As we approach the end of the year, we are left with those awkward dribs and drabs of annual leave, those last few days that you don’t really know what to do with. That doesn’t mean you have to waste them on a ‘life admin’ day at home, though. Here’s some food for thought on how you can make the most of your last days of freedom for 2016. Grab your passport – we are going abroad!
The Canary Islands are a pretty great choice for for a short break. In just a few hours you can be basking in balmy temperatures poolside, and while you could most certainly sit, cocktail in hand, for a week or two, a few days is certainly enough to leave you rejuvenated.
We love Lanzarote for a long weekend. Looking to let your hair down? Puerto del Carmen is home to vibrant bars and restaurants. Do you want to simply enjoy a bit of ‘me time’? Head for Costa Teguise, where the most strenuous thing you’ll have to do is take on the 18-hole golf course. Costa Teguise’s beaches are gorgeous, too, and provide the perfect setting for your weekend of relaxation. Fancy enjoying a bit of Spanish charm? The charming fishing village of Playa Blanca is home to a lovely promenade where you can while away the hours at one of the many oceanfront cafes and restaurants – a million miles away from normality.
Alternatively, hop over to Fuerteventura – a haven for watersports lovers. Swap the ice rink for the pleasant waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Thanks to its windy position, windsurfing and other sports are massive highlights, here.
While Italy doesn’t necessarily provide you with a dose of winter sun, what it does offer is cosy café escapes, hearty food and stunning scenery.
Italy’s cities are simply gorgeous in the winter time and a few days is just the right amount of time to explore. They are noticeable quieter than in the summer months, so you can benefit from shorter queues – ideal when you’ve got limited time.
Florence’s art galleries and museums are perfect winter warmers, while Rome’s iconic sites such as the Colosseum and St. Peter’s Basilica arguably look their prettiest in the winter (and the crisp winter days make for beautiful photos).
Over to a more unique city – Venice. During the winter months, Venice’s lagoons are coated in mist (eerie) and unlike in the summer months, explorations of them are much more laid-back, thanks to fewer crowds. Spend your days simply getting lost in this labyrinth or add a bit of romance to your long weekend with a side-trip to Verona. This small, compact city allows you to view plenty of sights while only having to go a short distance before sneaking into a café for a warm cappuccino.
Chill in Cyprus
Cypriot cuisine need be the only reason to spend a long weekend in Cyprus – and in the winter, it’s no exception. Enjoy everything from meze and calamari, to halloumi, kleftiko (a traditional lamb dish) and more. To burn it all off, head for the Troodos Mountains – hiking, cycling, fishing, you name it, this area will have you spoilt for choice.
Also, not forgetting the weather is pretty pleasant in November and December – temperatures can still reach 20 degrees, while the worst you might experience is 10 degrees. On those days, head for one of the island’s spas. I am sure there is a treatment or two that will have you grateful you aren’t spending a day ironing!
Don’t discount Dubai
If you can hold on in there on the flight for just a few more hours, within seven hours you can be in Dubai. We can think of worse ways to spend a weekend! Plus, Dubai is just four hours ahead of the UK, so there is no need to worry that you will only start to adjust to your new time zone just as it’s time to leave.
Dubai is home to world-class golf courses, swathes of golden sand beaches, trendy brunches, champagne bars and shopping – lots of shopping. If you have given a thought to those that you have left behind for a few days, hit one of Dubai’s malls or markets for some Christmas shopping.
If you have ever dreamt of hitting a waterpark in the winter, then Dubai’s Atlantis or Wild Wadi Park are where dreams come true. Dubai takes our title as the destination to hit for the best weather. Temperatures are late 20s throughout the winter – well worth the hours on a plane if you ask us.
How will you be making the most of your last bit of annual leave?