Think Cape Verde, think escapism. Get the sun you’ve been craving and lie back on long, white-sand beaches, go shopping in colour-popping villages, or soak up the mix of culture brought by its African, Brazilian and Portuguese influences. Picking an island here is tricky, though – especially considering that there’s 10 to choose from. Sway towards Sal, and you’ll find yourself on the biggest island of them all, or be tempted by Boa Vista and you’ll be strutting down knock-out beaches before you know it. Don’t forget to check out Sal Rei, the islands buzzing capital, either.
Average winter temperature: 28C
Must-visit hotel: TUI SENSIMAR Cabo Verde
More of a snow-seeker than a sun-lover? Iceland’s natural wonders will definitely give you the chills – in a good way, obviously. Hike through volcanic landscapes, get a video of erupting geysers or dip your toes in thermal lagoons. You’re pretty likely to get snow in the winter months and, if you’re lucky, you might catch the Northern Lights casting their starry-hue across the night sky. Don’t miss the Blue Lagoon either. This dreamy spot is perfect for lathering up with a mud mask, and the mineral-packed water will revive the dry skin that inevitably comes in the winter months.
Average winter temperature: -2C
Must-visit hotel: Storm Hotel
Mexico’s a hottie, and we’re not just talking about the weather. Its genetics mean it’s a real looker, being part-south-american, part-north-american, with a dash of Caribbean good looks thrown in for good measure. Head here in winter, and you’ll feel like summer’s just started, whether you dance until your feet ache in Cancun (aka one of the best nightlife spots in Central America), zipline over the Sierra Madre Mountains in Puerto Vallarta, or admire one of the new wonders of the world, the Chichen ruins. There’s a lot to keep you busy in the Riviera Maya, too. Snorkel above stalagmites in a cenote or cuddle rescued monkeys at Jungle Place – trust us, they’re hard to resist.
Average winter temperature: 28C
Must-visit hotel: TUI SENSATORI Resort Azul Mexico
There’s nothing quite like seeing Egypt’s ancient mummies close up. Go back in time at Cairo’s Egyptian Museum and peek at Tutankhamun’s death mask, earn your bragging rights with a trip to the Great Pyramid and Sphinx, or head to Luxor to explore the Valley of the Kings and Temple of Karna – the largest ancient religious site in the world. Once you’ve had your fill of history, bag some you time on Hurghada’s soft sandy beaches, and swim through world-renowned coral reefs and spooky World War II wrecks. Meanwhile, over in Marsa Alam, you’ve got footprint-free white sands on the most untouched part of the Red Sea. Dive underwater, and you’re likely to spot whitetip reef sharks and giant turtles, as well as schools of spinner dolphins frolicking in the water.
Average winter temperature: 33°C
Must-visit hotel: TUI MAGIC LIFE Kalawy
Happy days and lively nights are at the heart of Jamaica. Spend a day in Kingston, the capital, and you’ll meet a centre studded with leafy botanical parks, tin-roofed reggae bars and colour-popping colonial towns. There’s plenty of action outside of the capital, too. Trek to the top of 600-foot waterfalls in Ocho Rios, take a boat trip to the soaring Blue Mountains and kick back on the ice-white Seven Mile Beach. Montego Bay, or ‘Mo Bay’ as the locals call it, is another one for your must-visit list. Attracting the likes of Simon Cowell and co, it’s a bit of a stud – with a three kilometre stretch of shops, restaurants and themed bars blending in seamlessly with pattie shops and historical landmarks like Gully Market.
Average winter temperature: 29C
Must-visit hotel: TUI SENSATORI Resort Azul Jamaica
Want to book a winter getaway?
Have you heard our exciting news? Later this year, Thomson is changing to TUI. Find out more at www.thomson.co.uk/tui.
Author: Lucy Perrin
On Boa Vista island – which means ‘beautiful view’- Riu Touareg has five pools, a luxury spa and an adults-only area. Think of it as paradise found.
The dining scene takes the crown at the TUI SENSATORI Resort Azul Mexico. For starters, there’s an Italian trattoria, a Spanish tapas place, a Mexican cantina, a Caribbean restaurant, a pizza parlour, and a mojito lounge.
The Jaz Aquamarine comes with a private beach and no fewer than 17 pools. And it’s got a first-class dining scene, too.
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