02 Mar Sunny holiday ideas while we’re in snowy madness
I’m writing this facing the window of my apartment and all I can see is thick, white snow and bleak wintry skies. I haven’t seen snow in the entire two and a half years I’ve lived in London – until now. This bitter weather has definitely left me lusting after sunshine and palm fringed beaches and I’ve found myself perusing various websites for cheap flights to somewhere warm and exotic.
Which is funny because it was only a couple of weeks ago that I was in Cape Town sunning myself on Clifton Beach with a Magnum ice cream in hand. Yet somehow it feels like a lifetime ago!
If you’re looking for some holiday inspiration, here’s where you could go to get some warmth right now:
Morocco is a fantastic destination if you want to head a little bit further afield than Europe but you still want somewhere that’s less than a four hour flight away. Marrakech has direct flights and is famous for its souk, which is filled with stalls selling everything from leather bags and scarves to tagine dishes and lanterns. While there you’ll want to stay in a traditional riad, which is basically a townhouse that has a central courtyard garden in the middle. Many of them have a plunge pool and sun loungers on the rooftops where you can sunbathe. Another popular place to visit in Morocco is Chefchaouen, which you’ll probably recognise from Instagram as being the place with all the blue buildings. Located in the Rio mountains of northwest Morocco, this charming city is filled with leather and weaving shops.
I flew to Cape Town with Thomas Cook, who actually have some really affordable winter sun flights. Check out these Groupon holiday deals if you’re looking for a good deal with them. Cape Town is honestly the best destination I’ve ever visited – it has beaches, wineries, mountains and the freshest food you’ve ever seen. Highlights of my trip to Cape Town included visiting Boulders Beach, which is inhabited by a colony of penguins, and taking the cable car up to the top of Table Mountain. I also really enjoyed driving through the wineries of Stellenbosch and walking around the cute Islamic neighbourhood of Bo-kaap, which is known for its brightly coloured buildings.
You can’t really go wrong with a winter sun trip to Mexico. Cancun is filled with hotels for every budget and the beaches are white, sandy and gorgeous. From here you can also explore ancient ruins, such as Chichen Itza, an ancient Mayan pyramid that was once a main hub of Mayan civilization. Take a day trip to Isla Mujures, which boasts pristine beaches and is excellent for snorkelling and diving.
All of the Canary Islands are fantastic for winter sun as they experience year round sunshine. Gran Canaria is known for its sand dunes in Maspalomas, where you can ride on a camel if you’re feeling adventurous. The island has lots of affordable hotels and its rolling waves make it an attractive paradise for surfers.
The thing I love about Barbados is that the island has so much more to do than just sunbathing on the beach. I made an A to Z of the island, to showcase an attraction for every letter of the alphabet! While you’re there you must go on the Jammin Catamaran cruise, which involves a day of sailing, rum punch, music and having fun. Hiring a car will allow you to discover the island’s hidden gems, including Harrison’s Cave and Animal Flower Cave.