Winter-sun winners

Hop on a plane and banish those winter blues

It might dip below freezing here in the UK, but you don't have to travel too far afield to catch some rays during the colder months.

Temperatures can top 20°C during the British winter at our featured sunny locations – and they're all just a couple of hours away by plane.

Costa del Sol

The Costa del Sol is all about year-round fun and sun, with all the essential ingredients for a beach getaway.

Don’t miss…

  • La Alcazabra – this Moorish fortress dates back to the 11th century and stands high above Málaga city, offering magnificent views of the harbour
  • Roman amphitheatre – at the base of Alcazaba Hill, this pre-Christian theatre remained hidden for centuries until it was discovered in 1951
  • Picasso museum – installed in the magnificent Palacio Buenavista, this museum contains more than 180 works by Picasso

Gibraltar

This British territory sits at the tip of southern Spain and is renowned for its great weather, beautiful scenery, and rich cultural heritage – all packed into just a few square miles.

Don’t miss…

  • Cable cars – a 10-minute ascent transports you from the city centre to the top of The Rock, and is the best way to take in the views of the colony and its surrounds
  • The Moorish Castle – originally constructed in the 8th century by the Moorish Tarik, the castle has been rebuilt and added to over the centuries
  • VAT-free shopping – VAT-exempt Gibraltar is a duty-free haven for shoppers, offering great deals and low prices on high-value items

Gran Canaria

With golden sands, blue seas and exotic scenery in abundance, Gran Canaria has also become increasingly popular for outdoor sports.

Don’t miss…

  • Mundo Aborigen – this reconstruction of an ancient Canarian village overlooks the stunning Barranco de Fatago gorge, and provides an insight into the ancestry of the island
  • Puerto de Mogan – see a wide array of boats and yachts, or join one of many island cruises at this popular and impressive marina
  • Catedral de Las Palmas – this landmark cathedral is home to a museum of religious art containing a number of significant paintings

Madeira

Madeira is worth visiting for the scenery alone, with a mountainous volcanic landscape scored by deep valleys and ravines.

Don’t miss…

  • Sé Cathedral – founded in 1485, this lavishly decorated cathedral is one of Madeira's oldest buildings
  • Adegas de São Francisco – visit this wine lodge, set in a medieval monastery, to sample Madeira wine and learn how it's produced
  • Botanical gardens – see the lush indigenous vegetation that makes Madeira one of the world's most thriving botanical islands

Malta

Explore an island packed full of stunning views, with magnificent architecture and a picturesque coastline.

  • Go diving – Malta is world-renowned as a scuba destination, and the sea surrounding the island is immensely popular for diving
  • Head to the coast – visit the scenic Blue Grotto sea caverns, or take the ferry across to Comino and visit the Blue Lagoon
  • Visit Valletta – take in the sights at Malta's historic capital city, including the magnificent St John's co-cathedral and the Grandmaster's palace

Tenerife

A sun-worshipper’s paradise, Tenerife has a landscape that's well worth exploring, from lush banana farms, to dense forests, to the island's volcanic heart.

Don’t miss…

  • Mount Teide – take the eight-minute cable car to the top of this active but sleeping volcano, where the view from the summit is dramatic and unforgettable
  • Loro Parque – this award-winning tropical wildlife zoo mixes conservation, education and fun
  • La Gomera – visit the banana plantations at Hermigua and explore the pretty resort of Playa de Santiago, on this tiny and peaceful island off the coast of Tenerife

Planning your trip

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(24 October 2013)