You are tired of the cold, the rain and the sleet and only getting a few hours of sunshine in a day? Now that Christmas and the nice atmosphere around it are over winter depression is not far. But why freeze and be in a shitty mood when you can also get away for a few days or even weeks and seek refuge in the sun?
We found a few of the coolest winter escapes for you because luckily the European winter is the best time to travel to some of these places!
Winter escapes: 23 sunny places to feel good!
This paradise island is part of East Africa, it lies off of Tanzania’s coast. Since it is a Muslim country you find yourself immersed in a dream of 1001 nights: impressive palaces, narrow alleyways and the scent of cinnamon and vanilla. And the beaches and the turquoise water really are paradise!
Zanzibar’s historic center is part of the world cultural heritage, most of the old buildings are made of sandstone. When heading North definitely stop at ‘The Rock’ in Bwejuu. This bar is built on a lonely cliff in the middle of the ocean – pretty cool!
Nowadays getting to Zanzibar is super easy. Not long ago Quatar Airways started offering a direct flight from Doha and Condor takes you directly from Frankfurt/Main. Temperatures range from over 30 degrees during the day to 23 degrees at night November through March. The cool breeze from the ocean keeps you from swetting too much.
Zanzibar really is worth a visit, not only for a short stopover on the way home from a safari in South Africa. You can spend several days here and go on some great adventures!
The Lakkadives in India’s Southwest still are a real secret and totally secluded from the rest of the world. Of the 36 islands only 10 are inhabited! There is neither airconditioning nor TV, phone or emails, just quiet and relaxation. And a veritable diving and snorkeling paradise awaits you here, it is considered one of the most beautiful in the world.
The number of people allowed to immigrate is limited because it is important to the locals that nature there is not destroyed by tourism and too many visitors. Additionally to the visa for India you need another visa for the Lakkadives.
To get there you have to take a domestic flight (around 90 minutes) from one of the Indian cities Bombay, Goa or Kochi, these don’t go every day.
The best time to travel is October through May. Temperatures during the day are around 30 degrees, nights are around 23 degrees.
India definitely has more to offer than ashrams and yoga. It is enticing with its very special culture and the many historic palaces and temples. Finding the perfect route takes some time because India is a huge country, the seventh largest in the world, in fact. Depending on how much time you have choose one region and stay there. Everything else will just turn to stress.
The adequate means of transportation for India is the train. You get almost anywhere cheaply on the second largest railway system in the world.
The best time to travel to most regions is October through March. Daytime temperatures are around 30 degrees, nights can get pretty cool in some regions. So pack a warm sweater!
Australia – the country of wide open spaces, of kangaroos and koalas and boundless freedom. If you don’t have several months to spend then you should definitely limit yourself to one region in this huge country. Most people pick between the East and the West coast.
The West coast is often referred to as the ‘real Australia’ in part because it is less populated and most of the attractions are on the East coast. We find that both have their charms! So either stay for a few months and explore both coasts or come again! And then of course there is Ayers Rock in the middle of nowhere which you really should have seen once in your life!
Summer in Australia is from December to February. Perfect for a roadtrip. Conditions are wonderful around Sydney, Melbourne and the East coast, as well as the South around Adelaide and Perth in the West.
New Zealand simply is an adventure country and will wow you with incredibly beautiful and diverse landscapes! Here you get pretty much everything apart from 35 degrees maybe: mountains, volcanos, gushing springs, coasts, fjords, rainforest…
To visit both islands you should plan at least 3 weeks and even then you will not ba able to see everything. There simply is too much and the distances are massive. We travelled the South Island and North Island and loved it! If you enjoy hiking you can find useful tips for routes and preparation here.
In New Zealand too the climate is opposite to the climate in Europe, so summer there is from November through April. We were even able to take out the bikini in February, in the mountain valleys however, temperatures still sink down to hit 0 degrees.
Tasmania is great for a stop when visiting Australia and New Zealand, but also a trip of its own. This island below Australia presents itself remote, natural and almost a little mystical. Untouched beaches, diverse fauna, huge national parks with great hiking trails, this island is a bit like small New Zealand, only even quieter.
December through March is the ideal time to travel to Tasmania. The fastest way to get there is with Singapore Airlines or Quantas via Sydney or Melbourne to Hobar. Check Skyscanner for the best and cheapest route!
Another island paradise that you maybe never heard of before? Where is New Caledonia anyway? The answer: around 1500 km East of Australia in the Southern Pacific. New Caledonia consists of 4 main islands and is part of France. Yes, France!
The capital Nouméa in the Southwest is reminiscent of the Cote d’Azur with its street cafes and luxury boutiques, the Westcoast however sports beautiful beaches and Broussards (local cowboys).
You can go diving in crystal clear water in one of the most beautiful coral reefs, kitesurfing, hiking or if you dare go riding with the cowboys!
The best time to travel there is April through November. But with winters in Europe being a lot later now it is probably a good idea to get away in April or May.
