Dubai crowned one of the best-value cities for winter sun

Dubai is one of the best value winter sun destinations, new research reveals. A holiday in Dubai will cost AED 440.83 for every hour of sunshine gained, with tourists gaining almost 7 hours (6.41) of sunshine per day.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates is the sixth best value winter sun destination, with tourists gaining 6.41 hours of sunshine per day. The average cost of a holiday to Dubai is AED 6513.39, meaning visitors pay AED 1015.86 for each hour of sunshine gained. This is 43% cheaper than Mahe, Seychelles, where the price per sunshine hour gained is AED 1784.99 — despite the island having 0.76 hours less sun per day.

That’s according to, who were keen to discover the best value winter sun destinations. To do this, sunshine hours were compared to London for each destination, to see how many sunshine hours tourists will gain per day. This was analysed in comparison to the total cost of a holiday in each destination, to reveal where you can get the most winter sun for your money.

Marrakesh, Morocco is the city where you can get the most sunshine hours for your money. The average cost of a holiday to Marrakesh is AED 2878.36, the lowest priced destination of all cities analysed. Tourists in Marrakesh will experience 10.06 hours of winter sun per day, 6.53 hours more than in Greater London. The price per hour of sunshine gained is just AED 440.83, making Marrakesh the best-value winter sun destination. This is 25% cheaper than nearby island Madeira, where visitors will pay AED 590.89 per hour of sunshine gained.

Cairo, Egypt ranks second, where tourists will pay AED 545.01 for every hour of sunshine gained. This is almost half the cost visitors can expect to pay (AED 1015.86) per hour of sunshine in Dubai. Cairo receives 10.65 hours of sunshine, meaning tourists visiting from London will gain over 7 hours of winter sun — the third longest in the top 10.

Barbados, the Caribbean and San Diego, California are the most expensive winter sun destinations. Despite it’s beautiful location, the average cost for a holiday to Barbados is AED 13499.25 for just over 5 (5.35) hours of sunshine gained each day. As a result, tourists will pay AED 2521.83 per hour of sunshine gained — the highest of all destinations analysed.

Tourists in San Diego, California will gain just 5.12 hours of winter sun per day, despite the typical holiday to California costing a staggering AED 10973.80. Visitors to the golden state will pay AED 2144.30 for each hour of sunshine gained, almost double the cost tourists can expect to pay in Cancun, Mexico (AED 1039.40).

Methodology of research- conducted the following research to identify the holiday destinations providing the greatest amount of sunshine per pound spent. This research uses net surface solar radiation by hour of day acquired from the ERA-Land reanalysis dataset to compute sunshine hours, and collects cost estimates for flights, hotel stays, restaurant meals, and drinks from a multitude of reliable data sources.

Global gridded net surface solar radiation (J/m2) during the winter months (Dec, Jan, Feb) between 2016 and 2021 were collected from the Era5-Land monthly averaged reanalysis dataset, provided by the Copernicus Climate Data Store.

A spatial join between the solar radiation grids and selected holiday destination locations was then performed together with an aggregation to compute for each destination, the total solar radiation by month. A rate of 1000W/m2 was used to calculate the average sunshine hour duration per winter month.

Return flight prices for two adults together with 3-star hotel stay prices were collected from google flights and google hotels respectively. Restaurant meals and beer prices were collected from Numbeo. The total estimated holiday cost was then calculated assuming restaurant 2 meals and 1 beer per day, for 2 adults.

The estimated total cost of the holiday was then divided by total sunshine hours gained for each destination to rank the holiday destinations that provide the most sunshine hours per pound in cost.

Flight and hotel stay costs were collected for 16-23 January 2023 for two adults. All data was collected on 5th December and is accurate as of then.


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