While some people like to plan holidays way in advance, there are actually some pretty big benefits to a last-minute break.
Booking late means you get access to some of the best travel deals around, saving you serious amounts of money – and there’s something very exciting about having a last-minute holiday suddenly around the corner.
So, if you’re thinking about your next holiday, why not book a last-minute sunshine break? To help inspire you, we’ve partnered with TUI – a world-leading tour operator with over 40 years of travel experience. TUI provides comfortable, unique, and hassle-free holidays at affordable prices, leaving you free to explore and relax without a care in the world.
With that said, here are 12 of the best holiday destinations for some last-minute sunshine.
1. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is located on the eastern half of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, with Haiti taking up the western half. Known for its dramatic beaches and diverse landscape, the DR – as it’s commonly known – is ideal for a sun-blessed beach break, and there are usually many excellent last-minute deals available.
Punta Cana is one of the DR’s most popular resort towns, and it has accommodations to suit every traveller and budget. Hotels, resorts, bars and restaurants line the glorious beachfront, and if you’re dreaming of chilled, sunny days swimming in turquoise waters, and sultry nights sipping dark rum, this is where to head.
If you’re looking for adventure, the DR is also home to tropical rainforests, mangrove swamps, and vast deserts, so there’s plenty of opportunity to explore. There’s also plenty of history and culture here, particularly in the town of Higuey, where you can visit museums, admire cathedrals, and pick up souvenirs from family-run shops.
Aug: 32C | Sep: 32C | Oct: 32C | Nov: 31C
Relax and unwind in the Dominican Republic
2. Paphos, Cyprus
Located between Africa, Asia, and Europe, Cyprus has long been a popular choice for Brits seeking sunshine. Steeped in myths and legends and home to fascinating historic sites, this sun-soaked country has a wealth of culture to offer – but its seemingly endless coastline and gorgeous beaches are perhaps its biggest draw.
If you’re not sure where to go, head to the Paphos region, which runs from Polis down to the city of Limassol, on the western side of the island. Beautiful and incredibly diverse, Paphos boasts wild and remote stretches of countryside, limestone cliffs, bustling resorts, palm-tree-fringed beaches, and many bewitching historic gems.
Paphos and Limassol are the most popular resorts, and while they have all the amenities you’d expect from a holiday hotspot, there’s also plenty of authentic Cyprus to discover here too. As a cost-effective destination on the whole, booking a last-minute holiday to Cyprus will extend your budget even further.
Aug: 33C | Sep: 31C | Oct: 28C | Nov: 23C
Jet off to Cyprus
3. The Sorrento Coast, Italy
The Sorrento Coast is one of Italy’s most iconic destinations – and arguably one of Europe’s most picturesque stretches of coast too. Here, sheer cliffs crash precipitously into the sea, while colourful towns curve along the bay, and the imposing bulk of Mount Vesuvius looms across the horizon.
The beauty of the Sorrento Coast is no secret, and it’s become one of Italy’s ritziest locations – but there are plenty of great last-minute deals to be found. The jewel in the crown is the town of Sorrento, where you can spend lazy days wandering the narrow streets, dining in trattorias, and indulging your sweet tooth in gelaterias.
While the region doesn’t have many sandy beaches, Sorrento has lots of wooden or stone bathing platforms, where you can leap right into these crystalline waters – and most hotels on the seafront have their own private platforms. If you’re a history buff, you can’t miss Pompeii, which is just 40 minutes by train.
Aug: 31C | Sep: 27C | Oct: 23C | Nov: 18C
Marvel at the beauty of the Sorrento Coast
4. Orlando, Florida
Orlando might be synonymous with Disney World and Universal Studios, but there’s far more to this lively city, and the Sunshine State, than first meets the eye. With lovely leafy neighbourhoods, a fabulous music and arts scene, excellent cuisine, and a wonderfully laid-back pace, Orlando is a great base to explore Florida.
Whatever type of beak you’re looking for, you’ll be spoilt for choice here. If you like getting your adrenaline pumping, there are more white knuckle rides here than you can count – but you might prefer to get your kicks by heading into the Everglades instead, where you can spot the American crocodile and the Florida panther.
If you’re looking to soak up the sun, you can certainly do that here. Though it’s not a coastal city, most Orlando hotels and resorts have pristine pools – and if you fancy getting more active, the world’s best water parks are located here too! The options and possibilities are endless here – as is the sun!
