Spending Christmas on a beach is the perfect way to spend the festive period for a lot of people. Escaping bad weather, the Christmas frenzy and the long hours of the darkness is beyond the bounds of possibility. Despite being in the middle of the cold, gloomy North Sea, the UK has lots of choices for places to fly out to – near or far.
Looking for inspiration, we asked the guys over at Travelbag to give us some ideas for planning a last minute Christmas beach holiday…
A lot of people are always surprised that you can get to Dubai from the UK in seven hours. That’s not bad going from rain-lashed Britain to the hot, sandy Middle East. Dubai is the perfect destination for Christmas tourists in search of an alternative festive holiday.
Spoil yourself at one of the countless luxury hotels, like the Atlantis, and get down to the beach. Nearby Nasimi Beach is the perfect location for sun worshipping. With a selection of loungers, day beds and private cabanas for you to take some well earned rest.
Golf, shopping and, believe it or not, skiing at the Mall of the Emirates, are just some of the things you can get up to if you need a break from the beach.
Mexico is beautifully balmy around December with highs of 29°c and lows of 21°c across the month. There are so many amazing locations in this country, but if you want easy and accessible, Cancun is your port of call. This is the purpose-built tourist city on the Yucatan Peninsula which faces the Caribbean.
Find a hotel that suits you and get there in less than half a day – non-stop flights take about 11 hours. Once there, drop your bags and hit the beach. Mexico has some of the best beaches on this section of coastline. There’s lots more to do, venture out to the nearby islands, like Cozumel, visit local historical sites, helicopter flights, water sports, cruises and theme parks are all within easy reach.
UK fliers can reach Africa in less than three hours. Thanks to a growing number of airlines providing cheap flights to Morocco, a trip to Marrakech and Essouira is a wonderful way to spend Christmas. December is a great time to visit too, the summer dust has settled, the weather is warm and you get a chance to see the snow-capped Atlas Mountains to full effect.
Get a tour guide or a driver to help you navigate the souks, riads and marketplaces which make Morocco famous. The array of rich textiles, fragrant spices, gleaming lanterns and handmade jewellery will while away many an afternoon. A drive up to Essouira provides the perfect place to relax. Chill out in sumptuous hotels with a mint tea or treat yourself to a hammam. Being a muslim country, Christmas isn’t traditionally celebrated, however, the huge influx of tourists in the past decade means you will be able to spot decorations, decorated orange trees and celebration food served by the countless street vendors and on the beach. This is a completely different type of Christmas, but just as memorable.
Fancy spending Christmas on a tropical island? Phuket in Thailand is one of the most awe-inspiring islands in the Andaman Sea. Again, Thailand doesn’t celebrate Christmas – however, it is peak season, and there will be plenty of opportunity to celebrate a traditional Christmas if you wish. The island has busy regions like Patong, a great place if you like to be in the thick of thing. Tourists after a quieter experience might prefer somewhere like the Laguna Resort.
While British food is available throughout the year, it is usually more expensively priced. The Thai food available is recommended, fresh seafood and fragrant spices combined with locally sourced vegetables will keep foodies happy over the festive period.