The Warmest Places to Visit This Winter

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Discoveries Gallery South Africa Cuba Australia Ghana Brazil

Without the distraction of seasonal holidays, winter can be a trying time for those of us living in North America or Europe. As the cold bites, thoughts naturally turn to warmer climes. If you're reading this and nodding, here are our suggestions for the warmest places to visit this winter.

South Africa

Vibrant Landscape with vineyards in spring green with Mountains in the background
Credit: Daniel S Edwards/Shutterstock

The Southern Hemisphere summer will soon be in full swing, making this the ideal time to head to South Africa. Durban's wide sandy beaches just got a whole lot closer with the launch of direct flights from London, but old favorites like Cape Town and its winelands, the Garden Route and some of the best wildlife spotting opportunities in the continent appeal to everyone. With the mercury snapping at the heels of 30°C, it’s hot enough for you to enjoy the country’s long coastline.

Cuba

View over the city Trinidad on Cuba
Credit: rphstock/Shutterstock

Traditionalists will direct their attention to the Caribbean. Reliable weather, with cloudless blue skies and plenty of sunshine, is the main draw. Air temperatures are comfortably in the mid to high twenties and the sea’s deliciously warm too. Cuba continues to win plaudits with its heady mix of music, vintage cars and a burgeoning food scene. To get the most from your island stay, combine a few days in Havana or Trinidad with a stay beside one of the country’s beautiful beaches.

Australia

Surfers on emerald waves of famous Bondi beach in Australia, Sydney
Credit: Taras Vyshnya/Shutterstock

Avoid the wet season in the tropical north, but the heat peaks in Australia's parched red center at this time of year. Flies can also irritate, so avoid Uluru and stick to the coast. Miles of beautiful beaches, a laid-back but utterly functional lifestyle and plenty of good hotels make this an excellent choice. Sydney's attractive harbor and Melbourne's buzzing nightlife make them the standout cities. With temperatures into the thirties and beyond, you’ll see why Aussies love the great outdoors so much.

Central America

aerial view of Tikal, Guatemala
Credit: Evgeny Drokov/Shutterstock

The seven countries that comprise the isthmus of Central America have had a turbulent history, but travel in the region is largely safe for those who've done their research. Temperatures soar and rain clouds are largely a distant memory, attracting adventurous snowbirds and sun seekers alike. Temples poke from rainforest canopies in Guatemala and Belize, a remnant of ancient civilizations whose descendants remain in the area to this day. Temperatures on Costa Rica’s Pacific beaches are reliably into the thirties in January making this the perfect location to chill out after your excursions elsewhere.

Ghana

Cape Coast town ancient slave castle in Ghana, west Africa
Credit: Michael Agbenyegah/Shutterstock

The West African nation of Ghana will suit adventurous travelers, and for those living in Europe, has the advantage of being in the same time zone. The weather’s anything but similar, and January visitors can expect temperatures in the low thirties. Head west from the chaos of the capital Accra to chill out by the beach at Elmina. Once rested, explore the town’s bustling market and its seafront castle, once a slave fort. Cape Coast castle is also a short distance away and makes for an emotional visit regardless of who you are - the Obamas visited a few years ago, as did Melania Trump earlier this autumn.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Palms and Two Brothers Mountain on Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Credit: Aleksandar Todorovic/Shutterstock

Winter’s a good time to visit the most famous city in Brazil – and not just for its legendary February carnival. Its residents are as hot and sultry as its weather, and they know how to make visitors welcome. Join the party and then stick around for a while to explore. Hang out with the locals on the famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, ride the cable car to take in the view atop Sugar Loaf Mountain and get up close to the enormous Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado Mountain.

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