There are basically two types of winter travelers, those that love to play in the snow and enjoy the freezing temperatures, and those that just want to get out of the cold and escape to somewhere warm and tropical so they can let their bodies defrost and their bones stop creaking. Following is a shortlist of fantastic winter getaways that will either warm your bones, or display the more magnificent features that winter has to offer.
Taking a short getaway can do wonders to your stress levels and overall well-being. The mind expands through travel, and the usual thoughts and stresses of everyday life are put on hold for the moment as they are replaced by the wonderment of discovery.
In fair Verona. The setting of Shakespeare’s eponymous Romeo and Juliet, Italy’s gem Verona is a great place to get away from the chills of a more westerly winter and will douse you in a double load of culture too. Walk the old city and get acquainted with familiar sights like Castle Scaligeri, an old remnant of the Austro-Hungarian Empire or Verona Cathedral.
Close to Venice, you might want to use Verona as a launchpad to see some real stunning parts of Europe too.
Sitting at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, the overseas British territory of Gibraltar has plenty to offer getaway holidaymakers this winter. A short hop from Spain, you might want to make Gibraltar a part of a two-leg overseas jaunt. Though you won’t find any monkeys in Spain!
The Rock, as its more colloquially known, offers a pretty unique experience for travellers interested in crawling through caves and tunnels and a far more palatable experience for those looking to get a bit more out of their holiday. Hugely popular things to do include dolphin watching, a visit to Gibraltar Museum and taking a trip on a cable car to take in the sights.
Faro has plenty to offer the winter getaway clientele. Portugal’s preeminent home of the party, Faro winds down a lot more pleasantly over winter and functions as a great base to see the rest of the Algarve. This time of the year swap Faro’s mild beaches for strolls through its towns, full of white-washed Iberian and Moorish-influenced architecture.
Other hotspots in Faro include Rio Formosa, a nature reserve that stretches along to Spain, within a boat trips reach. There’s also the Faro Jewish Heritage Centre where you can learn a little about the fascinating history and culture of this southern Portuguese paradise.
Outside of Europe you’ve got plenty of options also. On the West Coast of India sits Goa, a former Portuguese colony and ideal winter escape. Its blend of Indian and European culture, coupled with its hippie laid-back vibe, visitors to Goa are guaranteed to get a large slice of warmth and experience.
Shaped by Hindu and Catholic culture, Goa is a vast region offering a wide array of things to do. If it’s beaches you’re after, make sure you spend time at Dona Paula, Bogomolo and Agonda (Turtle Beach). Elsewhere you’ve got wildlife sanctuaries, museums, old forts, temples and markets to explore.
The largest of the Greek Islands, Rhodes offers a sunny and mild climate year round, making it a top winter destination for those who don’t want to go long haul out of the continent.
Nicknamed “The Island of Roses”, Rhodes is famous for its rock-rose, a vibrant coloured plant that sprouts all over the island, but what’s more likely to interest you are the tourist resorts and beaches of the south. Rhodes also offers decent snorkelling options as well as surfing and kitesurfing on its western coast.
For those looking for activities away from the beach, there’s Mt. Attavyros, which offers a challenging 2-3 hour climb to the summit but rewards you with stunning views over vineyards, beaches and more.
One thing that’s for sure? Winter holidays are where it’s at! Plan, suss out where you want to go, get the best deals to the aforementioned locations and find flights here.