Three of the best places to visit for winter sun

Updated on Jun 28, 2023 by Clarabel Jones

Blog > Three of the best places to visit for winter sun

The Gambia, Cape Verde and Goa are three of our favourite places to visit for winter sun. Here, we talk a little about each sun-trap, reasons to travel there and what each destination has to offer.

Alongside The Gambia, we also sell a diverse selection of winter sun holidays to Cape Verde and Goa, two destinations that, like The Gambia, are known for their beautiful beaches, low rainfall throughout the winter and year-round warm temperatures.

Accompanied by our summer destinations, Corsica and Sardinia, we've been sending people on unforgettable holidays for 34 years now, over which time we've build up a bank of specialist knowledge. We know each of our five destinations like the back of our hand!

If you're craving an escape from the UK's dark and dreary winter, find out a little more about our three winter destinations and start dreaming about your next sun-kissed escape...



The Gambia

Whether you’re in search of a blissful beach break or an activity-filled holiday, The Gambia has you covered. 

Aside from the fascinating culture, uncrowded beaches and diverse wildlife that await you there, The Gambia’s climate is hard to beat when it comes to winter sun, with temperatures from October to mid-June (the dry season) ranging between 31°C and 34°C.


Things to do

1. Relax on the beach. With many hotels just steps away from the sand, The Gambia’s long and uncrowded beaches provide the perfect place on which to relax.

Our favourite Gambian beaches >>

Kotu beach


2. Discover The Gambia's birdlife. Head out on a birdwatching tour and tick off some of the 600+ species of bird that call The Gambia home. Our Tanji Kayaking Adventure provides the perfect opportunity to witness birdlife up close from the water!

Discover our birdwatching tours >>


3. Peruse some local markets. The Gambia is home to several bustling markets, one of the best being the atmospheric craft market in Bakau – bartering is expected!


4. Stay in an eco-camp or lodge. From Mandina Lodges, floating lodges on a creek, to Fathala Wildlife Resort, a nature reserve in neighbouring Senegal, our Unique properties promise a memorable stay.

Why not book a twin-centre holiday which combines a luxury stay at Ngala Lodge with a couple of days witnessing African game at Fathala Wildlife Reserve?

Mandina Lodges


5. Meet crocodiles. Get up close to a crocodile at Kachikally Crocodile Pool in Bakau. Enjoy a visit here with our Six Tours in One excursion, or see them in the wild around the natural pool at Calypso bar in Cape Point.

Find out more things to do in The Gambia >>


Where to stay?

1. Ngala Lodge

Fajara | Boutique Luxury

Adults only, and with just 25 suites, this luxury hotel is poised high above a quiet and scenic cove, with fantastic views overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Blessed with attentive yet relaxed service, award-winning Ngala Lodge is one of the best places to visit for winter sun. Stroll through the peaceful, tropical gardens, and relax by the beachside decking area or two swimming pools, including an infinity pool that seems to merge with the Atlantic Ocean.

Find out more


2. Senegambia Hotel

Kololi | 3.5 Grade

Set in the bustling resort of Kololi, right beside the sea, Senegambia is one of The Gambia’s best known hotels.

As The Gambia's largest hotel, it's very lively with a wide range of activities during the winter aimed at adults, teenagers and children – the most popular being the daily vulture feeding in the hotel’s gardens. The famous gardens and the diverse birdlife that reside within them can be explored further with the hotel's resident ornithologist.

Find out more


3. Holiday Beach Club

Kololi | 2 Grade

A simple but well-known hotel, Holiday Beach Club is located directly on the beach of Kololi. Adjacent to the main hustle and bustle of this popular Gambian resort, the hotel benefits from easy access to all the local amenities, whilst enjoying a peaceful atmosphere around its tropical gardens.

You'll undoubtedly spend much of your day in the hotel swimming pool, complete with a poolside bar, sunloungers and daily poolside activities.

Find out more




Cape Verde

Set in the Atlantic Ocean, 350 miles off the coast of mainland Africa, the volcanic islands that make up Cape Verde may be known for their powdery white beaches, but there’s much more to the archipelago’s 10 islands than first meets the eye.

A captivating culture, fascinating historical identity, natural beauty and exciting activities ensure there’s something for everybody who lands here. And, with year-round temperatures between 24°C and 30°C, the islands are one of the best places to visit for winter sun!


Things to do

1. Unwind on the beach. Powder-soft sand swashed by turquoise shores and lined with swaying palm trees: the beaches in Cape Verde are some of the best places to visit for winter sun.

Sal, Cape Verde’s most popular island, is home to the gorgeous Santa Maria beach where bustling bars, shops and restaurants offer a welcome break from the sand. On the island of Boa Vista however, you’ll find unspoilt stretches of sand with barely a soul in sight to share them with.

Our favourite beaches in Cape Verde >>

Santa Maria beach, outside Hotel Morabeza


2. Try some water sports. The higher winds during November and March make Cape Verde’s beaches a great place to practice water sports, from windsurfing and kitesurfing to sailing.


3. Book one of our island hopping tours. With so many islands to discover, our island hopping tours are the best way to get a balance of relaxation and adventure on your Cape Verde holiday. 

Witness the lunar-like landscape of Fogo and immerse yourself in Santiago’s rugged peaks and lush green valleys, before flopping on a beach in Sal. Paradise!

