National Friendly's Top 5 Winter Sun Destinations
With the depths of winter drawing near, having a little escape to a sunny location booked up can be just the motivation we need to overcome those dark evenings. Whether this be close to home or a far-flung destination around the globe, it is said that more and more brits are longing for trips. Over 50s are proving it’s never too later to travel with many jetting to all four corners of the world.
With this in mind, we have chosen five holiday destinations we feel are ideal for some winter sun.
Cheap, sunny and close to home, Sicily ticks all the boxes for some winter sun. Winter in Sicily means fewer crowds, bright blue skies and almond trees in full bloom. Booming with culture, a winter visit means that you’ll have the island’s baroque towns and archaeological sites all to yourself and if you’re feeling adventurous, you can ski on Mount Etna! Turns out the cuisine is quite delicious as well! 
Now here’s a destination not just limited to winter sun, Malta’s position in the Mediterranean means that it gets sunshine all year round! Packed full of culture, architecture and cuisine, this island really has an abundance of history. The waterside capital of Valetta boasts a world heritage site status with over 200 monuments whilst the 3000 year old city of Mdina is only a short drive away. In between, you’ll find beautiful villages, beaches and the island’s famous rock pools.
If reading and relaxing on a beach isn’t your thing, there are plenty of opportunities for hiking, cycling, water sports and golf. It seems that Malta isn’t quite as popular as some other island escapes, so use this to your advantage and enjoy an amazing trip without contending with the crowds. 
Often, long distance trips are written off as too much hassle. However, for some of us, the opportunity to reach a far-flung destination can be the trip we’ve always wanted to do. One of the jigsaw pieces that makes up Central America, Costa Rica sees both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
Recently rated as the most satisfying place in which to live, Costa Rica boasts a whole host of reasons why you make the trip. Amongst the variety of wildlife and beautiful beaches, you can spend the night in a converted 727, drink some of the world’s best coffee and all in a place free from other Brits! This is definitely a lesser-visited destination and will sure give you the bragging rights over your friends. Costa Rica also has sloths! What more convincing do you need?
Photo by Adrianna Calvo
A destination that seems a world away from Europe yet is only a six-hour flight from the UK. The smallest country on mainland Africa, The Gambia reaches up to the early 30°s during the winter months. This is guaranteed to be an exciting introduction to West Africa with a visit to the capital Banjul, or soak up the sun on a palm-fringed sandy beach. The Gambia really does offer an exotic yet accessible winter getaway.
How about a tranquil island escape? Look no further than Madeira. Otherwise known as ‘The Garden Isle’, Madeira comprises of four islands off the northwest coast of Africa. Known for its sub-tropical climate, this is the perfect destination if you want to relax and unwind among a lush surrounding with a glass of local wine. The capital, Funchal, has a wealth of botanical gardens and is known for a rather special New Year’s firework show.