Winter sun 2016: New routes & holiday destinations

Winter sun for 2016 is a hot topic with many new routes and holiday destinations already announced and selling fast. Most of the big name airlines and holiday companies have something exciting to offer this winter, so to ensure you don't miss out we've gathered together a few of our favourite new routes departing from across the UK.

Winter sun holiday destinations © martinwi1 - Flickr Creative Commons
Winter sun holiday destinations © martinwi1 - Flickr Creative Commons

New winter sun routes & holiday destinations 2016

Whatever your budget, there's a winter sun holiday with your name on it. From luxurious breaks to low cost long haul flights, there's no excuse not to treat yourself and escape the predictably dark and dreary British winter in 2016. Read on to discover our pick of the most tempting new routes and holidays destinations going:

1. Thomas Cook Airlines

  • Glasgow to Cancun, Mexico: weekly 7 November 2015 until 2 January 2016
  • Glasgow to Barbados: weekly, 8 November 2015 until 3 January 2016

Thomas Cook Airlines is helping sun deprived Scots escape to the sunny shores of the Caribbean with even more long haul routes available this winter. Following the success of last year's Glasgow to Cuba flights, the airline is launching two new direct routes to the region: one to the platinum beaches of Cancun in Mexico and the other to the island paradise of Barbados.

Cancun has white sand beaches and lots of hotels © Safa in LA - Wikimedia Commons
Cancun has white sand beaches and lots of hotels © Safa in LA - Wikimedia Commons

The winter months here mark the high season, and days in both destinations are hot, roughly 29°C with up to nine hours of sunshine, and just the chance of a passing shower - splendid beach holiday material.

If you're based in Scotland, or even the north of England, and want to take advantage of these new winter sun routes from Thomas Cook Airlines, you can choose from economy and premium seating options on the fully refurbished A330 aircraft. Luggage, in flight entertainment, meals, and more are included as standard with all Thomas Cook Airlines long haul bookings.

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2. British Airways

  • London Gatwick to Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt: three times a week from 14 September 2015
  • London Gatwick to Valencia, Spain: twice weekly from 6 November 2015

The British Airways' route map is an ever evolving beast with new destinations frequently added (and removed). For winter sun in 2016 there are two especially noteworthy additions, namely to the favourite Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt, and to the increasingly popular Spanish city of Valencia.

While neither offer super high temperatures across winter, Sharm el Sheikh sees days reaching around 20°C with no less than eight hours of sunshine - just make sure you book accommodation with a heated pool as it is a little chilly for swimming in the sea.

The City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia © David Iliff - Wikimedia Commons
The City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia © David Iliff - Wikimedia Commons

As for Valencia, winter is a great time to get out and about exploring its many sights such as Valencia Cathedral or the impressive Oceanografic marine park in the City of Arts and Sciences. Temperatures peak at about 16°C but with five to six hours of sunshine compared with one to two hours in the UK, days are noticeably longer.

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3. Norwegian

  • London Gatwick to San Jose, Puerto Rico: twice weekly from 4 November 2015
  • Birmingham to Gran Canaria, Spain: weekly from 6 November 2015

The seemingly unstoppable force that is Norwegian is connecting the UK with even more destinations near and far this winter. One of the most exciting new routes for budget travellers is the launch of its direct flight from London Gatwick to Puerto Rico in the Caribbean where, much like Cancun and Barbados, temperatures are in the high twenties and there's up to nine hours of sunshine each day during the winter.

Vieques Island, east coast Puerto Rico © Freedive100 - Dreamstime.com
Vieques Island, east coast Puerto Rico © Freedive100 - Dreamstime.com

Low cost flights on board the airline's new 787 Dreamliner to Puerto Rico start from as little as £99 one way with the option to add extras such as luggage, seat selection, and a meal, letting you tailor your journey to suit you.

If your idea of a winter sun break is less about lying on the beach and more about enjoying warm sunny rays while exploring the great outdoors, then you'll be pleased with Norwegian's new routes from Birmingham to the Canary Islands. As well as a new winter sun route to Tenerife, you will also be able to hop on board a cheap flight to Gran Canaria straight from the midlands.

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4. easyJet holidays

  • London Stansted to Reykjavik, Iceland: from 4 November 2015
  • Belfast to Lanzarote, Spain: from 7 November 2015

Ok, so it's not exactly known for its warm winter sun but given its increasing popularity it's impossible not to include easyJet holidays' new route to Reykjavik in Iceland. This destination has seen a surge of visitors wanting to experience the island's rugged landscape, hot pools, and Northern Lights - here it's all about exploring natural beauty. Winter is a prime time to go, but with temperatures as low as 1°C and very little sunshine, you will definitely need to dig out the thermals and shelve the shorts.

Aurora on a clear winter's night, Iceland © Diana Robinson - Flickr Creative Commons
Aurora on a clear winter's night, Iceland © Diana Robinson - Flickr Creative Commons

The Canary Islands is a much loved refuge for those after some winter sun, and from November 2015 those living in Northern Ireland will be able to reach the island of Lanzarote direct from Belfast with easyJet holidays. Temperatures sit comfortably at around 20°C even in January and you can expect a minimum of six hours of sunshine each day.

You will want an extra layer for two for the evenings, and the sea isn't hugely inviting sinking to around 18°C from February to April. Lanzarote is especially good for those keen to get out and about hiking, trying new activities and even surfing - drysuit included.

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5. Thomson Airways

  • London Gatwick to Liberia, Costa Rica: November 2015
  • London Stansted to Montego Bay, Jamaica: November 2015

November 2015 will see the launch of the UK's first and only direct flight to Costa Rica, courtesy of Thomson Airways. This is a hugely exciting new route, offering holidaymakers a taste of the exotic at around 11 hours from the UK on board one of its new 787 Dreamliners. Flying from London Gatwick to the northwest city of Liberia, you are within easy reach of four main resorts where you can book a range of accommodation right on the Pacific coast.

Bay on Costa Rica's west coast © Martin Garrido - Flickr Creative Commons
Bay on Costa Rica's west coast © Martin Garrido - Flickr Creative Commons

In the winter months the town of Tamarindo enjoys daytime temperatures in the low thirties with eight hours of sunshine, and warm seas at 27°C. The very high heat and humidity and extreme UV can make conditions a little ferocious, so do pack a good strong SPF.

Another wonderful winter sun destination is Jamaica, which will also be easier to reach than ever before thanks to Thomson Airways' new route from London Stansted to Montego Bay. Conditions are similar to Costa Rica, if perhaps a touch cooler with only moderate heat and humidity. Soak up some serious sunshine while basking in the colourful character of the island, rum cocktail in one hand, jerk chicken drumstick in the other.

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If you're feeling inspired, don't hesitate - get your winter sun 2016 holiday booked up now. Remember, we have all the latest deals from leading airlines and holiday companies on one place, whether you plan to take advantage of a new route or just need a great value escape to familiar territory.

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Kirsten Henton

Kirsten Henton
Posted on Monday 21st September 2015 in: Travel tips Winter sun

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