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Credit: Shutterstock

Best winter sun destinations right now and their entry requirements

Author: Harriet Mallinson

Published on:

Updated on:

Holidays have long been scuppered by the pandemic but with the red list cut to just seven countries today, the end of the tunnel is finally here. So where's best this winter?

Winter sun holidays are what many people are dreaming of in the UK as the days grow shorter and the weather cools.

Luckily, thanks to the latest overhaul of the traffic light system the world has now opened up dramatically to British holidaymakers.

According to research by ABTA – The Travel Association, almost half of people have booked or are considering taking a winter holiday this year which, remarkably, is higher than before the pandemic.

So, as we dream of sun, sea and sand, where in the world is best for a winter holiday? We've got seven of the best below - plus all the latest entry requirements from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

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Canary Islands

The Canaries are one of the UK’s favourite destinations for a winter sun holiday.

With warm temperatures, sandy beaches and some of the best water parks in the world, they’re a great choice for families this October half-term or during the Christmas break.

READ MORE: P&O Cruises ship Ventura to sail to Canary Islands -

Entry requirements

The Spanish government requires all arrivals to Spain and the Canary Islands from the UK to present on entry a pre-travel declaration form and one of the following: a negative COVID-19 test; or proof of vaccination.

Tourist accommodation providers also may require you to present evidence either of a negative test, of being fully vaccinated or of having had and recovered from COVID-19 in the last six months.

Canary islands min
Winter sun: The Canaries are one of the UK’s favourite destinations for a winter sun holiday. Credit: Shutterstock

Turkey

Turkey offers the best of East and West, ancient history and delicious local fare, we well as great value winter sun.

Antalya on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast has some of the warmest weather, stunning natural landscape and stylish resorts.

- READ MORE: Best winter sun cruise destinations -

Entry requirements

All arrivals into Turkey, except Turkish citizens or residence permit holders, must complete an online form a maximum of 72-hours before travel.

All arrivals (aged 12 and over) must have proof of one of the following:

  • A full course of COVID-19 vaccinations (completed at least 14 days prior to arrival in Turkey)
  • recent recovery from COVID-19
  • a negative PCR test (within 72 hours of arrival)
  • a rapid antigen test (within 48 hours of arrival).

For children aged 11 and under, no PCR test or vaccination certificate is needed.

Turkey min
Winter sun: Turkey offers the best of East and West, ancient history and delicious local fare. Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai

Slightly further afield, the best time to visit the buzzing metropolis of Dubai is from October onwards, as the region emerges from the blistering summer heat.

Holidaymakers can enjoy world-class entertainment, luxurious hotels and shopping galore, all at welcome average highs of at least 25 degrees.

- READ MORE: Top five cultural delights to see and experience in Dubai -

Entry requirements

Tourists travelling from or through the UK and arriving in Dubai must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test before departure and present the certificate at check in.

These need to be taken no more than 72 hours prior to departure for arrivals to Dubai.

Travellers arriving in Dubai may be required to undertake a further COVID-19 PCR test on arrival and will have to isolate pending the result of the COVID-19 PCR test.

Dubai
Winter sun: the best time to visit the buzzing metropolis of Dubai is from October onwards. Credit: Shutterstock

Jamaica

The tropical climates and famously laidback vibes of Caribbean islands are the perfect choice for a winter break.

Jamaica - the birthplace of reggae - boasts rich colonial history, spectacular diving and snorkelling sites, and many all-inclusive resorts.

- READ MORE: Cruise lines to keep on your radar for 2022 -

Entry requirements

All travellers from 12 years and upwards arriving in Jamaica must present a negative COVID-19 molecular (PCR, NAA, RNA) or Antigen test, which was conducted within the 72 hours prior to the date of travel.

Everyone arriving in Jamaica will be screened for COVID 19 symptoms at the airport. You must also get authorisation to enter from the Visit Jamaica website before checking in for a flight.

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Winter sun: Everyone arriving in Jamaica will be screened for COVID 19 symptoms at the airport. Credit: Shutterstock

Barbados

With azure waters and palm-fringed white-sand beaches, every Caribbean island has its own distinctive character and a rich history to explore.

Barbados holidaymakers can try kitesurfing or catamaran sailing or, if you want to stay on land, explore the sugar cane fields and tropical forests.

- READ MORE: Your essential post-Covid guide to Caribbean cruising -

Entry requirements

All travellers from the UK must present on arrival a valid COVID-19 PCR negative test result taken no more than three days in advance of your flight’s arrival.

All passengers are also required to submit an Embarkation/Disembarkation (ED) card 24 hours prior to travel, to which they should upload their negative test result via Travel Form. The BIMSafe app can also be used.

On arrival, all passengers will undergo a health screen while unvaccinated travellers are subject to five-day quarantine on entry.

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Maldives

For those who want to push the boat out on an extra special trip this winter, the Maldives makes for an idyllic island destination.

Tourists can enjoy the amazing white sand beaches and experience world-class diving, surfing, fishing, kayaking and more.

- READ MORE: Your complete guide to small ship cruising -

Entry requirements

All visitors (except children under the age of one) must present a negative PCR test for COVID-19 on arrival to the Maldives. The test and negative PCR certificate must be issued no more than 96 hours prior to departure.

All travellers to the Maldives must fill in a Traveller Health Declaration form 24 hours before departure to and return from the Maldives.

Temperature checks and screening procedures will be in place on arrival. Quarantine facilities have been set up to isolate any suspected cases of COVID-19.

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Winter sun: the Maldives makes for an idyllic island destination. Credit: Shutterstock

Mauritius

Mauritius, also in the Indian Ocean, offers luxury accommodation surrounded by turquoise lagoons, sun-drenched beaches and colourful reefs teeming with marine life.

Holidaymakers can snorkel or scuba dive among incredible coral reefs and marine wildlife or enjoy such water sports as stand up paddleboarding, wakeboarding, flyboarding and kayaking.

- READ MORE: New travel rules - what are they and how do they impact cruise holidays? -

Entry requirements

Mauritius has removed restrictions for fully vaccinated tourists. Travellers must, however, present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of the last point of embarkation.

Unvaccinated tourists are allowed to enter but must quarantine for 14 days on arrival in an official quarantine hotel.

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