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10 Winter Holiday Destinations With Direct Flights From Ireland

Winter holidays

Can’t wait to get back on a plane again? Check out my top winter holiday destinations with direct flights from Ireland.

We all need something to look forward to, so perhaps now is the time to plan a well deserved winter holiday. I understand some of you wish to travel alone or with friends, and many will be travelling with kids – so with this is mind I have selected a broad range of winter holiday destinations to suit all tastes and budgets.

top winter holiday destinations for families - skiing

There are of course many great winter holiday destinations available to us, South Africa and the Caribbean spring to mind. However, I have limited this list to winter holidays with direct flights from Ireland, something I think there is an appetite for at the moment. Hopefully this list will give you lots of inspiration to plan a well deserved break away.

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1. The Canary Islands

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The combination of direct daily flights from Ireland, balmy temperatures, and a low cost of living, has made the Canary Islands our most popular winter holiday destination for many years. There are many accommodation options to choose from, with hotels and apartments to suit all tastes and budgets.
 

 

 
Fuerteventura is blessed with stunning white sandy beaches, while the sheltered resorts of Puerto Rico and Puerto de Mogán in Gran Canaria are popular with sun seekers. Tenerife has the largest selection of luxury hotels, but my personal favourite is Lanzarote – find out why, here:

Read: Why Lanzarote is my favourite Canary Island

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2. Dubai

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Dubai is another great winter holiday destination if you want sunshine, but it is also packed with things to do. Try a desert safari, go to the top of the world’s tallest building, ski in the worlds largest indoor ski slope, or simply relax on one of its stunning beaches. We visited Dubai last year and had a blast. Activities and dining are expensive, so you will need to budget accordingly, but if you can afford it, it is a great destination for winter sun.

Top ten things to do in Dubai

The best family activities in Dubai
 
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3. Ski trip

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A ski holiday is one of my favourite winter holidays, and is the only holiday where I can completely switch off. The crisp cold air, snowy mountains and pretty villages are things I never tire of, as is the natural high I get from skiing. Austria, France and Italy are the firm favourites from Ireland and there are plenty of direct flights available during the winter holiday season.  Söll in Austria is one of my favourite resorts, but if money is not an option, check out Val d’Isere in France.
 

 

 
Top Tip: If you are looking to ski in Austria, flights to Munich are usually cheaper than Salzburg and the transfer times are similar. 

Read: Skiing in Soll, all you need to know and why you should go

Read: My top tips for family ski holidays

Read: My love affair with Club Med Val d’Isere
 
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4. Lapland

 

 
 
 
 
 
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I will never forget the look in my children’s eyes when we went to Lapland to see Santa Claus. It was a magical family experience that we will never forget. It has been seven years since we visited, but the memories never fade. There are many ways to visit Lapland, with packages from Dublin with TUI and Sunway to see Santa, as well as the option to go via the UK for a longer holiday. 

Read: Our trip to see Santa in Lapland
 

 

 

5. Christmas market breaks

best winter holiday destinations - european christmas markets

A Christmas market break is a great way to kick-start the festive season without breaking the bank. Many markets open from the end of November and there are super deals available on flights and hotels, especially if you can travel mid-week.
 

 

 
More and more cities are embracing the trend, but there are still a few show stoppers! Germany is probably the most famous country for Christmas markets, with Cologne and Berlin being most popular. However Budgapest, Vienna and Salzburg should not be overlooked.
 

 

 
Copenhagen is another city you may not have thought of, but if you are looking for a Christmas market break with children, this is a great choice. Tivoli Gardens comes alive with over 500,000 Christmas lights and there are plenty of activities to keep all the family happy. It stays open after Christmas too so it is an ideal choice for a Twixmas break.

Read: Europe’s top 10 Christmas markets

Read: Wonderful wonderful Copenhagen
 
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6. Paris

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Paris might be popular in the Spring, but winter time is also a great time to visit. There are no crowds, its great for shopping, and is have you ever seen the Eiffel Tower look so pretty?  We went for New Year and loved it. If you happen to have children, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Disneyland Paris at Christmas time – it is magical.

Read: Our visit to Disneyland Paris at Christmas time

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7. Iceland

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Scratch one off the bucket list and choose Iceland for your next winter holiday. Go in search of the Northern Lights, swim in the Blue Lagoon and enjoy Iceland’s typical winter weather. Iceland is one of the best winter holiday destinations if you are looking for a snowy destination with winter wonderland feels, and plenty to see and do. 

