Winter sun ideas: short haul – 16 August 2007

Holidays in the sun are likely be in demand this winter after Britain’s damp, chilly summer. The good news is there are plenty of winter sun options this year.

They won’t have to travel far as many operators now sell the warmest short-haul destinations, such as Cyprus, Spain and the Algarve year round.

For more adventurous clients with a bigger budget, look out for the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa, and Libya, sandwiched between Egypt and Tunisia.

Agadir, on Morocco’s west coast, is another safe bet for shoulder season sun.

Here are some ideas for your clients.

Part two: mid-haul >>
Part three: long haul >>


Benidorm, Costa Blanca, Spain

Best for: Partying

In Benidorm the party goes on throughout the winter. Bars in the Rincon de Loix area are quieter than in the summer but still lively and there are plenty of venues where you can dance till dawn. Not to be missed is an excursion to Benidorm Palace, probably the most famous cabaret in in mainland Spain.

Benidorm offers lots of retail therapy, including a weekly flea market, and the out-of-town La Marina shopping malls are stuffed with trendy boutiques and shoe shops.

The resort has two of the best beaches in the Mediterranean and, as the temperature only drops below 15C from December to February, they can be enjoyed for most of the winter.

Sample product:Somewhere2stay has seven nights’ bed and breakfast in the three-diamond Hotel Sol Ocas Pelicanos for £314 per person, twin-share, from November 1.


Agadir, Morocco

Best for: Romance

Agadir is only four hours away, but its red-brick kasbahs, brightly coloured handwoven rugs and spices stalls are about as different from the UK as it’s possible to get.

Agadir was totally rebuilt after an earthquake in the 1960s and is now Morocco’s best-selling holiday resort. Its long sandy beach offers some of the safest swimming off the country’s Atlantic coast. You can also enjoy water sports here all year round.

Entertainment outside the hotels is low-key, but there are plenty of opportunities for couples to linger over a meal, which will undoubtedly offer a fusion of Berber, Arabic and Spanish influences.

Sample product:First Choice offers seven nights’ bed and breakfast at the beachfront Sofitel Agadir from £431 per person twin-share, including flights and transfers departing on November 30.


Costa Adeje, Tenerife, Canary Islands

Best for: Families

With temperatures a balmy 18C to 21C throughout the winter, Tenerife is one of the safest bets for a warm winter holiday.

The island has great sandy beaches and Costa Adeje will keep any family happy. Costa Adeje has more five-star properties than its raucous neighbour Playa de las Americas, which has lots of entertainment for younger children including water parks and family shows in the evenings.

During the day head to Teide National Park, crowned by Mount Teide, which is the highest mountain and volcano in Spain. The park is filled with unique flora and wildlife. Santa Cruz, the island’s capital, is also worth a visit.

Sample product:Mundi Color offers seven nights’ bed and breakfast at the Jardin Tropical on Costa Adeje from £550 per person this November, including flights and transfers.


Algarve, Portugal

Best for: Activities

Portugal’s southern coast has excellent golf courses and many first-class hotels offer a choice of activities. Many have spa facilities for some added rest and relaxtion.

The winter weather is ideal for an active holiday as sunshine is almost guaranteed. Temperatures hover around 20C, dropping to around 16C from December to February.

The resort of Vilamoura has four championship golf courses and more than 50 tennis courts. The protected woodlands to the northwest offer good hiking.

Sample product: Prestige Holidays has seven nights’ bed and breakfast at the five-star Le Meridien Dona Filipa in Vale do Lobo from £619, departing on November 24 including flights and three rounds of golf on the San Lorenzo course.


Libya, Middle East

Best for: Culture

Libya is less than a four-hour flight from the UK and boasts two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Leptis Magna, one of the most complete examples of a Roman city, and Sabratha, best known for its well-preserved theatre.

At the eastern end of the country are the remains of Cyrenaica, at one time the second most important city in North Africa. Tripoli, the capital, has a beautiful old medina and its Archaeological Museum is worth a visit.

In the caves and rock formations of the Sahara Desert in southern Libya you can see rock paintings dating back 12,000 years, which make up one of the world’s best collections of pre-historic art.

Sample product:Cox and Kings has a seven-night Classical Libya escorted group tour with bed-and-breakfast accommodation, all excursions and flights for £1,675 per person, departing between October 6 and November 10.


Part two: mid-haul >>

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