STYLE

Winter Sun Under £500: The Perfect 10

04/08/2014 16:48 | Updated 22 May 2015

When it's freezing outside in January, all we want to do is escape the cold for a spot of winter sun. But if you think your Christmas card bill means a hot holiday is out of reach, think again.

We've tracked down 10 bargain winter sun trips for under £500, including flights, whether you fancy lazing by a pool, exploring Egyptian ruins or shopping in a North African medina. So book one of these budget getaways now, and you could be sunning yourself in weeks – or at least have something to look forward to.

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The Perfect 10: Winter sun under £500

Egypt is always a favourite for winter sun – just five hours flight away it's easy to get to, with temperatures of around 25C in February, and the ancient city of Thebes nearby, plus the famous Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens just across the River Nile. You can also relax on a traditional felucca for a short cruise along the Nile for £3-5, depending on your bargaining skills.

Lowcostholidays.com is offering seven nights bed and breakfast at the three-star Flobater Luxor Hotel for £239 per person, including flights departing from London Gatwick on January 19. The hotel has its own rooftop swimming pool and is a short walk from the Luxor temples, the Nile and city centre.

The Perfect 10: Winter sun under £500

On the south west coast of Cyprus, Paphos, the mythical birthplace of Greek goddess Aphrodite, you'll get temperatures in the high teens during February – warm enough to sit by the seaside with a glass of wine from one of the local vineyards (and we don't mean retsina).

Stay at the self-catering King Jason Apartments, which have two swimming pools as well as a sauna and steam room, and a snack bar if you don't feel like cooking every meal yourself. You're around a 10 minute walk to the beach, with local tavernas just a few minutes away. Planet Holidays offers five nights for £489, including flights from London Gatwick, departing on January 31.

The Perfect 10: Winter sun under £500

On Turkey's south west coast, you've got sun, sea, sand and some the country's ancient cities across the Lycian peninsula. Head to the Mediterranean harbour village of Kalkan, where you've got winding cobbled streets to explore, white villas and bars and restaurants overlooking the sea, plus its own pebble beach and sandy bays nearby.

The Perfect 10: Winter sun under £500

Turkey specialist, Exclusive Escapes offers five nights' B&B at the Kalkan Regency from £500 per person based on two sharing, including return flights (ex Heathrow, Bristol or Manchester) to Dalaman during April, transfers and a day's gulet cruise.

The Perfect 10: Winter sun under £500

The bustling city of Marrakech can be less overwhelming out of season, so it's one of the best times to try a break to Morocco. The temperatures still hit 20C in February, and while a trip to the nearby Atlas mountains would prove chilly, it's ideal for wandering around the old medina or enjoying the famous nightlife, from snake charmers to teeth pulling, in the main square Djemaa el Fna.

Directline holidays has seven nights B&B at the five-star Atlas and Medina Spa for £379 per person, including flights from London Gatwick on February 7. The hotel itself is based outside the old centre, on Avenue Mohamed VI but still within walking distance of the medina.

The Perfect 10: Winter sun under £500

Off the coast of Africa, the Canary islands are a perfect taste of winter sun without having to leave Europe, and although they can be windy during January and February, they're still ideal for a spot of sunbathing. Head to Gran Canaria, the third largest after Tenerife and Fuerteventura, for a week by the seaside in the resort of Playa del Ingles.

Monarch Holidays offers seven nights half board for £488 per person at the 4 diamond rated Hotel Seaside Sandy Beach in Playa del Ingles, including return flights from London Gatwick on January 31. It's 200m from the beach, or you can stay around the hotel's pool, spa and sauna.

The Perfect 10: Winter sun under £500

While Sharm el Sheikh has been struggling with some bad publicity, the Red Sea resorts in the Sinai peninsula are still a great bet for a winter holiday. With the desert and mountains to explore, as well as the underwater life, the resort of Taba is close to both Israel and Jordan so you can take day trips to the Dead Sea and Petra as well, if you fancy travelling further afield.

The Perfect 10: Winter sun under £500

Longwood Holidays has seven nights B&B at the five-star Marriott Beach Resort Taba Heights from £478 per person, including flights from London Gatwick on February 7, based on two sharing.

The Perfect 10: Winter sun under £500

Madeira has been shaking off its 'only for the old' reputation, with a string of new boutique hotels, as well as some stunning scenery to explore and beaches to relax on. Even better, you can find some bargains for some of the island's top hotels out of the main season.

Travelzoo offers a seven night all-inclusive break in Madeira for £369 per person via HolidayGiant. The deal includes seven nights at the four-star Calheta Beach Hotel, all meals and drinks, three free excursions around the surrounding areas and return flights from Gatwick or Stansted. The offer is valid for travel between January 4-31, February 1-12 and 21-27 and March 1-31. Departures from Bristol cost an additional £25 and travel from Manchester or Leeds Bradford costs an additional £50.

The Perfect 10: Winter sun under £500

On the southern coast of Cyprus, between Limassol and Ayia Napa, Larnaka's old town is great to explore out of season, when there are fewer tourists on the Mediterranean island. Or if you simply fancy relaxing by the beach, the four star Palm Beach Hotel & Bungalows is right on the coast, with over 700 palm trees if you do need a spot of shade. There are massages at the wellness centre, or you can try your hand at scuba diving, as well as a heated indoor pool on cooler days.

Olympic Holidays offers five night holidays in a seaview room from £497 per person, half board, based on two sharing, including flights from London Gatwick to Larnaka departing January 29 through Expedia.

The Perfect 10: Winter sun under £500

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