So long summer! Though it pains me to say it, I need to admit that festival season is over, winter is on its way, and vitamin D levels are set to plunge. Uh huh, it’s time to think of an escape plan. As much as I do love a lot of things about our colder months — crisp mornings, new knitwear, hot chocolates with all the cream — they’ve got nothing on a frozen daiquiri on a beach somewhere, right?
But worry not, there’s plenty of t-shirt weather still in Europe, bikini weather a little further flung, and a handful of bucket list destinations to scope out before peak tourist season hits. The world is your oyster, but if you’re looking for a little guidance, let me help you think of where to holiday this winter...
Goa is perfect in early November. Rainy season has passed but the peak season crowds don’t hit until November/ December. Spend a week eating like a queen, admiring the landscape, and living like a beach bum (the dream).
For a dynamic city break full of flavour and a real culture kick, head to Hong Kong. November is the perfect time to visit whilst it’s not too steamy and sticky, so you can make the most of the rooftop bars overlooking Victoria Harbour. Do a dim-sum crawl around its backstreets, shop yourself silly in Kowloon, enjoy the beaches on Lantau, and hike up to see Big Buddha.
In southern Spain, Andalucía stills enjoys t-shirt weather well in to November. Once the summer crowds have fled, enjoy a few days soaking up the rays, exploring the coast, the charming town of Cádiz, the beauty of Seville, and not missing a single opportunity to stop for tapas and a Cruzcampo.
The Maldives — aka Paradise — see the best weather from November-April. Peak season kicks off in December and prices spiral, so plan a November trip to get the best of all worlds. A bucket list trip for many, prepare for costs to be high, but none of that matters when you’re swimming with turtles in the bluest of seas in the world, right?
OK, you might not come back with a hit of vit-D but nowhere gets you embracing winter and in the mood for Christmas like Prague. Its snowy rooftops, colourful fairy-tale-like backstreets (complete with castle!), and cinnamon bun-scented Christmas markets? Just don’t forget your hat, scarf and thermals…
Cambodia and Laos
There’s a reason so many people descend on South-East Asia in December: the climate is just right — not too sticky, not rainy, not unbearably hot… Don’t let the crowds put you off, you can easily get away from them. Embrace Laos’ bustling colonial towns and lively Siem Reap in Cambodia.
If you’re looking to break the NYE mould and want to do something a little more exciting than hitting your local this year, head to Berlin – a city that doesn’t let New Year’s Eve pass it by without a party. You’re guaranteed a good time, but book your accommodation early because it gets über busy.
And if you’ve just got the odd day spare and fancy staying closer to home, plan a long Christmassy weekend in the Cotswolds. There’s a handful of truly beautiful stays that are sure to be decked out in full Christmas garb come December. Enjoy a duvet day, wrap up and explore the countryside, then spend all evening in the bath. Heaven?
Good luck trying to get a hotel room in Bali over Christmas, but by Jan, the crowds have gone and you’ve got the place to yourself. Start 2017 with some serious Eat Pray Love vibes. Think fresh juices, rice paddy walks, beaches and sunset yoga. THE DREAM.
On the other side of the globe, it’s summer in Australia, so what are you waiting for!? Book your bucket list trip to Melbourne stat — January is the perfect time to visit, post Christmas when the temps are still mega high but the costs (and crowds!) are less. Make everyone you know jealous with rooftop bar escapades, beach days, and a road trip along the Great Ocean Road.
Short haul and 10 hours of sunshine a day in January? Yes, that’s why we all need to book flights to Madeira for January. Despite the mild temperatures, the fact that it’s winter means living costs are cheaper and the crowds have dispersed. Go and explore the black volcanic sand beaches just outside of the capital, Funchal.
Head to Cancun, the Mexican city of dreams, margaritas and white, white sands down on the Yucatán Peninsula. Along with a colourful culture to explore, there are the famous beaches to explore, the much-loved party scene, Mayan temples and of course, the Mexican food and drink. Average sea temps are around 27 degrees in January and if that’s not enough of a persuasion, I don’t know what is