Aug: 33C | Sep: 32C | Oct: 29C | Nov: 26C
Explore the Sunshine State
5. Cape Verde, Africa
Located 300 miles west of Senegal, Cape Verde is also an excellent choice for a last-minute sunshine holiday. Made up of 10 volcanic islands, this archipelago is a fascinating mix of Portuguese, Brazilian, and West African cultures – and the immaculate white sand beaches and sapphire seas are just another draw.
If you’re looking for a warm holiday where you’re pretty much based on the beach, the islands of Sal and Maio are your best bet, whereas if you’d like to stay active and enjoy plenty of hiking too, the verdant valleys and soaring summits of Santo Antão will tick the box.
Travellers looking for peace and solitude may want to head to Fogo or Brava – and the remarkable volcanic landscape here will take your breath away. With gorgeous weather throughout the year, Cape Verde will boost your spirits with its uplifting sunshine, warm hospitality, and uniquely immersive culture.
Aug: 28C | Sep: 29C | Oct: 28C | Nov: 27C
Be captivated by Cape Verde
Few small countries can boast the rich musical history of Jamaica. The minute you hear the laid-back reggae beats this island is known for, you’ll instantly begin to relax – and the slow pace of life and take-it-easy vibe just add to Jamaica’s unique yet authentic appeal. And, of course, there are the beaches!
All along the coast of this stunning Caribbean island, you’ll find white sand beaches, swaying palm trees, and ramshackle beach bars where you can sip on coconut water or freshly-made rum cocktails. With year-round sunshine, rugged mountains, secret waterfalls, and jungle-like banana plantations, there’s lots to explore too.
The most popular resorts are Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, and Negril, and the beauty of these destinations is that there’s accommodation to suit every preference – from sprawling beachfront resorts to small, lowkey hotels. If you’re looking to get away from it all, head to Lucea and Runaway Bay, you can relax on unspoilt beaches.
Aug: 33C | Sep: 33C | Oct: 32C | Nov: 31C
Enjoy sun, rum, and reggae in Jamaica
7. Sri Lanka
Located off the southern tip of India, Sri Lanka is a country that’s truly startling in its beauty. This is a land of sultry rainforests, mystical temples, world-famous tea plantations, snow-white sand, and shimmering azure waters. While it has the same cultural complexity as India, Sri Lanka is decidedly more chilled.
There’s so much to see and do here – and because Sri Lanka is astonishingly diverse, you can spend equal amounts of time relaxing on the beach as you can enjoying intrepid adventures: why not spend the morning swimming and sunbathing, before spending the afternoon wildlife spotting on a safari?
Foodies will also be in their element here, as Sri Lanka is known for its mouthwatering cuisine and traditional tea culture. Most of the beach resorts are located along the southwest coast, but because Sri Lanka is small (smaller than Scotland!), you can fit plenty of exploring in and make sure you see a lot of the island.
Aug: 30C | Sep: 30C | Oct: 30C | Nov: 30C
Combine relaxation with adventure in Sri Lanka
8. Majorca, Spain
Majorca may not exactly be a hidden gem – but there’s a reason why so many visitors keep coming back to this stunning island. As the largest of Spain’s Balearic Islands, Majorca’s appeal is obvious: it has immaculate golden beaches, fragrant pine forests, sleepy hamlets, and soaring mountain peaks.
If you’re looking to kick back in a resort, there are almost too many options. Alcudia, Puerto Pollensa, Cala Bona, and Ca’n Picafort are ideal for families, whereas couples may want to head to Sa Coma, where they can enjoy intimate dinners in romantic restaurants, and peaceful walks along the tree-lined prom.
Majorca’s cosmopolitan capital, Palma, makes a great base for travellers who like to do a bit of everything on their break; here you can browse boutiques, enjoy long tapas lunches, people-watch over drinks, visit galleries and museums, and of course, hit the beach.
Aug: 32C | Sep: 28C | Oct: 24C | Nov: 19C
Escape to sunny Spain
9. Antalya, Turkey
Big, beautiful, historic and diverse, Turkey has so much to offer travellers – from intoxicating cities to majestic scenery, and some of the world’s most flavoursome cuisine. While Istanbul is a wise choice for a city break, and the mountains are great for hiking, sun-seekers should head to the Antalya region.
