With travel restrictions in place, getting away for the annual summer holiday hasn’t been possible for a great number of travel enthusiasts. The staycation suddenly became the top holiday option for Brits, as temperatures temporarily soared in the UK. While being able to take a break at home may have helped to reduce stress for some people, not being able to board a plane, or sail away, has left many of us feeling cheated of a proper holiday.
A winter sun holiday is the travel experience with your name on it, especially if wintertime blues have a habit of creeping up on you. If you long to relax and unwind, and to explore a foreign destination, there’s no better time than November to get away from it all.
Between October and February, you can swap the colder climate for the balmy weather of the glorious Mediterranean. November is the perfect time to escape to romantic Italy or exotic Morocco.
What To Do And See In Italy
A winter sun holiday in Italy is just what you need to restore equilibrium to the mind, body and spirit, in November. One of the best places to visit, to get your balance back, is the stunning Tuscan city of Florence. The moderate weather in November is ideal for sightseeing. As there are fewer crowds in Florence during the winter sun season, you have more freedom to explore at your leisure. Should you, of course, want to escape to Italy for a winter sun holiday that features snow you can always head north for Turin – the gateway to the Alps.
Often referred to as ‘the cradle of the Renaissance’, Florence was the first UNESCO World Heritage site in Tuscany. It’s a magical and enchanting city filled with charming meandering cobbled streets that lead you to discover stunning Gothic architecture, historic palaces and churches, and renowned museums. Gourmands can feast on food options that are satisfyingly decadent, and enjoy a great selection of wines.
Florence’s prime attractions include the iconic Cathedral with its distinctive Brunelleschi dome that dominates the skyline, the Bell Tower by Giotto, Santa Croce Church, Piazza della Signoria, Piazzale Michelangiolo and Ponte Vecchio. If you appreciate art, a visit to the Uffizi Museum and the Accademia Gallery is also not to be missed. Every sight in the magnificent city is strikingly beautiful and leaves you mesmerised and promising yourself that you’ll return to Florence someday.
Casa Howard is a chic boutique guest house situated just a stone’s throw away from Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, in Florence’s historic centre. The beautifully furnished B&B guest rooms feature fabulous Renaissance-era details that evoke a sense of elegance and romance.
Alternatively, you can stay in a luxurious 19th-century villa that perfectly complements the fairytale ambience of Florence. Situated on Lake Orta’s shores, in Piedmont, Relais & Chateaux Villa Crespi offers opulence in a lavish Arabesque style. The on-site restaurant’s Mediterranean fare is equally imaginative and creative. Sleep in a canopied four-poster bed, and dream about your winter sun adventures in Florence.
What To Do And See In Morocco
Those winter blues will quickly melt away on a getaway to North Africa. The heat in Morocco is often unbearable during the peak summer season, making it uncomfortable for sightseeing and exploring the magic of this amazing exotic country. However, the weather in November is still sunny and pleasantly warm.
November 18th is the annual celebration of Moroccan Independence Day. If you’re on your winter sun holiday during this national holiday, you may find historical sites and public offices closed. Colourful parades with street food vendors will more than makeup for this temporary inconvenience.
If you love medieval history, the ancient city of Fez is the perfect base for your shoulder season Moroccan adventure. Stay at the luxury boutique Hotel Sahrai for easy access to the Fes el-Bali Medina that’s filled with shops, mosques, food emporiums, art galleries and museums. You’ll feel pampered and relaxed in a chic modern guest room that features bespoke furniture and designer details. For the best breathtaking views of Fez, visit the 16th-century fort of Borj Nord.
The ancient walled city of Marrakech is a popular tourist destination throughout the year. The former imperial city is a vibrant hub of activity and Morocco’s culture centre. It’s packed with ornately decorated palaces and mosques, and colourful marketplaces that you’ll want to explore.
Top places to add to your must-visit list include the beautiful botanical Jardin Majorelle, created by the French painter Jacques Majorelle, the 150-room Bahia Palace, and the biggest Marrakech market – Souk Semmarine. For a true Marrakchi experience, you’ll need to do some haggling for leather goods, silverware, rugs or just about anything. The UNESCO listed Jemaa el-Fna is the city’s No.1 nighttime attraction, and also where you’ll find street entertainment and genuine snake charmers.
After a full-on day exploring Marrakech’s ample charms, check into Berber Lodge for complete rest and relaxation. The rural property boasts 9 dwellings that are surrounded by olive trees, on the outskirts of the village of Oumnass. The spacious lodges feature natural materials like eucalyptus wood and wild bamboo in traditional Moroccan interiors that are simple, beautiful and stylish.
To enjoy optimal sunshine, Taroudant is your ultimate winter sun destination. From November to March, it’s the warmest place in all of Morocco. The authentic Berber market town is situated deep in the heart of the Souss Valley, and boasts a stunning mountainous backdrop of the High and Anti Atlas Mountains. With fewer tourists visiting at this time, you can experience Moroccan culture more fully. Trekking expeditions and bird and wildlife watching are popular activities in the local geography.
Situated on the outskirts of Taroudant, the 4-star luxe eco-retreat of Dar Al Hossoun is perfect for winter sun relaxation. Its lush garden features over 900 different desert flora species. Each of the 50 guest rooms is named after a plant and is decorated in a charming traditional Moroccan style. The tranquil haven also has a Spa, bar and restaurant.
Thinking of breaking for the border on a 2020 Holiday?
Have a read of our latest journal entry for some inspiration here.
Featured image by Victoriano via Unsplash.