Read: Top things to do in Iceland
 
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8. New York

 

 
 
 
 
 
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New York is amazing to visit at any time of year, but I think it is a great winter holiday destination. You don’t need to worry about the roasting summer time temperatures or the jam packed streets, and of course you can ice-skate in Central Park in the winter time! We all know New York is a super city for shopping so it is ideal for a pre or post Christmas break.
 

 

 
The Christmas lights are turned on early December so that is a great time to visit, but if you want to avoid the crowds and the high hotel prices, leave it until January.

Read: 5 Christmas Shopping breaks to New York with flexible booking options

Read: Top 25 things to do in New York

Read: Top things to do with New York with kids 

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9. Abu Dhabi and Emirates cruise:

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Abu Dhabi is the largest and wealthiest of the Emirates and a popular destination for winter holidays. However, why not go one step further and add a cruise to your trip. Many cruise companies offer seven-day cruises around the Emirates taking in Dubai and Abu Dhabi as well as their own private islands.
 

 

 
There are direct flights to Abu Dhabi so you can choose to extend your stay if you wish. Don’t miss the opportunity to see one of the largest and most impressive mosques in the world – Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the iconic Louvre Museum, and if travelling with little or ‘big’ kids – Ferrari World is a must visit.

Read: Ferrari World – Going Italian in Abu Dhabi
 

 

 

10. Florida:

best winter holiday destinations - Orlando

With direct flights to Orlando and Miami all year round, why not choose winter over summer in the sunshine state. Winter is the optimum time to visit Orlando’s theme parks, although Christmas holiday time will be busy. Take the opportunity to explore Florida’s coastline too including the beaches of Miami. Why not fly into Orlando and home from Miami to make the most of your winter holiday?

Read: 10 things you need to know about Universal Studios before you book

Read: Where to stay in Orlando

Read: The best theme park tickets to buy in Orlando
 

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I hope this post on winter holiday destinations will inspire you to plan a trip overseas soon. Please note some of the links in this post contain affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made but at no additional cost to you. This helps me to run my website and bring you lots of great holiday tips and ideas!

 

Sarah

 

Travel

Barbados Baby! 1 week Flights & 4 Star Hotel, All Inclusive, €1599!

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Barbados is one of my favourite islands in the Caribbean. It has stunning beaches, great night life and so much to see and do, it’s not surprising people come from all over the world to live here. Experience it yourself this summer with a choice of two amazing Barbados deals from Tropicalsky.ie

 

There are so many different nationalities living in Barbados that you feel like you belong as soon as you step off the plane. Everyone speaks English and they even drive on the same side of the road as us! Speaking of which, you can drive around Barbados in a few hours, it’s a lot smaller than you might think. Barbados although perfect for a romantic holiday, offers so much more. The island is full of interesting sights, the night life is excellent and the water-sports are second to none. It is home to some of the best surfing in the Caribbean but if that’s not your thing, you can go swimming with turtles instead! For more info on Barbados read my blog here.

Barbados, Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert

There are two sides to the island that are sold widely from Ireland. The lively South Coast is home to the capital, Bridgetown and is where the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet. The West Coast is quieter and offers a calmer more relaxed vibe. This is where the islands top hotels are located on the crystal clear Caribbean Sea.

I found two amazing deals staying in the exclusive West Coast but without the expensive price tag! The ‘adults only‘, 4* Sugar Cane Club is rated number 1 on tripadvisor and receives excellent reviews. It is a steal at only €1,599 per person in May, June, July or August. You will have a specious one bedroom suite, a choice of swimming pools, a gym and a spa to unwind after all the hard work 😉

Barbados

If you fancy bottomless cocktails,  a choice of dining options, free water sports and plenty of on site entertainment, then the all-inclusive Almond Beach Resort is the one to choose. Also situated on the West Coast, this beach front property is actually next door to Sandy Lane! You just have to pop by for a look – sure it would be rude not to! I stayed here a few years ago and had a fantastic time. It’s a great place to try lots of new activities that you may not normally try, like paddle boarding, kayaking or reef fishing. They even offer glass bottom boat and speedboat rides, and all of these are complimentary!. They have plenty of land activities too including tennis lessons, yoga classes, golf practice range, gym and even beach cricket (well it is Barbados)! There is nightly entertainment and a weekly beach party – the overall vibe here is fun! There are two restaurants on site, (including the one in the pic below) and the all-inclusive package also allows you to dine in the nearby Sugar Cane Club once during your stay.

Barbados

The Almond Beach Resort is highly rated on tripadvisor and is priced at €2089 per person, including flights, accommodation on an all-inclusive basis and transfers. This price is based on travelling in September or October but there are plenty of other dates available, just check in with the sales team in TropicalSky.ie or click below.

