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Accessible Winter Sun Holidays

Canary Islands / Cyprus / Hurghada / Dubai / Barbados / Thailand / Mexico / Florida

Drink on a tropical beach

Escape the cold season with a winter sun holiday in some of the world’s hottest accessible destinations

Want to spend winter someplace warm this year? We’ve got you covered. There are loads of great places to get some sun, sea and sand, away from the bleak British weather – and we’ve got accessible accommodation in all of them. Here are just a few of the hottest destinations to choose from this winter…

Canary Islands

A perennial favourite with sun-seekers, you can’t go wrong with the Canaries at any time of year. Their southerly location, just off the Sahara, help make them the warmest destination in Europe, with the whole archipelago benefiting from mild weather throughout the winter months.

There are only slight temperature variations between the main islands, with averages of 21–22°C from December to February – warm enough for sunbathing on the numerous spectacular beaches, especially if you stick to the southern shorelines.

There’s plenty to keep you occupied away from the sands as well. You can take a camel trek across the dunes of Playa de Maspalomas in Gran Canaria; go for a whale- and dolphin-spotting boat ride between the waters of Tenerife and La Gomera; or explore some of the many evergreen parks and gardens, such as the accessible trail at Mount Teide, or Oasis Park on Fuerteventura.

The Canaries also benefit from short flight times from the UK, typically around four hours, depending on your point of departure, ensuring you don’t have long to travel to get some winter sun.

See all our accessible accommodation in the Canary Islands

Las Teresitas Beach, Tenerife, Canary Islands

Cyprus

Enjoying one of the mildest climates in the Mediterranean, Cyprus stays relatively warm throughout the winter, with temperatures averaging 18°C and often getting into the low twenties during most days. It also has far fewer crowds during the winter months, letting you experience a more authentic Cypriot atmosphere and freeing up the beaches, restaurants and historical attractions.

The town of Paphos is a good bet this time of year. A traditional harbour town and one of the most beloved resorts on the west coast, it has a fine selection of pristine beaches, al fresco tavernas and an attractive marina. It’s also home to some of the island’s best ancient monuments, located in the Paphos Archaeological Park. They include ancient temples and amphitheatres, and the Tombs of the Kings, an evocative series of caves and soft sandstone tombs that date back to the fourth century BC.

Nearby you’ll also find the scenic Aphrodite’s Rock, the rumoured birthplace of the Greek goddess of love; the ruins of the city kingdom of Kourion; and the stunning Troodos mountains, where you can even go skiing from December to April – on the off chance you’re missing the cold!

See all our accessible accommodation in Cyprus

Hurghada

One of Egypt’s top holiday resorts, Hurghada entices visitors year-round with its consistently pleasant weather, calm turquoise waters and white sandy beaches.

High temperatures average around 22°C between December and February, and you can expect nine to ten hours of sunshine a day, with practically no rainfall. That makes it warm enough for sunbathing on the wide selection of public and private hotel beaches, many of which have ramped access.

Hurghada is also cherished for its snorkelling and scuba diving, thanks to an incredible array of colourful coral reefs and marine life close to its shores. It’s popular with windsurfers and parasailers, too, with watersports continuing throughout the winter, when the water temperatures range from 21–23°C.

Another great way to experience the amazing submarine sights (without getting wet) is via a glass-bottomed boat trip on the Red Sea. These tours leave regularly from the harbour and let you get up close with dolphins, sting rays, turtles and shoals of kaleidoscopic tropical fish.

In addition there are regular daytrips via coach from Hurghada to some of the country’s most famous ancient monuments, including the Great Pyramids and Sphinx at Giza, and the Valley of the Kings and Karnak Temple at Luxor.

See all our accessible accommodation in Hurghada

Coral reef in the Red Sea

Dubai

Extremely hot and humid in the summer, when temperatures break 40°C, Dubai is best enjoyed in the winter, when you’ll be treated to a much more comfortable 25°C climate – perfect for taking in its host of fantastic attractions and memorable experiences.

Dubai is a place that likes to set records. It’s home to the world’s tallest building (the Burj Khalifa), biggest shopping centre (Dubai Mall) and largest indoor theme park (IMG Worlds) – all of which can be experienced to their fullest on a winter break.

A trip up the wheelchair-accessible Burj Khalifa is a must and will reward you with breathtaking 360 views of the city and its incredible array of manmade islands. You can peruse 1,200 stores in the Dubai Mall and marvel at its gigantic aquarium, while IMG Worlds features hair-raising rollercoasters and the sprawling Dinosaur Adventure world.

If you want a more authentic Arabic experience, there are many markets, or souqs, in the old town that sell lavish jewellery, traditional fragrances and hand-woven fabrics. You can also go on a desert safari across the neighbouring sand dunes, complete with camel rides and fire-breathing shows, or simply lie back and bask on one of the many gorgeous white-sand beaches.

