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Dreaming of a bright Christmas: where to go for short-haul sun

04 December 2019 08:42

Enjoy the sunshine in Marrakech, The Red City, throughout December.

Enjoy the sunshine in Marrakech, The Red City, throughout December.

Escaping winter woes needn't be a long slog: it's time you thought short haul for your splash of winter sun. Here are five nearby destinations that are practically guaranteed to deliver vitamin D...

1. Marrakech

Swap writing cards for winding bazaars this December in this north African gem. A flight of less than four hours could see you bartering with shop owners over leather goods, mesmerised by snake charmers in the Jemaa el-Fnaa city square or simply sitting back and tucking into a tagine cooked meal. Riads – traditional homes with intricately decorated courtyards – are a great place to stay and offer a slice of Moroccan life away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

2. Malta

This trio of islands in the south Mediterranean are often thought of as the perfect beach escape and with good reason. However, Malta's combination of cultures make it much more than a bucket and spade destination. The capital Valletta, European Capital of Culture in 2018, hosts art galleries, music festivals, bars and restaurants in the newly renovated covered market. Those looking to make the most of the winter sun and sea can dive among the underwater caves and wreck sites off the island of Comino.

3. Fuerteventura

The second-largest of the Canary Islands (after Tenerife), Fuerteventura enjoys 3,000 hours of sunshine a year, compared with the UK's average of around 1,300. The island is as well known for its wind as it's warmth and is home to windmills converted into bars, restaurants and museums. And if you're unlucky enough to catch too much sun, the island is filled with aloe vera farms. After-sun sorted!

4. Cyprus

December is the warmest of Cyprus's winter months, with average maximum temperatures reaching 19°C on the coast and 17°C inland. According to Greek mythology, the island's Akamas National Park was the site of Aphrodite meeting her lover Adonis. Today, tourists flock to the park for a flora and fauna-rich retreat. If nature trails aren't your thing, Cyprus is a culture vulture's dream destination, situated at the crossroads of three continents and with a history of settlers including Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians and Romans.

5. Lanzarote

A sun-drenched destination with a moon-like landscape, this Canary Island is just a 4-hour flight away. You're never far from one of Lanzarote's 300 volcanic peaks and interestingly, its volcanic vineyards. Grapes thrive in the ashy soil and winery tours welcome curious enthusiasts all year round. The island has gained a reputation as an activity holiday destination – windsurfing, kiteboarding, paddleboarding and cycling are proving increasingly popular and well catered for.

Destined for vitamin D? Don't forget to get covered!

Remember your travel insurance before you flee the big freeze. At World First we provide last-minute travel insurance, so you'll be covered when you soak up the sun.