The summer holidays always come and go in a flash. And, with luxury breaks abroad being in more demand than ever, we know that some people might have missed out on their chosen escape this season.

But, we're never ones for giving up when it comes to taking a well-deserved getaway. 

Whether you missed out on summer sun this year - or just want some more travel ideas for the year ahead - we've sought out eight winter sun swaps for you.

1. Swap a Spanish siesta for a Mexican fiesta

While Spain is perfect for summer holidays, you might not be as tempted by it in the colder months.

But, you can still spice up your winter holidays with a trip to vibrant Mexico

From December to April, Mexico is in its dry season, making it one of the best times to visit. While the Christmas period is particularly popular for festive breaks, January and February make for an excellent time to visit too. Not only is the weather still splendid, but on the Pacific Coast you'll also have chance of seeing majestic whales migrating to warmer waters.

Perfect for more tranquil winter sun holidays, why not escape to One&Only Mandarina? Nestled high in the rainforest, this beautiful resort was recently listed as one of the world's most breathtaking clifftop hotels. Unwind in your treehouse plunge pool and relax as the waves lap below - or, head out to roam the miles of nature trails below.

Sit down for some gourmet tacos in the sun, unwind with a holistic spa session or paddle board the blue topaz coast - just don't forget to wash it all down with some locally made mezcal. 

2. Get a taste of the French Riviera in St Barths

The iconic shores of St Tropez, Cannes and Monaco are simply glittering for a summer break.

However, if you're craving some French Riviera chic during the winter months, we've got the perfect solution.

The beautiful Caribbean island of St Barths is a magnet for stylish jetsetters, with December being the beginning of the popular dry season.

With a distinct French heritage, St Barths offers a slice of the Mediterranean with Caribbean flair. Where better to spend a week of the winter holiday?

While you can pass your days relaxing on the immaculate white sand beaches, you could also stroll the stylish harbour city of Gustavia. Between admiring the gleaming mega-yachts, you can pop into the designer boutiques or take a table at one of the trendy bars or restaurants. 

From Greta Garbo's preferred retreat, Eden Rock, to more private hideaways like Hotel Le Toiny, there's no shortage of luxury places to stay, either.

Looking for more ideas? See our guide to the best Caribbean islands to visit.

3. Migrate your European family holiday to Florida

When it comes to school holidays, Europe is usually top of the class. 

Still, if you have some space in your calendar later in the year, why not venture further afield to Florida?

Orlando offers a true banquet for a fun-filled family holiday in winter. Whether it's for Christmas or a mid-term break, December to February is one of the best times to enjoy the host of theme parks. With low rainfall, reduced humidity and cooler temperatures than the height of summer, visit during this period for comfortable weather that still beats the cold and dark UK winter.

Climate aside, what could be better than getting festive with Mickey Mouse? There's nothing more magical than a Disney winter or Christmas holiday. Or, you could always wait for a February half-term break to give yourself something to look forward to.

4. Trade Mediterranean sands for iconic Thai beaches

Europe's beaches are beautiful and just a short flight away, making them ideal for a quick luxury break.

But, when temperatures start dipping here, far-flung beaches are just getting started.

This winter, why not take the opportunity to explore some distant shores? December is one of the best months to visit some of Thailand's top beach spots, including the tropical shores of Krabi. Known for its stunning coastline, you'll find some of the world's most beautiful stretches of white sand. Stay at Phulay Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve to savour the most incredible views of Phang Nga Bay's iconic limestone karst formations, right from your swimming pool.

Beyond the water's edge, you can dive in to explore the colourful marine life, kayak along the bays or head inland to visit breathtaking temples. Of course, the spas here are exceptional too - and nothing beats Thai flavour when it comes to food.

5. Swap Tuscan Chianti for Australian Chardonnay

For wine lovers, the winter holidays bring some excellent opportunities - especially in the southern hemisphere. So, why not swap your Italian reds and for famously crisp Australian Chardonnays?

A staple of vineyards in western Australia, you'll be pleased to hear that our early winter is an excellent time to visit. In the Margaret River region, there are over a hundred cellar doors to get a taste of. Of course, you can pair them up with divine local produce for the ultimate foodie experience. 

