European Winter Sun Holiday Options

I’ve been looking at European Winter sun holiday options. We do enjoy an escape from the often dreary UK Winters to somewhere warm and sunny. Although Spain and Portugal appear in Winter sun holiday brochures, we prefer to go the Canaries or Cyprus where average temperatures are higher. It was decidedly chilly in southern Spain when we were there one February.

Maspalomas Beach in Gran Canaria

We’ve been on package holidays with companies and DIY holidays where I’ve booked flights, accommodation and car hire separately. Booking a package holiday is much simpler and gives you more protection as a consumer. I usually find that it’s a bit cheaper to put together your own holiday and that gives you the option to stay in two or three different locations, versus staying in the same place for the whole week.

I only look at destinations with direct flights. We prefer to fly from Edinburgh, as the A1 heading north from Berwick upon Tweed to Edinburgh is a lot better than the A1 heading south to Newcastle upon Tyne. Edinburgh also has a wider choice of flights with the low cost carriers.

Pool at Theo Sunset Bay Cyprus

Another factor to consider, is the flight departure and return time. A very early departure or late return will probably mean that we need to stay in a hotel near Edinburgh Airport the night before, to avoid the possibility of driving on snowed up or icy roads.  Using public transport to get to the airport and/or return to Berwick upon Tweed isn’t possible, as trains don’t run early in the morning or late at night. With flights to our preferred Winter sun destinations taking 4-5 hours, it’s almost impossible to get a good outgoing and incoming flight time.

I always book the flight first when putting together a holiday. Then I start looking for accommodation. We usually stay at four star hotels on a half board basis. If it doesn’t cost too much more, I book a one bedroom apartment to give us a bit more space.

Having a hire car gives you more flexibility and often doesn’t cost much more than booking a transfer. It’s amazing how many package holidays don’t have the transfer from the airport to the hotel included in the price (I assume to make the holidays look cheaper).

I priced a  half board DIY holiday to Cyprus for one week, 19 – 26 January 2013, at £608 for two adults i.e. £304 per person.

  • £341 for a sea view one bed apartment on half board at the four star  Capital Coast Resort in Paphos with Hotels4U. We’ve stayed here before and throught the apartments were of a good standard.
  • £217 with easyJet from Edinburgh to Paphos, with hand luggage only, departing Edinburgh at 10.55 on Saturday 19 January 2012, arrving back in Edinburgh at 22.05  Saturday 26 January 2013.
  • £50 for a Ford Fiesta with Economy Car Hire which includes a second driver and no insurance excess.

Living area in one bed apartment at Capital Coast Resort Paphos

There would be additional costs for our Winter sun holiday, such as parking at Edinburgh Airport, fuel for the drive to and from Edinburgh Airport and for the hire car in Cyprus. A room at Traveldoge Edinburgh Airport on Saturday 26 January costs £27. We already have annual travel insurance free of charge as part of our Direct Line Home Insurance Plus.

Prices correct on 13 December 2012