If you don’t want to go quite as far, Morocco is one of the best winter escapes. You can submgerge yourself in the oriental world and enjoy beautiful nature in this very diverse country. Deserts, mountains, valleys, ocean, whatever you want from a trip, Morocco has it. Be it for great adventures or relaxing hours at the beach, you will love Morocco!
At the coast in Agadir you still have around 20 degrees in January, February and March so you can even lay on the beach in wind-sheltered areas. There is hardly any rain, but all the more sunshine. Marakkesh and Essaouira are similar. Note that temperatures do drop significantly at night, sometimes down to 7 degrees.
Cape Town alone is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world and everyone we spoke to so far has fallen in love with it. To have some flexibility when getting to know this country it is best to rent a car or camper and drive from Johannesburg to Cape Town or vice versa. Definitely plan enough time for the famous Garden Route. It is not known as one of the most beautiful coastal routes for nothing!
The best time to travel to the Cape Region is October through March. Away from the coast it can get very hot and humid so best to stay by the coast. The best time for safaris is July through October, this is the dry season and the animals come to water holes during that time. But there are also safaris after that, so you will be able to encounter lions, elephants and other game all year round.
We especially recommend walking safaris where you hike through the bush and past wild animals on foot. It gets even more adventurous if you gallop alongside giraffes on a riding safari!
Sri Lanka is a tropical island nation which lies off of the Indian main land and means ‘happy country’. So if you don’t have a good time here, where will you?
On a trip to Sri Lanka you will be able to regenerate, you find piece and quiet, as well as religious and cultural places that are just waiting to be discovered. You can also do great excursions to the rainforests, mountains or kilometers of cliff plateaus. Or try to find leopards on a safari at Yala national park, relax on picturesque beaches in the South or go surfing at Arugam Bay. There really is something for everyone here!
To travel the South and West December through April are best, whereas January through March are better for the mountains. You can do the North all year round but it rains a lot in November and December.
The sultanate of Oman is the Orient the way you imagine it. Unlike Dubai there still is culture and authenticity here. The capital Muscat is enchanting with its alleyways that look like a tale from 1001 nights and the cool exotic market, a so-called Souk. You can go hiking in the Grand Canyon of Jebel Shams and you should definitely treat yourself to at least one night in the desert. The view of the stars there is phenomenal!
And to add to that the Omanis are a very friendly and helpful people that will make it easy for you to love this country!
The best time to travel to Oman is in Winter which is from September to April. Temperatures during the day are nice 25 degrees then and it hardly rains. This is also the main tourist season in Oman so make sure to book accommodations in time!
On the Philippines you instantly feel welcome! The people are incredibly open and warm and always have a smile for you. Maybe because this simply is a great country! If it is beaches and ocean you are looking for, then you have come to the right place. The best way to take it all in is islandhopping from one paradise to another. And for divers there are some of the best reefs in the world here. Or you make a trip to the jungle, explore active volcanos or hike through green rice terraces.
And another plus: almost everyone speaks English here. So you shouldn’t have any trouble communicating here. The best place to start your ventures from is Cebu City in the South.
December through February is the dry season here which makes temperatures tolerable, there is little rain then and the risk for typhoons is very low. In Donsol bay you can see whale sharks, the largest fish in the world, between December and May. Really a great experience!
You should plan at least two weeks for Malaysia, just as for any other country around Asia. The country offers everything you need for a great trip: beautiful beaches, amazing underwater world which is among the top 3 in Southeast Asia, as well as mountains, jungle and tea plantations for hiking.
Culturally Malaysia is super interesting too. Kuala Lumpur is a melting pot of various religions and cultures, you will find mosques right next to Catholic churches here. The Petronas Towers are very impressive but you don’t need to plan more than a few days for the capitol. Better to get out and enjoy the nature and great beaches!
The climate is tropical and depends largely on the Monsun. Malaysia’s West coast is especially good for a visit in winter.
White beaches, beautiful national parks with karst and mongrove landscapes, big mountain ranges and the fascinating capital Santo Domingo. Its historical center is part of the world cultural heritage and really a highlight! The oldest cathedral of America also stands here, it was built in 1540.
You will definitely notice the Caribbean vibe, especially in the bars and restaurants. You can shake it to Merengue, Raggaeton and Hip Hop there and the cheerfullness of the people is contagious. You simply have to join, you will have loads of fun!
The Domenican Republic can be travelled all year but between December and May is the best time. You can go swimming all year round here, water temperatures are always between 25 and 27 degrees. A particular highlight is watching humpback whales which can be spotted end of January to late March!
Boundless joy of living and hospitality, amazing landscapes and lonely dreamy beaches. And then there is the music that will immediately sway you! Cuba is great for going out and exploring on your own and the island has quite something to offer: in the North you will find colourful flamingo colonies and under water there are over 900 different kinds of fish, in the South you can go hiking in the mongrove forests.