While the award-winning vineyards perched on the sun-soaked hills are beautiful enough, the surrounding scenery is even more stunning. You can walk the rugged coastline and watch the surfers ride the crashing waves. Then, head down to one of the picturesque beaches to relax and see if you can spot a graceful  whale breaching in the distance. Or, wander the bush trails to see colourful blooming wildflowers. 

Don't miss a visit to Margaret River's town either. With an artistic vibe, you can potter galleries, cafes, surf shops and farmers' markets - and, of course, sample some more wine lists!

6. Switch ancient Greece for Omani forts

If you love spending your summer holiday exploring the ancient remains of Greece, we have the perfect winter alternative.

Known for being the more authentic counterpart to Dubai, come here to explore the forts, traditional architecture and colourful souks. Oman is far removed from the flashy sky scrapers of the UAE, instead boasting riches of natural beauty. There are rolling sand dunes, hulking mountain ranges and striking canyons to explore. It's also an important nesting site for endangered green turtles, who you can visit at the conservation sites.

As temperatures can rocket in Oman during summer, December is one of the best months to go. Without the full heat of the sun, you can enjoy the unforgettable activities - touring the ancient walled city of Nizwa, meeting the Bendouin tribes of the Wahiba Sands, camping in the desert and hiking the Al Hajjar mountains.

There are some incredible places to stay too. From the authentic Desert Nights Camp to one of the world's highest resorts, Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar, it's a winter holiday you'll never forget.

Find our more with our guide to the best things to do in Oman.

7. Instead of Santorini sunsets, try Maldivian romance

If you're hoping for a winter sun holiday that brings some romance to your colder months, look no further. 

The Maldives are a classic for year-end holidays. For couples, you'll find yourself immersed in soul-soothing surroundings - sweeping white sands, soft pink sunsets and limitless blue horizons paint a picture of perfection. 

Stay in a coveted overwater villa for the ultimate sense of paradise. You'll be able to dip your toe directly into the gently lapping lagoon below. Or, opt for an equally luxurious beach villa to be just steps away from some of the world's most picturesque beaches.

For romantic types, resorts in Maldives pull out all the stops. From private dinners on a secluded sandbank to sunset cruises and deeply pampering spa treatments, you're sure to fall in love with these breathtaking islands. 

See the best resorts in the Maldives for couples for some ideas on where to stay.

8. Rather than sailing the sun-soaked coast, take a festive Christmas market cruise

Europe's coastline offers a bounty on offer for summer holidays. But, if you move your attention away from the sea, you'll find the continent's rivers are ideal for winter.

Winding their way inland, the Rhine and the Danube create a route through some of the most picturesque Christmas markets. The temperatures might be frosty, but you'll feel warm inside as you wander the charming stalls. Stop for some roasted chestnuts washed down by spiced Gluhwein as the fairy lights twinkle above you - it's a picture perfect scene.

On board a luxury river cruise, you'll get a totally different experience to an ocean cruise. As the vessels are much smaller, you'll find a more intimate atmosphere. With Ama Waterways, you can relax in the on board salon, heated swimming pool and piano bar between stops. Or, enjoy the view from your stateroom balcony as the delightful scenery passes by.

"A river cruise is a great way to explore the heart of Europe. I travelled the Rhine with Ama Waterways over Christmas and it was beautiful. Passing through the striking Rhine Gorge, we watched the castles glide by, wrapped up on-deck in a cosy blanket with some hot Irish coffees. The ship gets dressed up for Christmas, too - simply magical."

- Denise, Cruise Specialist

See our Christmas Markets on the Rhine with Ama Waterways for a taste of what you'll see and do.

As Christmas cruises are so popular, they often fill up a year or more in advance - so, if you'd like to plan one in your calendar, speak to our Travel Specialists as soon as possible.

Swap your summer escape for your perfect winter break

Need some help finding your perfect winter escape? See more of our best winter sun destinations or where to go on holiday during Christmas.

If you'd like to speak to one of our Travel Specialists, you can contact us for some expert insights. We can then get to work on tailoring your perfect winter sun holiday to absolute perfection.

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