As winter fast approaches and the days grow darker and colder, the allure of a getaway to warmer climes gets all the more appealing. Since it’s never too late to pack your bags in search of some much needed winter sun, here are five destinations that are perfect for a last-minute winter holiday.

The Canary Islands

The first place that springs to mind when thinking of winter sun destinations is the Canary Islands. Located off the coast of Northwest Africa, these rugged volcanic isles are blessed with a seemingly endless amount of sunshine. Winter temperatures average around 20 degrees celsius, meaning you can pack your shorts and enjoy the islands' spectacular scenery and superb beaches all year round.

Gaze across the blue azure and run your toes through the sand on a visit to gorgeous Tenerife in the Canary Islands. The famous beach in Las Américas is the perfect spot to settle down, enjoy the views and unwind..

Gaze across the blue azure and run your toes through the sand on a visit to gorgeous Tenerife in the Canary Islands. The famous beach in Las Américas is the perfect spot to settle down, enjoy the views and unwind.

While the Canary Islands have long battled with pre-conceptions, there is actually so much more to them than meets the eye. In fact, the Islands are so varied, in terms of things to do, that picking one out for a winter break is a near impossible task. For example, on top of its gorgeous beaches, Tenerife boasts year-round water parks and throws the world’s second biggest carnival celebration in late February.

Lanzarote is known for its unique volcanic coastline, stunning waters and black sand beaches. What better place to explore than El Golfo, a tiny seaside village and  tranquil spot of paradise, home to the Green Lagoon. A winter visit is sure to beat the crowds and leave you to take in all the sights at your leisure.

Lanzarote is known for its unique volcanic coastline, stunning waters and black-sand beaches. What better place to explore than El Golfo, a tiny seaside village and a tranquil taste of paradise, home to the Green Lagoon. A winter visit is sure to beat the crowds and leave you to take in all the sights at your leisure.

Meanwhile, locations such as Gran Canaria and Lanzarote offer fantastic hiking opportunities in the cooler months. Lanzarote even has the draw of offering up its unique black-sand beaches, that you'll be able to enjoy having all to yourself.

Whichever island you choose, you’re guaranteed to find somewhere that suits your holiday style, where you can enjoy the pleasant temperatures and blue skies.

Enjoy a gentle hike across Lanzarote's rocky volcanic landscape in the cooler climes and be rewarded with endless panoramic views across the Atlantic ocean.

Enjoy a gentle hike across Lanzarote's rocky volcanic landscape in the cooler months and be rewarded with endless panoramic views across the Atlantic ocean.

Mexico

Flying further afield to Southern Mexico for a getaway will bring you even higher winter temperatures. The tropical Mayan Riviera also enjoys its dry season at this time of year, meaning you can expect little to no rain.

Couple this with world-famous beaches, UNESCO World Heritage sites, outstanding culinary offerings, and Mexico sells itself. It’s therefore no surprise that it draws sun seekers from all over the world to its white sandy beaches and turquoise seas during winter.

Cancun's pale white beaches are a must for busting your winter blues. The coastal strip is full of eateries, boutique hotels and, if you're feeling adventurous, vibrant bars that spring to life at night.

Cancún's pale white-sand beaches are a must for busting your winter blues. The coastal strip is full of eateries, boutique hotels and, if you're feeling adventurous, vibrant bars that spring to life at night.

Egypt

If it’s culture you’re after, then fewer places are better than Egypt. This is true whatever the time of year, but winter is undoubtedly the best season to visit. This is because summer temperatures can easily hit 50 degrees celsius, and exploring in this sweltering heat is understandably draining. Equally, if you visit between March and May, thick sandstorms are common, and very unpleasant!

From this, it’s easy to see why visiting Egypt in winter comes out on top. Temperatures will be cooler, but the average is still a comfortable 25 degrees celsius. This makes it the perfect time of year to discover ancient Egypt. So why not travel along the Nile and explore the most breathtaking and magnificent historical sights, from the pyramids in Cairo, to the temples in Luxor and beyond?

Retreat to a silent, underwater idyll and enjoy something a little different on your winter getaway. Dive into the dappled shallows of the Red Sea and explore the thriving coral reefs and glorious marine life.

Retreat to a silent, underwater idyll and enjoy something a little different on your winter getaway. Dive into the dappled shallows of the Red Sea and explore the thriving coral reefs and glorious marine life.

On the other hand, if you’re sold on the idea of Egypt but fancy a more laid back winter retreat, you could simply enjoy the comfort of the resorts along the Red Sea Riviera. It sees hardly any rain, and has low humidity during the winter. Plus, the average sea temperature is an inviting 24 degrees celsius, meaning you can dive in and discover the Red Sea’s amazing marine life.

Exploring Cairo's rich ancient culture is a must on a trip to Egypt. Hop on a camel and ride in style across the desert on a guided tour of the 4,500-year old pyramids of Giza -  you won't be disappointed!