Click here for more details on the Sugar Cane Club:  €1,599pp

 Click here for the Almond Beach Resort; €2089pp

 

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. This post was sponsored by Tropical Sky but all views, as always, are my own 🙂

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery
 
 
 
 
 
In The Media

Winter Breaks As Seen on TV3’s Saturday AM, 24th September 2016

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Thinking of a winter holiday this year? Check out my top picks for winter breaks as seen on TV3’s Saturday AM.

 

If you are looking for some winter sun this year, the best advice I can give you is – book early. There is a massive shortage of accommodation in the Canary Islands as a result of people not wanting to travel to Egypt, Tunisia etc. We tend to forget that it’s not just Irish people who want to go to the Canary Islands for winter sun. There are 60 million Britons, 100 million Germans as well as other Europeans, all looking at the same destinations. You will probably find cheap flights with Aer Lingus and Ryanair but finding apartments and hotels to go with them at the last minute will be extremely difficult. So don’t say you haven’t been warned…  With that in mind, I have some good winter sun options that are available now if you can book your holidays in advance.

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Canary Islands

Lanzarote is the most popular of the Canary Islands with Irish holiday makers. The combination of low rise buildings, just the right amount of nightlife and some excellent beaches means Lanzarote ticks all boxes. I found a great deal flying out on Valentines Day to a popular ‘adult only’ property in the centre of Puerto del Carmen.  The Panorama apartments receive great reviews  on tripadvisor and are perfect for couples who don’t want any kids jumping in and out of the pool. Fly from Dublin to Lanzarote on the 12th of February and enjoy a seven night stay in the Panorama for only €299 per person. Click here for more details:

Winter breaks as seen on TV3's Saturday AM

Cruises

There is some excellent value in winter cruises this year. Thomson Cruises are offering a free upgrade to all-inclusive on their Canary Islands cruises. You can fly to Tenerife or Gran Canaria and cruise the Canary Islands, Madeira and Morocco from only €859 in January and February. Prices include flights, transfers, baggage a seven day cruise including all meals, drinks and entertainment. Click here for more details:

WInter breaks as seen on TV3's Saturday AM

Another cruise destination that is great value is Dubai and the Emirates. With guaranteed sunshine and now direct flights from Dublin, this is a very appealing alternative to the Canary Islands. Royal Caribbean are offering flights and a seven night cruise around Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Oman from €899 in January on Vision of the Seas.  Click here for more details.

Winter breaks as seen on TV3's Saturday AM

City Breaks

There are plenty of great options for city breaks.. Flights and hotels are inexpensive during the winter time so if you don’t necessarily want sun, you can pick up a city break in Europe from €149 or even Las Vegas from €465!  I like this deal to Prague on the 21st of November. Price for flights and three nights in the 4* Union hotel is only €164. Click here for more details on this offer and other city break deals, all less than €169 per person.

Winter breaks as seen on TV3's Saturday AM

Ski holidays

Travel trends have changed over the last number of years and people are looking for more authentic holiday experiences. Winter breaks to see the Northern Lights, Lapland and of course ski trips are becoming more and more popular. Within the ski market there has been a huge increase in demand for chalet holidays. Topflight now have over 50 chalets in the French Alps alone. Chalets can accommodate from 6 – 19 people depending on the chalet you choose so if you have a few families travelling together they are ideal. Couples like them too from the social aspect. They can chat about their skiing exploits that day and pick up tips from fellow skiers. The host is very important too as they will be able to offer local information on the resort and provide tips on the best places to go etc. Chalets usually have cosy fires, comfy couches and offer a home away from home type of experience. Skiing holidays in general are more expensive than sun but once you try it once, you will be hooked, and a chalet is a great place to start.

Fly from Dublin to Les Arcs in France and spend seven nights in the Chalet Bouquetin from €849 per person on the 14th of January. Price includes flights, transfers, checked baggage and meals throughout your stay. Click here for more details:

Winter Breaks as seen on TV3's Saturday AM

Iceland

If you fancy a short break but still want the winter wonderland feel – try Iceland. WOW air are flying five times per week to Reyjavik from Dublin and prices are quite good if you are flexible on your dates. You can take a swim in the Blue Lagoon, try snow mobiling, hiking on a glacier, go whale watching and hopefully get to see the Northern Lights while you are there 🙂 Fly from Dublin to Reyjavik on the 19th of January and enjoy a three night stay in the centrally located Apartment K for only €377 per person. Click here for more details.

Winter breaks as seen on TV3's Saturday AM

 

All prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change.

 

Sarah

 

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Travel

5* Luxury Moon Palace Resort Cancun , All Inclusive €1,409!

