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If spending sunny days in warmer climes is more your thing, here is our guide to the best in winter sun this year:
Within five hours:
Short flights, wonderful sights and an idyllic winter climate make Egypt a great winter destination. At this time of year, Cairo is pleasantly warm (an average 21C) and dry, so you can see the Pyramids in perfect conditions, while Luxor, where it hardly ever rains, bathes under clear skies with temperatures in the mid-20s.
Malaga and Seville are wonderful places to explore in the warm winter months. Even if it is not quite tanning weather, on average there are only six days of rain and you should still get six hours of sunshine a day – perfect conditions for exploring these wonderful cities.
Within nine hours:
Most of the Caribbean Islands come into their own in February. The tropical downpours that are common between June and January are less heavy and less frequent from February to May, the humidity drops and temperature stays in the same, 28C – 30C, cooled slightly by sea breezes. There are slight variations between the islands, however. Here’s a brief summary giving temperature, number of days with rain and hours of sunshine for February:
Barbados: 28C, eight days, nine hours.
Cuba: 26C, four days, six hours.
Dominican Republic: 29C, six days, six hours.
St Lucia: 28C, 13 days, eight hours.
Within 11 hours
While the long sandy beaches of Goa will soak up most of the package holidaymakers to India this winter, the lush, tropical state of Kerala is an engaging and rather less developed alternative. It too, has lovely beaches and some package hotels. It also offers ‘homestays’, where local families have turned their ancestral homes into upmarket B&Bs or boutique-style hotels. February is the last month of the dry season (just one centimetre of rain on average) and temperatures (peaking at 28C) start to climb again after a relatively cool January (24C). You should see eight hours of sunshine a day.
If all you want is sun, sea, sand and baking hot sunshine, February is one of the best months to come to the tropical atolls in the Maldives. It is the driest month of the year (it is unlikely to rain at all while you are there), the temperatures stay in the mid to high 20s day and night, the sea water is tepid and you should see six hours of sunshine a day. Compared with the Caribbean, packages here are good value, too.