Once the Christmas and New Year celebrations are all over, things can seem more than a little flat. The weather’s awful and the dark evenings can seem endless as everyone drags themselves back to college, school and work after the festivities.
There’s only one thing for it – book yourself a holiday and catch some winter’s rays in Spain. You won’t face a long-haul flight, Euros have been good value this year, and this fantastic country has so much to offer British holidaymakers.
From buzzing cities to stunning countryside and golden coastline, you’ll find plenty of variety, endless hours of glorious sunshine and deep cobalt blue skies.
For a winter holiday in particular, try being a castaway on the sun-drenched shores of the Canary Islands. They offer year-round fun in the sun by day and a sizzling nightlife after dark.
If you’re looking into holidays to Gran Canaria, for example, expect beaches sweeping as far as the eye can see, friendly resorts and a hilly interior peppered with characterful whitewashed villages.
The third-largest island in the Canaries archipelago is also packed with places to explore. Hire a car or jump on a bus and take in the diverse natural landscape, farmers’ markets and picturesque buildings which are the perfect complement to the rugged coastline and white-sand beaches.
Meanwhile, the capital Las Palmas is an intriguing, energetic hub with diverse African, Chinese and Indian influences. There’s also a distinctly Latin feel. Enjoy some great shopping, and soak up the atmosphere over a meal or drink in the oldest part of town, Vegueta, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Stroll around the museums and churches at your leisure.
Fancy a dip in between bouts of sightseeing and retail therapy? Canteras Beach, 3.5km of palm-fringed sand, is one of the world's great city beaches.
If you like to feel the adrenaline pumping while you’re away, cheap holidays here offer scope for walking, water sports and horse-riding.
Alternatively, make for the Spanish mainland and consider staying in one of the many hotels in Benidorm for your winter sun holiday. It’s a perfect base for enjoying crystal clear water, swaying palms and wide stretches of sandy beach.
The Costa Blanca resort has enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent years as somewhere you can have a fantastic break without having to spend a fortune, as you catch some of the 3,000 hours of sunshine a year for which the region is famous.
But if you thought Benidorm was all high rise hotels and all-day breakfasts, think again. These days you’re more likely to find upscale spa hotels, a fresh generation of high-class eateries (in one the chef is working towards a Michelin star), stylish bars and designer boutiques.
There are even increasing serious claims that the resort is a model of sustainable urban development.
Equally, the town is doing more to appeal to a younger, more independent and sophisticated crowd of travellers who are interested in doing more than just lying on a beach for a week. The scuba diving for example is among the best you’ll find along this stretch of coast.
So if you thought you knew Benidorm, it’s time for a rethink.
And don’t fall prey to post-festive blues! Book your winter sun break now – February half-term could be an ideal time to go, or why not think about booking early for next summer?
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