Christmas holidays are over, and the magic of winter slowly begins to fade. Many start counting days before spring, which is understandable — the lack of sunlight during winter can negatively affect a person’s mood and cognitive abilities. In some cases, it can even lead to insomnia or depression.
This is why vacationing in winter is an excellent idea! Why not visit sunny South Africa, Spain, UAE, or Argentina? Embark upon an exciting vacation! Moreover, with remote work being more accessible than ever, you might even decide to relocate someplace warm.
Here is our list of the top five destinations to visit this winter.
1. Dubai, UAE
Dubai is a popular location for winter visits — the city recently ranked #1 in the winter-related “things to do” Google searches. The destination is also exceedingly prominent on social media — in July 2022 TikTok videos with the hashtag “Dubai” surpassed 81.8 billion. Instagram posts with the same hashtag have exceeded 111 million.
Such popularity is warranted — Dubai boasts an average of nine hours of sunlight per day year-round. Moreover, the UAE is famous for its beautiful sand beaches, good service, and high temperatures.
The best areas to stay during your visit, according to Metropolitan Real Estate, are Dubai Marina, the Palm, Deira, and downtown Dubai.
Arguably the most famous city attraction is Burj Khalifa — the highest building in the world. Tourists can visit the observation deck on the 124th floor to admire the cityscape. Other landmarks include Dubai Creek, Al Fahidi Quarter, Gold Souk, and the Jumeirah Mosque.
2. Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok regularly tops the list of the most visited cities in the world. Last year alone, more than 22 million tourists came to the city. Moreover, this is a hub for digital nomads, attracting people with a low cost of living, warm climate, and fast internet connection.
Bangkok is a bit colder than Dubai, averaging 28 degrees Celsius (82 F). But for many this temperature is perfect.
Bangkok hosts many of Thailand’s renowned architectural wonders and historic signs, such as the Grand Palace, Wat Arun, Wat Pho, Wang Na Palace, the national museum, Wat Traimit, the Damnoen Saduak floating market, and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
3. Cape Town, South Africa
The first thing to remember about South Africa and the southern hemisphere, in general, is that they experience seasons differently. Their winter — the coldest months — is June to August. The summer — the warmest months — is from December to February. Hence, if you are from the US or Europe, you may board a plane in the midst of winter and, several hours later, land in another country’s summer time. But fear not. You won’t have to endure blistering heat. The average temperature from December to February is about 25° celcius (77°F), which is perfect for most travelers. Cape Town can get a little windy this time of year, but the water is warm and ideal for swimming.
- November to March is the most popular time for visiting Cape Town, and for good reason! First of all, this is the time of festivals: Afropunk, Kaapse Klopse, the Pride Festival, Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees, and the Cape Town International Jazz Festival — all take place during these months.
Beach visiting is also phenomenal. With more than 10 hours of daylight and warm water, sunbathing and swimming are pure joy.
City attractions include the Cape Town City Hall and the Castle of Good Hope. Both structures boast astounding architecture. Those interested in history can visit Robben Island — the prison where Nelson Mandela was held captive for 18 years.
4. Abu Dhabi, UAE
Abu Dhabi is the second Emirate on our list of top winter vacation destinations. It was also ranked fourth in Google’s winter-related “things to do” searches. Abu Dhabi sees very little rain and is rather hot in the summer. In winter, however, the mean temperatures range from 16 to 24 degrees Celsius (60 to 75 F).
The city is the capital of the UAE. It is less crowded than Dubai but has much to offer in terms of attractions. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Ferrari theme park, and Qasr Al-Hosn are all located in the city.
5. Gran Canaria, Spain
Gran Canaria is an excellent travel choice all year round, and winter is no exception. This is the place of eternal spring, with temperatures typically varying between 19 and 25 degrees centigrade (66 to 77 F). Gran Canaria is the largest island of the Canaries. It has magnificent white sandy beaches and amazing volcanic landscapes. Moreover, it is easy and relatively inexpensive to get there from Europe — a non-stop round-trip flight from London can cost as little as 200 USD.
When on the island, don’t miss a chance to visit the capital city of the island — Las Palmas. The Vegueta quarter is the oldest part of the city, having been founded in the 15th century. Other island attractions include the dunes of Maspalomas, the fishing town of Puerto de Mogán, the picturesque mountain village of Tejeda, and an LGBTQ-friendly beach resort called Playa del Inglés.
6. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Similarly to Cape Town, Buenos Aires is located in the southern hemisphere. Hence, December to February is summertime here. The city has incredibly long days, with an average daylight time of 10.8 hours. The temperature in summer is typically about 24 degrees centigrade (75 F).
The end of February is the time of Carnaval! During the whole month, tourists can see the magic come to life. Locals dressed in colorful outfits dance on the streets to upbeat Argentinian music. It all culminates in a grand show downtown on the last day of the month.
Buenos Aires also features many premier attractions, like the National Museum of the Cabildo, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Colón Theater, the Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art, Palermo, and the MALBA (Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires).
7. Jaipur, India
Jaipur is the capital of India’s state of Rajasthan. It is rich in breathtaking UNESCO sites, scrumptious cuisine, and fun events.
Winter is the best time to visit the city — mean temperatures from December to February stay within 16 to 20 degrees Celsius (60 to 67 F).
This time of year, many tourists come to the city for Jaipur’s International Kite Festival. Other winter festivities include Jaipur Literature Festival and Jaipur International Film Festival.
Make sure to visit the city’s world-renowned architectural gems: astounding Hawa Mahal with its pink honeycombed facade, Jantar Mantar UNESCO heritage site, the Old City of Jaipur and the City Palace, the Amber Fort, the beautiful Albert Hall Museum, and, of course, the Hindu temple Galtaji.
How to Choose?
All the mentioned destinations are excellent for a winter vacation. The final choice would depend on your preferences, current location, and budget. For instance, if you are located in Europe and do not wish to spend a lot of time or money on the commute, Gran Canaria might be a perfect choice. If you would like to visit another continent and experience something more alluring, you might opt for Argentina or South Africa.