Winter sun breaks that don’t require a long-haul flight
If you're not spending a fortune on international flights to long-haul destinations, you can afford to go a little upmarket nearer home. There are some lovely destinations with luxury spa and sports packages no more than four hours away with Jet2holidays, where it's T-shirt weather all year round.
Paphos scorches in the summer heat, but by winter has cooled down to a sunny, balmy 18°C, with a 22°C sea temperature that's still swimmable, and ideal for scuba diving and boat trips. The cooler temperatures make exploring the fascinating UNESCO-listed archaeological sites such as the Paphos Mosaics and the Tombs of the Kings much more comfortable, while still being able to sip a chilled Cypriot chardonnay outside on a taverna terrace. Paphos is also Cyprus's golfing epicentre, if you like to get a round in before lunch. For a truly luxurious winter break, choose a boutique hotel with a spa and wellness centre, fine dining and perhaps an integral golf package.
The Canary Islands
A subtropical climate and temperatures of up to 23°C make any one of the Canary Islands a perfect winter sun escape. The usual Canarian clubbing, shopping, eating and revelry aside, each of the volcanic islands is intriguing and individual: Lanzarote with its dramatic Mountains of Fire craters, lava tube features and low-key whitewashed buildings, thanks to artist César Manrique; Fuerteventura, with the biggest and best beaches, for rad surfing and watersports; Gran Canaria, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, with sweeping sand dunes, lunar landscapes and mountains; and Tenerife, boasting the longest lava tube in Europe, Spain's highest mountain, the Pico Del Teide and UNESCO-listed city, La Laguna. There's a huge choice of luxury and designer hotels in the Canary Islands, many with golfing packages, spas and fine-dining restaurants.
With 300 days of sunshine a year, winter temperatures dropping no lower than a polo shirt-friendly 16°C and world-class greens overlooking the Atlantic, the Algarve is the perfect place for getting in some winter rounds of golf. Cheaper, less crowded and greener than the peak summer season, the Algarve offers other delights to complement your golfing; picturesque towns such as Lagos, ancient Silva and Albufeira, and distinctive cuisine – you must try cataplana (seafood stew) and pastel de nata (custard tart). There's a large choice of luxury spa hotels in the Algarve, many with integral golfing packages.
Backdropped by imposing cliffs and pine forests Spain's 'white coast' is an impressive 200km of soft white sandy beaches dotted with picturesque coves. Costa Blanca's Winter temperatures are a pleasant 18°C, ideal for a boat trip, an al fresco seafood lunch in Calpa's lovely marina, or taking in Benidorm's larger-than-life night-time club and cabaret scene on the strip. And November is Benidorm's fiesta time – vast paellas, processions and firecrackers. Nearby pretty Altea is a shopping must, with a famous street market and world-class harbour with its moored superyachts. Pamper yourself in a luxury hotel with a spa and fitness centre, or a cute boutique hotel in Benidorm's Old Town.
If you feel torn between enjoying a traditional Christmas and getting some winter sunshine, why not do both and head to Madeira for the festive season? Temperatures hover around 20°C, and the sea is warm enough to swim. Madeirans take their Christmas festivities very seriously: magical illuminated 3D decorations in the capital Funchal outshine Oxford Street's, as choirs sing carols in the cobbled streets. Welcome in the New Year with the largest fireworks display in the world and unlike London there's no standing on a freezing bridge. Why not give yourself the best Christmas present and stay in one of Funchal's luxury hotels, see the lights and catch some rays at the same time?
With winter temperatures around a comfortable 17°C and plenty of sunshine, it's the ideal time to explore Majorca's rocky coastline, get in some rounds of golf or hike up into its lush, flower-blanketed interior – January sees four million almond trees bursting into white blossom. Palma, the capital, is a lovely place to spend a day, with its tree-lined promenades, vast La Seu cathedral, fascinating modern architecture, medieval old town, and plenty of museums and art galleries. There are designer boutiques aplenty to keep shopaholics busy before a lunch of exceptional seafood pintxos at one of Palma's many stylish tapas bars. Choose from a wide selection of luxury spa or boutique hotels to unwind after a day exploring this beautiful island.
The Costa del Sol
The sea may not be quite warm enough for swimming, but with winter temperatures around 20°C, the weather on the Costa del Sol is perfect for exploring the natural and manmade wonders of the region. Vibrant cities, delightful white villages in the hills and Andalusia's magnificent Moorish architecture at the Alhambra in Granada palace and the Mezquita mosque in Cordoba contrast with the rugged mountains and cave networks of the Sierra de la Nieves behind Marbella. Also known as the 'Costa del Golf', there are over 70 golf courses to choose from on the Costa del Sol, whatever your handicap, and many luxury spa hotels feature golf or tennis packages to keep your hand in as you unwind.
Choose your perfect winter break with Jet2 Winter Sun holidays. Fly to Cyprus, the Costa del Sol, the Costa Blanca, Madeira, the Canary Islands, the Algarve and Majorca all year round. With great flight times to get the most from your trip, and a choice of 3-5* hotels/resorts to make your holiday perfect, now's the time to book some winter sunshine.
Book now to enjoy £100 off per person on all Jet2 Winter Sun holidays. You can book your holiday with a deposit of just £60 per person (and zero credit card fees) with a massive 22kg of luggage included in the price too. ATOL and ABTA protected.