Travel Tuesday: Sunny New Year

Dominican RepublicWith temperatures falling fast across the Northern Hemisphere and the holiday season just around the corner, many people find themselves wondering why the most joyful time of the year has to be celebrated in the freezing cold. As international experts in real estate, E&V have experienced Christmas and New Year’s Celebrations all around the world – and there’s certainly something to be said for trading in gloves, scarves and mulled wine for balmy weather and beaches. If you’re hoping for a sunny New Year, take a look at these top two locations.

Santo Domingo, the capital and largest city of the Dominican Republic, is located on the idyllic Caribbean coast. Thanks to its classic tropical climate, temperatures rarely fall below 25ºC in the winter months, while the coastal location keeps up a light breeze to relieve the humidity. The city remains relatively unexplored by tourists, keeping it pleasantly off the beaten track – but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to see if you’re around for a longer break. The Museum of Modern Art is the largest in the Caribbean, while the Parque Mirador Sur provides an ideal place to stroll through with friends during the day. If you’re looking for a fantastic party to finish 2013 with a bang, head to El Malecón, a waterfront boulevard lined with casinos, luxury hotels, bars and restaurants, where thousands gather to enjoy merengue bands and fireworks.  

As an overwhelmingly Catholic country, Christmas in the Dominican Republic is a time for family and church, so the streets can seem quiet during this period. However, in the second half of December Santo Domingo’s enforced early closing times for bars and clubs are relaxed, and a range of special seasonal events are arranged – including the all-night parties along El Malecón. However, if you’d rather spend 31st December quietly celebrating with friends and family, the island has no shortage of picturesque, secluded beaches where you can set up camp, watch the sunset and wait for midnight.

Over in Europe, the capital of Portugal boasts average temperatures of around 12ºC – not quite tropical, but certainly warm enough! The city of Lisbon was built on seven hills facing the Atlantic Coast and has a pleasantly laid back atmosphere, with a thriving café culture and great nightlife. The historic district of Alfama is a fascinating maze of labyrinthine streets and picturesque homes that you can easily spend days exploring, while evenings are best spent dining in the Chiado neighbourhood, accompanied by live fado music.

During the winter, the delicious scent of roasted chestnuts drifts all through Lisbon’s narrow streets. On 31 December, make your way past the food stalls to Comercio Square, where you can join thousands of revellers to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks over the Tagus River. Alternatively, head to the ancient Belém Tower for spectacular star-lit views of the ocean, upbeat musical performances and fantastic dance parties.

If you want to enjoy the entire winter season in the sun, you may want to consider investing in a property in one of these beautiful locations. Engel & Völkers have established offices in both Lisbon and Santo Domingo, as well as in over 500 other international cities, so we’re always well placed to aid your property search. Just visit our website to find out more.

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