rooms come with bright blue sea views, while the professional animation team ensures both adults and children will enjoy daytime and evening entertainment, including live music, evening shows and dances. Nearby attractions include the popular Tombs of the Kings, the Panagia Chryssopolitissa Church and the lovely town of Paphos with its buzzing nightlife, as well as quaint shops and tavernas.
The Alex Hotel, Monte Kastella, Pireas
December temperature range: 9-15°C
Flights to Athens
Best for: World-renowned historical sights, off-the-beaten-path walks and great local tavernas.
Athens is a classic city-break destination, and perhaps surprisingly, the Greek capital stays warmer than many places on the country’s salty-aired coastline during the winter months. With 34 rooms and suites that come with everything you need for a comfy stay plus unrivalled view of the cosmopolitan Athens Riviera, The Alex Hotel in the port city of Piraeus is a truly modern boutique hotel. Overlooking Microlimano’s ‘little harbour’, which is lined with fishing boats, yachts and fancy seafood restaurants it is the prefect base to explore the Acropolis and Temple of Poseidon, as well as the many museums, libraries, galleries and parks in the Greek capital.
Gal Oya Lodge, Gal Oya Valley National Park
December temperature range: 23-30°C
Fly to Colombo
Best for: Palm-lined beaches, wildlife-filled national parks, temples and tea.
If you fancy a blow-out experience this winter, where better than Sri Lanka? In this remarkable South Asian country, you can spot leopards, sloth bears and buffalo on a private safari and marvel at the manicured lawns, multihued flower beds and winding pathways at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kandy. Althea Bunce, the founder of Sri Lanka Bespoke, will plan every moment of your trip including boutique hotels and human experiences. A great choice for accommodation is the unique eco-friendly Gal Oya Lodge nestled in 20 acres of private jungle. Water is sourced from a deep bore well on the lodge’s land, there is a zero plastic policy, and wherever possible, ingredients are sourced from local and organic suppliers.