Last-minute Christmas breaks in the sun

Caroline Cassidy
Girl on the beach in a Christmas hat.
Girl on the beach in a Christmas hat.

Christmas is rarely the cheapest time to get away, but if you're willing to leave it late, there are still some winter sun bargains to be had, so why not escape the grey this year with a last minute sunshine break abroad?

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The Canary Islands
Warm and sunny with sandy beaches, the Canaries are ideal for those looking for winter sun without the long-haul flight. A seven-night self-catering break in Fuerteventura costs from just £450 per person with Thomas Cook (departing 20 December), while Thomson currently has a seven-night half-board break in Tenerife on offer for £548. However, if you're willing to splash just a little more cash, you can get an all-inclusive deal with Thomas Cook in Fuerteventura for just over £560. Bear in mind though, that over the Christmas period you are unlikely to get a rep to organise activities and the like, and airport transfers may be extra.

North Africa
You're pretty much guaranteed heat in North Africa at this time of year, and the likes of Tunisia and Egypt offer some of the most affordable winter sun options. For example, all-inclusive holiday firm First Choice offers seven-night breaks to Tunisia for as little £476 per person, provided you're prepared to fly on Christmas Eve. Meanwhile Direct Holidays is offering big discounts online, with all-inclusive holidays at Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt for as little as £420, and has breaks that are suited to either couples looking for a quiet getaway, or family holidays with plenty to keep the kids happy.

The up and coming winter sun destination isn't the cheapest, but it does guarantee sun and plenty to do, whether you prefer to relax or shop 'til you drop. The cheapest option is a room only apartment, and you can pick up deals from as little as £647 for a seven-night break leaving on 23 December with Holiday Genie, or get a half-board deluxe room with Lowcost Holidays for prices starting from £1,031.

A dream destination for families, Florida offers blue skies and winter sun as well as the world's most famous theme parks. Hotels are likely to be pricey at this time of year, but for families, a villa is often the best option anyway and it'll be a lot easier on the bank account. For example, James Villas have a wide range of options available, with 3-bed properties close to the Disney theme parks in Orlando from as little as £868 - only £217 per person - provided you book your flight separately. The firm can also arrange flights for you. For the same villa, for a seven-night break departing 23 December, the price would be £1342 per person though, so you might be best searching out a cheap flight and arriving under your own steam.
If you dream of spending Christmas amongst white sands and palm trees, the Caribbean is the perfect choice. The Mexican coast offers some of the cheapest Caribbean destinations, but you'll still benefit from the incredible climate and azure seas. Go room only for the best deals, such as a seven-night break in Cozumel, flying on 23 December, for £1226 per person, or forego your Christmas presses and splash out a little and get an all-inclusive break in the same area for £1,802 per person.

Prices correct at time of writing

Do you regularly head for the sun at Christmas? Which destinations would you recommend? Leave your comments below...

Winter Vacations to Escape the Cold
Winter Vacations to Escape the Cold