20 Winter Holiday Destinations From Ireland With Direct Flights

Winter sun holidays, winter wonderlands and Christmas market breaks – check out my top winter holiday destinations from Ireland with direct flights.

Want to stay in a glass igloo in Lapland, shop till you drop in New York, or is a sun holiday more your style? We are fortunate to have such a wide range of winter holiday destinations with direct flights from Ireland. I understand some of you wish to travel alone or with friends, and many will be travelling with kids – so you should find breaks here to suit all tastes and budgets.

top winter holiday destinations for families - skiing


1. The Canary Islands

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 direct flights to Tenerife and Lanzarote from from Dublin, Cork, Knock and Shannon airports, as well as direct flights to Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura from Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports.

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 there is something about Lanzarote that still remains my island of choice!

Read: Why Lanzarote is my favourite Canary Island

Read: Family holidays in Lanzarote, my top 10 picks on where to stay

Read: Top things to do in Fuerteventura – travel guide

Read: Top things to do in Tenerife and where to stay

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2. Dubai

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 the year before last year had a blast. Activities and dining are expensive, so you may need to budget accordingly, but 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. Skiing Holidays

Skiing holidays are growing in popularity all the time, with Austria, France and Italy being the firm favourites from Ireland. Söll in Austria is a great all rounder, with great skiing, restaurants and après ski, but if money is not an option, check out Val d’Isere in France.

Most of the top ski resorts in France, Italy and Austria are easily accessible from Dublin airport, but there are also options from our regional airports. There are flights from Shannon airport to Turin and Cork airport to Munich.

Top Tip: If you are looking to ski in Austria, flights to Munich are sometimes 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

I will never forget the look in my children’s eyes when we went to Lapland to see Santa. 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. TUI and Sunway offer packages with flights, transfers, accommodation and activities included, from various Irish airports.

Ryanair offer flights to Rovaniemi from Dublin airport until mid March, and Santa Claus Village is open all year round – see more about the various seasons in Lapland here. You can book flights and hotels separately via the links below.

Read: Our trip to see Santa in Lapland

Lapland isn’t just for kids! You can scratch one off your bucket list by staying in a glass igloo just 15 minutes drive from Rovaneimi airport. You can enjoy husky safaris, snowmobiling, as well as igloo saunas.

winter holiday destinations from Ireland

Featuring a heated glass roof, the Aurora cabin allows you to watch the sky directly from the bed. It comes with a private bathroom, electric fireplace and a sofa. Wouldn’t this be the ultimate Christmas present? 🎁

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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 Budapest, 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 come alive with over 2 million Christmas lights and there are plenty of activities to keep all the family happy.

There is a wide choice of Christmas market breaks available from Dublin airport, Budapest and Krakow are served from Shannon airport, and Malaga is available from Cork, Knock and Shannon airports too.

Read: 12 Christmas market breaks with flights and hotels included

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6. Paris

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 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. Not only it is a magical experience, but it is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, so expect lots extra magic from Disney!

There are many flights to Paris available from Dublin airport, as well as direct flights to Orly airport from Cork and Shannon.

Read: Top things to do in Paris and where to stay

Read:  The best Disneyland Paris hotels, on site and nearby

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7. Iceland

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. Chase the Northern Lights, swim in the Blue Lagoon and drive Iceland’s golden circle. There are direct flights from Dublin to Reykjavik with Icelandair and Play Airlines this winter.

Read: Top things to do in Iceland

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8. New York

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 temperatures, and of course you can ice-skate in Central Park. 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 in early December, and this is a great time to visit, but if you want to avoid the crowds and the high hotel prices, leave it until January. There are direct flights from Dublin and Shannon airport this winter and it is easily accessible via Heathrow from Cork and Knock airports.

Read: Top 25 things to do in New York

Read: Top things to do with New York with kids 

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9. Cruise holidays

There are many options for winter cruises from Ireland. MSC and Princess Cruises will cruise the Mediterranean during the winter season, you can cruise the Canary Islands with Norwegian and Marella Cruises, or choose to cruise the Caribbean or Emirates on a variety of cruise lines.

River cruises are also very popular, particularly during the festive season where you can visit many Christmas markets on one trip.

Read: How to choose the right cruise for you

10. Morocco

winter holidays in morocco

We are very fortunate to have flights to two airports in Morocco this winter, Agadir and Marrakech. So whether you fancy a cultural city break or a relaxing holiday on Agadir’s sandy beach – Morocco can offer both.

Agadir’s beach is 12km long and its fashionable marina area has a host of restaurants and duty free shops, while Marrakech’s medina is fascinating to explore.

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11. Florida

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: 35 Things to do in Universal Orlando – My top tips and tricks

Read: 30 Things to do in Disney World Florida with teens

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12. Maltatop 10 reasons to visit Malta

For a small island in the Mediterranean, Malta sure packs a few punches. Temperatures can be as high as 17 degrees and rarely get below 11 degrees, making it ideal for sightseeing.

