I don’t know about you, but cold weather isn’t my thing. I realize this sounds odd coming from someone who chooses to live in London, but it’s the truth. Even when I lived in San Francisco I used to escape to Hawaii for Christmas. So over the years I’ve gotten good at finding warm pockets in the cooler months. If you’re wondering where to travel for winter sun, today I want to share 9 of my favorite destinations with you.
Where to Travel for Winter Sun
From South America to Asia, Africa to the Caribbean, I’ve discovered some amazing places in my quest for seasonal warmth. I’ve traveled to all of these destinations in winter and can personally vouch for them. So whether you’re searching for a city or a beach, there’s a perfect place for you.
1. St Lucia
If islands are your thing, St Lucia is hard to beat. I fell in love with the island’s natural beauty—the green mountain peaks are stunning—and the postcard-perfect beaches as soon as I arrived. Which is to say nothing of the delicious seafood and friendly locals.
2. Cape Town, South Africa
If you’re more of a city person, Cape Town is just the place to revel in the winter warmth. The city won me over with its bright colors, dramatic topography, and penguins—yes, penguins. There’s also beautiful wine country nearby and beaches galore, making it a great place for all-around good living.
3. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
If you’re wondering where to travel for winter sun in South America, Rio de Janeiro is just the place. Not only does it have some of the world’s most famous beaches and a big New Year’s Eve party, but also rich culture, beautiful mountains, and iconic landmarks.
If you want to get way off the beaten path, head to Madagascar for your winter sun fix. With everything from baobab trees to lemurs, white sand to turquoise water, this island nation has a great blend of natural highlights and opportunities for escapism.
Another island that’s worth seeking out in the cooler months is Antigua. This Caribbean beauty is said to have a beach for every day of the year, and from what I’ve seen they’re all spectacular. Whether you want to sail or sunbathe, eat seafood or explore historic harbors, there’s something to tempt you to travel here.
6. Langkawi, Malaysia
Over in Asia, Langkawi is a winter sun seeker’s paradise. In addition to the picture-pretty beaches, the island has monkeys galore and lots of natural beauty to discover. The spas are amazing, too.
7. Sunshine Coast, Australia
Down under, Australia’s Sunshine Coast says it in the name. Coastal gems like Noosa offer everything from good shopping to great walking trails, and the Eumundi Markets are some of the biggest and best artisan markets I’ve ever been to.
8. Sri Lanka
Back in Asia, Sri Lanka is one of my favorite places to combine sun worshiping and cultural immersion. After getting a beach fix at coastal spots like Unawatuna and Galle, I like to head inland for tea estates, temples, and elephants.
9. San Diego, California
Back home, San Francisco’s chilly winters can easily be remedied by a trip south to San Diego. This beach city is the perfect place to surf, shop, and stuff myself full of Mexican food (with an emphasis on stuffing myself full of Mexican food). Add to that a picturesque old town and world-class zoo, and there’s a lot of fun to be had.
There are more places I could add to this list, but I hope it’s given you a good start if you’re wondering where to travel for winter sun. I’m in the midst of planning a February getaway to the Caribbean, so there will be more inspiration on the blog soon.
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