Start thinking about winter

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With the temperatures soaring outside it might seem strange to be talking about snow and skiing – but now is the perfect time to start planning your winter break.

The choices are numerous, from soaking up some winter sunshine, chilling out with Santa or heading off to the ski slopes – all you have to do is choose the best holiday for you.

Here are a few ideas that might take your fancy:

Lapland’s the perfect place for a pre-Christmas break if you have kids in tow. But even if you haven’t, there’s plenty more to see than Santa and no shortage of things to do.

The real treat of travelling this far north is the spectacular scenery.

There’s a magical stillness to this winter wonderland and visit at the right time and you might even catch the incredible natural light show that is the Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights.

For younger visitors, it’s all about searching out Santa, of course, and there are plenty of Christmas-themed packages offering children the chance to meet and greet him in his grotto.

Skiing trips can be a pricey option for a winter holiday, so if you’re looking for value for money, steer away from the snowy hotspots of France and Austria.

Bulgaria is a destination that offers great budget breaks and is a particularly good choice for board or ski rookies, though more experienced skiers will find challenging runs.

Sun-lovers looking for a real winter sunshine boost need only jump on a plane for six hours to reach Cape Verde. This archipelago of 10 islands is in the Atlantic, just a few hundred miles from the African coast.

Try Boa Vista or Sal for sun-lounging or water-sports on white-sand beaches that fringe indigo seas.