It's cold, dark and raining in the UK and you're dreaming of some sunshine to chase away those winter blues. You don't want to spend a fortune, but where could you go?
The Costa del Sol
The sea's probably too cold for all but the hardiest swimmer, but winter temperatures of around 20°C mean that you can get out and about exploring the many inland delights of the Costa del Sol. From the breathtaking Moorish Alhambra and Mezquita in Cordoba to the naughty resident Barbary apes over the border on the Rock of Gibraltar, the Costa del Sol area is rich in natural and cultural sites. There's even reasonably-priced skiing in the Sierra Nevada mountains just a couple of hours away. Base yourselves in a cheerful self-catering apartment and pop out for tapas when you feel peckish.
Spain's 'white coast' offers 200km of soft sand beaches dotted with little coves, backdropped by distinctive rock formations, forests and castles high in the hills to explore. Winter temperatures are a pleasant 18°C, ideal for a picnic of crusty bread, chorizo and cheese at the Algar Waterfalls, or taking to the streets for Benidorm's bustling November street fiesta – all pyrotechnics, processions and paella. Nearby Altea is a tranquil little cultural gem of a whitewashed resort, great for shopping, with its street market and classy harbour. With good value self-catering apartments in Benidorm, you're well-placed to discover that piece of the Costa Blanca that suits you and whatever you both love doing.
Are you craving some winter rays, but feel you'd miss the Christmas lights and festivities of home? Madeira could be the answer, as this pretty island takes Christmas very seriously – 3D illuminations in Funchal outshine even London's, and the New Year fireworks are comparable to Sydney's. Temperatures are around a balmy 20°C and as it's spring, the island greens up, bursting into a rainbow of flowers. Give yourselves a Christmas present to remember by booking a dolphin-watching boat trip – there are several species of these fascinating mammals to spot in Madeira's waters. You can choose either a self-catering apartment or a B&B to get out into the festivities and make the most of this lovely island.
Paphos is a lovely combination of sandy beaches, ancient UNESCO-listed sites to explore, and lively nightlife to keep you entertained. It's scorching in the summer but cools down to a pleasant, sunny 15-18°C in winter with a 22°C sea temperature – fresh, but still swimmable, with fascinating sea life to snorkel alongside. Don't miss the wonderful Paphos Mosaics near the harbour, then wander along to the promenade tavernas for good value grilled souvla and Greek salads, and fun karaoke bars, pubs and clubs. Self-catering apartments are a great value option – most have pools to relax around and you can take advantage of the fresh local produce in the markets and supermarkets.
With temperatures around the 17°C mark and plenty of sunshine, it's cool enough to be able to get out and about exploring Majorca's diverse coastline and lush, flower-carpeted interior – look out for four million almond trees bursting into blossom. The capital, Palma, often overlooked in the summer months, is a delight to wander round – the medieval old town rubbing shoulders with the trendy Santa Catalina district. For a real treat, take the antique Soller train from Palma up through the orange groves into the Tramuntana mountains and back. Choose a self-catering apartment or room-only option to make the most of Majorca's renowned local food markets and eateries.
The Canary Islands
With an average daytime temperature of 22°C, the Canary Islands' offer a blissful escape from the chilly UK climate. You'll find plenty of places to explore and relax in, whichever island you pick. Choose from: Lanzarote with its dramatic Timanfaya National Park, camels, volcanic lava bubbles and art of César Manrique; Fuerteventura for white sandy beaches, fantastic surfing and water sports; Gran Canaria for lunar landscapes, craters, ravines, sand dunes and fascinating architecture; and Tenerife for a fantastic zoo (Loro Park), Europe's longest lava tube system and beautiful UNESCO-listed city, La Laguna. Choose a self-catering apartment to give yourself maximum flexibility for getting out and enjoying your chosen Canary Island.
This lovely region of Portugal is, astonishingly, the most wallet-friendly destination in Europe, and a T-shirt temperature of 17°C makes it a great place to catch some winter sun on empty beaches or the golf course. Explore hiking trails around pretty towns such as Lagos and ancient Silva as the surrounding countryside bursts into life with spring flowers and exotic migrating birds heading south. Head to Albufeira for Christmas and New Year celebrations, and watch out for the Mardi Gras-style Carnival in February. It's often cheaper to eat out than cook at home in Portugal, so a self-catering apartment may be your most hassle-free option.
Choose your perfect winter break with Jet2 Winter Sun holidays. We fly to Cyprus, The Costa del Sol, the Costa Blanca, Madeira, the Canary Islands, The Algarve and Majorca (and lots of other wonderful destinations, all year round). With great flight times to get the most from your trip, and a choice of amazing 3-5* hotels/resorts to make your holiday perfect, now's the time to book some winter sunshine.
We're offering £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.