The best winter-sun destinations available for travel now 2022

As the world adjusts to the new normal, now we're looking ahead to the colder months and wondering which classic winter-sun destinations it's still possible to visit. Below we’ve collated the destinations that not only offer warm weather during December onwards, but are also open to tourism.

The best winter-sun destinations available for travel now

The Maldives

Flight time: 10 hours
When to go: December - April
Average winter temperature: 28°C

There is no bad time to go to the Maldives. There is nothing bad about going to the Maldives at any time ever. They are perfect little islands, whichever you choose - tiny castaway-fantasy sandy islets, mostly with one immaculate resort, with various levels of splendidness. Even people who think they will get bored in the Maldives end up loving the Maldives.

They're family-friendly, and for blissed-out beachy nirvana, they're hard to beat. And they're best of all during the winter, and a quite do-able 10 hours away.

Bermuda

Flight time: 7 hours
When to go: October to March
Average winter temperature: 24°C
**Travel status:* travellers can visit Bermuda without having to quarantine. You’ll need to apply for Travel Authorisation and have a Covid-19 test before you go.

The mid-Atlantic archipelago of Bermuda, mythical setting for Shakespeare's Tempest, is a land of pink beaches, pink houses and brightly coloured shorts. It is Caribbean in nature, though it's much closer to the UK - so shorter flight times - and has a distinctive character all of its own.

Its pink-sand beaches are lovely, too. Those along the South Shore are the glory of the island. Horseshoe Bay is the best known and most crowded, though Warwick Long Bay, a short way along the coast, is just as alluring. At one end of Horseshoe there is a little patch of sand the size of a playground, cut off from the rest of it by a rocky hillock.

Cuba

Flight time: 13+ hours.
When to go: October to April
Average winter temperature: 27°C
**Travel status:* travellers can fly into select airports in Cuba without having to quarantine. There are luggage limits of one case of up to 32kg per passenger, plus hand luggage.

With its lovely Caribbean climate, guaranteed warm and sunny days and very little rain, Cuba’s weather is at its most reliable during the UK winter. The beaches down on the south coast may get the best sunshine and draw the biggest crowds, but there’s plenty beyond the palm-fringed stretches of sand.

Havana’s got its colourful pastel-hued buildings, cigars and Cadillacs, while the perfectly preserved Spanish colonial architecture in UNESCO-protected Trinidad makes the city feel lost in time. Elsewhere, there’s no end of nature reserves, lush forests, mountains and tobacco plantations to explore.

Canary Islands

Flight time: 3 hours 30 minutes
When to go: Year-round
Average winter temperature: 22°C

It's summer all the time in the Canaries, where temperatures average in the low-mid 20s all year round. As well as the well-known destinations - Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote (pictured) - there are three smaller islands that are less visited and less spoilt: La Palma, El Hierro and La Gomera. They don't appear on the average British holidaymaker's mental world-map, and make for interesting exploring and winter sunshine.

Dubai

Flight time: 7 hours
When to go: November to March
Average winter temperature: 26°C

For year-round sunshine, spotless beaches and impeccable service a short hop away, Dubai is an obvious choice. The Palm, a manmade sweep of beach packed with superb hotels, each with its own immaculate patch of beach, is perfect for family holidays. It's not all glass and shopping malls in Downtown Dubai: the Old Souk is a warren of glittering jewellery and pots, and the peaceful Dubai Creek hints at a time before the seven-star hotels and indoor ski slopes.

Two new creative districts(Dubai Design District and Al Quoz) have gained the attention of the international art scene, too. To see the city in its best light, go in November, when it's not too humid and you can happily bronze by the pool all day.

Morocco

Flight time: 3 hours 50 mins
When to go: December to March
Average winter temperature: 21°C

Once a slightly rough-around-the-edges hippie town, Taghazout is now Morocco’s top surf destination. The sleepy fishing village on the Atlantic coast hasn’t lost any of its old-fashioned charm, and goats still wander gormlessly through the dusty tangerine-coloured streets while fishermen haul in their daily catches from rickety blue and white boats.

For serious surfers, winter marks the beginning of peak season, and as the swell rips up, the break-chasing crowds arrive. Temperatures usually hover around a very pleasant 20°C, but Saharan winds often push the mercury up much higher. The places to stay keep getting smarter, offering surf lessons in the day and rooftop yoga at sunset. And even if you’re not into surfing, there are plenty of beautiful hiking trails nearby, camel rides along the beach and excellent fishing too.

Bora Bora, Tahiti & French Polynesia

Flight time: 1 day.
When to go: Year-round (though March is particularly rainy on Tahiti).
Average winter temperature: 28°C
Travel status: Travellers can visit French Polynesia without having to quarantine. All travellers need to present a medical certificate when arriving in French Polynesia. You will receive a self-testing kit upon arrival, which you will need to complete four days after your arrival date.

In both geography and spirit, just about as far from a drizzly British winter as you can get. French Polynesia is made up of 100-odd little islands in the South Pacific Ocean, the best-known of them Tahiti and Bora Bora. They are out of this world. Castaway fantasy, ringed by reefs; the water unbelievable shades of turquoise blue; the hibiscus flowers Gauguin bright; everything bright and light and hyper-real.

Oman

Flight time: 7 hours and 15 minutes
When to go: October to April
Average winter temperature: 26°C

Oman is a less-glitzy, laid-back alternative to Dubai - only the landscape here is more dramatic: wide open spaces punctuated by oases and desert towns; valleys fragrant with rose and sandalwood; hidden coves with golden beaches and brilliant-turquoise water. The capital, Muscat dazzles in the year-round sunshine with its grand mosques and bustling souks.

Up in the far north-east, the Musandam Peninsula has some of the best diving in the Middle East (whale shark and turtles are the big draw); the only real place to stay in this hard-to-reach area, Six Senses Zighy Bay is on a golden sweep of sand backed by the impossibly steep Al Hajar Mountains. To feel truly isolated, camp in handmade Bedouin tents among the epic sand dunes of the Wahiba Sands south of Muscat - it's the best way to find authentic Oman.

South Africa

Flight time: 12 hours
When to go: November to March
Average winter temperature: 27°C

It might be in another hemisphere, but South Africa is in the same time zone as the UK - which means no jet lag. In Cape Town and beyond there is stunning scenery, breathtaking beaches, as well as world-class wines and fabulous food.

The country's most celebrated stretch of coastline is the glorious Garden Route. However in the other direction, a road trip through the Western Cape makes a rewarding alternative and the weather is particularly good in December and January. The less-explored Overberg Coast has wide beaches, good restaurants and wineries, moody seas at the southernmost tip of Africa, and a sensational coastal reserve (pictured) that even the locals don't know about.

Bahamas

Flight time: about 10 hours
When to go: November to December, and March
Average winter temperature: 25°C

Once a hiding place for pirate treasure and prohibition liquor, Harbour Island in the Bahamas is now a colourfully eccentric retreat where every night is a party and every day more vibrant than the last. The sand is pink, the turquoise water is home to green sea turtles and orange starfish, and yellow-throated birds fly about the trees. Days on the beach are long and lazy, and the time of day forgotten.

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