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A five star all-inclusive holiday in the Moon Palace Resort Cancun for €1409 – too good to be true?

When I saw this deal to the Moon Palace Resort Cancun from Tropical Sky, I thought there must be a catch. I was wrong! All-inclusive in the Moon Palace means just that. You can dine in any of their fifteen restaurants, have cocktails in any of their twelve bars or if you want a night a nightcap on your balcony – you can have a drink from your well-stocked minibar. All of these are included in the price of your stay! And thats not all… for a limited time you will $1500 resort credit absolutely free!!

Moon Palace Resort Cancun

The Moon Palace is beside Jack Nicklaus golf course, has two fitness centres, two swimming pools with swim up bars, multi sports courts and offers a range of water sports. There is day and night entertainment including live music shows and if you want to dance the night away, they have their own nightclub too. All rooms come with a private balcony with a hammock and a double Jacuzzi in the bathroom. Families are well catered for too with family rooms, kids clubs a kids waterpark.  This resort is highly rated in tripadvisor, won a travellers choice award and is considered at Platinum level from Greenleaders. If you fancy a night out, Cancun is only a half hour away and you can also explore the nearby islands of Cozumel and Isla Mujieres. The Moon Palace also happens to be sitting on a stunning white sandy beach facing the Caribbean Sea, so it’s fair to say you might not want to leave it.

Moon Palace Resort Cancun

Fly from Dublin to Cancun and enjoy a seven night all-inclusive stay from only €1,409 next Summer.  Remember for a limited time you will also receive a staggering $1500 in resort credit. Tropical Sky have amazing offers at the Moon Palace Resort throughout the year so if you are looking for a different time, click on the link below for year round prices.

 

Click here for more details:

 

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. This post was sponsored by Tropical Sky but all views, as always, are my own 🙂

 

Sarah

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Top Five Places To Holiday After Christmas

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When the turkey is eaten and presents are opened, it’s great to have a holiday to look forward to! Check out my guide of the top five places to holiday after Christmas. 

Whether it’s colder or warmer climates that you’re after, there are many places to holiday after Christmas. Skiing the slopes or topping up the tan could be a nice change from a dull Irish January – don’t you think? Hopefully one of my top picks will kick off your new year in style.

 

 

 

 

 

Canary Islands

Fuerteventura, one of the best places to holiday after Christmas by The Travel Expert

If you are looking for some sun, it is hard to beat the Canary Islands. There are plenty of direct flights to Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria and Tenerife from Ireland. Choose a short five to seven day break for New Year, or stay longer for even better value. With kids back in school in January, you may find that it is cheaper to go away for two weeks rather than one at this time.

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Dubai

Dubai, one of the best places to holiday after Christmas by The Travel Expert

Dubai is another great place to visit if you want sunshine, but it is also packed with things to do. You can try a desert safari, go to the top of the world’s tallest building, ski in the worlds largest indoor ski slope, or simply relax on one of its stunning beaches. We visited Dubai last year and loved it, check out my top things to do in Dubai here:

Top ten things to do in Dubai

The best family activities in Dubai

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Copenhagen

Copenhagen one of the best places to holiday after Christmas by The Travel Expert

Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens is one of the few Christmas markets that stays open after Christmas. If you want to prolong the festive mood, it is one of the best cities to choose for a holiday after Christmas. The gardens come alive with over 500,000 Christmas lights and there are plenty of activities to keep all the family happy.
 

 

 

Copenhagen is also one of Europe’s top ‘foodie’ destinations, so why not indulge in some tasty meals before the New Year resolutions kick in! For more information, check out my blog on Copenhagen.

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Edinburgh

Edinburgh's Hogmanay, one of the best places to holiday after Christmas by The Travel Expert

If you are looking for a holiday after Christmas with a party atmosphere, then look no further than Hogmanay in Edinburgh. With celebrations that start on the 30th of December and last for three days, New Year is celebrated more than Christmas in Edinburgh. Top bands provide fantastic entertainment and the fireworks displays are some of the best you are likely to see.

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Skiing

Skiing, one of the best holidays to take after Christmas by The Travel Expert

With snowy mountains and pretty villages, skiing would be my choice for a holiday after Christmas! Austria, France and Italy are the firm favourites but airfares can be high at that time. Watch out for cheap flights to Munich where the transfer times to Austria are similar to that of Salzburg. There are also direct flights from Ireland to Memmingen which has plenty of ski resorts close by.

Read: Skiing in Soll, all you need to know and why you should go

Read: My top tips for family ski holidays

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Sarah

 

 

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