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Summer breeze... Southern Europe boasts warm, sunny days throughout the winter

Don’t fancy the prospect of blizzards this winter? Then head south to the sun. WOrds: Carolyn Rae

s winter draws closer. the mornings get

darker. temperatures drop lower. and the

allure of sunnier climates gets even greater. You don‘t have to be suffering from seasonal affective disorder to find yourself yearning for the warming sensation of the sun on your skin. Many Scots find respite in scorching their flesh under sunbeds. but. really. there are more attractive altematives.

If you feel the need to escape to brighter pastures. then simply turn to the internet. There are plenty of cheap holidays available on the web you don't even need to brave the chill of traipsing to the travel agents. Go and indulge in some off-peak gallivanting with this guide to winter hot spots.

Canary Islands

The most popular winter sun destination is the humble Canary Islands. A staggering 25% of all Brits who go abroad for a dose of winter sun. head to these islands. They offer an average of six hours of sunshine each day. generally between 22—36 degrees. Although the seven islands are considered by many to be a mass tourism nightmare home to dodgy British theme pubs and unsightly apartment blocks it‘s the hottest place to head in winter in under five hours.

Late deals: Expect to pay around £200 for a week in Gran Canaria

Check out: www.bargainholidayscom

Birthplace oprhrodite. the Greek goddess of love

1 16 THE LIST 30 Oct—13 Nov 2003

and beauty. Cyprus is the largest island in the

eastern Mediterranean and boasts spectacular

scenery and unspoilt sandy beaches. With a 9000- year cultural legacy. combining influences from east and west. it‘s not just the daily average of six hours of sunshine in winter that draws people to the island. If you get sick of lazing in the sun there‘s plenty of art. history and culture to take in stone ruins. Greek temples. Byzantine churches. and Roman theatres are scattered across the island. Late deals: Expect to pay at least £250 for one week

Check out: www.lastminute.com


Portugal is hosting Euro 2004. but you don‘t have to wait to see if Scotland qualifies for the finals to visit. In November it has an average of four or five hours of sunshine a day. The Algarve and the island of Madeira offer the best weather in Portugal during winter. with temperatures around 18—22 degrees. Madeira is 497 miles from the African coast and has the least rain in Portugal during winter. while the Algarve region to the south of mainland Portugal boasts some of Europe’s best beaches. The Algarve coastline boasts old fishing villages with quaint cobbled streets. local markets. and seafood restaurants aplenty.

Late deals: Expect to pay under £200 for one week

Check out: www.cheapflights.co.uk

Balearic Islands

Not really recognised as a destination for

peaceful relaxation. these islands are best known for attracting tourists who like to ‘rave to the grave'. as the kids might say. This tag. however. is only true of Ibiza Mallorca and Menorca have yet to be overrun with party animals. During winter there‘s a daily average of six hours of sunshine. with temperatures around l-l—l8 degrees. Other than sun and sand. Mallorca offers the cultural delights of Roman ruins and caves. while .\lenorca has some great archaeological sites for those who are hoping to receive the Time Team l)VI) box-set this Christmas.

Late deals: lixpect to pay around £200 for one week

Check out: www.lastminute.com


If you've got a bigger budget and don’t mind long flights. head to Florida. land of the theme park. Average winter temperatures are around 18—26 degrees. typically with six hours of sunshine daily. In Orlando. Florida. there are 11 theme parks covering 50 square miles. but if the traditional. cheesy attractions of Disneyland. Seaworld and l'niversal Studios fail to float your boat. there are plenty more distractions in the sunshine state. As well as some stunning beaches on the Gulf Coast. you can indulge in some of the fittest retail therapy the US has to offer.

Late deals: lixpect to pay at least £299 for a package deal

Check out: www.cheapllights.co.uk