Cuba is dry November through April but temperatures can drop down to 10 degrees at night in the North. Since this is the main season you should make sure to book accommodation in time. Surfers find great conditions all year round!
The sunshine state really honors its name: more than 300 days of sunshine a year! Sounds good, doesn’t it? And Florida is not only about Miami, there is much more to discover, the Florida Keys with its 200 islands for instance or the Everglades where you can see alligators – at a safe distance – from a boat. Or you can bury your feet in snowwhite sand in places like Clearwater Beach in the West.
Only 8 hours from Germany and you are there. You should definitely go to the South during the European winter. This is also the main season for travelling there, it lasts till end of April but at least you will definitely be able to go swimming then!
Hawaii makes beach dreams come true: palm beaches, blue sea, volcanos and tropical plants. You can just hang out in the sun here or hike along the beautiful Napali Coast in the North, watch fantastic sunrises by the Haleakala volcano, go snorkeling in Hanauma Bay (the number of people that can go is limited and admissions cost 7,50 €) and not to forget: surfing! Aloha!
You can travel to Hawaii all year round. It can get a little crowded between mid December and mid January but after that you practically have the island to yourself again.
Between January and April is the perfect time for whale watching. And if you want to put your surfing skills to the test then the best time to do so is November through February on the North coast.
Nicaragua really is a fascinating country where the locals are very open, with impressive volcanos and green rainforests and due to its positioning between the Atlantic and the Pacific you have to decide whether you want to dive into wonderful Caribbean beaches or the Pacific or both of course.
The colonial towns of León and Granada should definitely be on your list as well as climbing one of the volcanos. If you don’t want the hike to be too demanding then choose the Cerro Negro close to León, if you are looking for a challenge then try volcano San Cristobal. For surfing check out San Juan Del Sur.
The dry season between November and April offers perfect conditions for a trip. Excursions to the rainforest should be planned for February to April, that is when it is dryest there.
Oh, how beautiful is Panama! Small and seemingly unconspicuous at first but incredibly diverse really. Untouched nature, lonely beaches, lively towns like Panama City and not to forget the Panama Canal. You should definitely make a trip on the canal! The ride on the historical train from Panama City to Colón in a original train will surely be one of the highlights of your travel.
You can visit the Emberá indians and get authentic insights into their culture and traditions and a sailing cruise through the San Blas islands will finish up your trip nicely!
The Pacific as well as the Caribbean North coast will be dry between December and March. But prices then also are a little higher than in the off season.
Thailand is a classic for winter. Gorgeous beaches, fascinating culture and super friendly people. And then there are also the incredibly cheap massages, delicious fruit and adventurous rides on a scooter.
You should definitely plan a stop in Bangkok. You could then move on to the Ko Tao island if you want to go diving or even obtain a license for diving. In Chiang Mai in the heart of the country you will find Thailand’s creative scene and great co-working spaces as well as dozy mountain villages.
Due to the tropical monsunal climate temperatures are around 30 degrees all year round. The dry season is November through March, so you will have the least rainy days then.
You have read this so often now but Chile really is one of the most diverse countries in the world: desert, lakes, wine regions and the eternal ice of Antarctica. The country spans three continents: America, Oceania and Antarctica.
Highlights you should not miss out on: the moon valley Salat de Atacama (Chile’s largest salt lake), the desert village of San Pedro and the Carretera Austral which might well be one of the most beautiful routes in the world! Definitely look up to the stars at night, the sky in the North is the clearest in all of the Southern Hemisphere!
The weather in Northern and Central Chile is nice October through April, the further South you go however, the more temperatures drop. December through February are best for a trip to Patagonia.
Brazil does not only have sea and beautiful beaches, there are also amazing mountain and jungle landscapes here, the Amazon rainforest and the world’s largest waterfall Iguazú!
Hiking, survival training, diving or kitesurfing, all these adventures await you in Brazil and all that around jovial people. And in Rio you have the famous carnival in February.
Brazil’s Southern coast is very busy from December to February when it is high season there, this is not only because of the carnival but also due to the Brazilian school holidays. Still this wonderfully diverse country is worth a trip, you will keep finding lonely places there too.
Green fields of rice, delicious Vietnamese food, great beaches, impressive temples – this is what Vietnam has to offer. The best is to discover the country during a roadtrip from North to South or vice versa. Hoi An in central Vietnam probably is one of the most beautiful places there are. You should plan a lot of time for this stop, everyone so far has fallen in love with this city of lanterns! A couple of days are enough for authentic Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Definitely do a steetfood tour and cooking class!
The perfect time to travel depends on the region you are visiting. If you want to cover all of it in a round trip then choose February. The weather is great in all regions then!
Sunshine and adventures await you!
Enough of the rain, snow and darkness. There are plenty of winter escapes in this world where you can have warmth and sunshine in winter and that await you with wonderful scenery and lots of adventures!