Known as the Turkish Riviera, the Antalya is located in the south-west of the country, and boasts a staggering 400 miles of sweeping beaches and secluded coves. Bordered by the pine-blanketed Taurus Mountains, this photogenic region manages to be both upmarket and traditional.
If you’re looking for glamour, you’ll find it – particularly in swanky resort towns like Side, Belek, and Kemer, where there are yacht-filled marinas, gorgeous golf courses, and glitzy hotels. If you want to explore traditional Turkey, Antalya’s narrow streets are lined with bazaars, authentic restaurants, and Ottoman architecture.
Aug: 35C | Sep: 31C | Oct: 27C | Nov: 21C
Experience Turkey’s alluring culture
10. Mexico’s Caribbean Coast
There’s something about Mexico that can excite even the weariest travellers – and this big country’s Caribbean coast is especially intoxicating. Boasting idyllic beaches, intriguing ancient sites, dense jungles, energetic beach towns, and fabulous food, this is the holiday destination dreams are made of.
The Yucatan Peninsula is home to Mexico’s most iconic resort town, Cancun. Once a humble fishing village, today Cancun is an action-packed tourist resort with glittering casinos, modern malls, and buzzing nightlife. A little further down the coast is Playa del Carmen, which has a more compact, relaxed charm.
If busy resort towns aren’t your thing, the undeveloped shores of the Riviera Maya beckon, and there are excellent opportunities for scuba diving and rainforest trekking here too. And of course, the temples of Tulum, the vast pyramid of Chichen Itza, and the mysterious cenote holes just add to this region’s magical appeal.
Aug: 28C | Sep: 28C | Oct: 27C | Nov: 25C
Fall in love with Mexico’s Caribbean Coast
11. Dalmatian Coast, Croatia
It wasn’t so long ago that Croatia was seen as one of Europe’s hidden gems – but the cerulean seas, pretty beaches, and charming towns this country is known for have seen its popularity rocket… and its price tag. Luckily, however, there are many last-minute deals that can save you a pretty penny.
Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast is perfect for a last-minute sunshine holiday, and the beating heart of this lovely region is the city of Split, which is packed with UNESCO-listed attractions, from the third-century Diocletian’s Palace to grand cathedrals. The sleek Riva promenade here is perfect for leisurely evening strolls.
Beach lovers may want to head to one of the Dalmatian Coast’s many excellent beach resorts: Brela, Zivogosce, and Tucepi boast pebbled coves and gin-clear waters, while the pine-fringed bays along the Makarska Riviera will leave you breathless. If you fancy staying on an island, you can’t go wrong at either Hvar or Brac.
Aug: 30C | Sep: 25C | Oct: 21C | Nov: 16C
Visit the charming Dalmatian Coast
12. Bourgas, Bulgaria
Bulgaria’s charms may not be as widely known as its neighbour Greece, but this gorgeous Balkan country is one of Europe’s most intriguing countries – and one of the best destinations for a last-minute break. Home to pretty beaches, dramatic mountains, and culture-crammed cities packed with history, Bulgaria has it all.
If you’re looking for sun, sea, and sand, head to Bourgas on Bulgaria’s Black Sea Coast. Though it has much going for it, this region is most popular for its sweeping beaches – in particular, the aptly named Sunny Beach, which boasts eight kilometres of golden sand and over 600 cafés, restaurants and bars.
If you’re all beached out, there’s plenty more to keep you occupied, from art galleries to fine dining, and the city of Bourgas is absolutely jam-packed with history. The old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and there are Roman ruins, Middle Age forts, and Byzantine churches to explore – as well as plenty of lively nightlife!
Aug: 29C | Sep: 24C | Oct: 19C | Nov: 13C
Find sunshine, history, and culture in Bourgas
The beauty of a last-minute break isn’t just that you suddenly have an unexpected holiday to look forward to, but that the lower prices allow you to travel to destinations that might otherwise have been too expensive.
So, whether it’s being able to stay in a super-fancy beach resort or finally taking that trip to the Caribbean, a last-minute break is a great way to save money without compromising on your travel dreams. And getting a final dose of sunshine before winter draws in is just another perk!
For more travel inspiration, head over to the travel section of our website, where you can browse everything from long-haul travel experiences to tips on solo travel.
You can also browse other last-minute deals on TUI’s website below.
Are you thinking about a last-minute sunshine holiday? Or do you have any of your own favourite last-minute destinations you’d like to share with our readers? We’d love to hear about your travel experiences in the comments below.