Desperate to escape the UK’s grey, wet weather and get some sunshine? From the Maldives to Cuba and many more in between, these are the destinations to visit to get a hit of much needed vitamin D. Not all of the options are warm – but cold, bright sun can be just as restorative. So get your passport, pack your sunnies and don’t forget to grab some suncream

The Maldives

Swap Mitcham for the Maldives this winter. The Indian Ocean destination is classic honeymooner territory, but there is plenty on offer for families too.

Winter is essentially non-existent here, with temperatures a steady 26-29C throughout the year. Rainy season starts late April and runs until mid-November – so now is the perfect time to hop on a plane.

Cuba

Britain’s bucket-list favourite, Cuba, continues to fascinate, and anyone in need of some Caribbean relaxation should be jumping on the plane this second to spend a fortnight in this quixotic country.

Rapidly modernising as it opens to the world – its relationship with the US continues to be bumpy – now’s the time to experience the old-school charm of this fascinating country.

Daytime temperatures sit between 26-28C at this time of year, and rainy season is coming to an end now.

Greece

Would you rather be fighting the crowds doing their Christmas shopping, or chilling in a taverna? Assuming the answer’s the latter, then Greece is your ticket.

The popular destination has something for everyone – Athens for history buffs, Mykonos for partiers or Santorini for couples. Temperatures sit at a perfectly acceptable 23C at this time of year, dropping to around 10C in January.

Canary Islands

These volcanic outcrops in the Atlantic are what remains of the Spanish empire and the islands, including Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote, are famed for their their black- and white-sand beaches, relaxed way of life and, of course, the African sun.

Soak up the 27C temperatures while sampling papas arrugadas, the potato dish famous across the islands.

Gibraltar

If you want Spanish sunshine but also have a yen for red post boxes and monkeys, then have you come to the right place.

The British Overseas Territory is a unique blend of British and Spanish cultures, and being on the southern-most tip of Spain it also is guaranteed to be summery for longer than anywhere else in Europe.

Also, they’ve got wild apes. What more could you long for?

Sweden

Yes, it’s freezing – but the crisp winter sunshine makes way for one of nature’s great spectacles at night – The Northern Lights.

Stockholm also continues to be one of the coolest cities in the world, and is worth checking off your bucket list in the quieter months.

Madeira

Madeira, comprised of four islands off the coast of Africa, is so good that when we sent a Handbook writer there to cover it, she went back all on her own this year, she’d enjoyed it so much.

Temperatures are around 18C at the moment, making for a pleasant change from the 9C average the UK is experiencing.


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