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Who cares about dreaming of a white Christmas? You’d be happier with a bright Christmas. Or perhaps you’re pining for a last-minute break before the pre-Christmas mayhem really kicks in. Either way, here’s a selection of your best bets for sun this December. 

Cape Verde

Sal

Average daytime temperature: 26°C | Average daily hours of sunshine: 6 | Average flight time: 6 hours

Chasing the sun for Santa season doesn’t have to mean flying long-haul. Just six hours away await the gorgeous islands of Cape Verde, just off the coast of northwest Africa. The former Portuguese colony is home to pristine beaches and turquoise seas, where you have abundant options to try scuba diving, deep-sea fishing and windsurfing. For now Cape Verde remains something of an undiscovered gem among travel-lovers. Don’t expect that to stay the same forever.

Canary Islands

Lanzarote

Average daytime temperature: 21°C | Average daily hours of sunshine: 6 | Average flight time: 4 hours

21°C might not exactly shatter the thermometer, but you’ll struggle to find a better climate within four hours of the UK than that of the Canaries. Besides that’s plenty warm enough for frolicking on the beach and dining al fresco, although you may want to pack a lightweight jumper for your evening promenades.

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Cuba

Varadero

Average daytime temperature: 27°C | Average daily hours of sunshine: 7 | Average flight time: 12 hours

Temperatures rise to a pleasing 27°C during the December days in Cuba. Where better to enjoy them than Varadero - the Caribbean’s largest resort? With a 20km stretch of uninterrupted soft sand, you won’t struggle to find your own private place to lay your beach towel. And if you fancy a change from the one of the Caribbean’s best beaches, the intoxicating colours and vibrant culture of Havana are just a two-hour drive away.

Thailand

Krabi

Average daytime temperature: 31°C | Average daily hours of sunshine: 7 | Average flight time: 13 hours

It’s on most travel-lovers’ bucket lists for a good reason: Thailand is stunning. Dodge the tourist-traps of Phuket and head for the beautiful shores of Krabi, where you will be welcomed by pristine beaches, stunning cliff-top walks and limestone stacks that tower out of the clear sea waters to create an otherworldly backdrop for your beachy adventures.

South Africa

Cape Town

Average daytime temperature: 24°C | Average daily hours of sunshine: 11 | Average flight time: 12 hours

It’s not just the great weather that has travellers giving Cape Town the glad eye at this time of year. It’s a city with an awful lot going on culturally - with all the museums, galleries, shops and restaurants you could wish for. Add in the pretty beaches around the Cape Peninsula and you’re set for a seaside city break that oozes charm.

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United Arab Emirates

Dubai

Average daytime temperature: 26°C | Average daily hours of sunshine: 8 | Average flight time: 7 hours

Dubai can reach skin-scorching temperatures of 52°C when it puts its mind to it. It’s fair to say that the 26°C daytime temperatures of December make this remarkable city a little less stifling. Dubai is a place where hedonistic excess contrasts starkly with modest traditions. Where else can you take a camel ride into the desert in the shadow of the largest shopping malls in the world? Expect stunning beaches, jaw-dropping skyscrapers and fabulous cuisine.

>> Middle East travel insurance

Barbados

Average daytime temperature: 29°C | Average daily hours of sunshine: 8 | Average flight time: 12 hours

Long and lazy days on the beach don’t come much better than they do in Barbados, with its soft pink sand, palm-fringed bays and balmy turquoise seas. Shift down a gear as you sip coconut cocktails with the welcoming locals, or splash out and enjoy some of the best scuba diving locations in the world. With the weather drier and less humid, December is the perfect time to visit for an unforgettable Christmas treat.

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