Top Ten Winter Breaks

Taking sun-seeking holidays during the October to March period is becoming increasingly popular for retired and semi-retired Seniors such as myself. We have the time to travel during these wintry months and also the inclination, for health and hedonistic reasons, to find warm, sunny places for winter breaks.

Deserted Benidorm beach in December
Deserted Benidorm beach in December

Over the years I have succeeded in finding many such places just a few hours flight away from the UK and from these I have chosen my Top Ten Winter Breaks, listed in order according to distance from the UK. I’ve taken the liberty of including two long haul destinations as they offer particularly attractive places for winter breaks.

1. Southern Spain – My touring holiday in Southern Spain, Alicante to Granada was made in early December. The beach at Benidorm is really quite attractive when empty and the Alhambra in Granada is so much more impressive without crowds of tourists.

An alternative in Southern Spain is to follow a route I took in late November, see: Andalusia Touring Holiday – Malaga, Ronda, Seville, Cordoba. You could even include Gibraltar – A Day in Britain on the Med.

2. Portugal – Although my touring holiday Portugal – Palaces, pousadas and port wine was made in September, I’ve made a similar journey in January and enjoyed warm weather during the day, although it did get cold at night.

3. Sicily – I spent 10 days touring Sicily in late February early March as described in five posts, commencing with Sicily Touring Holiday – Getting There and Driving Around. There was plenty of sunshine and it proved to be a great value winter break for Senior travellers.

Winter breaks: Cefalu harbour and beach
Cefalu harbour, Sicily

4. Malta – See Malta in December – Sun, sea and seasonal discounts.

5. Istanbul – My Istanbul – Short break in early December provided temperatures in the mid-teens and a chance to see the great sights of this Top Ten City in the absence of hordes of tourists.

6. Canary Islands – Sunshine and warm temperatures are almost guaranteed throughout the year. The Canary Islands are a good choice for those who like beach holidays and hotel pools. For me Tenerife comes out top for scenery particularly the area around the volcanic peak of Mt Teide.

7. Cyprus – When I visited in January I was surprised to find a pleasantly quiet Ayia Napa, completely different from the busy, noisy summer scene. It was cold high up in the Troodos Mountains, but worth the journey to see the snow-covered peak of Mt Olympus.

St Augustine Old Town
St Augustine Old Town, Florida

8. Egypt – I have visited three different areas as winter breaks and had warm, sunny weather in each case. For history and culture then Cairo is a good centre. For temples, tombs and the Nile, head for Luxor. For beach holidays then Sharm el-Sheikh is the place to go. However check on the British Government Foreign Travel Advice before travelling to Egypt.

9. Florida – My Florida Touring Holiday was made at the end of February, but it was sunny almost every day with temperatures in the high teens or low twenties, and there were no mosquitoes in the Everglades!

10. Cape Town – A winter break in South Africa coincides, of course, with the sunny summer period. There is no better place to visit in South Africa than my Top Ten City of Cape Town.

Other places where I’ve enjoyed good winter breaks, but have not quite made it to my Top Ten, are: Dubai, The Gambia, Kenya, Morocco, New Orleans and Tunisia.