The snow and ice were fun for a while but some of us are just getting SAD. Lorna Gledhill chooses ten hot spots to suit all budgets.
Sitting south in the Ionian group of islands, Kefalonia is a stunning, verdant inland fringed by some of the most picturesque beaches in the world.
Head north towards Assos for a glimpse into the island’s Byzantine past, or relax in one of the south-coast resorts for a beach holiday. You’ll enjoy quieter towns and reduced prices for prime sunspots if you catch the Greek Islands before the tourist rush that comes every summer.
Hitting maximum temperatures of around 16C in March and climbing to 20C in April. No risk of strong winds, so temperatures stay high even in the early spring, but sea temperatures may drop.
Flights range between £200 and £300 return with Olympic Air, with a connecting flight between Athens and Kefalonia.
Although best known as the gateway to the rest of the Algarve, Faro is a destination in its own right.
Beautifully diverse architecture, from grand Moorish castles to the old town’s thirteenth century sé (cathedral), puts Faro’s rich history on show. Don’t miss the stunning Ria Formosa lagoon that runs up the east coast to the village of Cacela Vehla.
Highs of 18C in March and an average of seven hours sunshine a day. One of Portugal’s warmest spots. Slight chance of brief showers, but hardly ever persistent.
Well-established routes on budget airlines easyJet and Ryanair mean flights average out at about £60 for a return, but keep an eye out for last-minute reductions.
If winter has left you yearning for pampering, then the so-called ‘St Tropez of Tunisia’ will lull you into a luxurius state.
Meander through the ancient medina quarter’s narrow streets and wander the beaches of deluxe hotels. Catch the more forgiving sun in early spring before the rest of the world descends on Tunisia’s coastal jewel.
Creeping up to average highs of 30C in April, the only thing that may be slightly chilly is the sea. With no serious rainfall ever recorded for the summer months, the likelihood of any showers – even in March – is extremely slim.
Another favourite of the budget airlines. Return flights with easyJet often come in lower than £200.
If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous than a beach holiday, throw yourself into a full-blown expedition-cum-holiday in Botswana.
Maun and its surrounding parkland offer unbeatable safari experiences, many taking in part of the 17,000-square-kilometre Okavango Delta that sprawls across the north-east of the country. This vast labyrinth of islands, lakes and glistening lagoons is a magnet for varied wildlife and tourists alike.
Averaging around 32C in the north and 30C in the south, March in Botswana is unequivocally hot and dry.
Expect to pay upwards of £800 for flights to Gaborone, the country’s capital, or Maun in the north. See skyscanner to compare prices and routes.
February to May is a great time to visit Australia. Use Sydney, Perth or Melbourne as your gateways – the cities have a very different feel and once the cricket bores have left, you’ll be free to sample Aussie wines, Pacific Rim cuisine and cultural life.
Go back to basics in Litchfield National Park near Darwin in the tropical ‘top end’. The wet season lasts until March, which means tropical downpours, heat and humidity can be expected - but on the plus side, vegetation is lush, and you can visit overflowing lakes, rivers, and gushing waterfalls such as Florence Falls.
Fancy a South American sojourn? Flee the fashionistas – who are always late, anyway – and swap Buenos Aires’s tango, malbec and general aggro for the African beat of candombe, sturdy taste of tannat and the slow rhythm of the Uruguayan capital.
Only footy fans will want to make the slog to pay homage at the Centenario stadium – where the first ever World Cup was played in 1930 – and its football museum, but all visitors will enjoy the steaks and ambience of the old Mercado del Puerto and the crumbling elegance of the Ciudad Vieja.
India-lite it may be but you can’t fault a trip that takes in the rivers, canals and lagoons of the backwaters, Fort Cochin’s spice markets and multicultural history, Thiruvananthapuram’s temples, and the sandy beaches of the Malabar Coast – cliff-edged Varkala is our Arabian Sea beach choice for this winter.
Expect 20-30C for the duration of your stay, and nice sea breezes. There’s unlikely to be any rain until February and even then it won’t be monsoon-style until June.
Heathrow-Thiruvananthapuram with Qatar Airways via Doha comes in under £500.
Avoiding the gap-yah travellers swarming around Thailand, the tropical paradise of southern Vietnam encourages a far less hedonistic South East Asian experience.
Explore the multi-faceted metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City, travel west to the haven of Phu Quoc Island, or, if you’re feeling courageous, brave the lengthy train journey and visit Hoi An for some of the best bespoke tailoring in Vietnam.
Temperatures vary from 26-28C in Phu Quoc to 34C in Ho Chi Minh City in March, with humidity always relatively high. Avoid the monsoon by travelling before June.
Although some flights are available at around £600, others can reach beyond £1,000. Connecting flights to Phu Quoc Island average around £160 on local airlines. See Air Asia for cheap deals.
From the Azores to the Gambia to Beirut – check out our Winter sun escapes guide to find out where to get that much-needed dose of vitiamin D.
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1000 Great Holiday Ideas
Plan your perfect trip with this inspirational compendium of failsafe holiday suggestions. It's packed with fresh ideas for traditional breaks, from beach idylls to winter sun and family camping, along with great suggestions for trying something different – all around the world. Whether you're looking for a weekend break or the trip of a lifetime, Time Out's worldwide team of travel specialists can take you there.