Exploring Cairo's rich ancient culture is a must on a trip to Egypt. Hop on a camel and ride in style across the desert on a guided tour of the 4,500-year-old pyramids of Giza - you won't be disappointed!

Florida

Our fourth winter sun destination, Florida, really needs no introduction. It’s long been somewhere travellers flock to for some winter sun… And we can’t really blame them! The ‘Sunshine State’ retains its warmth and blue skies every month of the year. You could hit the beach in Miami, or enjoy the tropical Florida Keys, which are famous for boating, snorkelling and scuba diving, at any time of the year.

Miami Beach is a glamorous hot spot with crystalline waters and scorching temperatures, which make this the perfect location to bust those wintry blues and soak up the sun all year round.

Miami Beach is a glamorous hot spot with crystalline waters and scorching temperatures, which make this the perfect location to bust those wintry blues and soak up the sun all year round.

There’s plenty to do inland as well, with Universal Studios Orlando and Walt Disney World offering days’ worth of entertainment for families and big kids alike. The parks are even more magical during the Christmas period, as Universal creates a Christmas wonderland at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and Disney’s awe-inspiring holiday decorations are sure to get you in the festive spirit.

Bursting with activities for the whole family, the Florida Keys are a tropical chain of islands you'll want to visit again and again. With snorkelling, diving, fishing and walking just a taste of what's on offer, there's so much to enjoy, and all in an average of 25-degree heat.

Bursting with activities for the whole family, the Florida Keys are a tropical chain of islands you'll want to visit again and again. With snorkelling, diving, fishing and walking just a taste of what's on offer, there's so much to enjoy, and all in an average 25 degree celsius heat.

Alternatively, if you’d prefer to do something a little different, winter is also the perfect time to explore Florida’s famous Everglades. Thanks to the lower humidity, the biting bugs are nowhere to be seen, while alligators and other large wildlife are more active, increasing your chances of having a memorable experience.

Take a guided trip and explore Florida's subtropical wetlands. The Everglades are teaming with wildlife - watch out for snappy residents, who you'll see lounging on cool logs and slithering through the water.

Take a guided trip and explore Florida's subtropical wetlands. The Everglades are teaming with wildlife - watch out for the snappy residents, who you'll see lounging on cool logs and slithering through the water.

Morocco

From one tried and tested winter sun destination to the new kid on the block: Morocco. While it’s not the most obvious choice, you may be intrigued to learn that it’s one of the fastest growing destinations in the world! In fact, tourism has increased in Morocco by more than 70 per cent in the last few years.

Agadir Market, Morocco, is a bright and bustling treasure trove, complete with authentic Moroccan wares to purchase, such as pottery, fragrant spices, argan oil and haberdashery.

Agadir Market, Morocco, is a bright and bustling treasure trove, complete with authentic Moroccan wares to purchase, such as pottery, fragrant spices, argan oil and haberdashery.

This growing popularity is easy to understand when you consider the rich culture and diversity of Morocco. For example, it has Medieval cities but also features stunning beaches, diverse mountain ranges and even the Sahara Desert. The diverse melting pot of cultural and natural beauty comes together in places such as Marrakesh. Here, the city’s bustling Medina (filled with ancient palaces and markets) stands in the shadow of the High Atlas Mountains on the edge of the Sahara.

The sweeping palm-lined promenade that runs along the seafront of Agadir, Morocco, is the perfect spot to stretch your legs and explore. Take an afternoon to scope out the restaurants and bars and take in the scenic views.

The sweeping palm-lined promenade that runs along the seafront of Agadir, Morocco, is the perfect spot to stretch your legs and explore. Take an afternoon to scope out the restaurants and bars, while taking in the scenic views.

Alternatively, resort towns such as Agadir have everything a sun seeker could crave, such as world renowned-golf courses, and a glorious wide crescent beach. In addition, being located on Morocco’s southern Atlantic Coast, Agadir is in the perfect location for day trips to other Moroccan towns, so you can easily explore more of the country's highlights from this home base.

The walk to the Agadir kasbah - perched upon a hill - is well worth the climb. Breathtaking views across the city, coupled with stunning Arabic architecture, mean this ancient fortress should make it onto your to-do list.

The walk to the Agadir kasbah - perched up on a hill - is well worth the climb. Breathtaking views across the city, coupled with stunning Arabic architecture, mean this ancient fortress should make it onto your to-do list.

If you are an RCI member and would like to head for the sun to brighten up the long, dark, winter days, there are plenty of sun-kissed holiday options for you to choose from using your timeshare exchange. Click on the RCI Resort Directory button below to browse the warm and wonderful places you might be holidaying in soon.

RESORT DIRECTORY

If you own timeshare but are not a member of RCI, you should consider joining our holiday exchange community today to get the real value from your timeshare by swapping it for the spacious holiday accommodation you love, but in a new and exciting destination. Click on the Join RCI button below and sign up in a few simple steps to begin your life of holiday adventure, using your timeshare.

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