Most of us end up taking our holidays in the summer or the spring, particularly if a trip abroad has to coincide with the school holidays. However, if you don’t have those kind of restrictions, the winter is an excellent time to travel – it means that you avoid the worst of the UK weather, as well as the summer crowds.
Whether you’re looking for a snow sport destination or some winter sun, there is something suitable for everyone travelling between November and February. Here’s a roundup of some of the best options for the winter of 2013-14.
For the majority of travellers, a holiday just isn’t a holiday without sunshine. Travelling in the northern hemisphere’s winter doesn’t have to mean you forego that perfect bronze tan you’ve been missing. There are the obvious choices that require a long-haul flight (Australia, Thailand, the Caribbean), but the Canary Islands offers the best winter sun break within a relatively short flight of the UK. There are plenty of places to beat the crowds too – for instance, the self-catering apartments at Finca del Rosario offer quiet and calm in the south of Gran Canaria. Show off to your friends and family with a cheap international call courtesy of Lebara.co.uk.
The incredible Northern Lights only show themselves during the winter, and 2013 to 2014 is the best time to see them in the last decade. Seeing this otherworldly lights display will involve heading into the far north above the Arctic Circle – the further north you travel, the better your chances of seeing the Aurora. Get in touch with The Aurora Zone to find out about the best times to travel – you can visit their website (www.theaurorazone.com) or give them a call. You might also want to get in touch with agencies based in Iceland or Lapland to find out how strong the current sightings are – there are great SIM only deals with Lebara to make international calls straightforward and inexpensive.
One of the most popular reasons for a winter break is to take advantage of the snow-covered slopes around Europe. Where to go is a bit of minefield, but there are some destinations that are consistently good: France’s Le Grand Bornand is great for families; Courchevel is excellent for beginners; Italy’s Madonna di Campiglio is where style mavens will want to see and be seen; and Austria’s Mayrhofen is much cheaper than most of the French resorts.
Some of our favourite European capitals are actually excellent places to visit in the winter. Rome is especially lovely over the winter, particularly because you avoid the huge crowds of the summer that can make exploring the cobbled streets tiring and stressful. Although the weather is crisp and a little chilly, the sun will still be shining and prices for everything – from accommodation to meals – are much cheaper than over the peak season.