For anyone about to batten down the hatches ahead of a long winter, dwindling vitamin D may well be a concern. But you can easily reboot your health by heading to one of the five sunniest places on Earth according to the World Meteorological Organization.*
Crossing McPhaul Bridge, aka the 'Bridge to Nowhere'
Overlooking the Colorado River on the border of Arizona and California, the town of Yuma is the sunniest place in the world. In a scorching part of the Sonoran desert, Yuma basks in an average of 4,015 hours of sunshine per year; that’s 10 to 11 hours of sunshine a day, 365 days a year. The natural surrounds include the Imperial Sand Dunes to the west, wildflower trails through the Muchacho Mountains, and the restored wetlands beside the Colorado River (featuring a growing network of hiking routes). Soak up the rays by the outdoor pool at Radisson Hotel Yuma.
Sailboats glide past the ancient city of Elepahantine along the wide, palm-lined Nile River
Aswan is a small town in Egypt on the eastern banks of the Nile where you'll find year-round sunshine. With over ten hours of sunlight every day, it’s the sunniest city in Africa. It’s also a market town of major cultural and historic significance, housing both the ancient city of Elephantine and the Agha Khan Mausoleum, a pink limestone and Carrara marble monument built as a gesture of love to Aga Khan from his wife. Take a cruise down the Nile, admiring the ancient villages that run down to the water’s edge and watch the sunset over the the palm-lined water. Stay at Sofitel Legend Old Cataract, a hotel set in a pink Victorian building with an outdoor pool right next to the Nile and views from the terrace of ancient Elephantine.
Visit the Grand Canyon National Park while you're in Phoenix
Cast aside your winter blues and warm your bones in Phoenix, the capital of Arizona. Here, the annual average of just under 4,000 hours of sunshine has earned the city the moniker ‘Valley of the Sun’. With flaming sunsets, fantastic Mexican food, a romantic, arid landscape, and a location close enough to visit the Grand Canyon National Park, the city offers plenty in terms of escapism. Stay in the fashionable Downtown district at the industrial-chic Found Re Phoenix.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Soak up the rays in Vegas lazing by a pool before hitting the Strip later on
‘Sin City’ isn’t only worth visiting for its casinos, kitsch nightlife and the opportunity to get hitched in 24 hours, it’s also the world’s fourth sunniest city. So for those craving sunshine and balmy temperatures alongside world-class entertainment, Vegas is perfect. Nothing could be further from a glum winter day than lazing by a pool before strolling the neon-lit Strip in a t-shirt and shorts before hitting the slot machines and big budget shows. And the infinity pool and cabana-covered terrace at the Mandarin Oriental make Las Vegas sunbathing even more of a joy.
El Paso, Texas
Explore the sun-drenched Franklin Mountains State Park outside El Paso
El Paso (aka ‘The Sun City’) straddles the border of Texas, Mexico and New Mexico and enjoys 302 days of sunshine per year. It's a culturally-diverse city, with a nightlife and restaurant scene that has recently grown to include craft breweries, tapas bars and arthouse cinemas serving parmesan popcorn. But the real draw is the Franklin Mountains State Park just outside of El Paso – the largest park of its kind in the country. Take the Wyler Aerial Tramway that ascends to Ranger Peak for panoramic views of the city and thousands of miles of cacti-covered Chihuahuan desert. Check into the Hotel Indigo El Paso Downtown, with an outdoor pool area that’s a glorious sun trap.
**These destinations were declared the sunniest cities in the world based on highest sunshine averages over a period of nearly 30 years.