As the earthy reds and oranges of crisp autumn days give way to long dark grey wintery weather you may be longing for some sunshine. A winter sun holiday could be the answer and while a lot of summer destinations are shutting up shop for the winter, there are still plenty of places around the world that are just starting to warm up.
From the luxurious beaches of Bali to the exotic Caribbean or the Canaries closer to home, this article from HomeAway.co.uk brings you some ideas for your winter sun break. With apartments in the city or luxury villas by the beach, staying in a holiday rental gives you all the comforts of home and you can find lots of ideas for where to go and what to do on your next winter sun holiday on their winter sun holiday ideas pages.
Bali and Lombok
Often grouped together these two islands are the jewel of Southeast Asia. They may be small islands but they are a big destination year round for those looking to catch some sun on idyllic tropical beaches. Stretched around the coast there are many palm fringed beaches with pristine white sand. For tranquility and a some peace and quiet check out Candidasa beach which is close to cultural sites such as Bali’s mother temple, the Pura Besakih. Bali’s temperature remains relatively constant through the year. Though December through to March brings the rainy season, don’t be too put off by this, as most of the rainfall will be through the night and pass quickly. Although Bali and Lombok are often grouped together they are worlds apart. Bali is bustling and lively, from the thrills of surfing, to gorgeous beaches, to the nightlife of Denpasar. Check out the capital for shopping in the markets (always a treat for the senses in Asia), museums and arts centers.
Lombok is the contrast to Bali and a great place to go if you’re looking for a more relaxing holiday. Whilst its larger cousin is seen as a destination for partying, Lombok is the quieter of the two islands, though not for long so it’s best to visit before it becomes the big destination it deserves to be. It’s a beautiful island with some unspoilt corners where you can see the island’s natural beauty. One place you have to visit is the extinct volcano, Mt. Rinjani, a bit of a trek but the views are amazing and climbing a volcano (even if it is extinct) is always fun.
With year round sun and just short hop of four hours from the UK, the Canary Islands are enduringly popular as a summer hotspot. During the winter the temperature rarely dips below 20, so whilst it’s not too hot it’s still warm enough for some sunbathing. The Canaries are made up of seven islands with four being holiday spots, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. In the summer the islands are full to the brim with holiday makers so visiting in the winter is a great option to have a more intimate holiday where you can enjoy the beaches and attractions without the crowds.
Each of the Canary Islands has its own characteristic. Gran Canaria is the largest of the islands. Here you can find large resorts stretched out along its sandy beaches. Tenerife is a lively spot and is known for its buzzing nightlife. If you are looking for a lively holiday it is definitely the place to visit! Fuerteventura is the flip side of Tenerife. It’s quieter than it’s cousins and is known for its golden beaches, it’s probably the best place in the islands for some peace and quiet, perfect if you want to get away from it all. Lanzarote is the nature lovers island being formed from extinct volcanoes it has fertile soil and some great nature reserves. The resorts are less developed without the high rise more modern hotels and the whole island had a more intimate and traditional feel.
The Caribbean combines the luxury accommodation of Bali and Lombok with the family friendly resorts and mix of upmarket and budget of the Canary Islands. Just as the cold and wet weather of winter is at its worst in the UK, the Caribbean is seeing its best summer sun. If you travel in the early winter the weather is hot but not too hot so you can still take advantage of all the activities like scuba diving in the clear turquoise waters. With the Caribbean being made up of 7000 islands you are guaranteed to find the perfect winter sun destination.
Amongst the island groups are some perennial favourites which are always popular with holidaymakers from around the world. The islands are home to gorgeous white sand beaches lined with gently swaying palm trees. The biggest question when planning a trip to the Caribbean is which of the island groups to visit?
Barbados is one of the most widely known of the islands and has a well-deserved reputation for being a paradise with gorgeous beaches that are great for sunbathing. The clear waters here are perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving below and water sports above. Though the beaches and sunsets are spectacular don’t forget to venture inland to towns like Bridgetown for shopping in the markets or take a trip to the wildlife reserves.
Amongst the other islands of the Caribbean such as Puerto Rico, The Dominican Islands and Cuba are the Bahamas. Here aside from the beaches and beautiful natural landscapes you can also try your hand at racing an Americas cup yacht around the islands, hike through the Christoffel National park or explore ancient Mayan ruins.
The Caribbean is a huge destination spread across the islands and archipelagos off the American coast and HomeAway has a wide selection of holiday homes in the Caribbean from budget apartments to luxury villas and everything in between.
My thanks for this article to HomeAway, the UK’s number one holiday rentals website with over 320,000 holiday homes worldwide.
You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey
Discover the secret side of Lanzarote with green caves, picturesque white houses and black lava fields
This article introduces us to the secret charms of Lanzarote away from the crowds, with green caves, picturesque white houses and black lava fields planted with vines.
Thanks to a plethora of cheap flights to Lanzarote, the promise of sun, sea and sand and great promotion, the island of Lanzarote has become a hotspot destination for thousands of people every year. But if the thought of crowded beaches, pounding nightclubs and bars puts you off, think again.
Lanzarote has a secret side – one that is far more tranquil and serene than the brochures would have you believe. An island with a rich cultural heritage and some astonishingly beautiful vistas, Lanzarote’s secrets are waiting to be discovered by the more adventurous traveller.
