365 days of summer

If our wonderful summer has left you wanting more; it doesn’t have to end. Here is a tour of the best spots around the world to get your sunshine fix until next year


Have a Goldener
October in Cyprus
Already fretting about the turning back of that damned hour? Avoid the onset of winter blues with a quick trip to the birthplace of Aphrodite. While the talk at home turns to Christmas, even before we’ve had Halloween, you could be bathing in 24 degree sunshine and 22 degree seas. The island is famous for its fine white sand and shallow turquoise waters and with an average of 10 hours sunshine a day; it’s like autumn never happened.

Stay at the four-star Capo Bay Hotel, in the heart of Protaras, with beautiful gardens leading down the waterfront along Fig Tree Bay. Quieter than Ayia Napa, which is 10km away, it’s just a 10-minute drive from Cape Greco, one of the island’s most picturesque spots with sea caves and a national park. A week’s stay, arriving on October 6th, costs from €1,117 per person with Sunway, based on two sharing, including flights.

Or upgrade to Le Meridien Limassol, a five-star resort property right on a sandy beach – perfect for strolling the still-bustling resort’s 10km prom – from €1,357.

Goa for gold in November
The smallest Indian state has great weather year round but the period from November to March is ideal, with temperatures in the mid-20s to early 30s, sunshine, clear blue skies and, crucially, none of the humidity you get around monsoon time.

It is peak tourist season, too, however, so expect to pay a bit more for your sunshine infusion. But what price heat in this the most miserable time of the year.

The former hippy HQ still has its famous beachfront shacks but, thank heavens, has long since added a good range of decent hotels for the rest of us.

Stay at the four-star Cidade De Goa Hotel, on northern Curla Vainguinim Beach, where a double costs €118 a night in early November with Travel Republic. Or upgrade to Leela Goa, a five-star resort in the south with a spa, daily yoga sessions and resident ayurvedic doctor, for €220 a night during the same period. At time of writing, two-stop flights from Dublin to Goa were available from €648 each, departing November 2nd.
travelrepublic.ie, skyscanner.ie

Have a Canary
in December
There’s no real off-season in the Canary Islands but the 30 degree highs of summer will have mellowed to a comfortable 22 degree average. So it is sweat by day, sweaters by night and nice warm seas throughout. It is certainly a more relaxing proposition than braving rain and Christmas shoppers back home. There are loads of options too – with plenty of packages throughout the winter months to Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Tenerife.

Falcon Holidays has two-week half- board holidays, departing Friday, December 6th, from €882 each, based on two sharing from Dublin, at the Spring Arona Gran Hotel, a four-star property in Los Cristianos, southwest Tenerife. Or how about an all-inclusive option at the H10 Rubicon Palace Hotel in Playa Blanca, Lanzarote? Leaving on December 8th, prices start at €975 for a two-week package.

If time is tight, Cassidy Travel has a week at the Gloria Palace Amadores, in Gran Canaria, a seaside hotel built into a cliff with a great thalassotherapy centre, priced from €639. It leaves on December 14th, getting you back chilled, warmed and tanned in time for Christmas.
cassidytravel.ie, falconholidays.ie

January in the
sunshine state
To snowbirds, as the locals call the retirees who migrate here, Florida means just one thing – winter sun. In summer temperatures are a blistering 32 degrees, making all the things you want to do in Florida – namely visit theme parks – that bit more arduous. Much better to go in January when the weather has settled at a balmy 23 degrees, with no pesky hurricanes to worry about.

Stay in the thick of things at the four-star Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at Seaworld (could they make that name any longer?). Located at the southern end of International Drive, it is just a few minutes walk from Seaworld and its water park, Aquatica, and handy for Discovery Cove – where you can swim with dolphins if you wish. Or take a day tour to Busch Gardens, an hour away, and ride the roller coasters. A Tour America package includes two weeks room only accommodation and one-stop flights from Dublin from €975 per person sharing, departing mid-January.

You could opt for the freedom of self-catering with an equally well-located holiday villa. A week’s villa stay for two adults in Kissimee, handy for Disney, costs €2,184 departing on January 18th, with James Villas, including online discount and free entry level car hire.
touramerica.ie, jamesvillas.ie

February heat-seeking missiles in Cuba
Cuba’s tropical climate can be overpowering in summer when it’s hot and humid. February, however, is slap bang in the middle of the dry season for this good value Caribbean island, with average temperatures of 22 degrees and more pleasant conditions all round.

Stay at the Paradisus Princesa Del Mar on Varadero Beach, the island’s tourist and beach capital. The five-star hotel – which doesn’t take kids – has seven nights all-inclusive from €1,739 in February, travelling with Tropical Sky.

Be a bit more independent-minded and hang out in Havana instead. Go Hop has 10-night packages staying at Club Acuario, on the Hemingway Marina in the western part of the capital, a few kilometres from Old Havana, from €2,923 including all-inclusive accommodation and one-stop flights from Shannon on February 11th.
tropicalsky.ie, gohop.ie

Dive into Dubai in March
Dubai is a land of contrasts, mainly between Arctic air conditioning indoors and scorched earth outside. It’s like a Middle Eastern Baked Alaska. In summer it is where thermometers go to die, but March, when daily averages are about 26 degrees, is much more manageable. This makes it the perfect time to check out such eastern delights as Wild Wadi Water Park, the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, plus Ski Dubai, the indoor ski village.

A week’s stay B&B in the four-star Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Residence, on “The Walk”, in the heart of the popular Jumeirah Beach area, with all the boutiques, restaurants and easy access to downtown Dubai you could want, costs from €1,219 per person in March, with Travelmood.

Low Cost Holidays is quoting €2,488 for two people, for a six-night stay in the Al Ghurair Rayhaan by Rotana, a five-star hotel in Deira, staying on a half-board basis, leaving Dublin on March 8th.
travelmood.ie, lowcostholidays.ie

Avoid April showers
in Thailand
Of course April isn’t winter but, being the cruellest month and all, it very often might as well be. In fact, given the long winter you will have gone through by that stage, you will quite likely be at your lowest ebb – particularly if it’s a cold April.

Next year’s is particularly cruel in that Easter falls late, April 20th, which means holiday prices will shoot up as canny families use it as a way to cut the cost of their summer holiday. The problem facing these guys, though, is that staying close by the Med doesn’t actually guarantee you good weather in April. To be totally sun sure, you need to go further afield.

While the weather in Thailand is notoriously complex – rainy season, hot season, cool season, all varying depending on where you are – you’re pretty safe at its best-known beach resorts at this time of year.

A two-week stay at the B-Lay Tong Phuket, a five-star beach front hotel, costs from €1,373 each, based on two sharing. Or head to the four-star Maritime Park Resort in Krabi for €1,866 per person sharing, including breakfast, both with Ebookers. Both include flights leaving on April 5th. By the time you get back, sure it’s practically May Day.

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