Where to go on holiday in November
* Guaranteed sunshine within 4 hours flying time
* Madeira is great option to avoid quarantine
By Mark Hodson, Sunday Times Travel Writer
November signals the beginning of winter in the UK and much of Europe. It’s a great month for a city break but if you want guaranteed sunshine you’ll need to go beyond the Mediterranean. In a normal year I’d suggest Dubai (7 hours flying time), Morocco (3 hours) or the Canary Islands (4 hours). But with travel restrictions in 2020, I recommend you investigate Cyprus,.Portugal, Greece, Italy and Turkey. For winter sun, I’d go to Madeira.
These are my own personal recommendations with links to companies tested and approved by our team of editors. Also see our guides to the best family holidays in November and singles holidays in November.
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Mid haul sunshine (4 – 7 hours flying time)
The Canary Islands are particularly good for cheap holidays in November, although quarantine restrictions are currently in force. In Lanzarote and Tenerife you’ll find average temperatures of around 24ºC and good-value luxury hotels such as Abama Golf & Spa Resort. Beyond the best-known islands are remote treasures such as La Palma and tiny La Gomera which can be reached by ferry from Tenerife.
For a better option, the lush mountainous Portuguese island of Madeira – north of the Canaries – enjoys fabulous year-round sunshine, and direct British Airways flights from London. Madeira is great for walking and exploring but also a charming place to unwind, eat well and relax. You can stay at a resort hotel in Funchal or at one of the beautifully-restored manor houses known as quintas.
Egypt is normally one of the best holiday destinations in November – it’s cool enough for sightseeing in Cairo, but warm enough for sunbathing on the Red Sea Coast. Flying time is around 5 hours. You can combine the Pyramids, a luxury Nile cruise and time on the beach on a 10-night Classic Egypt holiday. Expect highs of 26ºC.
In the Arabian Gulf, Dubai continues to grow in popularity, but it’s also worth looking at neighbouring Abu Dhabi where you can laze in the sun at stunning beach hotels, take a desert safari, enjoy the attractions of Yas Island and get a special package to watch the Formula 1 Grand Prix in November.
If it’s beaches you’re looking for, consider the Cape Verde islands off the West Coast of Africa. They offer amazing white sands, a lively local culture and high-quality hotels at low prices. Expect 28ºC and 9 hours of sun. See the latest offers.
Morocco is generally classified as a mid-haul destination, even though the flying time from the UK is only about three hours (it’s closer than Turkey). You can expect long days of sunshine in the cities of Marrakech and Fes and the beaches of Essaouira, while the Atlas Mountains are getting decidedly cool – perfect for trekking.
Long haul adventures in November (more than 7 hours flying time)
Travelling a little further from home offers hotter weather and a wealth of exotic locations. You could see the Big Five in Kenya where the weather in November is warm and humid.
Arguably the best way to see Africa’s wildlife is on foot. If you’re looking for adventure, consider Madagascar which is home to thousands of species not seen anywhere else in the world including elephant birds, giant lemurs and pygmy hippos. This two-week Madagascar Wildlife Discovery tour will dazzle and amaze you.
It’s a great time of year to explore South Africa before the start of the peak season (weather is great in November, but prices are low). How about this two-week self-drive holiday featuring Cape Town, the Winelands and a safari.
If you’ve never been to Cambodia this is a great time to put that right. You can choose between some excellent escorted and private luxury tours and tailor made holidays to discover the temples of Angkor, the buzzing streets of Phnom Penh and idyllic beaches.
For something different, try the Himalayan mountain kingdom of Bhutan where cigarettes and foreign TV are banned, and men are obliged by law to wear Argyll socks and knee-length, cross-buttoned tunics. Pick one of these small group tours.
If you don’t mind the cold, how about joining a Polar Bear adventure in Hudson Bay in northern Canada?
Long haul beaches
The pristine beaches of the Seychelles, the Maldives and Mauritius make for perfect beach holidays in November with breathtaking surroundings and luxury hotels. The Dinarobin Hotel Golf & Spa in Mauritius is a fantastic place to relax and enjoy the Southern Hemisphere summer. In the Seychelles, choose from boutique hotels and private islands.
If you’re looking for value, now is the time to visit Sri Lanka. The high season has just begun but flights are still at low-season rates. These holiday ideas include adventure tours and gorgeous boutique hotels in historic settings.
Goa (32ºC and 9 hours of sun) is also great value. For five-star luxury, head to The Leela. If you’re on a budget, I recommend the Santana Beach Resort and Chalston Beach Resort. Check out the latest offers.
You’ll find deals in the Caribbean where the season is just beginning. Our favourite islands include the Cayman Islands, Anguilla, St Lucia and Barbados while our recommended hotels include Round Hill in Jamaica. See details of the Caribbean weather in November.
For the ultimate beach experience, you could go island hopping in the South Pacific. The natural beauty of Tahiti, Fiji and the Cook Islands will imprint itself on your mind for the rest of your life.
Short breaks in November
If your time is limited, a short city break is the perfect opportunity to soak up some history and culture – and late season sun.
You could savour the sights of traffic-free Dubrovnik, a UNESCO world heritage city. You can get to Nice on the Cote d’Azur by train or plane, and even in November you have a great chance of lazing in warm Mediterranean sunshine.
If you’re feeling adventurous, head East. This is a great time to experience the sights and sounds of Delhi although keep an eye on the date of Diwali (14 November in 2020) as the city gets very busy.
For some early festive cheer, head to Europe for a Christmas market break. You’ll get away from the crass commercialism of modern Christmas and discover fascinating local traditions. Famous markets include Cologne, Munich and Prague, but the small lesser-known destinations such as Freiburg, Koblenz and Wiesbaden are all worth a visit.
More ideas for luxury holidays in November
If you feel ready to indulge in a spa holiday, or challenge yourself with something active, check out these ideas in November from The Healthy Holiday Company.
November is also peak time to visit the “real” Santa on a Christmas break in Lapland. Or you could head north to view the Northern Lights – we recommend a trip to Iceland where you can also try a fly-drive tour or a jeep adventure.
At the other end of the world, November is the most exciting time to visit the Antarctic. Temperatures are cold but you’ll experience the most pristine snow, breathtaking scenery and polar ice breaking up. See this selection of expedition cruises.
Need more climate information? See where is hot in November. You may also be interested in our expert recommendations for honeymoons in November. If you’re considering the Med, see the hottest Greek islands in November.
Last updated: 24 August 2020
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