The winter sun scale – best destinations from warm to hot

The winter sun scale – best destinations from warm to hot

Big shout out to the southern hemisphere for helping us have summer all year round. When the frost sets in, there’s always somewhere warmer to fly off to. But how hot can you handle? It’s a bit of a goldilocks dilemma – the UK winter is too cold, but what if you don’t want to spend your time sweating under the midday sun in constant search of shade? Well, luckily, the seasons aren’t so black and white. We’ve put together a little winter sun scale, so you can find a destination that’s just the right temperature for you… 

Mild – High teens  

Canary Islands  

You’ve probably thought about the Canary Islands if you’re not a super advanced sun seeker. They’re infamous for their year-round sunshine and short flight times, making them an easy option for a last-minute getaway too. Each island averages a fairly similar temperature, hovering around 18˚ C. Lanzarote’s landscape is out of this world, perfect for cycling or Fuerteventura’s winter also marks the peak of its surf season. Gran Canaria and Tenerife and solid picks for days on the sand and then La Palma’s a UNESCO-listed biosphere reserve, so the scenery is stunning for plenty of hikes. Manageable temperatures in the high teens also mean you can enjoy all of these activities without breaking too much of a sweat.  


A perhaps lesser-known option is Malta, which also boasts a pleasant average of 18˚ C in and around December. A lot of the beach bars might be closed but this country’s rich history, nature and tasty food are always about.   


Then there’s Morocco. In the peak of summer, this place can be baking, especially in the desert and inland. So, winter actually makes the perfect opportunity to visit when it’s not quite at its hottest. The average temperature depends on where you go. Marrakech is a bit cooler at 17˚ C or Agadir and Taghazout along the coast see more days around 20˚ C. The surf season means towns and villages aren’t left empty and restaurants and cafes still have a summery buzz about them.  

Warm – Mid-20s 


If you want to be out sunbathing on the beach as much as possible, then a destination more in the mid-20s is a better bet. Dubai is another one that’s often too hot to explore properly in summer but winter still keeps things warm at around 23˚ C and Abu Dhabi is the same. The UAE is a really dry country so there’s no need to worry about rain and its daylight hours are lovely and long. Hit the beach clubs here and treat yourself to an All Inclusive break – hotels like the Atlantis the Palm, Hiltons and Hyatts rule the waterfront.   


Mexico’s climate and summer seasons vary across the country but over the UK winter months, spots along the Caribbean and Pacific coasts start to enter peak season. Places like Cancun and Puerto Vallarta are serving average temperatures in the mid-20s. These sandy coasts were made for beach days snoozing under palm trees and only waking for a sip of your cocktail and dip in the sea. Mexico City and more inland destinations are much cooler as they’re at a higher altitude, so make sure you bear this in mind when picking where to travel and pack to match. When it comes to getting out and about, you can explore the Yucatan Mayan ruins, and you can even go whale watching at this time in Cabo San Lucas. 

Hot – Hitting 30 


If you like it hot, you’ll be pleased to hear that Thailand only really has three seasons – hot, wet and really hot – so just avoid the rainy months of June to October and you’re set. Ironically, their winter is the best time to visit – this is just their hot period. November to February is dry season and the central regions and beaches average a cool 27˚ C, often tipping into the 30s. This part of the year is also when some of the best UNESCO World Heritage Sites, like the Similan Islands, are open – so the heat isn’t the only reason to visit. Or, you can time your trip with its Songkran festival in April – the start of the really hot period – when you can cool down with water fights all over the cities in celebration of Thai New Year.   

The Maldives  

If you want to go big, there’s always the Maldives. This is the ultimate tropical island getaway, with over a thousand coral reefs and more beaches than people living there. The best time to visit is between November and April, so you can escape the worst of winter for winning temperatures that get up to 30˚ C. Although these islands are toasty all year round, these months have the least rainfall, as you’re out of the monsoon season – during the rest of the year, there can be a lot of rain. Pack for the new year and you can make the most of the drier heat, perfect for sunning yourself on white sands. And, no rain means clearer conditions for snorkelling! 

Sri Lanka  

If in doubt, seek out somewhere along the equator like Sri Lanka. You can actually visit this teardrop-shaped island all year round. October to March is all about the west and south coasts, then the season flips and April to September take the sun east to Arugam Bay. For a winter sun escape, pick from resorts like Hikkaduwa, Weligama and Mirissa, where the temperatures easily climb to the big 30. Wherever the sun is here, the surf follows, so you can hire a board or head inland to Ella for hiking trails and tea plantations – although the higher altitude here does bring cooler weather. November to April is also the best time to spot elephants, leopards and buffalo at National Parks like Yala and Udawalawe.  


Ready to bin winter for some place warmer? Check out the best deals for this season. 

Looking for more articles? You’ll find them on the Inspire homepage 

Author: Lily Owen
Last updated: 21/02/2024