Lanzarote’s secrets revealed …..
Lanzarote’s Cueva de los Verdes
Lanzarote is a volcanic island, and its turbulent geological past has created a honeycomb of lava tunnels and caves to explore. The best known of these are the Green Caves or Cueva de los Verdes. These tunnels and caves were created between 3,000 and 5,000 years ago and from the 17th Century the caves were used by the islanders to hide from pirates and slavers.
Today, the caves are a popular visitor attraction and stretch for over two kilometres into the heart of the island. The tour will take you though some dark and narrow passageways that lead you into the real secret of the Green Caves – an impressive auditorium. This auditorium regularly hosts live concerts, with the natural acoustics of the cavern giving the music an almost ethereal feeling. It’s a secret well worth discovering, but make sure you wear strong shoes suitable for walking!
The white houses of Teguise
Away from the crowds, Lanzarote has plenty of other secrets to discover. One of the biggest influences on island life was the artist César Manrique. His mark can be seen all over the island and it is Manrique that decreed that all houses on the island should be painted white with green doors and shutters. He also designed some of the island’s most spectacular architecture including LagOmar. This distinctive bar in Nazaret was once the home of actor Omar Sharif and still provides a welcome watering hole for thirsty visitors today.
The former capital of Teguise is the epitome of the real Lanzarote. Crossed with narrow, cobbled streets filled with tiny boutiques and mysterious, labyrinthine alleyways, this fascinating town is dominated by the 16th Century Santa Barbara Castle, which is now home to a museum celebrating the diversity of the island and its rich heritage of immigration.
Unique landscapes and great wine
Leave Teguise behind and you are confronted with the wide-open expanse of the plain of Famara – an unexpected desert landscape surrounded by lush hills and volcanic mountains. In the distance is Famara bay, a popular destination for surfers looking for a challenging beach and wild, unpredictable surfing conditions. If you prefer a gentle stroll along unspoilt sands, Famara Bay is also one of the quietest beaches on the island, giving you a chance to escape the tourist traps and throngs of partygoers in the more popular resorts.
Across the island of Lanzarote you will be confronted with an ever-changing landscape – from the black lava fields below Mount Timanfaya through to sub-tropical forests and expanses of desert cacti. The region’s rich soil produces some excellent wines that you would not normally find outside the island. El Grifo is probably the best known vineyard in the region, and tours of the cellars are yet another of Lanzarote’s secrets that is well worth discovering.
With flights to Lanzarote plentiful and cheap, there are plenty of hidden secrets to discover on this diverse and fascinating island. The island has a mild climate all year round, making it a perfect destination at any time of the year. During the winter the crowds are considerably thinned out, so if you want to discover a new side to Lanzarote, try a visit ‘out of season’ and explore this island paradise at your leisure!
More articles to enjoy
You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey
Many thanks for the mention on the Carnival of the Cities at Emm in London for my post on the Nightglow at the Bristol Balloon festival – see the video of the balloons lighting up at night in time to the music. It’s the first time I’d been in 15 years in Bristol. You never appreciate what’s on your doorstep (until you become a travel blogger).
A couple of other blogs hosted my guest posts in the last few weeks;
Hostelbookers have been running a womens’ independent travel theme and featured my article
Girl’s Backpacking Guide to Berlin covering my trip this spring with my teenage daughter and some of her friends. I gave my hints on how to eat cheaply, best ways to get around, the sights we enjoyed, and the edgier side of Berlin.
Over at Ciao Bambino, they’ve just published my guest post on Family fun in Istria, Croatia, featuring the things we enjoyed on our holiday there in August. Istria’s a self-contained region of Croatia close to the Italian border, with something for everyone. You’ll find a gorgeous rocky coastline, picturesque old hill towns and wonderful food and wine, including the famous truffles and seafood.
As always I’ve been doing my regular weekly post every Thursday at Europe a la Carte - take a look at my recent posts;
Free podcasts and other resources for Berlin
I always enjoy listening to podcasts when walking or travelling and here are some that I found about Berlin – just the thing to download and listen to on the plane or train going there – they’re all free. Thanks to Caitlin for the mention on her travel link round-up on Roaming Tales
Great free museums for the family in London
In London you’ll find the big 3 family friendly and free museums, all together in South Kensington – read my post about what’s on offer. Thanks to Debbie from Delicious Baby for the mention in her round up of travel links that are of interest to family travellers.
Sailing boats and the medieval city of Vannes in Brittany
Vannes is a great combination of picturesque medieval town and a mecca for sailors and sea lovers.
Eat local, eat truffles in Istria, Croatia
Truffles are the big in Istria – in fact the biggest truffle in the world was found there – it’s in the Guiness book of records. If you never tried a truffle, Istria is the place to start.
Travel News and Resources
Not long ago I featured a guest post from Lanzarote Guidebook website and now their Autumn version of their free downloadable guide to Lanzarote is available, so do head over to check it out. You’ll find there’s a lot more to Lanzarote than the package holiday image would suggest.
I’m planning to do this round-up on a regular basis, so if you have any travel news that you think my readers would be interested, particularly free resources and anything that’s not madly time sensitive, then let me know and I may feature it.