Beating the winter blues with the best travel deals

Christmas and New Year have gone to plan and now, as you face into a year of work and navigate the fog of January during your morning commute, it is quite simply essential to start to plan a winter sun break.
Beating the winter blues with the best travel deals

The thing is, at this time of year, we must be extra vigilant when it comes to holiday booking. Because... weather.

Most of our summer staples are the opposite of a safe bet when it comes to winter holidays.

You see, while there may be exceptionally cheap deals on offer to destinations like Marbella during January and February, if the wind and even rain are flowing in the wrong direction, you could end up colder on holiday than you would be at home.

The secret of success is in the planning, and that’s where we come in.

Here is our guide to where to travel during the earlier months of the year, no matter your budget. Take note, because nobody wants to be shivering under a parasol as monsoon rain sweeps through their holiday village.

A Palatial Escape

The ocean-view pools are the main attraction at Hotel Natura Palace in Playa Blanca, Lanzarote.

A distinctly upmarket feel pervades, from the colonial architecture of the resort to the fantastic nightly entertainment at the piano bar.

Falcon Holidays are flying from Cork on January 23 for a week with a half board package for €869; options to upgrade to all-inclusive are great value too.

Rock The Kasbah

Guaranteed sun and ultra-luxe hotels make Morocco an increasingly popular winter sun destination.

The Sofitel Agadir Royal Bay Resort in Agadir is in the perfect location for a luxury winter sun break, because it boasts its own private area on the beach in front of the hotel.

With high ceilings and an expansive pool area, expect to take the sun in surroundings that may seem indulgent in their splendour. Sunway fly from Cork Airport on January 28, for €604 for a week’s stay at The Sofitel Agadir, on a half board basis.

It costs an extra €22 to ensure a balcony or terrace, which will add a huge amount to your stay, in our opinion.

Paradise Found

Malta offers extremely good value at this time of year, and while not blisteringly hot, is still warm enough for a sun-drenched break.

ClickandGo.com have a great deal leaving Dublin on January 28 for one week at an unbelievable €235 including flights, accommodation and transfers.

You will stay at Paradise Bay Hotel in Melieha, which overlooks Gozo and Comino.

The hotel is comfortable and clean with rightly decorated rooms that offer fantastic views to the sea and of the local harbour.

Family Time

Vistamar complex in Belamadena is a little tired, but is well-staffed and excellent value for a family break at this time of year.

The resort is looked after and clean and all one-bedroom apartments have kitchenettes — ideal for those of us with small children.

The hotel is five minutes walk from a beach and a 10-minute drive to the centre of Belamadena.

Falcon fly from Cork on January 29, with a half board package for one week at a value-added €488 per person.

Oasis Of Calm

Experience the luxury of the Oasis Duna Apartments located minutes from the town centre of Corralejo in Fuertaventura by flying from Shannon with Sunsearchholidays.com on January 29 for €209 per person.

It’s centrally situated 900m from the beach and the public bus service to famous sand dunes just 2km away is 200m from the reception.

The resort boasts an impressive pool area and excellent on site facilities which will appeal to both families and couples looking for self-catering apartments with the added benefit of breakfast or half board options.

Cyprus Dreaming

With year-round sunshine and a lively bar and restaurant trade, Larnaca in Cyprus is an ideal spot to soak some sun. Club Travel fly to Larnaca on January 26 for a week, staying at the StayCentral for €755 per person.

Located in a short walk to the Phinikudes seafront and its numerous cafes, bars and restaurants, this hotel is extremely well appointed.

The newly renovated one- bedroom apartments feature an open-plan living room, kitchen and dining area, a bathroom and an air-conditioned bedroom.

High-End Sun

Falcon Holidays fly from Dublin to Tenerife on January 13 for a five-star stay at the Riu Palace Tenerife.

At €1,049 per person, it’s not cheap, but this luxury resort had a full refurbishment last year, meaning that facilities and rooms are all brand spanking new.

The pool area boasts canopied beds designed for lolling about while drinking cocktails, and the pool is heated throughout the winter months, so don’t be shy about diving straight in.

The resort is curved in order to maximise on the stunning views of mountains and sea, and location-wise, you’ve got a little beach on the doorstep and Costa Adeje is a 20-minute stroll away.

Gorgeous Gran Canaria

Sunsearchholidays.ie has a half board luxury deal to Gran Canaria leaving from Cork on February 3 for a week. The four-star Cordial Mogan Playa Hotel is set within the Mogan Valley of Gran Canaria.

Winner of TripAdvisor’s Traveller’s Choice Award in 2013, this resort has it all.

You are spoiled with dining options, lots of bars and evening entertainment, superb swimming pools, spa facilities and a range of sports, all complemented by a daily activities programme.

If you’re bringing the kids, they will be whisked away by the on-site kids club and entertained to within an inch of their lives.

This is a resort to spend your entire break in — if you can handle the all-singing, all-dancing entertainment crew, then this will be your absolute best holiday yet.

For half board, it will cost you €1,068 per person, with an option to upgrade to all-inclusive.

All Out Amazing

White sand, incredible turquoise waters — if you want a long-haul sunshine holiday, then it doesn’t come much better than Bali.

Travelmood.ie flies to Bali from Dublin in February for 10 nights, with accommodation in the ultra fabulous Grand Aston Bali Beach Resort.

Forget about your worries and embrace the spirit of a worldwide luxury traveller in this gorgeous resort.

Whether it’s a second honeymoon you’re after, or you have something serious to propose (!), this is the place for you.

Set in the exclusive enclave of Nusa Dua on one of the exclusive beaches of Tanjung Benoa, the property has all mod cons including wifi and European-style bathrooms.

The package costs around €1,000 per person and includes all transfers, flights and accommodation.

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