Revealed: top 10 sunny destinations under £500
Boxing Day can seem like a bit of an enigma, especially when it comes to trying to find a genuinely good deal on future travels. Fear not: we've done the legwork for you and pulled together a list of holiday destinations that are typically very sunny during the winter months and great value this Boxing Day.
- Marrakech from £193
- Lanzarote from £204
- Hurghada from £310
- Cape Verde from £336
- Goa from £410
- Bangkok from £417
- Muscat from £432
- Dubai from £467
- Las Vegas from £492
- Orlando from £499
Please note: all prices extracted via Weather2Travel.com are per person based on a seven-night holiday (flights and hotel) to be taken between December 2019 and April 2020, and are correct as of 18/11/19. The list is in order of holiday affordability and destinations were selected based on their high daily levels of sunshine.
- Holidays from: £193
- Provided by: TUI*
- Flight time: 3.5 hours
Marrakech is a visitors' favourite in Morocco, and for good reason. This ancient walled city, with its decorative babs (gates), rabbit warren of an old Medina, stunning architecture - the Ben Youseff Madrasa is a highlight - and cosmopolitan bars and restaurants guarantee it ticks every box for the discerning city breaker.
There's oodles of history and art on offer, too, displayed across the extensive collection of museums and galleries. Take your pick from the 16th-century El Badi Palace and the striking tilework of Jardin Majorelle to The Orientalist Museum of Marrakech and, for fashionistas, the relatively recent Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech Museum, to name a few.
As for the weather, the winter months in Marrakech are characterised by mild, sunny conditions that make it a delightful place for exploring the sights in some seasonal sunshine.
Sunshine in Marrakech
Lanzarote, Canary Islands
- Holidays from: £204
- Provided by: Jet2holidays*
- Flight time: 4 hours
It's no great surprise that the ever-popular Atlantic archipelago of the Canary Islands features. With so many holiday companies offering breaks to a variety of the islands, prices are competitive almost all year-round, and Boxing Day is no exception.
While you would enjoy a warm and sunny break on any of the islands, we've fixed on Lanzarote. There's a breadth of accommodation for all tastes and worth noting that, while the weather is comparable to Marrakech throughout winter, the sea might be a little chilly for some, so it's worth hunting down a hotel with a heated pool if you're likely to swim.
Away from the resorts, Lanzarote has plenty to keep everyone entertained. Just some of the natural attractions include the arid landscape of the volcanic Timanfaya National Park, sea views from the clifftop Mirador del Rio and the fascinating volcanic tunnel of Cueva de los Verdes, or Verdes' Cave, while the legacy of local artist César Manrique lives on in The Cactus Garden.
Sunshine in Lanzarote
Hurghada, Red Sea, Egypt
- Holidays from: £310
- Provided by: On the Beach*
- Flight time: 5.5 hours
Egypt has been making headlines for all the right reasons since the FCO recently lifted its ban on travel to the resorts of Sharm el Sheikh. Inevitably, however, it is taking some time to get flights and holidays up and running again, although companies have started selling breaks for 2020.
If you're looking to enjoy the many charms of Egypt's Red Sea coast, you might want to consider the resort of Hurghada. It's all set with every amenity you could wish for plus no end of ways to have fun in the sun from water sports to the parks such as the Makadi Bay Aqua Park.
It's also a great base for day trips with the likes of desert quad biking, boat trips and guided snorkelling or diving excursions all memorable options.
The best bit is that Hurghada promises some superb weather even in the winter months, all within five or so hours of the UK. Days are long, bright and sunny, temperatures are reliably warm, and there's virtually no chance of any rainfall. If you're going early in the new year, you might want to consider a hotel with a heated pool, however, as the Red Sea enjoyable but could be a degree or two too cool for some.
Sunshine in Hurghada
- Holidays from: £336
- Provided by: Teletext Holidays*
- Flight time: 6 hours
Another Atlantic archipelago that's easy to get to and brimming with great value escapes, the crystal clear waters and platinum sands of Cape Verde ensure it's one for beach lovers after a bargain.
The Macaronesian cluster of Cape Verde is made up of 10 islands, nine of which are inhabited, four of them especially popular with sun-loving holidaymakers. We've chosen to focus on Sal, owing to its diverse selection of resorts and competitively priced holidays from leading providers.
A break to these idyllic islands can be just all about sun, sea and water sports (windsurfing is a favourite), but there's also culture to be had. Explore the port town of Santa Maria with its market and visit the old salt-mining village of Pedra de Lume before taking a dip in the once-upon-a-time salt pans that Sal - meaning salt - was renowned for.
Then there's the weather, which is splendid across the Cape Verde islands throughout winter - in fact, pretty much all year-round. Count on sunny days with warm temperatures and very little chance of seeing any rainfall. The sea is also warm enough to enjoy although those with young children might want to look out for a hotel with a calm, heated pool.
Sunshine in Sal
- Holidays from: £410
- Provided by: First Choice*
- Flight time: 9.5 hours
Although the beaches are a big draw here, there's plenty more to see and do in this formerly-Portuguese part of the country. The region's capital, Panaji, serves up a very European flavour, while the Ancestral Goa Museum showcases both traditional Goan heritage as well as an old colonial mansion complete with contemporary furnishings.
