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STA Travel Blog

6 unconventional winter breaks

Winter is here and the familiar exodus to the beaches of Corfu begins (and nothing wrong with that – Corfu is beautiful). But if you fancy going a little further afield this year we’ve rounded up six of our top most unconventional winter holiday hotspots.


A glimpse of Rajasthan's local landmarks

1. Rajasthan, India

Why should I visit?
Rajasthan is bursting with sacred cities, iconic landmarks and more stunning vistas than you can shake a massive stick at.

Winter sun potential:
Expect blue skies and endless sunshine but, for the best of the weather, visit in between the drier months of September to April – perfect for a winter break!

Must do activity:
Trekking through the Aravalli Hills is not only a great opportunity for some epic photos, it’s the oldest mountain range in the world and runs through the entire state of Rajasthan. If you feel like a walk on the wild side try Ranthambore National Park where you’ll come across a plethora of exotic wildlife including tigers and leopards!

Anything else I should know?
Don’t miss Agra, home to the magnificent Taj Mahal. Visit in late afternoon for the best light…not that it’s ever going to look bad.

2. Mexico City

Why should I
Arriba! Mexico City encapsulates everything that the perfect holiday city break should have: glowing sunshine, tasty local cuisine and a fascinating ancient culture. The Riviera may be more popular, but you don’t get this cultural experience within the walls of a resort.

Winter sun potential:
Sun. Sun. Sun!

Must do activity:
Travel back in time with a visit to the Templo Mayor, a significant religious site dating back to the Aztecs located in downtown Mexico City. Top off this cultural extravaganza at the nearby museum which holds an impressive collection of Aztec artefacts.

Anything else I should know?
Wander down to the city centre and experience the true Mexican lifestyle at the vibrant Xochimilco market.

3. Cuba


Colourful Cuban architecture

Why should I visit?
Fancy yourself an adventurer? Then you’ve come to the right place! Steer clear of the resorts and discover the “real” Cuba by jumping on your bike to explore the colourful streets of Havana or head south to Trinidad and Santiago de Cuba.

Winter sun potential:
Visiting Cuba shouldn’t just be a summer thing as the weather is warm and sunny all year round! But if you’re scared of a bit of rain stick to November and April.

Must do activity:
Hit the waves. Sailing through the beautiful islands of Canarreos Archipelago you’ll spot flamingos, parrots and some pretty spectacular fish. And then you get to eat them. Fabulous.*

Anything else I should know?
If you’re a vintage car buff Cuba really is your heaven. Oldsmobiles (yep, real name), Studebakers and Chevrolets abound in the crowded streets.

4.Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Why not catch some waves in Costa Rica?

Why should I visit?

Costa Rica is the perfect candidate for a winter getaway. Its balmy tropical climate, remote sandy white beaches and majestic volcanic backdrops are a far cry from your typical regimented lines of deckchairs.

Winter sun potential:
Costa Rica is close to the equator and as a result the coast is hot all year round. Don’t worry though, if it all gets a bit much for you the cloud forests are beautifully cool. And beautiful.

Must do activity:
Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio is located 82 miles from the country’s capital and a great chance to spot a squirrel monkey. Which should be added to you list of lifelong ambitions if its not already. For the more active amongst you, volcano climbing is de rigueur in the region and the Arenal Volcano is a great place to start.

Anything else I should know?
Make sure you wake up to the sweet smell and even better taste of Costa Rica’s world famous coffee before you set off on your daily adventures.


Why should I visit?
If you thought you’d seen it all think again. Jemaa el Fna, the main square in Marrakesh, is packed with story tellers, diviners, snake charmers, food stalls, orange juice sellers, henna tattooists, street artists and more. It can be a little overwhelming, and a bit of a tourist trap if you don’t keep your wits about you, but  it’s well worth it for the atmosphere alone.

Winter sun potential:
The climate in Marrakesh varies with the odd chilly night during the winter and highs of around 18 degrees in the day. In short bring a jacket, but not a thick one.

Must do activity:
Marrakesh is known for its bustling souks and markets filled with trinket sellers and the smells of traditional cuisine. Walk through a labyrinth of winding Medina alleys for a brilliant shopping experience.

Anything else I should know?
About 150k north of the city are the Ouzoud Falls, well worth a trip out of the city and a nice break from the bustling streets.

6. Scotland

highland cow

Why wouldn't you want to come visit me?

Why should I visit?
Yeah…we know what you’re probably thinking, but winter just isn’t winter without mentioning the natural beauty of the Scottish highlands.

Winter sun potential:
Sun? Perhaps not so much, but you’re guaranteed an authentic winter experience!

Must do activity
Winter festivals, picturesque castles, long walks across scenic desolate beaches or munching on a deep fried Mars bar,  whatever it is that tickles your fancy, Scotland is sure to have it. You can even catch the spectacular Northern Lights in the…well…the north. Obvs.

Anything else I should know?
Experience New Years like never before at Hogmanay celebrations. There’s everything from awesome street parties to winter attractions at various city centres…and of course, fireworks!

What did you say!?

We asked for your favourite winter destinations…and you had quite a bit to say!







Check out these last minute adventures or, if you feel like staying a little closer to home, our 18-35 Europe Winter extravaganzas.

*We mean the fish, not the flamingos. Don’t get weird.

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