We’re not going to sugarcoat it: winter in the UK can be bitterly miserable. With the weather shaping up to be endless stretches of grey skies, freezing winds and miserable rain, we won’t blame you for wanting another shot of summer this early in the year.
So for those who want a quick getaway (think sundrenched patios, inviting beaches and balmy evenings), we’ve handpicked six hotspots that’ll help you escape the cold. The best part? Each destination is easy on the wallet and takes less than 5 hours to get to. Suitcases and swimwear at the ready!
Malta, from £258 per person
Flight duration: around 3 hours 10 minutes from London
A charming destination drenched in history and extremely family-friendly, Malta is home to tons of caves, grottos, lagoons, immense cliffs and beautiful beaches, despite its small size. Enjoy a variety of leisure activities like hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, scuba diving, paragliding, windsurfing (phew!), or simply sit back and relax by the coastline and soak up some sun. Trust us, you’ll have a hard time being bored here.
Cyprus, from £236 per person
Flight duration: around 4 hours and 40 minutes from London
Third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Cyprus has one of the most stable and warmest climates in Europe with an average annual temperature of 24 degrees celsius around the coast. From family-friendly beaches to the up-tempo nightlife, it’s the perfect mix of laidback and lively, with world-famous traditional food that’s not to be missed.
Majorca, from £210 per person
Flight duration: around 2 hours and 20 minutes from London
Renowned for its stunning scenery, vibrant nightlife and amazing weather, it’s no wonder Majorca is such a popular holiday destination – and for good reason too. Stretching over 500km, there are more than 200 sun-soaked beaches with an average of 24 degrees celsius all year round. Packed with rich history, Marjorca has a whole host of castles, cathedrals, museums and galleries that visitors will love to explore.
Crete, from £264 per person
Flight duration: around 4 hours and 10 minutes from London
Discover and fall in love with Crete and everything it has to offer. From traditional villages and old towns (that share a fascinating combination of Venetian and Ottoman architectural elements), to incredibly beautiful scenery and swoon-worthy beaches, Crete is an island that can offer thrills to action-seeking travellers and heavenly beaches for those who are simply looking to be lazy by the shoreline. Cocktails by the beach: optional.
Algarve Portugal, from £259
Flight duration: around 2 hours and 50 minutes
Golden sandy beaches stretched across over 200km of coastline aside, if you’re looking for a little holiday retail therapy (while soaking up some sun, of course), then look no further than the Algarve in Portugal. There’s a plethora of quaint boutiques, souvenir shops and colourful markets, plus the Piri Piri chicken national dish is to die for. The landscape itself is rugged and picturesque, with thousands of colourful plants and flowers that flourish the scenery. It’s totally one for the ‘Gram.
Sicily, Italy from £313 per person
Flight duration: around 3 hours from London
Known as a haven of culinary delights, it doesn’t matter whether you dine in at a fancy restaurant or grab a quick bite from a food stall at a market, foodies and wine lovers will undoubtedly fit right in. Walk through the streets and see ancient sites, detailed churches and educational museums and let history unfold beneath your feet. Home to over 280 of the most spectacular shorelines, Sicily also takes credit for introducing the world to the beloved cannoli – so if you haven’t had one of these in Sicily, you’ve never really had one at all