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Have a good winter sun trip

Want to get away this winter? These are our top picks for an ethical, sustainable and good trip to soak up some winter sun.

What's the Good Trip Index?

We've put together a list of the top winter sun destinations using our Good Trip Index to help you have a good trip this winter.

The Good Trip Index is the Holiday Extras guide to travelling ethically, sustainably and well. To help make travelling responsibly less of a hassle, our meta-index produces one simple list which holidaymakers can use as a ready-reckoner when picking a destination, and check before they set off that they'll really have a good trip.



Aruba may lie in the Caribbean Sea, but it's actually part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which is why it scores so highly. In fact, it has the highest possible score for quality of life.

It's behind the Netherlands on LGBTQ+ rights though. While the island recognises same-sex marriages it won't perform any, so where Netherlands sits 24th in the world as a relative haven of safety for gay travellers, Aruba scores a much poorer 62, dragging down the island's overall Good Trip Score from 15 to 20. Even that makes it one of the most accepting Caribbean destinations for LGBTQ+ travellers though, so if you're looking for a more socially progressive Caribbean island this is probably your best bet.

Think pristine beaches shaded by palm trees, vibrant blue sea teeming with colourful sea life, beautiful caves and windswept sand dunes. If you need more convincing, the average low in the coldest month of the year is about 25ºC. That's the average low! Bliss.


New Zealand


New Zealand's climbed two places on our Good Trip Index this year to 7th, scoring particularly well on human freedom, quality of life and LGBTQ+ travel.

Ok so this might be a bit far to go for a break in the sun, but the weather's pretty much guaranteed to be warmer than the UK and why not make your winter sun trip a once-in-a-lifetime event?

It helps that our winter coincides with New Zealand's summer, so as it's cooling down here it'll be heating up over there. So you can expect temperatures of up to around 25ºC, which is the ideal sweet spot for both relaxing on the beach and exploring the iconic outdoors that New Zealand is famous for.

Middle-earth Travel Guide

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Madeira is an autonomous region of Portugal, which comes in on our Good Trip Index at 12th and scores highly in world press freedom and LGBTQI+ rights.

However, it doesn't share the mainland's cooler winters and instead boasts a warm climate all year around, even in the darkest depths of winter. The island boasts some incredible natural scenery, from gorgeous green mountains carpeted in ancient forests to lofty cliffs that lean dramatically over the Atlantic.


The Canary Islands


Landing at 18th on our Good Trip Index, the Canaries (and Spain) have high scores in LGBTQ+ rights and women's rights.

The Canaries are the classic winter sun destination because it just doesn't get cold there. The nice thing is you have a selection of islands depending on the kind of holiday you want. For beaches and surfing you've got Fuerteventura, there's La Gomera for a quiet getaway, and you'll find family resorts and incredible national parks in Tenerife and Lanzarote.

Then there's Gran Canaria which is popular with the LGBTQI+ community, boasting gay-friendly resorts and beaches, the popular Yumbo shopping-centre-cum-nightlife-hotspot and two annual pride festivals – one of which takes place in winter.

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You've got plenty of options if you're after a bit of US winter sun, but we reckon California's the pick of the bunch.

You'll want to head to the south coast for the best chance of catching some rays, where temperatures can reach the low 20s even in winter. Malibu's a great shout, and when you get there you should head straight to Surfrider Beach. Back in 2010 it became the first ever World Surfing Reserve, which is no surprise given the number of surf movies it set the scene for in the 50s and 60s.

Don't fancy surfing? Santa Monica's even closer to Los Angeles International Airport – a 15-minute drive will take you to its famous 3.5-mile stretch of sand, which flexes the iconic Muscle Beach, Santa Monica Pier and its amusements, aquarium, restaurants and shops plus plenty of space to sunbathe and build sandcastles. It also marks the end-point of Route 66, so after topping up your tan why not hire a car and explore America's most-famous highway?

Santa Monica Pier | California

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Boasting one of the mildest winters in the Mediterranean, it doesn't really get much colder than 15ºC in Malta – which is positively balmy compared to back home.

With more than 7,000 years of history and some of the oldest ruins in the world, Malta is filled to bursting with fascinating things to do and learn. The temperature is ideal for exploring the historic capital of Valletta as well as the island's gorgeous natural attractions and the remnants of the Knights of Saint John.

Malta also encompasses the smaller islands of Gozo and Comino, home to crystal clear waters and 16th-century architecture. Gozo in particular is also a popular spot for stargazing.

Valletta marketplace

Malta Travel Guide

Malta is filled to bursting with fascinating things to do and beautiful things to see, from historic cities to blissful lagoons.

Costa Rica


The dry season in Costa Rica coincides with our winter, making it a popular time to visit as the rains of the previous season will have left the forest beautifully lush and green.

The country's national parks combine rainforests with volcanoes as well as rich and unique wildlife. In fact, the country is famous for its wildlife, which ranges from sloths and toucans to teeny tiny frogs and high-pitched howler monkeys.

That's to say nothing of the tropical Pacific coastline, with pristine sands and shimmering blue sea all backed by dense jungle.

Costa Rica toucan



Another part of the Mediterranean that enjoys a mild winter, Cyprus offers ancient Greek ruins, mountainous scenery and, in winter, relatively warm temperatures – it can reach the low 20s. That makes it warm enough for days on the beach under the sun, only without the crowds.

Popular party town Ayia Napa also becomes much quieter at this time of year, so if boisterous nightlife isn't your scene it's a great opportunity to explore the resort's more traditional heritage.