Get us in your inbox

View of the Otemanu mountain , looking towards through the palms with hammock and the lagoon, Bora Bora ,French Polynesia
Photograph: Shutterstock

8 of the sunniest travel destinations in the world

Craving some Vitamin D this summer? Line up a trip to one of these far-flung destinations where the sun (almost) always shines

John Bills
Written by
John Bills

For most of us, getaways mean sun. Not many dream of a life-affirming getaway in the fog, after all. Not only does the big guy in the sky provide the heat and light necessary for, y’know, our very existence – it also makes for good times, great photos (hello, golden hour) and lifelong memories in beautiful destinations worldwide.

And although the sun is always shining somewhere, it shines that bit brighter (and longer) in certain places. With that in mind, we’ve tracked down the spots on every continent that get more sun than most. They say it’s always sunny in Philadelphia – but if you’re a true sun-seeker then you’re probably better off heading to these idyllic tropical islandsparadise-like beaches and mysterious deserts. And remember: there is no such thing as too much sunscreen.

8 dream destinations that are sunny all year round

Southwest USA

To be more precise, Arizona is the sunniest place on the planet. The southwest city of Yuma, bordering California and Mexico, is widely recognised as the world’s sunniest city, boasting an incredible 91 percent sunny daylight hours every year. In hours, this comes to more than 4,000 hours per year, 400 hours of glorious sunshine every month, and about 11 hours of radiant heat daily. Put bluntly: don’t worry about a winter jacket here. But do remember sunglasses, sunscreen, a good hat, a lot of water and a keen eye for the shade.

Northeast Africa

Northeast Africa often threatens the record books when it comes to annual sunshine. The relentless sun beating down on the Sahara is the stuff of literature and legend, and the Eastern Sahara might be its sunniest spot. Aswan in Egypt flirts with 4,000 hours of sunshine annually, with 13 hours of sun as the norm in July. (For the record, it did get down to -2.4C once, but don't expect that to happen again soon.) The average high during summer is around 40C. Being a little north of the Tropic of Cancer will do that.


French Polynesia

It’s always sunny in… Polynesia. Seriously: the Tuamoto Islands in French Polynesia get over 3,000 hours of shimmering sunshine yearly. However, the gentle breezes the Pacific brings ensure a stable climate year-round: excellent news for intrepid travellers heading for paradise on the beaches of Bora Bora.


Remember what we said about Hawaii? Well, if that doesn’t quite match your fantasy ‘sunny island paradise’ image, somewhere in the Caribbean definitely will. The picture of a bright Caribbean nirvana isn't far from the truth, at least as far as the weather goes, and the island of Aruba is king when it comes to soaking up the rays: it has more days of sunshine than any other Caribbean island. An impressive accolade, considering the competition.



Dubai isn’t just about sunshine – but with a sweltering 3,609 hours of sunshine yearly, it tends to come pretty high up the list of perks. The emirate gets around 10 hours of sunshine a day from January to December, making it the sunniest city in Asia, meaning the sea is always swim-ready. And if you’re looking further afield, the entire Arabian Peninsula is awash with sun all year round.


Not everywhere in Australia lives up to the sunny clichés – try winter in Melbourne or Tasmania – but Perth sure does. It’s Australia’s sunniest regional capital, with an average of more than eight hours of blazing sunshine daily. However, Tennant Creek in Northern Territory has Perth beat on total hours, clocking 3,569 across the year to make it Australia’s sunniest place. That’s right: it has more sunshine than the Sunshine Coast.


South Africa

Although it’s a bit of an outlier on this list, South Africa is notable for being sunny when other parts of the world are bunkering down. From November to January, no place on the planet gets more sunshine on average than Upington: a city of 75,000 people in South Africa’s Northern Cape. During that time, the sun shines for more than 11 hours a day, stretching the city’s annual number of sunny hours to a whopping 3,732.


If Arizona is the sunniest place on Earth, it stands to reason that the northern part of Mexico is close behind. If it’s sunny in Yuma, then it’s probably sunny in Los Algodones, just six miles away on the other side of the border. And it’s not just the northwesternmost states of Baja California and Sonora: the sun shines fabulously and frequently from Tulum in the east to Puerto Vallarta in the west.

    You may also like
    You may also like