For some of us, 2020 summer feels like it never happened. Considering the lockdown caused by Covid-19 pandemic, it made planning a summer holiday abroad as complicated than ever, with travellers not just wondering about the best places to stay, but where is safe to travel to.
Good thing the world is adjusting, but to a new normal. As we’re drawing close to the cold weather season, it’s obvious some people are wondering and making plans to a classic winter destinations.
Well, we have a collation for your winter vacation destinations, that not only offer warm weather during December onwards, but are also open to tourism and exempt from quarantine list.
CUBA: With its lovely Caribbean climate, guaranteed warm and sunny days and very little rain, Cuba’s weather is at its most reliable during the UK winter. The beaches down on the south coast may get the best sunshine and draw the biggest crowds, but there’s plenty beyond the palm-fringed stretches of sand.
CANARY ISLAND: It’s summer all the time in the Canaries, where temperatures average in the low-mid 20s all year round. As well as the well-known destinations – Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote (pictured) – there are three smaller islands that are less visited and less spoilt: La Palma, El Hierro and La Gomera. They don’t appear on the average British holidaymaker’s mental world-map, and make for interesting exploring and winter sunshine.
BORA BORA, TAHITI & FRENCH POLYNESIA: English and Northern Irish travellers can visit French Polynesia without having to quarantine upon return to the UK, but Scottish and Welsh travellers will have to self-isolate. All travellers need to present a medical certificate when arriving in French Polynesia. You will receive a self-testing kit upon arrival, which you will need to complete four days after your arrival date.
CYPRUS: UK travellers can visit Cyprus without having to quarantine upon return to the UK. All UK visitors (except those under the age of 12) need to provide a negative coronavirus test obtained within 72 hours prior to travel. The eastern Mediterranean Sea around Cyprus may be chilly in winter, but the island gets plenty of sunshine all year, so there’s a good chance you’ll get T-shirt weather even in the coldest months.
WESTERN AUSTRALIA: As one of the best picks for the best destinations to visit in 2021, the north-west coast of Western Australia is remote, beautiful and largely uninhabited. It has the least-visited of all Australia’s coral reefs.
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL: Israel enjoys around 300 days of sunshine a year – and although winter here may not be as scorching as some of the other big-hitters, if you come towards the beginning or end it’s still warm enough to lie on a beach. With its skyscraper skyline, striking Bauhaus architecture, avant-garde art galleries, world-class restaurants and hedonistic after-dark culture, this is the Mediterranean’s very own version of Manhattan. Throw in 14km of beautiful coastline, and it’s easy to see why so many creatives are drawn to the vibrant city.
DUBAI: For year-round sunshine, spotless beaches and impeccable service a short hop away, Dubai is an obvious choice. The Palm, a manmade sweep of beach packed with superb hotels, each with its own immaculate patch of beach, is perfect for family holidays. It’s not all glass and shopping malls in Downtown Dubai: the Old Souk is a warren of glittering jewellery and pots, and the peaceful Dubai Creek hints at a time before the seven-star hotels and indoor ski slopes. Two new creative districts(Dubai Design District and Al Quoz) have gained the attention of the international art scene, too. To see the city in its best light, go in November, when it’s not too humid and you can happily bronze by the pool all day.
OMAN: Oman is a less-glitzy, laid-back alternative to Dubai, only the landscape here is more dramatic: wide open spaces punctuated by oases and desert towns; valleys fragrant with rose and sandalwood; hidden coves with golden beaches and brilliant-turquoise water.
SOUTH AFRICA: It might be in another hemisphere, but South Africa is in the same time zone as the UK – which means no jet lag. In Cape Town and beyond there is stunning scenery, breathtaking beaches, as well as world-class wines and fabulous food.
The country’s most celebrated stretch of coastline is the glorious Garden Route. However in the other direction, a road trip through the Western Cape makes a rewarding alternative and the weather is particularly good in December and January. The less-explored Overberg Coast has wide beaches, good restaurants and wineries, moody seas at the southernmost tip of Africa, and a sensational coastal reserve (pictured) that even the locals don’t know about.
SEYCHELLES: The Indian Ocean, a thousand miles from the nearest coast of Africa, the Seychelles are the ultimate fantasy-island escape. Its private-island resorts – North Island, Frégate Island, the Six Senses Zil Pasyon- are possibly the most sensational anywhere in the world, a honeymooner’s dream (even William and Kate honeymooned at North Island, though the hotel is too discreet to admit it).
Seychelles weather The archipelago has year-round heat and sunshine, as well as its fair share of rain. The wettest months in the Seychelles are November to March, but temperatures never get too oppressively hot (meandering around 24ºC at night and up to 29ºC in the daytime, year round). October is a great month to go for a hit of sunshine, before it gets too rainy, and the air is fresher.
BAHAMAS: Once a hiding place for pirate treasure and prohibition liquor, Harbour Island in the Bahamas is now a colourfully eccentric retreat where every night is a party and every day more vibrant than the last. The sand is pink, the turquoise water is home to green sea turtles and orange starfish, and yellow-throated birds fly about the trees. Days on the beach are long and lazy, and the time of day forgotten.
BALI: The heavenly island with earthly pleasures. Back-to-blissed-out spa retreats so fine that Bali has developed a style all of its own: clean and contemporary, dark wood and linen whites. Parties, from flip-flop full-moon raves in hidden-away coves to the cool Potato Head Beach Club and new The Lawn at the boho beach spot that everyone’s talking about, Canggu.
MOZAMBIQUE: A Southern African country with an astonishing coast – the beaches of Mozambique are out of this world. Great stretches of sand, wild and dune-backed; lapped by the beautiful Indian Ocean where humpback whales breach, where you can swim with manta rays in the Mozambique Channel. In the little islands of Mozambique’s Bazaruto Archipelago, a protected marine park towards the south, there are sand-floor bars and simple thatched lodges, and the most sensational sandy islets in bluer-than-blue waters, like wisps of cloud in a summer sky. On the beaches of northern Mozambique you feel as though you’re at the end of the world; off this coast are the dreamlike Quirimbas Islands, including heavenly Vamizi.
VIETNAM: One of the most fascinating, beautiful and charming countries you will ever visit. Saigon is wonderful, colonial and quirky; Ho Chi Minh City has one of the world’s best food scenes. And the coast of Vietnam. The beaches are extraordinary. So much untouched beauty. Little islands and dramatic bays to explore by boat. Out-of-this-world beach-chic places to stay, right on the sand. And even though it’s easy-going and luxury can be found everywhere, it still feels like a secret, still some sense of discovery about a trip there.