Are you in urgent need of some serious escaping this Christmas? Desperate for blue skies and warm sunshine, sandy beaches and lapping seas? Then we're here to help. Check out our dream destinations for Christmas 2012 and wave goodbye to freezing temperatures, grey skies, icy winds, road gritters, freezing hail....
Great places to spend Christmas in the sun
Christmas in the sun, anyone?
This Christmas, Vintage Travel is highlighting a selection of properties for families and groups looking for a Christmas escape. Cortijo de Cabreron, for example, is a charming four-bedroom country cottage sleeping five with a private pool, 4km from the Costa Teguise. With private pool. The week’s rental starting 23 December costs £1095 (or £219 per person on full occupancy). Return UK flights and car hire extra.
Book yourself into East Winds Inn, St. Lucia through Tropic Breeze for a Christmas Special and get seven nights for five at this all-inclusive, boutique hotel. There's lots to keep you merry and bright, from a champagne and lobster grill night to free yoga and watersports. Departing 20th December from £2,999 pp saving £620pp (based on double occupancy). A superior room, flights from Gatwick and transfers are included.
Book through TROPIC BREEZE (01752 880880 www.tropicbreeze.co.uk )
Set in acres of tropical grounds, the multi-award winning Como Shambhala Estate in Indonesia combines a holistic approach to wellness with a dedicated Ayurvedic doctor and yoga and pilates pavilion, along with mountain biking and daily morning walks. Programmes include rejuvenation, detox and ayurvedic treatments. Inclusive price: £2,415pp with Health and Fitness Travel.
This year, Bon Voyage is offering seven-night Christmas holidays on the Hawaiian island of Maui, where visitors can bask in temperatures averaging 80 degrees and forget about the chilly grey skies at home. Departing Heathrow or Manchester on 23 December, prices start at £2095 per person (based on two sharing), inclusive of return flights and accommodation at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel, and a convertible car hire for cruising around the island in style. Christmas dinner is also thrown in.
...white sand, that is. Swap snowy landscapes for pristine beaches in the Maldives. At Vilu Reef Beach & Spa Resort, you can give yourself a proper Christmas present: spend the day in the Sun Spa or take one of Vilu Reef’s excursions, which range from local island hopping tours to safaris and sunset cruises. Letsgo2 is offering seven nights at Vilu Reef Beach & Spa Resort from £2,139 per person (saving £1,000 per person) departing on 23 December. Price includes return flights from Heathrow, accommodation in a garden villa on a half-board basis, seaplane transfers, taxes and surcharges.
Swim in secluded coves, explore tropical gardens, relax on the crowd-fee beaches and gorge yourself on local wine and food. Book a half-board seven night stay at Bon Sol, Mallorca for £1291 per person with Classic Collection and you'll get your fair share of Christmas treats too, including a visit from Santa, transfers to mass at Palma Cathedral and gala dinners galore. Flights included.
Surrounded by the natural Costa Vicentina Park and a beach on its doorstep, the five-star Martinhal Hotel is perfect for families wanting all the Christmas trimmings as well as some sunshine: the resort will be transformed into a Christmas wonderland with fairy lights, Santa Claus, yuletide food and festive cheer. With 25 per cent off stays of four nights or more between 21 December 2012 and 6 January 2013, rates during the Christmas period start at around £187 for a one-bedroom deluxe garden house per house per night (based on two sharing).
As well as enjoying thrilling game-viewing and birding, travellers fleeing to African shores who don’t want to miss out entirely can still get their fill of turkey and tinsel. The River Club, close to Victoria Falls, in Livingstone, offers a refreshingly ‘cool yule’ with a feast and locally sourced gifts for all guests. From £310 per person per night. theriverclubafrica.com
How about a nine-night guided walking tour of the beautiful Aoilian islands just off the north coast of Sicily? Ramblers Holidays is offering a fascinating trip which includes exploring Lipari (famed for its archeological sites), the beautiful island of Panarea and some quality time in Palermo. From £1,079 per person departing on 20 December, including return flights, transfers, half-board accommodation and the services of a dedicated tour leader.
Try some floating festive fun aboard a private yacht exploring the Canary islands of Tenerife and La Gomera. Hire a luxury yacht with a crew who’ll whisk you from bay to bay and even do the cooking – so you can spend Christmas Day sitting out on deck in the sun, enjoying a lunch of roast turkey and all the trimmings, champagne cocktails and lots more treats. From 22 to 29 December, prices are £1,349 pp based on six sharing – private charter) including transfers, seven nights’ en-suite accommodation on board, fully-crewed service, daily breakfast and lunch, two dinners on board and drinks with meals, flights extra, with Essential Sailing.
Spend your festive break exploring the wonderful colonial architecture of Havana and Trinidad, wandering the famed tobacco fields in Vinales, climbing the beautiful Cuban mountain ranges and lounging on Baracoa’s laid-back Caribbean beaches. Prices for a 16-day package over Christmas with the Adventure Company start at £1,029 (excluding flights) for B&B hotel accommodation, city tours and excursions, and the services of a tour leader.
How does a Christmas Day stroll up the beach in Parati, on Brazil's Emerald Coast grab you? Fancy spending the day snorkelling and diving rather than stuffing the turkey? Dragoman is offering a 19-day trip, Rio to Buenos Aires, departing on 23 December which involves an action-packed itinerary which also takes in the Igazu Falls. From £1107 per person. Flights extra.