Winter sun ideas: mid-haul – 16 Aug 2007

The best destinations for shoulder-season sun in winter 2007. Part two of three.

<< Part one: short haul | Part two: long haul >>


Goa, India

Best for: Partying

Goa now attracts hordes of package tourists seeking winter sun, but its beach parties are still legendary, particularly at Anjuna, where they can go on for days.

Baga is also popular with the beach party crowd and the resort boasts a number of restaurants, bars and clubs. Visitors should be warned that police are more vigilant these days and rowdy behaviour, particularly in the towns, won’t be tolerated.

If the crowds get too much, escape to one of Goa’s beaches – they are the most beautiful in India.

Sample product:Airtours has seven nights’ bed and breakfast at the Abalone Resort in the village of Arpora, just over a mile from Baga beach, for £462 with flights departing on January 5 2008.


Sal, Cape Verde

Best for: Romance

The Cape Verde Islands are only just beginning to appear on the tourist map, but they offer an exotic mix of Portugese, African and Brazilian cultures and are relatively inexpensive.

Each of the 10 islands, situated off the west coast of Africa, is quite different; some are lush with tropical forests while others, like Sal, have rocky volcanic landscape.

Sal’s main draw is its sugar-white beaches. The tourist infrastructure is still in its infancy but there is a smattering of good quality hotels in the main resort of Santa Maria.

Couples may like to wander around the brightly painted streets of the tiny capital Esparagos, dive in the Blue Eye Lagoon or simply laze around the hotel.

Sample product:Thomson has seven nights’ all-inclusive at the Riu Garopa hotel in Santa Maria, on Sal for £605 including flights and transfers, departing December 3.


Florida, US

Best for: Families

With its abundance of theme parks, great weather and fabulous beaches, Orlando has to be the one destination every child longs to visit.

You could easily spend a week ‘doing’ Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld, but if you tire of all that there are fantastic beaches to relax on and an endless supply of shopping malls.

The pound/dollar exchange rate is so good at the moment that if you’re going to take the kids away, now is the time to do it. When you consider the quality of the hotel rooms and the portions served in restaurants, Florida is excellent value for money for families.

Sample product:Virgin Holidays offers seven nights’ room-only at the two-star Wynfield Inn, two minutes’ drive from SeaWorld, from £489 per adult and £199 per child, including flights and car hire departing before December 31. A ticket covering SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens costs from £55 per adult and £50 for children aged three to nine.


Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Best for: Activities

Dubai is gaining a reputation as an adventure playground for grown-ups. You can take a four-wheel drive across the sand dunes, hop on a camel, try out sand skiing or ski on artificial snow in the world’s largest snowdome.

Dubai also boasts several well-rated golf courses and one of the world’s most technically advanced water parks, the Wild Wadi. Tamer pursuits include overnight safaris and dhow dinner cruises.

Race meetings at the Nad al Sheba racecourse, the venue for the world’s richest horse race, are held every Thursday from November to April.

The best time to visit Dubai is from October to March when it is slightly cooler than during summer. Remember to warn clients there are restrictions on eating and drinking in daylight hours during Ramadan, which will take place between September 13 and October 11 this year.

Sample product:Kuoni offers five nights’ half-board at the Oasis Beach Hotel from £791, including flights and transfers departing in October. 


Luxor, Egypt

Best for: Culture

Luxor makes a good base from which to explore Egypt’s most spectacular archaeological treasures. Within a stone’s throw of the smart hotels are the Valley of the Kings and Queens, including Tutankhamun’s tomb, Luxor and Karnak Temples and the Luxor Museum.

Luxor is unbearably hot in the summer, but in winter the temperatures drop to a much more pleasant 23C to 31C, making this a much better time to see the sights.

For something more relaxing, hire a felucca for a Nile cruise, take a camel ride or hire a horse and trap. You can also take an early morning hot air balloon ride over the West Bank.

Sample product:Cosmos offers seven nights’ bed and breakfast at the five-diamond-rated Nile Palace Hotel for £549 per person twin-share including flights, departing November 12.

<< Part one: short haul | Part three: long haul >>

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