November is a great month for winter sun. December sees prices soar over the Christmas and New Year period and most of us spend January trying to save our pennies after the festive season’s theme of excess. November, on the other hand, is a convenient, smart month to travel outside peak season.
By travelling to warm, sunny destinations in November, you’ll stand a chance of seeing in the winter with a natural tan, shaving a week or two off the sometimes depressing beginning of this season. A holiday at this time of year also breaks up the long and usually uneventful stretch between the end of summer and Christmas.
Check out these destinations – some near, some far – for sunshine in November.
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Just a couple of hours from the UK, Malta is a great short-haul break for sun-seekers. This quiet, relaxed Mediterranean island is generally warm and sunny throughout November, with temperatures rarely dipping below 17°C and around eight hours of sunshine per day. The country is also blissfully uncrowded outside of its peak season.
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One of Malta’s biggest pulls is its 7,000 years of history. Visit the prehistoric temples such as Tarxien and Ggantija; some are older than the Egyptian pyramids. You can also visit the homes of the Knights of St. John, the Fort of St. Angelo, and the old, walled capital, Valletta. The neighbouring island of Gozo offers an even slower pace than Malta, with beautiful beaches to explore.
Spain suffers from massive crowds in the summer, but November finds the south of the country much more pleasant for tourism. With temperatures hovering between 15°C and 20°C, it is far more comfortable than the sweltering heat of July and August, making it the perfect time to explore the southern historic cities of Granada, Cordoba and Seville.
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As with so many places in Europe, one of the best ways to experience these Spanish cities is simply stationing oneself at a pavement café for a couple of hours or so, enjoying the sunshine, watching the passers-by and soaking up the atmosphere. Naturally, there’s plenty of famous historic sites to visit, such as the Real Alcázar complex in Seville and the Alhambra in Granada, and outside the cities, the Andalucía region also presents wonderful hiking trails around the Sierra Nevada foothills – ideal in these cooler periods.
Four hours from the UK, Marrakech is Morocco’s most popular destination. Blazing hot over the summer, November sees the mercury settling around 20°C in Marrakech, with seven hours of sunshine a day. The lively, often chaotic city is much more enjoyable at this time of year, with lower accommodation prices and less tourists milling around the narrow streets of the medina.
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Marrakech is an assault on the senses, from the call to prayer that rings through the streets to the exotic and rich scents that emanate from the souks. Explore Djemaa el-Fna, the UNESCO World Heritage Site square where you’ll find snake charmers, barbecues, belly dancing and street theatre performances, the latter of which has existed for a thousand years.
Indulge in a traditional full body scrub at a hammam, which isn’t exactly relaxing, but will leave tired skin looking refreshed and feeling baby-smooth. To soak up some of that winter sunshine, make sure to stay in a traditional Moroccan riad with a private roof terrace.
The ultimate winter sun destination has to be the Canary Islands. A 4.5-hour flight from the UK, these Spanish islands are sunny throughout the winter and provide an easy medium-haul escape from the British chill. Throughout November, Tenerife, the largest and most popular island, has a high of 21°C.
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There are many beaches of all varieties to explore in the Canary Islands, including Fuerteventura’s Corralejo beach, Lanzarote’s Famara beach which is great for surfing and the sand dunes of Maspalomas on Gran Canaria. There’s also great hiking to be enjoyed in the volcanic hills of Tenerife around Mount Teide, one of the biggest volcanoes in the world; windsurfing on Fuerteventura, Tenerife’s neighbour and the second largest island in the Canaries; plus diving and golf on and around each of the islands.
South Africa’s summer kicks off in November – not that the winter ever gets particularly cold – with a high of 23°C in Cape Town along with ten hours of sunshine per day. Although it’s a long-haul flight, around 10-11.5 hours from London, South Africa is only an hour or two ahead of the UK, so jetlag is minimal.
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Cape Town is South Africa’s most beautiful city, surrounded by mountains and lapped by the ocean. Here, you can try your hand at surfing, catch the cable car up Table Mountain or hike Lion’s Head for sunrise, sample some of the excellent restaurants that keep popping up, learn about the region’s history, and discover the burgeoning art scene of the city. Just outside Cape Town, the scenic Winelands produce some of the world’s best wines for a fraction of the price we’d spend in the UK. Outside Cape Town, you can take a road trip along the coastal Garden Route, explore Johannesburg’s more edgy appeal or head into the Kruger National Park for a Big Five safari.
Almost as far as it is possible to go from the UK, Australia’s summers are close to iconic and well worth the flight time. Sydney has highs of 24°C in November, whilst Brisbane further up the east coast enjoys a hotter 26°C maximum temperature. It’s a great time to visit before the summer really heats up with even southerly Melbourne experiencing sweltering days in the mid-30s.
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A truly beach-obsessed nation, Aussies know how to make the most of their famously good weather. When the sun is out, Australians flock to the shore to surf, swim and sunbathe (whilst safely slathered in factor 50). Barbecues are enjoyed on every possible occasion and rooftop bars and beer gardens are packed. Join in the summer fun on one of Sydney’s beaches, whether it’s the notorious Bondi or the quieter Bronte. Head out diving on the Great Barrier Reef, explore the islands of the Whitsundays or take a road trip up the wild, beautiful coast of Western Australia.