Seven amazing exotic places for winter sun escapes, all with flights less than £400 return: in gorgeous pictures.

Get set for a winter sun geataway by booking your ticket to the sun. Here are seven amazing exotic places to consider, all with flights under £400.

You can get really cheap deals if you leave it late - often on charter flights operated by the likes of Thomson and flythomascook. For more tips, see our helpful guide: Charter flights: debunking the myths and finding a good deal

1. Goa, India from £308

Gorgeous Goa is a banker for off-season sun. Winter may be the ‘cool’ season in Goa, but it’s the best time to visit. If you prefer it really hot and steamy, wait until spring or summer, but from November to February the weather is just right: simply dry, sunny and hot. Perfect for doing not much at all but whiling away your days with a book on the beach with a cool beer,

Palolem Beach, Goa, India

2. The Gambia from £217

A world away from Europe but only a six-hour flight from the UK, The Gambia offers an exotic yet accessible winter getaway. Get an intoxicating introduction to West Africa with a visit to the capital Banjul, or simply soak up the rays on a palm-fringed golden sandy beach. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

black egret, The Gambia

3. Caya Coco, Cuba from £338

This is a great deal. Flights to Cuba aren’t usually this cheap, but if you aren't going to Havana and just want to laze on a tropical beach, you can fly direct to the resort of Caya Coco for a tropical taste of Caribbean Cuba, complete with palm trees, clear turquoise seas and talcum powder beaches as standard.

swimming pool, Caya Coco, Cuba

4. Abu Dhabi, UAE from £356

If you want to combine winter beach sun with some big city excitement, then ponder up-and-coming Abu Dhabi. If lying by the pool gets tiresome, you can take the credit card out to play – shopping is something of a national pastime – or get your thrills at Ferrari World, home to the fastest rollercoaster anywhere.

Abu Dhabi, UAE

5. Antigua, from £345

Antigua has some of the best beaches in the Caribbean. It apparently has 365 of them - yes, one for every day of the year! Whichever one you choose, you can be assured that the sand will be pure white and the sea bluer than Brighton beach. If you want to get active, there's diving, snorkelling, speedboat rides, windsurfing, biking, cruises, sea safaris…

English Harbor in Antigua, view from the Shirley Heights

6. Barbados from £326

Resorts in Barbados have all the glamour you would expect of a favoured celebrity getaway, but if posing isn't active enough for you, head to the east coast, a coveted surfing utopia, with the crystal clear Atlantic sea and rugged coastal landscape offering wild wind-surfing, spectacular hiking and some truly amazing diving and snorkelling.

boat, Barbados

7. Boa Vista, Cape Verde from £309

With temperatures that never fall much below 24C, Cape Verde has been dubbed ‘the new Caribbean’ by sun worshippers. But Boa Vista is still pretty exclusive and there are only a handful of hotels on the island. Apart from the laidback tiki bars, nightlife amounts to a midnight tour to see loggerhead turtles nesting on the beach.

Boa Vista, Cape Verde

*flight prices correct as of date of publication - 14 October 2013

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