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Dubai skyscrapers and seafront

Barbados

Thanks to its location deep in the tropics, beautiful Barbados enjoys hot sun all year round, with average high temperatures barely shifting from 30°C. The optimal time to visit is during the dry season, from December through to spring, when it’s (slightly) cooler and the humidity is low.

Unsurprisingly for a Caribbean hotspot, Barbados boasts outstanding beaches, over 50 miles of them, offering pristine white sands, backed by palm trees and lapped by clear blue waters. The most popular are located on the calm western shore, nicknamed the Platinum Coast, due to the purity of its sand, while wilder and less-crowded retreats can be found to the east.

There’s much more to do than just sunbathe, however, with a number of historic plantation houses, gorgeous gardens and interesting museums to visit.

Barbados is also famous as the birthplace of rum, and no trip is complete without sampling an authentic glass (or coconut) full, whether you’re relaxing on the beach, partying in a raucous tavern, or taking a guided tour of the Mount Gay Rum Visitor’s Centre, the world’s oldest commercial rum distillery.

See all our accessible accommodation in Barbados

Thailand

Thailand’s another place that’s oft frequented between December and February, after the end of the rainy season and before the sultry weather of spring. Rather misleadingly known as the “cool season”, this period sees temperatures reach 32°C in the middle of the day, making it perfect for a warm winter break.

Thailand offers a huge amount of variety, depending on where you stay. The southerly Malay Peninsula, along with its scattering of idyllic islands, is home to a plethora of incredible beaches, famous for their fine white sands, shallow aquamarine waters and lush palm groves. See Krabi, Phuket and Koh Samui for some of the best.

If you prefer a livelier time, try Bangkok, the most visited city in the world, which captivates with its huge markets (both floating and on land), its never-ending slew of street food stalls and cafés, modern mega malls and colourful temples.

Farther inland you can experience a more traditional way of life, in a countryside dominated by sprawling rice fields and unspoilt jungles – while in the far north you’ll find the historic walled city of Chiang Mai, the former capital and home to some of Asia’s most spectacular religious sites.

Wherever you choose, you’re sure to be given a warm welcome in the Land of Smiles.

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Boat on sea in Krabi province, Thailand

Mexico

With its stunning beaches, amazing ancient monuments, vibrant cities and a diverse landscape that alternates between agave-peppered deserts, snow-capped volcanoes and emerald jungles, Mexico offers countless possibilities for a fantastic winter break.

If you’re looking to soak up the sun, you’re spoilt for choice, with glorious strands and exotic resorts lining the country’s Pacific, Caribbean and Gulf coastlines.

Popular destinations include Cancun and Playa del Carmen, on the Yucatan peninsula, where average temperatures in the dry winter season hover around the 30°C mark. Here you’ll be treated to palm-lined, white-sand shores and luminous waters, along with hip food and bar cultures – all within easy reach of some of the country’s most impressive Mayan temples, such as the iconic Chichen Itza.

On the west coast, you’ll stay at world-famous resorts like Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Acapulco, each with their own set of exquisite beaches, elegant hotels, spectacular sunsets and sublime climates.

For a more cultural experience, there’s Mexico City, home to an abundance of museums, gardens and galleries, as well as some of the best cuisine in the Western Hemisphere.

See all our accessible accommodation in Mexico

Sunny pier and sea in Cancun, Mexico

Florida

The Sunshine State lives up to its nickname year-round, with its dry winter season coming in with an average high temperature of 22°C.

Florida’s a great choice for a beach holiday, boasting a massive 800 miles of sandy sub-tropical shores, many of which are accessible via beach wheelchairs and Mobi-Mats.

Some of the best include the skyscraper-lined South Beach in Miami; the white-quartz Siesta Key, on the Gulf of Mexico; the extravagant 14-mile Palm Beach; Clearwater, near Tampa, with its adjoining aquarium; and Destin, located by the green waters of the Emerald Coast.

The warm winter weather is perfect for sampling Florida’s many other attractions and activities as well, such as its host of theme parks, like Universal Orlando; SeaWorld Orlando, Legoland Florida; and, of course, Walt Disney World, which transforms into a magical winter wonderland over Christmas.

Elsewhere, major cities entice with huge shopping malls, award-winning spas and pristine golf courses – and there are excellent cultural attractions, from the Kennedy Space Centre, to the Salvador Dali Museum, and the historic Ernest Hemingway House, in Key West.

If you fancy a bit of outdoors adventure, Florida also contains 175 state parks, including the iconic Everglades, one of the world’s largest wetlands and a protective habitat for rare and endangered species.

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South Beach, Miami, Florida

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