Beautiful Places Around the World to Soak up the Winter Sun

Bask in the winter sun of Costa Rica
Bask in the winter sun of Costa Rica | © Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo
Konstantina Pyrnokoki

Travel Writer

Pink-sand beaches in the Bahamas, nature reserves doubling as sumptuous island resorts in the Seychelles and bright green paddies in Sri Lanka: the world is filled with places where the sun never leaves. We’ve picked some of the most beautiful spots where you can enjoy sunny days and balmy nights, even in the middle of winter.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Considering that Dubai can reach over 40C (104F) in the summer, there’s no better time to visit the extravagant emirate than winter, when temperatures range from 20C to 25C (68F to 77F) and the sun still shines bright. Take a boat ride along the peaceful Dubai Creek, go textile shopping at the Old Souk and browse through international artworks in the creative spaces of the Al Quoz district. Don’t forget to pass by the artificial Palm Islands for some much-needed beach time – Palm Jumeirah is where all the lavish hotels are – or dine in the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper.

Dubai marina

The Caribbean

St Lucia


Winter is, naturally, the coldest time in Mexico. But when we say cold, we mean 30C (86F) with plenty of sunshine, especially along the country’s Caribbean coast. The Yucatán Peninsula should be your go-to destination for emerald cenotes and ancient temples. Recline on the silky sands of Tulum, feast on tacos and cocktails on Isla Holbox and marvel at Mayan sites in Cancún. For the ultimate resort experience, stay in the town of Playa del Carmen along the glamorous Riviera Maya. And if you’re looking for some peace and quiet, the lovely beach town of Zihuatanejo is where you can go fishing and surfing, or simply stock up on vitamin D.


The Maldives

The Maldives are home to some of the world’s plushest hotels, so it comes as no surprise that this archipelago is a favourite among celebrities, even in the winter months when temperatures still rise to 28C (82F). Next to underwater restaurants and all the luxurious resorts and spas – some of which literally float in neon green waters – you’ll also find unspoiled nature and impressive wildlife. Try flyboarding or jet-skiing in blue lagoons, swimming with turtles and sharks and snorkelling amid bright-coloured coral reefs. Alternatively, spend your days idling away in Male, the capital, where local fishermen will teach you how to cut fish.


The Canary Islands, Spain

These Spanish islands just off the north-west coast of Africa reach an average temperature of 20C (68F) during the winter. Their subtropical climate and amazing beaches make the Canaries an obvious choice for a sun-filled escape. Tenerife, Fuertaventura, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote are the most popular of the bunch – there are eight of them in total – with the latter’s volcanic beaches attracting swimmers even in midwinter. Don’t miss the craters and petrified lava rivers of Teide National Park in Tenerife, and be sure to explore the less visited but equally pretty islands of La Palma, El Hierro and La Gomera.

Playa de Papagayo, Lanzarote

The Seychelles

Nature reserves, coral reefs and rainforests have placed the Seychelles high on the lists of sunseekers and honeymooners. This paradise comprises 115 islands, all floating in the vast Indian Ocean. You can expect year-round warm temperatures (from 24C/75F to 29C/84F) and just the right amount of sunshine which sometimes gives way to cinematic tropical downpours. The beaches here are truly spectacular as are the various private-island resorts such as North Island, which is accessible only by helicopter and serves both as a villa complex and a natural habitat; some endangered wildlife resides on this island, including giant tortoises and rare endemic birds.

Seychelles is an archipelagic island country in the Indian Ocean

Sri Lanka

Another Indian Ocean gem, Sri Lanka experiences high temperatures in the winter – reaching 28C (82F) on average – and torrential rains during monsoon season, typically between May and September. During the drier, sunnier months, the country’s green paddies and tea plantations shine even brighter. Hit the golden beaches to the west of Galle for sunbathing and find your dream surf spot somewhere along this palm-fringed coastline that guarantees some grand swells. Lagoons, wetlands, forests and waterfalls are all part of Sri Lanka’s glorious landscape. A visit to the mighty 16th-century Galle Fort is also a must.

Mirissa, near Matara, Sri Lanka

Costa Rica

Its name means “rich coast”, and Costa Rica is no doubt nature-rich; more than 25 percent of the country is made up of protected national parks and reserves, home to some incredible wildlife, from wild crocodiles to squirrel monkeys and rare birds. Visit the white-sand beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula, which is one of only five blue zones in the world (areas where people tend to live longer than anywhere else), and you might even discover the secret to longevity. Stay within a huge rainforest in one of Costa Rica’s luxurious eco-lodges and bask in the sun for hours on end (with temperatures rising up to 27C/81F), all the while embracing the country’s green philosophy and farm-to-table culture.

Playa Montezuma, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica


Morocco isn’t the hottest place on this list, but it is as warm as needed to see the cultural highlights without the scorching summer heat – think 15C to 20C (59F to 68F) in the winter as opposed to the 40C (104F) of summer. Marrakech, with its colourful souks selling spices and goods, snake charmers and musicians entertaining passers-by at Jemaa el-Fnaa and astonishing riads with exquisite tilework and regal courtyards, seems like a good place to start. Stop by Fez to find your dream leather jacket at the Chouara Tannery or buy a sequinned rug at the Fes el-Bali medina, and hike up to Agadir Oufella to admire the terracotta-hued ruins of an ancient fortress.

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,100 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article