Winter sun escapes

There are times when you need to have a break from winter’s endless march of grey days and grey faces so take yourself off to warmer climes. Our winter sun picks range from a balmy Tenerife to a sizzling hot Goa, via Cape Verde and Florida. Decide on how warm you want it to be and whether you want a bit of culture, history, theme parks, a holistic retreat, a foodie trip, or just to spend a week or two snoozing in the shade. Grab your shades, sun hat and SPF and go…

Best for fun: FLORIDA

Florida means fun and sun in equal measure. Though the presence of theme parks – everything from Busch Gardens, LEGOLAND, SeaWorld and Universal Studios in Orlando – mean we often think of Florida as a family destination, there’s plenty to entertain adults who don’t hanker after a set of Mickey Mouse ears.

Try Miami, which combines some interesting art deco architecture, ruinously expensive real estate, excellent upmarket shopping at Bal Harbour and a Hispanic heritage that means some amazing Cuban-inspired cuisine in Little Havana. 

Head to Key West and pretend to be Hemingway with a bit of marlin fishing, get your heart pumping with a choice of adrenaline sports, or take an airboat tour of the everglades. Flights are around nine to ten hours, but US immigration queues can seem almost as long again. Average February temperature 23OC.

Best for all-round value: TENERIFE

Tenerife offers the best of all worlds in February and March. It’s a shorter flight than many other sun-drenched options, with plenty to do if you can prise yourself off your sun-lounger and it’s a bit of a bargain at this time of year. Even though it’s the off-season, there’s still plenty to do and far fewer families grabbing the best spots by the pool. Go whale or dolphin watching, try a dune buggy trip or spend the day at a water park or visiting monkeys, scuba dive at night or just unwind to the music and lights at the fountain in Playa de las Americas. Average February temperature 22OC.

Best for Instagram envy: CAPE VERDE

350 miles off the coast of Senegal and only inhabited since the 15th century, the ten islands that make up this island nation had an early history steeped in slavery, piracy and Portuguese colonialism. These days, Cape Verde is a tourism hotspot and one of the most democratic and developed African nations, despite a lack of natural resources. What Cape Verde does have an abundance of, however, is amazing beaches, great hotels and warm sunshine. You’ll also find some interesting historical sites, old churches, water sports, sport fishing, beach horse riding and conservation projects such as the turtle hatchery. Perfect for selfies. Average February temperature 24OC.

Best for wellbeing: GOA

Go for Goa if you’re in need of a relaxing recharge. You’ll find a great selection of yoga and holistic wellbeing breaks, where you can do everything from the downward dog to detoxing or discovering yourself. You’ll probably appreciate it all the more after at least 12 hours on a flight from London.

Like Cape Verde, Goa has a historic legacy from its days as one of Portugal’s outposts of empire, so you’ll find a pleasing cultural fusion. Take a tour of an organic spice farm, paddle the quiet backwaters in a kayak, learn to cook with a local or just spend all your time de-stressing in a spa, or at an immersive yoga course.

Goa’s the ideal choice for re-awakening all your senses. It’s a foodie paradise, with a rich mix of fresh seafood, aromatic curries, great veggie and vegan dishes and a surprisingly inexpensive bill at the end. Average February temperature 34OC.

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