Author: Sam Lawsonpublished: Dec 29, 2023 | last updated: Jan 04, 2024
The cold winter months in the UK can easily be escaped with the right beach destinations for a week or so away. From the nearest warm beaches of the Canary islands to those half way around the globe such as Bali we break down the best beach destinations, including the direct flight times and expected weather conditions for each one.
Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
Starting with Gran Canaria a very popular winter sun destination for those escaping the UK winter. Only a little over 4 hours away on a direct flight, the island is loved for it's near constant sunshine and pleasant winter temperatures which average around 20-22°C. The sea is also around 18-20°C during the UK winter months, still warm enough for an enjoyable swim in the sunshine.
While the temperatures are nothing like the heat of the summer, there are also some benefits to travelling in the winter if you prefer more moderate temperatures and less crowded beaches, and potentially cheaper flights and accomodation.
Try beaches such as Anfi del Mar, a man made beach featuring white sand imported from the Caribbean. It's situated by the Anfi del Mar hotel complex, and gets very busy during the summer months, but far less crowded during our winter months.
Amadores beach located near Puerto Rico is picture-perfect with fine white sand and azure waters, this is another family friendly beach with calm waters and plenty of facilities.
Las Canteras beach located in Las Palmas, the capital of Gran Canaria, is often praised as being one of the best city beaches in Europe. Enjoy the 3km of golden sand and calm waters easily accessible from the city.
Fuerteventura, Canary Islands
The second largest of the Canary Islands has almost identical weather to Gran Canaria, so the choice might be down to the flight prices available and resort choices during the winter months. Fuerteventura is likely to be quieter than Gran Canaria during the winter months, boasting many empty beaches and is popular among windsurfers and kitesurfers at beaches such as Playa de Sotavento and Corralejo beach.
Expect the air temperatures to be between 20-22°C and the sea to be around 18-20°C, pleasant conditions for those escaping the UK winter.
If you want the beach to yourself rent a car and head to the southern tip to beaches like Playa de Cofete where miles of empty golden sand await you.
Lanzarote, Canary Islands
Lanzarote another island in the Canary islands, has a similar flight times and weather as the Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria. Direct flights from the UK take around 4 and half hours, and the air temperature is typically 20-21°C with sea temperatures 19-20°C.
Lanzarote is famed for it's volcanic landscape dominated by volcanic formations, the only active volcano is in the Timanfaya National Park. The famous Black sand beach in El Golfo is a stunning attraction, the striking black sands fill a partially submerged volcano crater. For those looking for an escape from the crowds try Playa de Papagayo on the southern tip of the island, there are a series of golden sand coves, perfect for sunbathing, swimming and snorkeling.
Dahab on the Red Sea coast of Egypt, once a quaint Bedouin fishing village, is now better known as a winter sun getaway popular especially with divers, windsurfers and kitesurfers. The underwater life is a dream for snorkelers and divers, while above the water the consistent winds blowing across the Sinai peninsular are perfect for wind sports.
During the UK winter the climate in Dahab is extremely dry, with only 0.2 days of rain per month on the average year. The winter temperatures beat those of the Canary islands, ranging from 23-27°C, and the sea temperatures are normally around 22°C. The direct flight times are a little over 5 hours to near by Sharm El-Sheikh, so if you don't mind the slightly longer flights and prefer warmer days Dahab might be for you.
The Seychelles in the Indian Ocean, known as a luxurious tropical getaway, is around 10 hours by direct flight from the UK. It's made up of 115 islands the largest of which are Mahe, La Digue and Prasilin. Each of these islands host some of the most picturesque beaches in the world.
On La Digue island you'll find the stunning Anse Source d'Argent, one of the most photographed beaches in the world. The beach features powder-soft white sand, clear turquoise waters, and unique granite rock formations that create a surreal landscape. The shallow lagoon at Anse Source d'Argent offers excellent opportunities for swimming and snorkeling.
Expect air temperatures of 30-31°C and sea temperatures of around 29°C during the UK winter months, perfect for sunbathing and swimming the whole day. Do expect tropical showers though, 13-18 days per month have some rainfall, on most days those showers will be short lived though.
If you want a tropical island experience during the UK winter it would be hard to beat a couple of weeks in the Seychelles.
Barbados in the Caribbean can be reached in around 9 hours with a direct flight from the UK. It also offers tropical weather conditions, expect air temperatures around 29°C and sea temperatures a very pleasant 28°C. But also be prepared for those short lived tropical showers, 13-18 days per month will have some rainfall.
Crane Beach is one of the most famous beaches in Barbados due to its stunning beauty and pink-tinged sand. Set against a backdrop of lush greenery and dramatic cliffs, this beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing. Crane Beach is also home to the historic Crane Beach Hotel, one of the oldest operating hotels in the Caribbean.
Bermuda, a British island territory in the North Atlantic Ocean, is known for its stunning beaches and pleasant climate. It can be reached in a little over 8 hours with direct flights from the UK. Bermuda beaches are famous for their pink sand, turquoise waters, and breathtaking landscapes. The island's subtropical climate ensures warm temperatures throughout the year, with the peak season being from May to October. Being subtropical the temperatures are significantly lower during the winter than those in the near by Caribbean. Expect air temperatures of 20-21°C and sea temperatures of 19-20°C during the UK winter months and on average there are 18-20 days per month with some light rainfall.
