Christmas in the sun just might be the antidote that’s needed right now, although not everyone can afford the sky-high prices that start to kick in about halfway through December. But if you’re pining for warmth and want to have a pre-Christmas treat – preferably on a chilled-out beach and away from the Christmas shopping frenzy – here are a few tempting ideas.
Escape a large chunk of December with a fortnight’s island-hopping around Cape Verde. This volcanic archipelago off Africa’s western coast combines spectacular mountain scenery with endless sandy beaches and attractive Portuguese colonial architecture. Start by exploring the mountainous islands of Santiago and Sao Vicente before flopping on the beaches of Boa Vista and Sal in 27C heat. The Cape Verde Experience has a 14-day holiday departing 11 December that takes in these four islands. The price of £1,659pp includes international and internal flights, plus mixed-board accommodation.
Kick off the Australian summer in style with a self-drive tour of South Australia. After a night in the state capital, Adelaide, carry on to the exquisite wildlife haven of Kangaroo Island before exploring the rolling vineyards of the Barossa and Clare valleys. Wexas Travel offers a 12-day, tailor-made tour from £3,160pp for December departures, which includes international and internal flights, car hire, most meals and park fees for Kangaroo Island.
All is calm on laid-back Grenada, where the air tingles with the scent of spices grown all over the island. Morne Rouge Bay is one of the quietest spots for a blissful beach break, especially in the hillside resort of Laluna, which has its own yoga pavilion facing the sea. A week in a Balinese-style cottage suite with ITC Luxury Travel departing 7 December costs from £2,025pp, including flights and transfers.
Soak up the tropical heat of this Indian Ocean group of islands fringed with blinding white sand. Carana Beach Hotel is a new boutique accommodation on the largest of the Seychelles, Mahé, where each chalet faces the ocean and some have their own plunge pools. It’s only 15 minutes from the capital, and it’s in a handy spot if you want to explore some of the archipelago’s 115 islands. Mahlatini Travel has seven nights’ half board at Carana Beach Hotel from £1,895pp departing 10 December, including flights and transfers.
March is still low season in Marrakech, but the temperatures are pleasantly in the low-20s – excellent weather for slightly more relaxed strolls through the souks without wilting in the heat. Dar Sana is a stylish riad in the Medina with a roof terrace, maid service, a kitchen and just two bedrooms overlooking the cosy courtyard, making it a good bet for a family or two couples travelling together. Fleewinter offers a nightly rate of £50pp with a minimum three-night stay.
Mix a bit of history, culture, lush rainforests and empty beaches on a tour of Malaysia’s east coast. After a few days in Unesco-listed Malacca and then the capital, Kuala Lumpur, head to Taman Negara National Park to explore its canopy trails and waterfalls. Finish with a relaxing few days at the Tanjon Jara Resort overlooking the South China Sea. Selective Asia offers a 10-day east coast holiday from £1,280pp, which includes internal transport and transfers, accommodation, admission fees and some meals. International flights are extra.
You’re in the middle of the dry season in the Dominican Republic in March, where you can bask in 29C heat. Classy five-star Zoetry Agua in Punta Cana doesn’t sprawl like the island’s mega-resorts, with 96 suites facing the coast or the landscaped gardens. Sovereign offers a seven-night all-inclusive stay from £2,199pp for a 14 March departure, including flights and transfers.
Mary Novakovich is editor at large at 101holidays.co.ukReuse content