Revealed: top 10 winter sun holiday destinations under £500
Black Friday can feel overwhelming, especially when it comes to finding a genuinely good deal on future travels. Fear not: we've done the legwork for you and pulled together a collection of holiday destinations that are typically very sunny during the winter months and great value this Black Friday.
- Marrakech from £168
- Tunisia from £264
- Lanzarote from £266
- Cyprus from £268
- Hurghada from £269
- Cape Verde from £381
- Bangkok from £427
- Gambia from £437
- Dubai from £481
- 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 November 2021 and April 2022, and are correct as of 19/11/21. The list is in order of holiday affordability and destinations were selected based on their high daily levels of sunshine.
- Holidays from: £168
- Provided by: easyJet holidays*
- Flight time: 3.5 hours
Marrakech is a visitor's 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, the striking tilework of Jardin Majorelle, 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
- Holidays from: £264
- Provided by: First Choice*
- Flight time: 3 hours
The resort town of Port el Kantaoui is one of Tunisia's most popular holiday destinations thanks to its winning combination of wonderful weather, beautiful beaches and a variety of things to do.
Weatherwise, the winter months in Tunisia are comparable with Marrakech although it's a bit less sunny, a degree or two cooler and there's an increased chance of a passing shower.
That said, there's still as much as six hours of sunshine each day and, thanks to its desert climate, the risk of rainfall remains low. The sea is a little chilly for some, so if swimming is on your agenda, seek a hotel with a heated pool.
The heart of the town is its marina. It's where you'll find a plethora of places to leisurely eat and drink while watching the yachts go by.
Sun and sea combine on the platinum shore of Boujaafar Beach while a wide variety of boats offer trips out to sea. Golfers will want to check out the fairways at Port el Kantaoui Golf Tunisia.
Outwith the town, there is a number of exciting day trip options: history aficionados will want to travel the hour or so south to the Roman UNESCO-listed amphitheatre of El Jem and on further still to scenic Sfax, another port city with a museum and plenty of good food and photography spots.
Meanwhile, another UNESCO titleholder is found at the old town of Kairouan. The fourth holiest city in Islam, it's home to the Great Mosque, an ancient 7th-century creation that is open to non-muslims.
Sunshine in Port El Kantaoui
Lanzarote, Canary Islands
- Holidays from: £266
- Provided by: TUI*
- Flight time: 4 hours
It's no great surprise that the ever-popular Atlantic archipelago of the Canary Islands features here. With so many holiday companies offering breaks to a variety of islands, prices are competitive almost all year-round and Black Friday is no exception.
While you would enjoy a warm and sunny break on any of the islands, we've chosen Lanzarote. There's a breadth of accommodation for all tastes and it's 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 for a hotel with a heated pool if you want 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.
Then there's the legacy of local artist César Manrique, which lives on at the striking Jardin de Cactus (Cactus Garden).
Sunshine in Lanzarote
- Holidays from: £268
- Provided by: Jet2holidays*
- Flight time: 5 hours
Pretty Paphos is Cyprus' more chilled out option for holidaymakers keen to enjoy the mild winters and selection of easy-going bars and restaurants. But this ancient city by the sea is also a cultural hub and winter is a great time to discover this for yourself.
The weather in Cyprus is similar to Port el Kantaoui with a touch less sunshine (around five hours per day) and possibly slightly lower temperatures but still warm and sunny enough for you to feel the joy of some seasonal sunshine. It's worth noting that January and February are the coolest months of the year.
What's more, as many people speak English and you drive on the left-hand side of the road here, a winter break here can legitimately be compared with a pleasant day in the UK in May.
Paphos is stuffed with museums (12 of them) and UNESCO World Heritage archaeological sites. While away a day at the Paphos Archaeological Park, a mammoth collection of Greek and Roman artefacts including four large Roman villas each with stunning mosaics and the remarkable necropolis, the Tomb of Kings.
Cyprus is also a treat for walkers and by basing yourself in Paphos you're within easy reach of the countless hiking routes that zigzag the Troodos Mountains and Akamas Peninsula National Park, both promising fragrant forests, crumbling monasteries and fine sea views.
Sunshine in Paphos
Hurghada, Red Sea, Egypt
- Holidays from: £269
- Provided by: On the Beach*
- Flight time: 5.5 hours
The sunny, turquoise shores of Egypt's Red Sea coast don't need the hard sell, especially in winter when the weather is simply divine.
As well as famous resorts such as Sharm el Sheikh and Marsa Alam, you might want to consider Hurghada, which has every amenity you could wish for plus no end of ways to have fun at the likes of 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 could be a degree or two too cool for some.
Sunshine in Hurghada
- Holidays from: £381
- Provided by: Love 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: £427
- 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 affect - 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 shapes, sizes, tastes and smells.
Whether eating from a street stall in Chinatown or at one of the high-end restaurants, you won't be disappointed with the food. Then there are the exquisite temples, Royal Palace, river boats and canal buses, shopping malls and lively nightlife. You really do get back what you put in here.
Sunshine in Bangkok
- Holidays from: £437
- Provided by: TUI*
- Flight time: 6.5 hours
The West African nation of Gambia, a sliver of a country wedged into Senegal, has gained popularity as a holiday hotspot in recent years, particularly during the winter months, which welcomes Gambia's dry season - barely any rain falls between December and April.
Days are sunny, hot, not to mention quite humid, although evenings are surprisingly cool, so layers are essential.
Located on the Atlantic Ocean, the sea is affected by cooler currents and, occasionally. big swells, so it's great for surfers but if you want a more relaxed dip look for a hotel with a pool. December and January are really the finest months to visit.
The coastal capital of Banjul is an excellent point not only to disperse onto the beaches but to delve into the markets and pick up colourful souvenirs from woven goods to jewellery. Serrekunda is another shopper's paradise as well as the gateway to the beaches of Bakau.
Away from the sea, nature lovers will want to explore the forests either side of the Gambia River, which are known for their diversity in terms of birds and wildlife. Don't miss the chance to visit Kiang West National Park or Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve where you can see everything from monkeys and hippos to migratory birds and, if you're very lucky, leopards.
Sunshine in Banjul
- Holidays from: £481
- Provided by: Thomas Cook*
- Flight time: 7 hours
The desert city of Dubai in the UAE is a reliably roasty, toasty winter sun destination with a mighty fine portfolio of attractions to boot. Warm and sunny winter days greet holidaymakers here with pleasantly warm water ripe for water sports and swimming.
There are 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
- 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 to offer that deciding where to go could be your most difficult decision. From the retro-chic of Miami to the Caribbean feel of the Florida Keys, there's something for everyone.
We've settled on Orlando 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 Black Friday bargain? Head over to our Black Friday deals page for the latest travel offers. Meanwhile, our winter sun finder promises all the inspiration you need to pick the right destination for you in 2021/2022.
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