Horseshoe Bay Beach is an iconic beach in Bermuda known for its crescent-shaped shoreline and pristine pink sands. Located on the south coast, this beach attracts tourists from all over the world due to its scenic beauty and calm waters ideal for swimming.
St Lucia, Caribbean
St. Lucia, a beautiful island nation in the Eastern Caribbean, is known for its stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters. It's only a 9 hour direct flight away from the UK. The island boasts a tropical climate, with warm temperatures year-round, making it an ideal destination for beach lovers.
Anse de Sables Beach located on the southeastern coast of St Lucia, near Vieux Fort, is a beautiful stretch of white sand with turquoise waters that's popular among windsurfers due to its strong trade winds throughout most of the year. It's also a great spot for kiteboarding enthusiasts.
St Lucia boasts winter air temperatures of 29°C and sea temperatures around 27-28°C, perfect for swimming and sunbathing. As with most tropical destinations expect some tropical rain showers as there are 11-18 days with some rainfall.
Antigua and Barbuda, Caribbean
Antigua and Barbuda is a beautiful twin-island country in the Caribbean known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush tropical landscapes. The islands offer a plethora of beaches and beach areas to explore, each with its unique charm and allure. Antigua alone boasts 365 beaches, one for each day of the year!
Half Moon Bay is a crescent-shaped beach located on the southeastern coast of Antigua. It is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, with its powdery white sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters. Half Moon Bay offers a tranquil setting for beach lovers who want to escape the crowds and enjoy some peace and quiet in a breathtakingly beautiful environment.
Antigua and Barbuda have winter air temperatures of 28°C and sea temperatures around 26-27°C. There are typically 12-19 days with some rainfall during the UK winter months, so expect some short lived tropical showers.
The Bahamas, another popular Caribbean winter sun destination, is a direct 10 hour flight away from the UK. Expect air temperatures around 27-28°C and sea temperatures of 24°C. Although tropical the Bahamas have a drier climate in the winter months than other tropical destinations on our list, with only an expected 7-10 days per month with some rainfall.
Paradise Beach on Paradise Island near the capital of Nassau is where you'll find the popular Atlantis resort and Aquaventure Water Park. There are several other popular beaches on Paradise island such as Cabbage Beach, a long stretch of soft white sand and clear azure waters.
Goa, a small state in India, is known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant culture, and breathtaking landscapes. Located on the southwestern coast of India in Southern Asia, Goa has become a popular destination for tourists worldwide.
Palolem Beach, located in South Goa, is one of the most popular beaches in the region. Known for its crescent-shaped shoreline and swaying palm trees, Palolem offers a picturesque setting for a beach vacation. Visitors can enjoy various water sports, beachside cafes, and vibrant nightlife
Goa experiences extremely dry conditions during the UK winter, as it coincides with their dry season which runs from November until March. There are almost no rainy days at all, the days are long and sunny with 10 hours of sunshine per day. Air temperatures are 32-34°C and sea temperatures are 27-29°C. You can fly to Goa in about 11 hours from the UK.
The Maldives, a tropical paradise located in Southern Asia, is an archipelago of 26 atolls consisting of over 1,000 islands. Known for its stunning white-sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and abundant marine life, the Maldives offers an incredible beach holiday experience. With a warm and sunny climate year-round, visitors can enjoy various water sports and activities such as snorkeling, diving, and surfing.
Situated in North Malé Atoll, Kanifinolhu is renowned for its world-class surf breaks. The island features stunning white-sand beaches surrounded by crystal-clear lagoons that offer excellent swimming opportunities.
Expect air temperatures of 30-31°C and sea temperatures 28-29°C during the UK winter. There are 8-9 hours of sunshine per day and only 6 days per month with some rainfall. The dry season and best time to visit the Maldives coincides with the UK winter, so it's the perfect winter escape from the UK. Direct flights take around 10 hours from the UK.
Thailand a long time favorite of UK winter sun seekers is an 11 hour direct flight from the UK. With numerous islands and beaches to choose from you are spoilt for choice in the tropical island nation.
The UK winter also coincides with the dry season in Thailand which makes it a great choice for a get away. Expect only 6 days with some rainfall per month during the UK winter months. Air temperatures are 31-33°C and sea temperatures 27-28°C, there are typically 6-7 hours of sunshine per day.
Maya Bay is a stunning beach located on the island of Phi Phi Leh in Thailand. Famous for being featured in the movie "The Beach," this picturesque destination is known for its white sandy beaches and turquoise waters surrounded by towering limestone cliffs.
Bali is a paradise for beach lovers, boasting numerous beautiful beaches and islands that cater to every taste. Located in South Eastern Asia, this tropical haven offers warm weather throughout the year.
Expect air temperatures of 30-31°C and sea temperatures of 29°C. While the temperatures are always warm, the UK winter isn't driest time to visit Bali - the dry season is from June until October. However if you don't mind the odd tropical shower then Bali can be enjoyed throughout the year. There are 14-20 days per month with some rainfall during the UK winter months. Bear in mind that tropical rain showers are often intense but dont last the whole day, expect 7-8 hours of sunshine per day on average.
There are numerous beaches to check out in the Bali area. Some of the most stunning are in the south in the Uluwatu area. Uluwatu Beach is a surfer's paradise located on the southwestern tip of Bali's Bukit Peninsula. Known for its dramatic limestone cliffs, crystal-clear waters, and challenging waves, it attracts surfers from around the world.
So there ends our list of winter sun beach destinations, where you choose may depend on flight times, prices, and weather preferences, enjoy your winter getaway!