Top 10 best holiday destinations for winter sun

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (October 26, 2020): Top 10 best destinations for winter sun.

For most travelers, 2020 feels surreal and empty, almost like this year never really took place. With the pandemic in full force across the globe and the constantly changing quarantine rules, it is more complicated and discouraging than ever to plan a holiday abroad, with travelers not just wondering about the best places to stay, but where is safe to travel to right now. As the world adjusts to the new COVID-19 normal and the colder months are making their way to the Northern Hemisphere, many of us wonder whether it will still be possible to fly to classic winter-sun destinations. Here’s my roundup of the world’s best winter-sun destinations that not only offer warm weather from November onwards, but are also open for all international tourists (but keep in mind that you need to check the most recent travel information regarding your destination, to ensure it’s up to date and accurate).

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With 118 islands dotted in the mighty blue South Pacific Ocean, French Polynesia has, as you probably expect, some pretty awesome beaches. Just 12 miles (19 km long), the lush little slipper of land called Bora Bora lies in French Polynesia’s most mesmerizing lagoon edged by fine white sandy shores. Luxurious over-water bungalows nestled over the world’s most beautiful lagoon with a tropical backdrop make Bora Bora a top destination for the discerning traveler.

  • Entry requirements:
    • Completion of an online health registration form within 3 days before your flight
    • A negative COVID-19 PCR test, taken no earlier than 72 hours before departure
  • Best time to visit: the wet season (Polynesian summers) runs from November till April. During these months the humidity levels can be at an all-time high and storms are frequent and unpredictable. The dry season from May to October is when tourism is at its peak on the islands; during these months the temperature is a few degrees lower and rain is rare.
  • My selection of hotels: read my top 10 list of the best luxury resorts in French Polynesia.



From the Aswan temple near Lake Nasser in the south to the Mediterranean shores in the north, a holiday in Egypt will unveil the rich tapestry of its glorious past. For the greatest cultural experience of all, one needs to travel south to Luxor, also known as the ancient city of Thebes, where you can visit the Valley of the Kings. With coastlines on the Mediterranean Sea, the River Nile and the Red Sea, Egypt also offers a diverse range of beach activities and landscapes.

  • Entry requirements:
    • A negative COVID-19 PCR test, taken no earlier than 72 hours before departure
  • Best time to visit: Egypt is best visited in the fall (September to November) and spring (February to April). The weather is relatively chilly December through January, except in the south, where the winter is very pleasant. The summer is the only time to be avoided for climatic reasons: Cairo is hot, muggy, and filthy for most of June through August, and the rest of Egypt and even the Red Sea coast can also be uncomfortably hot.
  • My selection of hotels: The Oberoi, Sahl Hasheesh and Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh



The Dominican Republic is the second largest and most diverse Caribbean country, situated just two hours south of Miami, less than four hours from New York and eight hours from most European cities. Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the north and the Caribbean Sea on the south, the lush tropical island paradise boasts nearly 1,000 miles (1,609 km) of coastline, 250 miles (402 km) of the world’s top beaches, magnificent resorts and hotels, and a variety of sports, recreation and entertainment options.

  • Entry requirements: no COVID-19-related entry requirements are mandated.
  • Best time to visit: The best time to visit the Dominican Republic is in April and May when the peak tourist season has ended and before the start of the hurricane season later in the year. The Dominican Republic is a reliably popular winter destination for travelers looking to escape the cold up north; but as a result, prices are known to increase drastically during the coldest season of the year.
  • My selection of hotels: Amanera, Casa de Campo Resort & Villas, and Eden Roc at Cap Cana



When you hike in the majestic cloudy rainforest of Costa Rica, watch the eruptions of explosive volcanos or relax under the palm trees of the white sandy beaches, the thought of an eco-paradise and the most beautiful place on Earth will be on the tip of your tongue. The Corcovado peninsula in the south is one of the most diverse biotopes on earth and will leave an astonishing impression (so be sure to put it on your itinerary when visiting the country).



Between its gravity-defying skyscrapers and stunning desert landscape, Dubai is a dazzling metropolis, blending past and present to electrifying effect and offering something for everyone. Travelers can gaze over the city’s skyline from the 148th floor of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building on earth; explore Palm Jumeirah, an artificial archipelago featuring a waterpark and dolphin habitat; or bask in the winter sun on the private beaches of Dubai’s ultraluxe destination hotels.

  • Entry requirements:
    • a negative COVID-19 PCR test, taken no earlier than 96 hours before departure
  • Best time to visit: Dubai’s high season – November to March – offers balmy temperatures and mostly sunny days. This is the best time to participate to outdoor activities or simply relax on the pool deck. May to September can be uncomfortably hot, but if you can tolerate the heat and humidity, you can save hundreds of dollars as this is low season.
  • My selection of hotels: read my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in Dubai.



Mexico is one of the world’s most beautiful countries, with a diverse cultural scene, spectacular nature, a rich history, and a vibrant society. The sunny nation is also known for its stunning white-sand beaches and turquoise waters, which are the playground of Europeans and Americans during the Northern Hemisphere’s colder winter months, especially the areas of the Riviera Maya and Los Cabos.