Browse our island hopping tours >>

Mountains on the island of Santo Antão


4. Get festival fever! Mindelo’s annual Carnival on the island of São Vicente is by far the archipelago’s most famous event. Held each year on Shrove Tuesday, the carnival sees this small Cape Verdean town come alive with live music and colourful dance performances.


5. See turtles and whales. Cape Verde is home to some of the most important loggerhead turtle nesting sites in the world. On the island of Sal, you can visit Project Biodiversity, a non-profit organisation which helps hatchlings make their way to the sea.

The waters around Boa Vista are also a known breeding ground for humpback whales, so why not book a catamaran tour to see the mighty mammals for yourself? Sightings are possible from late February through to May.

Find out more things to do in Cape Verde >>


Where to stay?

1. Iberostar Club Boa Vista

Boa Vista | 4.5 Grade

Overlooking one of the finest beaches in the whole of Cape Verde, this all inclusive Iberostar hotel is one of the best places to stay for winter sun on the island of Boa Vista.

Such is the philosophy of the Iberostar group, you can expect an excellent standard of facilities and service throughout your stay, including a gorgeous swimming pool, immaculate grounds, activities galore, a spa and more!

Find out more


2. Hotel Morabeza

Sal | 4.5 Grade

An immaculately kept, family-run hotel boasting great facilities and direct access to Santa Maria’s white-sand beach, it’s no surprise that Hotel Morabeza continues to be our most popular hotel in Cape Verde.

The longest established hotel on Sal, it offers fantastic facilities including four restaurants, three bars and three swimming pools, not to mention a variety of on-site activities such as mini-golf, archery and tennis.

Find out more


3. Kira's Hotel

São Vicente | 2 Grade

This small and friendly guesthouse is nestled in the cultural heart of Mindelo on São Vicente.

Bursting with charm and character, the atmosphere here provides a real home-from-home feel. Guests love Kira’s rooftop terrace, which offers a superb sunbathing spot with views over Mindelo’s rooftops, plus a gazebo for when you need a break from the scorching winter sun.

Find out more





Hugging India’s south-western coast, Goa is nothing short of magical. Powdery white-sand beaches lined with swaying palm trees and colourful beach shacks, verdant jungles, meandering rivers and emerald mountains combine to create a landscape that’ll capture your heart from day one.

Add to this a vibrant culture, a fascinating historical narrative to discover and winter temperatures averaging 30ºC, and you have a winter sun destination made in heaven!

Beach shacks on Palolem beach


Things to do

1. Head to the beach. Goa is blessed with 105km of coastline, with many of the lively beaches backed by colourful beach shacks, making them great places to kick off your shoes and grab a kingfisher beer as the sun sets.

There are quieter beaches too; in South Goa you'll find tranquil havens where the only sound you'll hear is the lapping of the waves!

Our top 10 beaches in Goa >>

Cola beach, South Goa


2. Barter at the Saturday Night Market. The bustling Saturday Night Market near Arpora is one one of Goa's top attractions. Live music and the exotic aromas of street food fill the air, as you wander past row after row of souvenir stalls.

Discover Goa's best markets >>


3. Visit a spice plantation. Ponda is famous for its fragrant spice plantation tours where you can see peppercorns, cardamom, cloves, cumin, saffron, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and vanilla pods growing straight out of the ground. Enjoy the spices in a traditional Goan meal with a glass of Feni, the local spirit made from cashew nuts!


4. Stroll around Old Goa. Known as ‘the Rome of the East’, in the 16th century, Old Goa was the largest and richest city in the whole of Asia. Goa holidays aren't complete without a tour of the imposing Basilica of Bom Jesus and the Sé Cathedral, the largest church in India.


5. Join us on one of our India tours. Our India tours are a great way of exploring further afield and discovering the nation’s rich history. Discover the ancient village and temple complex of Hampi or tick a Wonder of the World off your bucket list in Agra – home to the magnificent Taj Mahal. 

Don’t fancy travelling far? There’s lots to discover close by too, with waterfalls, spice plantations and an intricate network of backwaters on your doorstep.

Find out more things to do in Goa >>



Where to stay?

1. Santana Beach Resort

Starting with our customers’ absolute favourite hotel, Santana Beach Resort offers fantastic value for money and an unparalleled beach location.

Sitting in Goa’s bustling north alongside Candolim Beach, and just a matter of steps from the village, you'll find two pools, two restaurants and two bars on site; you won't even need to leave the hotel grounds if you don’t want to!

Find out more


2. Alila Diwa Goa

Majorda | 5 Grade Deluxe

The perfect romantic place to visit for winter sun, Alila Diwa Goa is a beautiful Balinese style hotel surrounded by fields of emerald rice paddies.

Alila Diwa is known for its fantastic facilities. If the infinity pool, luxury spa and nearby Majorda beach aren't enough to keep you occupied, the hotel's cookery courses, yoga sessions and mini theatre will surely fill in the gaps.

Find out more


3. Sonesta Inns

Candolim | 3.5 Grade

A 52-room hotel just steps from the bustling atmosphere of Candolim, Sonesta Inns is a firm favourite with our Goa Experience customers.

It provides a real haven of peace and serenity in the lively town of Candolim, with mature gardens filled with colourful flowers, lush lawns and coconut palms, all surrounding a large and inviting swimming pool.

Find out more



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