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The world’s best places for winter sun, from October to March

From the deserts of Dubai to the beaches of Cape Verde, here are the best winter-sun destinations for warm weather and long, sunny days

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham
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Cold weather isn’t for everyone. Sure, there’s a certain cosiness to layering up, huddling around a fireplace or wandering around one of the world’s best Christmas markets. But plenty of us would much rather be on a deckchair, lazing around in toasty sunshine year-round.

If you’re feeling the chill right now and on the hunt for some proper winter sun, well, we’ve got just the thing. Based on factors like average temperatures, amounts of rain and snow, daily hours of sunlight and seasonal hotel costs (as well as the research of travel blog ParkSleepFly and money advice service Forbes Advisor), we’ve come up with the best destinations for winter sun. (At least while it’s winter in the northern hemisphere.)

Some of the destinations featured are warm all year round; others win out by virtue of being in the southern hemisphere, meaning warmer temperatures when it’s cold up north. Keep reading to find out which winter-sun destinations came out top – and the average temperatures in each from October to March.

RECOMMENDED:

🏔️ Where to go this winter, according to travel writers
❄️ The best places to visit in December
🎊 The best places to visit in January

🫶 The best places to visit in February

The very best winter sun destinations

Average temperature: 21C / 69F

Best month to visit: February

Have you ever seen a picture of Dubai where it isn’t really, really sunny? The UAE city boasts loads of sunlight (an average of 8.82 hours per day, in fact) and really high average temperatures – it’s a solid winter-sun choice.

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Average temperature: 19C / 67F

Best month to visit: February

From October to March, it’s summer in Cape Town. Being Africa’s southernmost city, at this time of year the South African destination also has long, sunny days (with 10.22 hours of daylight, on average) and a notable lack of rain – in other words, it’s a top winter-sun spot.

Average temperature: 25C / 77F 

Best month to visit: November

Cancun might have a rep for party antics – but if you don’t go during spring break (ie. if you go in wintertime) you get all the beauty of this Mexican beach spot without the loutish young ‘uns. Dreamy, eh?  

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Average temperature: 18C / 65F 

Best month to visit: October

Aside from being the biggest of the Canary Islands and having loads of fascinating volcanic landscapes and countless white sandy beaches, Gran Canaria is known for its winter warmth. There’s extra convenience here for Europeans, who can get here very easily and won’t need a visa to visit.

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Average temperature: 28C / 82F

Best month to visit: October

Hitting exceptionally toasty average daytime temperatures of 28C, the Indonesian island of Bali is also, just in case you didn’t already know, legendary for being a literal-heaven-on-earth sort of place. It also boasts an average of 12.5 daily hours of sunlight throughout winter.

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Average temperature: 16C / 61F

Best month to visit: December

The capital of Rajasthan state is semi-arid and not far from proper desert, so its winters don’t really get much rain – just 0.3 inches per month, in fact. Which means that the weather is usually perfect for seeing such renowned Jaipur sights like the majestic Hawa Mahal and Jal Mahal, as well as all the rest of the Pink City’s numerous Unesco sites.

Average temperature: 28C / 82F 

Best month to visit: January

From its temples and caves to its beaches, the resort town of Krabi on Thailand’s Andaman coast makes for a fab winter destination. According to Forbes Advisor, Krabi is made even more attractive by its low costs – on average, seven nights in a hotel here costs just over £50 ($61).

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Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
Photograph: Unsplash / Youssef Ahmed

Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

Average temperature: 18C / 64F

Best month to visit: October

Sharm is known for having turquoise waters and cloud-free skies pretty much all-year round – it’s no wonder this place is such a stalwart for European holidaymakers. The Egyptian city also has the benefit of being reasonably close to mainland Europe, providing a swift escape from the continent’s chilly north.

Average temperature: 12C / 54F

Best month to visit: February

It isn’t called the Valley of the Sun for nothing: Phoenix’s year-round sunshine is legendary. The largest city in Arizona gets a whopping 330 days of sunshine per year (more than any other US city) and it rarely gets too cold, either.

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Average temperature: 11C / 52F

Best month to visit: November

Of course, it’s also possible to get some winter sun without leaving mainland Europe. Alicante, on Spain’s southern Mediterranean coast, is low on rain (1.02 inches per month) and high on sunshine (7.61 hours of daily daylight) throughout the season – plus, you’ll avoid most of the crowds that dominate the place during peak tourist periods.

Hat Yai, Thailand
Banyat Juengsukitpisit/iStock

Hat Yai, Thailand

Average temperature: 27C / 81F

Best month to visit: February

Hat Yai is one of Thailand’s more under-the-radar destinations for no good reason at all. Aside from its ginormous buddha, spectacular Ton Nga Chang waterfall and beautiful beaches, the Thai city also has average temperatures of 27C – and winter (specifically January, February and March) is outside the rainy season, too.

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Praia, Cape Verde
Photograph: Shutterstock

Praia, Cape Verde

Average temperature: 22C / 71F

Best month to visit: November

Out in Cape Verde, smack-bang in the middle of the Atlantic, Praia is one of the warmest and driest (averaging just 0.14 inches of monthly rainfall) destinations on the list. Its name translates simply as ‘beach’ in Portuguese, dropping a big clue to its appeal – but it’s also known for its historic neighbourhoods.

Veracruz, Mexico
Photograph: Unsplash / Roberto Carlos Román Don

Veracruz, Mexico

Average temperature: 23C / 73F

Best month to visit: December

It ain’t just the beach hotspots in Mexico that make for the best winter sun getaways. The port city of Veracruz – known for its rich blend of indigenous and Afro-Cuban cultures – is both warm and boasts little rain (between 0.5 and 1.5 inches per month) throughout November, December, January and February.

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