Winter Sun Short Breaks

Warm up your winter with a wee dose of sun

Russ Sanchez

Russ Sanchez
HomeAway travel expert

SunnyChristmas, devoted as it is to preparing for/dealing with/recovering from family, often seems to beg the necessity of a second, post-holiday holiday. (Or, you know, maybe that's just me – but I rather suspect it's not.) Luckily, fitting in a shorter, sun-soaked auxiliary break isn't too tough with a little pre-planning. A well chosen winter sun short break can rival even the summer holidays for pure relaxation potential (especially considering the sometimes hefty savings you can take advantage of by travelling outside peak season – and what's more enjoyable than getting a good deal?).

The ideal short winter break location is: nearby, sunny, and bustling enough to give you the option of both outdoor and indoor activities. And while few destinations in the Northern hemisphere are going to be able to guarantee non-stop sun during what is, after all, still winter; nonetheless, a Mediterranean winter is a far cry from a British one. The holiday locations below all offer a significant amount of daily light, and at least temperate climes – a great way to sneak a little warmth into your winter.


Top destinations for sunny short breaks in winter


Winter sun holidays in Morocco Winter sun holidays in Morocco

A trip to Morocco wouldn't be complete, especially for first timers, without a visit to Marrakech – the 'Red City', named for the roseate tint of its iconic walls – and its fabled Jemaa el-Fna square. Jemaa el-Fna may be the world's liveliest, most eclectic, and literally and figuratively spiciest bazaar; be sure to put on your haggling pants before you go! Alternately, if you fancy an overnight eco-friendly desert experience while there – think sumptous tents, compost toilets, camel rides, and mountainous sand dunes glittering as far as the eye can see – check out Ecological Camp Adounia, outside Marrakech. And for the beach lovers? The warm, honey-gold shores of Agadir, renowned in many places for their excellent surfing.

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Winter sun holidays in the Canary Islands Winter sun holidays in the Canary Islands

A four-hour flight away, the Canary Islands offer warm weather year round, and numerous holiday activities. The Parque Natural de Corralejo, for example, offers excellent wind surfing opportunities. On the south coast of Gran Canaria, the Centro de Talasoterapia is Europe's largest thalassotherapy (sea-water therapy) spa; a day's use of the facilities starts at 60. Another European superlative? The GREGOR telescope on Tenerife. As it turns out, the Canary Islands have some of the clearest, best-for-star-gazingest skies around. After a day lazing at the beach, why not a night lazing with heavenly bodies?

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Winter sun holidays in Spain Winter sun holidays in Spain

Spain doesn't instantly make you think “holiday” for no reason. Temperatures in the 20s are common in Southern Spain even in winter, and beaches are considerably less crowded than in summer. Holiday rental prices are also at their off-peak lows. Granada, although not exactly a tropical paradise in winter, is sunnier than not, and contains some of Spain's most beautiful and iconic architecture – like the UNESCO-designated “castle city,” the Alhambra. Ronda, a shining white city set on a cliff amid olive and citrus orchards, practically begs to be photographed, and makes a delightful stop-off between Cordoba and Seville.  

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Winter sun holidays in Cyprus Winter sun holidays in Cyprus

With some of the warmest temperatures in the Mediterranean, Cyprus is a good bet for winter sun. There are five to six hours of sunshine a day even then – and beachworthy weather, although not strictly guaranteed, is hardly uncommon. And there's plenty to do: Nicosia has bright, crisp, traditionally Cypriot architecture in its older areas, and sleek modern high rises downtown, and there are museums, theatres, and other cultural pursuits to your heart's content. There are also Cyprus' famed beaches to comb, and lush and winding trails tat snake throughout the island's interior.

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Winter sun holidays in Turkey Winter sun holidays in Turkey

Southern Turkey is temperate even in winter, and is a great place to escape British cold weather gloom without having to deal with the crowds. The old centre of Antalya is famous for its quaint cobblestone streets, tea shops and Ottoman-era architecture. And although winter is the rainiest time of year here, even December – the rainiest month on average – only sees about a week and a half of rainy days. Anatolia also offers some very unique holiday activities – fancy a bit of spelunking? There are innumerable caves throughout the country, and in the southeast especially. And don't miss Pammukale's iconic hot springs! The world heritage site's pale blue waters have been renowned as a natural health spa since Roman times.

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Winter short break accommodation in Tenerife

House by the sea and close to the beach, with swimming pool, spa, barbecue area

In a quiet country house in Puerto de la Cruz: Romantic apartments with sea views and view of the mountains on the rocks overlooking the sea and right on the small lake in the approximately 4,500 m2 large finca with flowers. With natural stone poo...

Beautiful country house with sea views, just a short walk from the beach

This renovated typical Canarian country house with 2bedrooms for 4 pers., is lovely decorated and offers all kind of amenities for a perfect holiday. After a walk of about 200 meters you will easily find the 200 year old house with the nice big...

Desirable seafront penthouse apartment Santiago 3.

Luxury top floor apartment, with sea, pool and garden views on the waterfront. Satellite TV with BBC1+2+3 - ITV1+4 .BBC + Sky News- Sky Sports 1 & 2 and many more, video, radio/cd player. Washing machine. Kitchen with microwave, fridge, kettle, t...

Las Brisas - villa of extravagant class with pool - for 6 persons (from 6 years)

Las Brisas is a wonderful holiday villa of extravagant class with a phenomenal and breathtaking view of the world-renowned cliffs of Los Gigantes / Tenerife sur. The villa is furnished intricately, includes a heated pool, dreamlike garden as well ...

Fantastic location 10 minutes walk to the beach

2 bedroom luxury apartments located in central Playa de las Americas. This fantastic apartment has a balcony which over looks the swimming pool and is ideal for a singles or a family holiday. The apartment is situated only 10 minutes walk from the...

Beautiful villa in 5,000m2 botanical garden in the heart of Orotava valley

This beautiful 350m2 4 bedroom villa set in its own 5,000m2 botanical garden with heated swimming pool and independent BBQ area in the heart of the Orotava one of the most spectacular properties on the island. The views across its lawns ...

Los Cristianos - spacious apartment, Port Royale, sleeps 5

A lovely spacious 2 bed apartment sleeping upto 5 people. A large lounge that is well furnished and satellite TV, sliding doors opening onto a large terrrace overlooking the harbour of Los Cristianos. A well equipped kitchen and breakfast bar, 2 d...

Self-catering apartment beside beach

Seafront, one bedroom modern apartment,self-catering, is situated in El Medano, a friendly, lively village renowned for having one of the best natural beaches in Tenerife. The balcony which leads onto the beach and also the bedroom window. It is ...

***** EXCELLENT VALUE***** Holiday Apartment on Golf del Sur

Privately owned and maintained corner apartment on 3rd floor (with a lift) overlooking 3 swimming pools (1 child’s pool) and views to the sea (approx 300mts). Well equipped with bright lounge and kitchen/diner. Ideal for a couple. On the immediate...

Apartment with communal swimming pool in the village of San Miguel (Tenerife)

WELCOME! Between the mountain and the sea, ideal to relax and unwind. This bio-house is in a wonderful place, VISTA BONITA FINCA is a very quiet location in the village of San Miguel De Abona, overlooking the sea at sunrise. It's a house / lux...

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