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With all due respect to the winter-lovers out there, most people would rather casually relax on a beach in the sun, than have an exciting adventure in the freezing snow.

Fortunately, it is easier than ever to travel far and wide and find your perfect winter sun spot. Winter sun destinations offer all the benefits of a pleasant summer in the middle of Christmas, or other winter holidays. All the more beautiful, these destinations feature some iconic landscapes.

Here are three suggestions for a wondrous winter sun vacation.

Thailand islands

No wonder Thailand is one of the most popular winter tourism destinations. It features amazing tropical beaches, beautiful landscapes, wide range of tasty local foods, and m many globally-renowned attractions. And last but not the least, it has a stable dry season lasting from December to April, which ensures that your winter sun holiday really lives up to it’s name.

Verified winter sun destinations in Thailand include the Thailand’s islands. There are dozens of them, and they vary in their concept of tourism – from extroverted luxury to complete romantic intimacy. They all feature their fantasy-like white sand beaches, swaying palm trees and beautiful seas. A barefoot chill-out on a Thai island will probably make you think: why was Robinson Crusoe so worried instead of instantly embracing his lost-world paradise?

Phuket is the biggest of all Thai islands and one of the most popular and iconic Thailand destinations. It’s equally popular with hardcore backpackers as with easygoing mainstream tourists. Phuket takes pride in it’s dazzling beaches and greenery, the clarity of Andaman Sea and memorable sunsets.

Costa Rica

Fine-sand beaches and constantly warm weather are a classic for a good winter sun location. But Costa Rica offers so much more: there are not many places from where you can gaze at the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea simultaneously, but you can do so from Costa Rica’s Irazú volcano.

If you are attracted to rich natural world and biodiversity, Costa Rica might be ideal for you. It is one of the greatest biodiversity hotspots, with around 87,000 species – or 6% of all species known to man – living there. Costa Rica has advanced nature conservation programs, and of course, professional tours through their national parks.

But Costa Rica is not all-wilderness. You can enjoy lush colonial architecture in the beautiful capital San José, one of the Latin America’s safest cities.

Madeira

A Portugal archipelago located in the Atlantic, southwest of Portugal and just a few hundred kilometers north of the famous Tenerife, Madeira features mild and warm Mediterranean climate and striking sea-and-mountains scenery. It’s special offers include whale watching and water sports such as windsurfing.

Capital of the island is called Funchal, and it’s the best bet when it comes to choosing your base on Madeira. If you’re seeking some quiet time, there are more rural options too.

Some caution when picking a date for your travel is necessary to ensure that you’ll get good weather during your holiday. It’s better to visit Madeira in late February than in January, for instance. There is some risk of rain throughout the winter, but those six hours of sunshine a day are almost guaranteed.

What a wonderful world

All of the destinations have their own advantages and quirks, and while it’s hard to say which one is perfect, all of them are truly beautiful. Other than these suggestions, there are many other possible destinations, making it possible to pick a winter sun destination which perfectly matches your personal sensibility. How lucky we are to live in such a beautiful world.

Sunsan writes for earlyretirement.ie a company in Ireland that helps people achieve their dreams by retiring early.

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