  • Entry requirements: no COVID-19-related entry requirements are mandated.
  • Best time to visit: The best time to visit Mexico is during the dry season between December and April, when there is virtually no rain. The coolest months are between December and February, although temperatures can still reach averages of 28°C (82°F) during the dry season. The wet season begins in the south in May and lasts until November (with a risk of hurricanes).
  • My selection of hotels: read my top 10 list of the best beach resorts in Mexico.



The tiny island of Saint Lucia in the Caribbean awestrucks its visitors by the beauty of its landscape and the colorful culture of its people. Nature lovers can hike through Saint Lucia’s lush rainforest interior or climb to the summit of Gros Piton for breathtaking views across the surrounding countryside and ocean. Foodies will be enamored with the islands delicious Creole cuisine. Saint Lucia is also an excellent spot for relaxing on the beach.

  • Entry requirements:
    • Completion of a Travel Registration Form no earlier than 7 days before departure
    • A negative COVID-19 PCR test, taken no earlier than 7 days before departure
  • Best time to visit: The best time to visit Saint Lucia is in the high season, from Mid-December to Mid-April. During this season, you’ll experience the most sunshine. If you are looking for a more laid-back vibe, the ‘wet’ season might be your pick during the months of June to November, but there’s always a risk of a storm, even a hurricane.
  • My selection of hotels: Jade Mountain, Ladera, Marigot Bay, and Cap Maison



Zanzibar is a unique archipelago of about 50 coral islands, lying in the Indian Ocean a short distance from Tanzania. The archipelago is a major tourist destination, where visitors laze around in the winter sun on magnificent beaches, stroll the tumbling streets of Stone Town (a UNESCO heritage site), inhale the lingering fragrance of the space plantations, or get mystified by the island’s rich history and culture.

  • Entry requirements: no COVID-19-related entry requirements are mandated.
  • Best time to visit: The best time to visit Zanzibar is from June to October during the long, dry season, when most days are sunny and substantial rainfall is fairly unusual. Another popular time to visit Zanzibar is during the short dry seasons from January to February when dry weather prevails although humidity is picking up. The worst time to visit Zanzibar is during the main rainy season, or the ‘long rains’, which last from March to May.
  • My selection of hotels: read my top 10 list of the best beach resorts in Zanzibar.



Surrounded by the globe’s third-largest coral reef, the Turks and Caicos Islands have some of the planet’s most ethereal turquoise seas and finest powdery sand beaches. While their western neighbors of the Bahamas went mass with their lost-on-the-way-to-Las-Vegas resorts, the Turks went class, quietly opening a string of very luxurious resorts in the past decade and a representing a perfect destination for discerning travelers wanting to soak up some winter sun.

  • Entry requirements:
    • A negative COVID-19 PCR test, taken no earlier than 5 days before departure
    • Travel or health insurance that covers the cost of COVID-19 treatment
    • Registration on TCI Assured Travel Authorization Portal
  • Best time to visit: like other islands in the Caribbean, Turks & Caicos’ dry seasons and peak travel period lasts from December to March. However, the best time to visit Turks & Caicos is April and May, a sweet spot featuring lower prices and fewer crowds. The weather is pleasant year-round with average highs that hover in the 80s, but these islands do experience a rainy season, and the threat of hurricanes lingers from June to November.
  • My selection of hotelsAmanyara and COMO Parrot Cay



Located on the equator towards the south of India, and stretching over 500 miles (800 km), the Maldives are the visible coral tips of an oceanic volcanic mountain range whose outer edge at some points plunge to depths of over 2 miles (3 km). The islands are blessed with stunning beaches, crystal clear lagoons, incredible underwater wildlife, and unrivaled luxury resorts. The Maldives is also home to Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani, my favorite resorts in the world, both of them ensuring a COVID-free environment: all Soneva hosts & guests do a PCR test upon arrival (which is not a compulsory measure from the government) and therefore, no masks are required (no news, no shoes, no masks!).

  • Entry requirements:
    • Completion of a Traveler Health Declaration (THD) form one day prior to arrival
    • A negative COVID-19 PCR test, taken no earlier than 3 days before departure
  • Best time to visit: the best weather is between January and April, which also means high season (and high hotel prices). The monsoon runs from May to October, peaking in June.
  • My selection of hotels: read my top 10 list of the best luxury resorts in the Maldives.


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  1. You missed out Barbados. Tried several of those on your list but none of them come near to Barbados for a luxury Winter holiday 😎🇧🇧🏝

  2. A charming and inspiring offer and a chic choice to forget about work , Covid 19-20 (smoothly but firmly turning into 20) and give free rein to the accumulated desires !
    Dear The Great Expert !
    Taking into account that apart from the destinations for rest , You also recommend many hotels in these places , we have no chance of staying at home … :
    You are opening previously unknown cozy places under sun for us !
    My heartfelt thanks for Your ideal offer and helpful recommendations !
    *** Vlado’s note :
    Dear The Great Expert !
    We are warmed not only by the sun , but also by Your wishes and business advice !

  3. Appreciating the time and effort you put into your website and in depth information you offer. Awesome places to explore. I would like to suggest it to my friends so that we can plan a trip and take a time for ourselves in this busy schedule. Worth sharing! Keep posting such wonderful places. Thanks a lot!

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