It is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites – the City of Valletta is one of them and is a must see. It has 320 historic monuments and a stunning natural harbour and is described as ‘one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world’ by UNESCO.

Malta was the most bombed country in the world during WWII, with over 14,000 bombs dropped. You can visit air raid shelters and war rooms, as well as an aviation museum.

It is rare to find anywhere in the Med where you drive on the left hand side, and the island is only 17 miles long and 9 miles wide, with a population of just over 500,000, so it is an easy island to explore.

Read: Top 10 reasons to visit Malta

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13. Cyprus

Cyprus is one of the winter holiday destinations from Ireland

Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean and is full of culture, history and white sandy beaches. Ryanair fly twice weekly to Paphos from Dublin airport.

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14. Egypt

scuba diving in the Red Sea is possible with direct flights from Ireland this winter

With the introduction of direct flights from Belfast to Hurghada every Tuesday, there has never been a better time to explore Egypt’s Red Sea resorts. Hurghada is the largest resort in the Red Sea and is home to luxury hotels, gorgeous beaches and a stylish marina. It is also a paradise for divers and snorkelers, due to its spectacular coral reefs.

There are plenty of opportunities to discover Egypt’s traditional side too with mosques and bazaars a plenty, and if you fancy a desert safari in the Sahara, then this is the place to try it. And if you are seeking even more adventure, why not book a day trip to Cairo to see the Pyramids, or Luxor to see the Valley of the Kings.

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15. Madeira

winter holidays in Madeira

The tropical island of Madeira is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and food lovers. Visit the vibrant capital of Funchal, swim in one of the island’s natural pools, or enjoy a hike – Madeira has fabulous hiking trails and breathtaking scenery.

Located off the coast of Africa, with an average day time temperatures of 18 degrees in the winter, this is an ideal winter holiday destination. Ryanair fly twice weekly to Madeira from Dublin airport.

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16. Turkey

there are direct flights from Dublin to Alanya in Turkey this winter

There are direct flights to three Turkish airports from Dublin airport this winter. Choose a city break in Istanbul with Turkish airlines, or the seaside resorts of Bodrum and Antalya with Ryanair and Sun Express respectively. Turkey is often considered a shoppers paradise, so a trip before Christmas might be worth considering!

Antalya has proven very popular with Irish holidaymakers to its white sandy beaches, yacht-filled marinas and lavish hotels. Belek is Mecca for golfers – there are 16 courses here, but there are plenty of traditional towns and historical sites to be explored too.

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17. Algarve

The Algarve is one of my favourite holiday destinations. I love the beaches there – there are over 100 of them! I also love its pretty clifftop villages and the great food scene,  and you don’t need to have scorching temperatures to appreciate them.

There is also a superb range of sporting and wellness activities in the Algarve, and with winter weather being generally mild, this is the time to enjoy them.

We visited in February of this year and loved walking the beaches and cycling the boardwalks. The Algarve is one of the best value winter holiday destinations from Ireland and there are flights from Dublin, Cork, Shannon and Knock airports.

Read: Where to stay in the Algarve – ultimate guide to top holiday resorts

18. Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi Mosque

Abu Dhabi is the largest and wealthiest of the Emirates and a popular destination for winter holidays.  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.

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19. Malaga and the Costa del Sol

The Costa del Sol is one of our most popular holiday destinations and is served all year round from Dublin, Cork Knock and Shannon airports. You can expect mild temperatures and great value in the numerous hotels along the Costa del Sol. I suggest paying a visit to Malaga city too – it offers the best of both worlds.

Despite being the six largest city in Spain, Malaga feels more like a vibrant town. Most of the top things to do in Malaga are located close together so you can see most of the highlights in a short break. It is a pretty city with marbled tiles and tapas bars on its streets and there are over 30 museums to explore.

Malaga is fascinating, friendly and fun and is a great option for a city break  this winter.

Read: Top things to do in Malaga – Malaga Travel Guide

If you want a little adventure thrown in, I urge you to visit one of Spain’s best kept secrets – the Caminito del Rey. It is only an hour from Malaga and the resorts along the Costa del Sol. The views are spectacular from beginning to end, with stunning gorges, canyons and cliffs around every corner.

Read: Top Tips for walking the Caminito del Rey cliff path walk

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20. Doha, Qatar

top things to do in Doha

Qatar is of one of the richest countries in the world, so it is no surprise that its capital is home to a futuristic skyline and architectural masterpieces.

Qatari’s are proud of their heritage and like to show it off. Doha’s spectacular National Museum, Cultural Village and traditional souqs are just as show-stopping as its Mykonos-inspired beach clubs, mind-blowing shopping malls and tree-lined promenades.

It may also surprise you to learn that Doha excels in adventure activities too. From swimming with whale sharks to dune bashing in the Arabian desert, there are many things to do in Doha for thrill seekers.

Families are not overlooked either, as there are plenty of things to do in Doha with kids, including indoor and outdoor theme parks. There are direct daily flights from Dublin to Doha with Qatar airlines.

Read: Top things to do in Doha

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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!

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