Darkness and drizzle – it can only be January. Luckily, you don’t have to go far to swap scraping frosty windscreens for sipping cocktails on the beach. Lanzarote is a four-hour flight away and regularly reaches highs of 22°C, even in January, while Morocco is just a three-and-a-half hour trip away and peaks at the 20°C mark.
If you’re after some serious sun, book Barbados, where you might bump into Simon Cowell whizzing around on his jet ski at Sandy Lane. Or, head east to Dubai to soak up some rays on the seriously amazing beaches. Not only is January the ideal month for catching winter sun in the UAE, there’s also the Dubai Shopping Festival – an upmarket version of our January sales, where you can grab huge bargains on designer gear, electronics and jewellery.
While temperatures still linger around the minus mark at home, February is the best time to enjoy sunny weather in the Caribbean and South East Asia. If you’re hoping for a half term break with the kids, our TUI BLUE Mai Khao Lak in Thailand combines winter sun with family fun, boasting its own private caramel-coloured beach, three pools and activities to keep the whole clan happy. Temperatures in Thailand at this time of year peak in the high 20s, and you’ve got nine hours of sunshine a day to make the most of, too. If you’ve got Jamaica on your radar, you can join the festivities of Bob Marley week in February, when there are street carnivals and special music events. Or, check out the Habanos International Cigar Festival in Havana, where you can learn all about this Cuban tradition and even roll your own cigars.
As winter draws to a close in the UK, your vitamin D levels are probably seriously depleted, so what better excuse do you need to head where there’s year-round sun? Cape Verde makes a great getaway at this time of year, and you can choose between lively Sal or quiet Boa Vista. Or, book a holiday to Goa or Mauritius where Holi festival celebrations take centre-stage, and you can join in the colourful, powder-throwing fun.
Cancun should be the resort of choice for party-goers in March, with Inception Music Festival lasting the whole month and, of course, Spring Break kicking off. Plus, sample authentic Mexican cuisine and tequila – you can even find out what the food is like in Mexico before you go.
Check out our best deals to Mexico.
April is the month of chocolate, Easter egg hunts, playing pranks on each other and lots of rain. But, you can swap April showers for King's Day in Aruba, the Caribbean answer to the Dutch festival, where everyone wears orange and throws street parties. And, Ibiza hosts its very own spring break, so you can head there for a quick weekender before party season properly starts. As the weather begins to get warmer across Europe, it’s the best time for some sightseeing spots like in Rome and the Amalfi Coast before the crowds arrive.
May is the last month to soak up some Caribbean sunshine before the rainy season well and truly kicks in. Pick the tropical paradise of St Lucia to get that balance of beach time and adrenaline-fuelled activities like zip-lining and hiking the Piton Mountains to keep you busy. Plus, there’s festivities like the Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival in mid-May, which is the second biggest jazz event in the Caribbean. Cyprus and Crete are also warm enough for some early summer sunshine and quiet beach time without the heaving crowds.
Festival season hits the UK and the rest of the world, and you’re guaranteed a bit more sun if you head abroad. Swap the muddy fields of Glastonbury for Sonar festival in Barcelona, the Governors Ball in New York, and Secret Solstice Festival in Reykjavik – where revelers enjoy midnight sun parties and glacier raves. If these sound too mainstream for you, head to Meadows in the Mountains festival in Bulgaria, where live soul, funk and folk artists take to the stage and the hippy vibes are distinctly chilled-out. Have a look at our list of the best music festivals around the world to help you decide which one to go to.
The festival fun isn’t over with Reggae Sumfest kicking off in Jamaica – it’s the island’s biggest week-long party and conveniently held in Montego Bay near our Riu Montego Bay hotel. There’s also Sea Dance festival in Montenegro, which is Exit Festival's sister event, and a cheaper alternative. This under-the-radar hotspot makes an all-round ideal July getaway, matching the likes of Croatia for its crumbling old towns and stunning mountain scenery.
School’s out for summer, and it’s time to soak up the Mediterranean sun and bask in temperatures that rival the Caribbean. Round up your holiday crew and book a villa holiday for the ultimate family retreat in some idyllic locations like Kefalonia and Paxos. Or, why not try one of our lesser-known Spanish resorts like La Palma or La Gomera?
As the kids head back to school, September is the ideal month for a quiet, late-summer holiday. Santorini's the perfect romantic escape. You’ll have the pretty whitewashed towns and stunning sunsets for yourself once the crowds have dispersed, plus an amazing eleven hours of sunshine a day. September is also a good time to enjoy the Costa Smeralda’s beaches in Sardinia, and experience a traditional street festival like the Festa Sant Miquel in Alghero, where there are fireworks, parades and general festivities to enjoy.
Before winter well and truly kicks in, you can grab some end-of-summer sun in Turkey and top up your tan before it’s gone for good. You’ll find some amazing Halloween festivities across the globe, too. There’s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party at Walt Disney World and Universal’s Halloween Horror Maze if you’re Orlando-bound. Mexico hosts its famous Day of the Dead celebrations in Cancun and Puerto Vallarta. And, Jamaica’s spooky manor house Rose Hall puts on scary ghost tours and Halloween parties at Pier One Restaurant in Montego Bay.
November's a great month to get away ahead of the Christmas festivities. There are lots of options for a beach break in spots like India. Plus, you can still grab some sun closer to home in Malta, which is a comfortable 19°C. Or, if you happen to prefer the cold over the heat, head to Iceland where you can catch the Northern Lights and tour the iconic Golden Circle.
Treat yourself to an early Christmas present in December. Over in Central America, December marks Costa Rica’s hottest season, with highs of 31°C. It’s the best time to see the rainforest, too, as the trees will still be lush and green. Or, visit ‘Shell Beach’, also known as Playa Conchal, where you can take a dip in transparent waters and sunbathe on pink-and-white sands.
Check out our best deals to Costa Rica.
If you’d rather not escape the festive fun, crank it up to another level with a trip to Lapland. Here you’ll have the Christmas experience of your dreams – meeting reindeers, petting husky puppies, baking cookies with elves and shaking hands with the big man himself. You can even squeeze all of this into a day trip.
Check out our best deals to Lapland.
Positioned on Negril's famous Seven Mile Beach, puts white sands and the Caribbean Sea in the palm of your hand.
This seaside hotel impresses with its beachfront postcode and long activities line-up.
With its lagoon-side setting and small, sandy beach, TUI BLUE Lagoon Mauritius is a real tropical hideaway.
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