Last-minute places to escape the cold and crowds

Dec 6, 2017

As temperatures dip in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, head for Tanzania’s lesser-known beaches – or a rainforest- and sand dune-covered island off the coast of Queensland – for a sunny vacation sans the crowds.

Tanzania’s north coast


As Zanzibar becomes more popular as a travel destination, great alternatives are materialising on the Tanzanian mainland, where Swahili culture meets quiet, sandy shores. Coastal town Pangani is known for turtle-watching; if you want a touch of luxury, head to Ushongo for swish, palm-flanked villas such as Mawimbi. From Pangani, take a dhow cruise to nature reserve Maziwe Island, a gash of sand surrounded by coral reefs.

La Palma, Spain

la palma

La Palma is one of the least-visited Canary Islands, despite fine hiking via laurel forests and thrilling volcanic ridges, and 20 deg Celcius winter temperatures. The island is also one of the best spots in Europe for star-gazing. Its western side throws in striking black sand beaches (above), plus the top hotel set on the site of an old sugar mill – Hacienda de Abajo. Bordered by banana plantations, the coral-hued property commands fine views of the ocean, and also houses a gourmet restaurant.

SEE ALSO: 9 secret beaches in South-east Asia you need to know about 



Dislike glossy, high-rise resorts? Then Curaçao’s the Caribbean isle for you. Located outside the hurricane belt, this hilly Lesser Antilles island country of the Netherlands boasts boutique hotels, buildings in pastel shades and live reggae – accompanied by that eponymous blue liqueur – along with the requisite sugar-white coves and stellar scuba diving.