Plan your winter sun holiday – time to head for Bali, the Canaries or the Caribbean

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 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.

Candidasa beach, Bali Photo: GOC53 on Flickr

Candidasa beach, Bali

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.

Climbing Journal Mount Rinjani Photo: Trekking Rinjani on Flickr

Climbing Journal Mount Rinjani, Lombok

Canary Islands

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.

Arecife, Lanzarote Photo: Kevglobal of Flick

Arecife, Lanzarote

The Caribbean

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?

Bridgetown Barbados Photo: garybembridge on Flickr

Bridgetown, Barbados

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.

Bahamas Photo: bryce_edwards of Flickr

Bahamas in the Caribbean

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.

Photo credits: Bali beach by  GOC53, Arecife Lanzarote by Kevglobal, Bridgetown Barbados by garybembridge, Mount Rinjani by Trekking Rinjani, and Bahamas Gazebo by bryce_edwards.

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read more travel articles at Travel Blog Home

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  • Reply
    December 12, 2012 at 4:55 am

    If I had to choose between Bali and Lombok I’d choose Lombok every time. The island is beautiful and the beautiful sandy beaches on the South of the island have only a fraction of the number of tourists that you find in Bali.
    Nico´s last blog post ..A Guide to Jakarta’s Nightlife

    • Reply
      Heather Cowper
      December 12, 2012 at 8:19 am

      @Nico Thanks for the tip – I also prefer the less crowded and touristy places so it sounds like Lombok would be for me

  • Reply
    Granada Hasta en la Sopa
    December 12, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    And do not forget 8th island in Canary Islands: San Borondon! Is a ghost island with great stories.
    Good article!

    • Reply
      Heather Cowper
      December 12, 2012 at 10:57 pm

      @Granada Hasta Thanks for pointing that out – a ghost island sounds intriguing!

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