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The 5 best blockbuster gay winter sun hotspots

The 5 best blockbuster gay winter sun hotspots

It's always summer somewhere!

Sponsored: Brits, brace yourselves – this season is going to be positively Arctic.

The UK is set to be engulfed by freezing gales, inches of snow and subzero temperatures this winter. In fact, seasonal chills will reach as low as -11C this month alone.

If the idea of another cold, dark winter is firing up your wanderlust, we’ve got just the ticket. Here, we team up with Heathrow Airport to look at five LGBTI-friendly hotspots – all from vastly different corners of the world – that boast year-round sunshine.

And of course, they’re all accessible from Heathrow Airport itself!

beach_rio_de_janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – 26C

And back to blazing heat once more. With a population of 6.5 million, the former capital of Brazil is the country’s second largest city after Sao Paulo, and the largest on this list.

With the hubbub of the Olympics already a recent memory, this dynamic city looks set to declare record tourism figures for 2016. And while winter engulfs the UK, Rio and the rest of Brazil enjoy summer. We’re actually sipping Caipirinhas, Brazil’s national cocktail on Copacabana Beach as we type. OK, we’re not really, but we are in our heads.

Don’t miss: Sugarloaf Cable Car is an example of that rare tourism attraction that actually changes you from the inside out. Sugarloaf Mountain stands 396m tall, and from here, the views of the city have to been seen to believed. Go at sunset.

Seven flights depart from Heathrow to Rio de Janeiro every week…

san_francisco

San Francisco, California – 18C

Ah, California – the gay utopian playground where it’s almost always sunny. And the jewel in the crown of this most liberal of states is, of course, the City by the Bay.

Cali’s fourth largest city is home to 840,000, and attracted a staggering 24.6 million visitors in 2015. It’s also the location for the gone-but-never-forgotten HBO series Looking, not to mention Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City book series.

It boasts a pretty dramatic location, at the head of the Golden Gate strait looking out into the Pacific Ocean. Which means that, yes, it’s prone to rain and fog. But frankly, in our experience, this could happen any time of the year. Weather permitting, the air here is clean, clear and unlike anywhere else in the world. When we visited in January a few years ago, we were in T-shirts.

Don’t miss: Cycling across the Golden Gate Bridge should be on every self-respecting LGBTIs bucket list.

Six flights depart from Heathrow to San Francisco daily…

bondi_beach_australia

Sydney, Australia – 29C

Home to 4.9 million, this is Australia’s biggest city. Gay marriage remains a divisive subject in the country, but Sydney’s status as a thriving LGBTI mecca looks set in stone.

Sydney really does have it all: culture, clubs, a citywide gay scene and, out nestling the suburbs, the one and only Bondi Beach. Not to mention the daddy of all opera houses (be honest – how many others around the world would you recognise?)

Don’t miss: Event-wise, it has to be Mardi Gras, next taking place from 17 February to 4 March. But for a year-round experience, the Sydney Harbour BridgeClimb is the only way to truly conquer the city.

Two flights depart from Heathrow to Sydney daily…

miami_florida

Miami, Florida – 20C

The largest city in Florida is also the most glamorous beach destination outside of the French Riviera. Celebrities, fashionistas and sun-lovers convene on a destination full of culture, shopping and blockbuster hotels. Meanwhile South Beach, a stretch of gold on the glamorous Miami Beach, is popular with toned and tanned gays.

Miami is also a gateway to other Floridian touristic heavyweights popular with the gays. Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and the Florida Keys are all driving distance.

Don’t miss: Casa Casuarina, the home of late gay fashion icon Gianni Versace, is wonderland of taste and opulence. It must be seen to be believed.

Six flights depart from Heathrow to Miami every day…

greece_athens

Athens, Greece – 10c

OK, Athens isn’t scorching this time of year, but it’s still much hotter than the UK, making it the perfect short-haul winter sun city break. After all, we’ve scaled the Acropolis amid scores of tourists in searing July heat, and it’s not an experience we wish to repeat in a hurry.

Not only is the Greek capital steeped in history and delicious, cheap food, it’s also a gateway to Greece’s 6,000+ islands, such as Mykonos, Santorini and Rhodes. Once again, temperatures are generally pleasant, but the crowds are thankfully absent.

Don’t miss: In terms of Athens, the aforementioned Acropolis, a magnificent temple overlooking the century built in the mid-5th century. Astonishing.

Up to six flights depart from Heathrow to Athens daily…

To book your flights go to www.heathrow.com/plan-and-book-your-trip.