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10 cheap winter sun destinations

Think you have to go far to find winter sun? Think again... Here are 10 places you can top up your tan and take advantage of cheap, off-season flight prices. Let's go ☀️

1. Tenerife

The Canary Islands are probably the closest place to the UK to find winter sun, and Tenerife is tantalisingly temperate. With an average high of around 20°C, you’ll only need to pack a light jumper to wrap around your shoulders for evening dining on the terrace – beats pulling on a parka for a trip to the corner shop. Take a look at our guide for the best things to do while in Tenerife – including hiking up Spain’s highest mountain.

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2. Cape Verde

Only a six-hour flight from the UK, Cape Verde is a stunning collection of islands off the coast of Senegal in west Africa. Its pristine sandy beaches are perfect for tanning, but if you want to do more than sun-worshipping, there’s always the option to try scuba diving, deep-sea fishing or windsurfing. Take a look at our guide to Sal, which is one of the most popular islands to visit and is home to some excellent kite surfing spots.

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3. The Gambia

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? We named the country as one of the best value holiday destinations, partly thanks to its super-cheap hotels, which can cost just £15* a night.

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4. Morocco

On the edge of the Sahara desert, Marrakech and Agadir remain warm throughout the winter. Chill on the beach against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains or, if that’s not relaxing enough, really treat yourself with a visit to a steamy spa-like hammam for some blissful pampering. Check out our guide to the top things to do in Marrakech, such as weaving between the street-food vendors and snake charmers of Djemma el-Fna.

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5. Madeira

With its pleasant winter climate, sea-and-mountain scenery and the old colonial charm of its capital Funchal, Madeira is made for a low-key relaxing winter holiday. For those who want a little more action, the island also offers water sports including windsurfing and sailing. Now head over here to discover more great places to visit in Portugal.

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6. Dubai

Year-round sunshine is no mirage in Dubai. If you can tear yourself away from the largest shopping malls in the world, take an excursion into the desert by jeep and camel or simply soak up the sun and atmosphere in the more traditional Heritage Village. Take a look at this local’s guide to Dubai for more ideas on what to do, including where to find the best Emirati cuisine.

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7. Oman

Perhaps not an obvious destination, but this Middle Eastern blend of desert, coastal landscape, Portuguese colonial influence, rugged mountains and other natural wonders make Oman a great choice for the more adventurous winter sun seeker – especially as average temperatures remain comfortably in the 20s. Now head over this way to discover more of the hottest destinations to visit in February.

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8. Gran Canaria

Lying less than 100 miles off the coast of north-west Africa, it’s probably no surprise that winter on Gran Canaria is a most pleasant affair come the winter months. The sub-tropical south of the island boasts extensive white beaches that are particularly inviting for sunning yourself and forgetting the rain back home. Here are some tips on where to find the island’s best restaurants, and head this way to see Gran Canaria’s top attractions, including some Paleolithic cave paintings.

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9. Egypt

While Egypt has more than its fair share of sights, if you’d rather be sunned than stunned, head to the country’s Red Sea resorts. Sharm-el-Sheik is an immensely popular year-round destination offering superb scuba diving as well as limitless opportunities for getting a tan. If you’re worried about holidaying safely, take a look at this helpful advice for anyone thinking of travelling to Egypt.

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10. Doha

Sometimes hailed as ‘the new Dubai’, Doha – the capital of Qatar – is one of the most up and coming cities in the Gulf. Stroll along the Corniche, a long seaside promenade that curves around Doha bay with places to eat and beautiful views. And Doha is just one of many Middle-Eastern cities that make a great alternative to the tourist hotspot of Dubai.

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Here are a few more ideas for wonderful winter breaks:

10 of best cheap ski resorts in the world

Looking for the cheapest places to ski in Europe? There are plenty of bargain basement ski slopes in the French Alps, Italy and the USA, as well as a few hidden gems across Europe.

Why winter is when Barcelona is at its best

Winter is one of the most beautiful seasons in Barcelona. It is when the people of the Catalan capital reclaim their city. Moving away from big crowds of tourists and with much less noise, it is a time of relaxation, great weather, family moments and good food.

Where to go for guaranteed winter sun

Winter getting you down? If you can’t stand the cold, why not jet off somewhere the sun is currently shining? Fly south to one of our top picks for winter sun and you’ll be topping up that tan before you know it.

*Published September 2017. Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability.

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