November is one of the best times to hike or bike Troodos Mountain trails

Whether you’re thinking of getting your festive shopping done early, pining for sunshine or plotting a long-haul break, we have tons of great holiday ideas for November.

For sun-worshippers…

Short haul: Cyprus

november 2012 cyprusCatch some much-needed sun on the beautiful beaches in Cyprus
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Whilst the rest of Europe succumbs to dreary autumn, Cyprus still enjoys 10 long hours of daily sunshine and average temperatures of 23°C (73°F), making it a great escape for any beach-lovers this month. Paphos, located on the southwestern coast, offers 27 public beaches. Among the best are Coral Bay Beach which autumn visitors can enjoy virtually to themselves, and Konnos or Lara Beach, both a short drive from downtown Paphos.

For holidaymakers looking for more adventure, November is also a great month to hit the area’s plethora of nature trails in the Troodos Mountains catering to everyone from daredevil mountain bikers to more hikers.

Long haul: Seychelles

November 2012 seychellesVisitors can sunbathe on the breathtaking Seychelles beaches
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Avoid the rainy reason in the Seychelles (December to January) and opt instead for a sunny break in November to one of the Seychelles’ 115 paradise islands. Visit Anse Source d’Argent on La Digue for a beautiful boulder-lined seashore with pristine sandy beaches, or Intendance Beach on Mahé, where avid surfers can enjoy exhilarating swells.

Scuba-divers and snorkellers are also in for a treat. Sainte Anne Marine National Park offers colourful coral reefs and a diverse array of fish. Luxury resorts within the marine park include Sainte Anne Resort & Spa.

Visitors this month can also enjoy the Festival of the Sea from 23-25 November. The three-day event features live performances by local musicians and a video and photography contest.

For Christmas shoppers…

Short haul: Bruges, Belgium

november 2012 brugesBruges' Market Square is transformed into a Christmas wonderland during the holidays
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Loosen your belt as Bruges’ chocolatiers gather in Market Square for the Chocolate Market between 10-11 November; a perfect opportunity to stock up on Christmas goodies. Don’t forget to visit the city’s Chocolate Museum to learn more about this exquisite tasting confectionary.

The Chocolate Market is followed by the Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival starting on 23 November and the city’s legendary Christmas Market starting two days later. Pick up gifts for friends and family at more than 30 Christmas-light-clad shops; spin and pirouette on the ice-skating rink in the square; or watch ice sculptors work their magic and transform giant blocks of ice into a winter masterpiece.

Long haul: Hong Kong, China

november 2012 hong kongHong Kong's many markets are ideal for eager Christmas shoppers
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Autumn in Hong Kong, marked by clear skies and lower humidity, is considered the best season to visit. It also signals the start of the annual WinterFest on 23 November when droves of carollers sing in the festive season and shop prices plummet with sales and promotions in preparation for the holiday shopping onslaught.

One of the best places to pick up Christmas gifts is Kowloon, which offers something for everyone, from Hung Hom, a collection of factory outlets, to modern shopping malls and lively night markets.

To take a break from shopping, visitors should check out Hong Kong’s many historical sites. After a taxing 268-step climb, those who persevere will be rewarded with close-up views of The Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery, one of the city’s most important Buddhist sanctums.

For adventurous holidaymakers…

Short haul: Bulgaria

november 2012 botswanaSee the unusual "stone rivers" while hiking Bulgaria's Vitosha Mountain
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Unknown to many, Bulgaria is great for extreme sports junkies offering hiking, climbing and biking as well as winter skiing. Keen hikers should head for Vitosha, on the outskirts of the capital Sofia. The mountain range, which is also a national park, features giant piles of granite stones that line its river valleys. This unique phenomenon, known as “stone rivers”, is particularly beautiful around the Golden Bridges.

Also in the Vitosha range is 17km-long (10 miles) Duhlata Cave, the country’s longest cave. It features six different levels, with waterfalls, lakes, and limestone galleries.

Long haul: Botswana

November 2012 safariA safari in Botswana is the best way to check out the local wildlife
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November is the last chance to catch the dry weather in Botswana’s wildlife-rich Okavango Delta before the rain sets in. Thanks to the scarcity of water sources, spotting wildlife is easier, meaning safari-goers are in for a treat.

Keep your eyes peeled for lions, elephants, giraffe, buffalo, hippos, crocodiles, wildebeest, impala and much more as you traverse the region’s scenic meandering waterways in a mokoro, a traditional canoe. Fishing excursions, and land-based, 4-wheel-drive safaris are also possible in the delta, whilst luxury accommodation ranges from thatched lodges to tented camps.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.