Out and about, you can take a guided walking tour of a spice plantation or hop in a kayak for an adventurous behind-the-scenes look at the wildlife of the backwaters.
Of course, you could also just put your feet up and enjoy the hot and very sunny weather that graces the shores during the winter months, occasionally dipping your toe into the deliciously warm water of the Indian Ocean.
Sunshine in Goa
- Holidays from: £417
- Provided by: Love Holidays*
- Flight time: 12 hours
Yes, you read that correctly: the Thai capital is indeed within reach for less than £500. What's more, the weather in Bangkok from December to April is really at its finest. The days are hot with loads of sunshine and generally little-to-no rainfall, ensuring perfect conditions for exploring one of Asia's busiest hubs.
Bangkok seems to have the Marmite effect - people either love it or hate it. There's no denying it's a fast-paced, bustling and sprawling city, and that's not for everyone. But if you're prepared to get stuck in and make the most of your time there, you'll be rewarded with experiences of all shape, size, taste and smell.
Whether eating from a street stall in Chinatown or at one of the high-end restaurants, you won't be disappointed by the food. Then there are the exquisite temples, Royal Palace, river and canal buses, shopping malls and lively nightlife. You really do get back what you put in here.
If this doesn't sound like your kind of break, fear not: Bangkok also makes a great place to start explorations elsewhere in Thailand, such as to the beaches of Phuket, and southeast Asia.
Sunshine in Bangkok
- Holidays from: £432
- Provided by: Expedia*
- Flight time: 7.5 hours
The Omani capital of Muscat offers far more than a mere city break. Located on the warm shores of the Gulf of Oman, it combines the very best of beach, nature and city in one - and you can book a great value break there courtesy of the this year's Boxing Day travel deals.
The weather in Muscat throughout winter is in many ways comparable with places in the Med at the peak of summer. Days are long, warm and very sunny, and the water is both calm and oh-so-temptingly balmy, which makes taking a dip irresistible.
If you fancy getting stuck into attractions away from your resort, you've lots to choose from: you can't miss the Oman's main place of worship, the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. A visit here to see its elaborate interiors is one not to be missed. Muscat's centre offers extremes of shopping options from a big shining mall to the market selling all sorts of souvenirs, and the National Museum.
Outwith the city, day trips trekking in beautiful wadis, swimming spots like the Bimmah Sinkhole and boat trips dolphin watching are just a few of the experiences available.
Sunshine in Muscat
- Holidays from: £467
- Provided by: British Airways*
- Flight time: 7 hours
Warm and sunny winter days greet holidaymakers here with pleasantly warm water ripe for water sports and swimming. Then there's countless things to do, be it traversing the Dubai Creek and spending time in the excellent Dubai Museum, which charts the evolution of the area from tribal desert lands to bright metropolis.
Thrillseekers might want to visit the Wild Wadi Waterpark or or shoot up to the observation deck, At The Top, on the 124th floor of the world's tallest building, Burj Khalifa. There's also a theme park for every interest, at the likes of IMG World of Adventures and Legoland.
For a surprising side to the city, escape the skyscrapers for a desert safari, sunrise hot air balloon ride over prancing gazelle and oryx in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve or to spot migratory birds in wetlands of the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary.
Sunshine in Dubai
Las Vegas, USA
- Holidays from: £492
- Provided by: lastminute.com*
- Flight time: 11 hours
In fact, Las Vegas has one helluva museum scene with retro classics such as the Neon Museum, Hollywood Cars Museum, Mob Museum - yes, as in gangsters. For a truly immersive experience, head to Springs Preserve, which shows the evolution of the city.
The Strip is, of course, a major attraction in its own right with over two miles of luxury accommodation, dining and world-famous performances. For a thrilling view, make for the Stratosphere Tower and one of its heart-pumping, sky-high rides. Feeling flash? Hop in a helicopter for a bird's eye view of the Grand Canyon.
Dodging the high temperatures of summer, Las Vegas is mild but not always warm in winter. There's lots of sunshine, just remember to pack warm clothes for evenings, which sees temperatures drop with the setting sun.
Sunshine in Las Vegas
- Holidays from: £499
- Provided by: Virgin Holidays*
- Flight time: 10 hours
Long accepted as one of the country's prime destinations for some sunshine at almost any time of year, Florida has so much on show that deciding where to could be your most difficult decision. From the retro-chic of Miami to the Caribbean feel of the Florida Keys there's something for all taste buds here.
We've chosen to highlight Orlando in particular as it boasts warm weather but is not as overpoweringly hot as in summer. There's plenty of sunshine and only a slim chance of seeing a passing shower. Just remember to take warm outerwear for the evenings as things do cool significantly.
Orlando needs very little introduction as one of the theme park capitals of the world. You've got classics such as Universal Studios and Walt Disney World Resort as well as the likes of the Dali Museum and venturing out into the Ocala National Forest. Young or old, you won't struggle for things to do in Orlando during the winter months.
Sunshine in Orlando
Still searching for a Boxing Day bargain? Head over to our Boxing Day deals page for the latest travel offers. Meanwhile, our winter sun finder promises all the inspiration you need to find just the right destination for you in 2020 and into 2021.
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