28. November 2011 15:33
If you want to get away from the long, dark nights and the worsening weather for a while, then maybe you'll consider a spot of sunshine this winter. Leave behind the cold, the rain and the clogged up roads and head for one of these three top tourist destinations.
In many ways it's the 'new kid on the block' but that's not always a bad thing. One of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is a city state situated on a coastal strip bordered by desert. Winter temperatures are around a very pleasurable 20-25 degrees although it cools down to around the 15 mark at night.
Since the founding of the oil industry Dubai has attracted migrant workers from all around the globe. Since the population is so diverse, you won't necessarily feel you are in an Arab country and as such the laws are relatively liberal. They really want you here.
There's so much to do. It's a shopper's paradise with over 40 malls from which to choose, its nightlife is second to none and the choice of top-notch restaurants will make every evening meal something to remember.
Dubai has some of the finest white and sandy beaches in the world with a water sports culture to match. It's keen on land sports too and a great feature every winter is the camel racing on Thursdays and Fridays. Check out the local vendors for that really unusual memento.
This beautiful island, the largest of the Canaries, became popular as a holiday hotspot in the early 60s and is still as popular today. In the winter you'll find the temperature on most days about 18-22 degrees, although it will drop to around 12 at night. It's hot enough to enjoy the sunshine but also to let you get on with your holiday activities.
Santa Cruz is the capital and is an idyllic combination of ancient and modern Spain. Visit the local museum, try out the local fish delicacies or enjoy a quiet drink in a local bar. If it's a more energetic time you're after, the resorts in the south of the island will not disappoint. If you like to get off the beaten track, hire a car and head inland and lose yourself in a mountainous wilderness that will seem light years from home. There is truly something for everybody here.
For something slightly different, Morocco is the place to be. As a North African country it has a coastline on the Atlantic and the Mediterranean as well as sharing a border with the Sahara Desert. Most of us have 'been' there in music or film, travelling the 'Road to Marrakech' or wiping a tear from the eye at the end of 'Casablanca'. So why not bring these places and many others to life?
Rabat, the capital, is a very relaxed city and choosing a souvenir in the old capital of Fez wouldn't be too difficult! Hiring a car here is a great idea. You can move through the bazaars, markets and mosques out to pretty little seaside towns and medieval cities. The temperature in the winter is normally around a generous 21 degrees so if it's a beach holiday you want; Morocco is also the place to be.