I don’t know about you, but it seems that the need for my summer wardrobe is coming to an end. I have definitely started to notice night’s drawing in and the allure of PJ’s, brew, book and bed pre 8.30 pm is a sure sign that winter is coming.
For many of us, winter can be a really depressing time. Going to work in the dark, coming home in the dark and enduring weather that feels relentless and utterly miserable. So, in my opinion, the only way to beat the winter blues is with some sunshine and an adventure to look forward to.
Without a doubt, Oman is growing in popularity as a holiday destination. With temperatures during the winter months sitting comfortably around 25 degrees Celsius, it makes a wonderfully attractive winter sun option.
Muscat is a vibrant and cultural city, one which I barely scratched the surface of when I visited in 2017. With the Opera House, Museum of Modern Art, the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and the fierce assault on the senses that is the Mutrah Souq; Oman offers a wealth of cultural activities and adventurous excursions. However, if your winter sun trip is all about recharging and rejuvenating your tired self, then head to the beaches.
For unadulterated luxury and a true adult-only paradise check out the Shangri La Al Husn or the Al Baleed Resort Salalah. For a more detailed review of the Shangri La Al Husn see my full review; www.takemefarandaway.com/2018/11/23/hotel-review-5-shangri-la-al-husn-muscat-oman/
I can’t extol the glories of this Island enough. Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands, boasting beaches, mountains, vastly contrasting terrain and excellent food. The imposing Mount Teide and the surrounding National Park oversee proceedings on the island. The volcano and National Park are easily explored on foot, bike or cable car. However, if it’s a quick fly and flop break that you need then Tenerife is a very reasonable four-hour flight from London airports. With temperatures rarely dipping below 20 degrees Celsius what’s not to love? Tenerife is still blighted by a few rainy days in the winter. Best winter months to avoid the rain are October, January and February where only around 8-10 days during the month might experience rainfall.
For a proper beach break check out the Costa Adeje or Los Gigantes. My recommendation is the Ritz Carlton Abama, Guia De Isora. For an extended review of this spectacular hotel check out my earlier post; www.takemefarandaway.com/2019/08/14/hotel-review-5-ritz-carlton-abama-tenerife/
Barbados has long been a firm favourite among travellers seeking year-round sunshine. December through to March sees the lowest rainfall so chances of long warm sunny days sipping cocktails are almost guaranteed. With a flight time of eight and a half hours from London airports, it is well worth the trip. That kind of flight time is a recommended full nights sleep, so what better way to start your trip than catching up on those lost Zzzzzz’s to arrive in paradise feeling refreshed.
Surely the winter months are for eating right? Us not so hardy Brits need the extra layer to keep warm! If you’re a foodie (like me!) then Bridgetown and the West Coast offer a variety of spectacular restaurants. My favourites are Lone Star (good portion sizes), Cin Cin By the Sea, The Tides and The Cliff.
As for accommodation, I would recommend the Coral Reef Club, set in gorgeous gardens or The House for a more boutique yet luxurious stay.
- New Zealand
Stepping off a flight to New Zealand on the 24th of December 2018 was fabulous. We had boarded in four degrees of drizzly rain and thick low cloud. So, arriving at a comfortable 18 degrees was the ideal tonic for my deeply entrenched winter blues.
New Zealand starts to hit its stride with long warm sunny days in November and temperatures peak around 26 degrees. If you venture farther north to the Coromandel and Bay of Islands, however you can see temperatures of 30 degrees and higher.
New Zealand offers a blissful escape and summer is a great time to sail, surf, kayak, mountain bike or lace up your hiking boots and take to the Franz Josef Glacier. A trip to New Zealand is well worth it if you’re an active soul seeking an adventure.
- India: Rajasthan
Rajasthan; India’s vibrant, colourful, fort laden land of Maharajas. A winter visit is sure to quicken your heart rate and captivate your senses. Rajasthan is located in the North West of the country and is an eight-and-a-half-hour flight from London airports. Rajasthan enjoys temperatures between 25 and 33 degrees Celsius and minimal rainfall from October to February, so the winter months are the perfect time to book a trip.
Rajasthan has a huge variety to offer the winter sun seeker, I would say this trip is best for those seeking a cultural adventure. Whilst the beaches of the south are fabulous, a trip to Rajasthan is a different animal entirely. With forts, palaces and shrines in abundance coupled with rare wildlife in the Ranthambhore National Park and technicolour festivals to rival any 1990’s psychedelic rave, a touring trip to Rajasthan is your best bet.
I would recommend a trip with Intrepid Travel; their 15 days classic Rajasthan trip covers all the highlights of this spectacular region. With the tricky logistics and planning taken care of by the Intrepid team that leaves your free to take in the experience.
Florida will always have a place in my heart, as a young girl we would spend summers visiting our Grandparents apartment in St Petersburg. So many of my earliest family holiday memories are in this sunny corner of the Gulf of Mexico. Whether it was sitting on the dock fishing for catfish, long walks along the beach, creating my own synchronised swimming routines or playing ‘noodle warriors’* with my sister Florida will always be a happy place for me.
The affectionately named ‘Sunshine State’ sure does live up to its name. With temperatures hovering around 18-20 degrees Celsius between October and February and balmy 25-degree sea temperature, you are sure to find some sunny solace.
Orlando and its theme parks are, of course, a draw for any holidaymakers, but, if you are looking to slow the pace during your winter break then check out the beach resorts at Clearwater, St Petersburg and St George Island State Park.
I would recommend the Don Cesar in St. Petersburg. A luxury pink palace right on the beach.
* Noodle Warriors is an exceptionally competitive game whereby you sit on a pool noodle like a horse and try to knock your opponent off their noodle…simple things.
A not so undiscovered gem in the Indonesian archipelago, but despite its popularity with tourists it is, however, a fabulous place to catch some winter rays. Bali boasts extensive sandy beaches, luscious plant life, mountains, temples and sapphire blue seas brimming with coral and multicoloured fish.
Bali is often found on many peoples list as an epic adventure destination. Having travelled there twice I still don’t feel as though I did everything. It is firmly on my list of countries to return to. If you are looking for a winter adventure then Bali has a lot to offer. Whether it is exploring the Sacred Monkey Forest, immersing yourself in Balinese culture and craftmanship with a tour of the temples, water sports in the sparkling azure sea or simply basking in lagoon beach at Nusa Dua. Bali has something to entice and ensnare the senses of all.
November heralds the start of the wet season in Bali, but, despite the rain, average temperatures remain a very pleasant 28 degrees Celsius with sea temperature around 29 degrees Celsius. January experiences the most considerable number of rainy days so if you are looking for the sunshine then October and November are your best bet.
I would recommend the Ritz Carlton, Bali, Nusa Dua for a slice of luxury perfect, for blowing even the darkest winter blues away.