If you are tired of the cold and snow, what you need is a plan to go visit one or more of the best winter sun destinations in Europe. The great European seaside countries are the bedrock of modern chic civilization and historic culture, moreover are less crowded, less expensive, and blessedly cooler in the winter months than in the overrated summer ones. Recharge your batteries in of these sunny places this winter!
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Cyprus is one amazing island nation found in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea that ranks as among the finest winter sun destinations in Europe. It delights with balmy temperatures in the coastal areas, but fun fact that at the same the island happens to feature terrain suitable for skiing too in the Troodos Mountains.
Limassol is one of the great destinations on the island in wintertime. The city offers a tremendous mixture of old and new together with its stunningly beautiful old town and fairly convenient level of new town too. In the fishing harbor, the narrow climbing stone streets wind their medieval designed way up the hill as they have since the Middle Ages. The castles, Greek built ruins, and beaches together make this city an incredible wintertime destination that you could never regret coming to see. If you get bored in Limassol, you can easily bus it on over to Paphos, Cyprus, in the island’s beautiful verdant West to soak up the sun while walking in the marine and enjoy hiking along the dramatic coastline.
SeaSpiration Tip: Need more tips on how to plan a perfect holiday? Check our beach vacation planning guide!
Just a stone’s throw off of Morocco’s coast lie the Spanish islands of the Canaries. These beauties offer clearly the best winter sun destinations in Europe that are reachable with a few hours by airplane from the major European international airports.
The hardest dilemma to solve is: which of these incredible gems will you visit? The truth is that all of them will delight you. The most popular holiday choices year-round here are Tenerife, Grand Canaria Island, and Lanzarote. It is like these islands were designed with the active outdoorsy type in mind too. You will not lack for an overabundance of sports, outside activities, hiking, swimming, snorkeling, and sightseeing of amazing wonders of nature on any of the Canary Islands. The beaches here are some of the most unspoiled in the world and the water is among the purest to be found on the inhabited part of the planet.
SeaSpiration Tip: Would you rather travel to the U.S.? Read what are the best winter vacation destinations in America!
Andalusia – Spain
Staying with Spain, the Andalusia region is actually literally the warmest place in Europe in winter and also one of the best parts of this incredible country of culture, history, architecture, and fun during the off-season months. Seville, its center remains the officially warmest city all year long in all of continental Europe too. Winter is the best time to come, as there are fewer crowds and no blistering 90-degree temperatures like in the hot summer months. It is possible that it might rain hard when you come, but this is the trade-off for no blistering summer sun.
Prices are also refreshingly lower with the lesser crowds of December through March too. The highest-ranked hotels in the city can run you less than $100 per night. There is no shortage of amazing cathedrals, museums, and incredible fine art to take in to pack your visit with either. Plus, you have the world center of Flamenco dancing here, ole!
After taking in the Spanish history in Seville, make your winter getaway complete with sunbathing and spend some days in the beautiful Malaga, the Costa del Sol’s most vibrant city that awaits you with perfect yellow-sandy beaches and numerous cultural attractions.
An under the radar gem of a country in the Mediterranean is the lesser-known three island archipelago nation of Malta that is among the best winter sun destinations in Europe with good reason. Malta’s capital is Valletta, and though it is a mere square mile in length and width, this late-medieval walled city that was built “by gentlemen for gentlemen” could be the most strikingly gorgeous city on earth. It looks like it was cut straight out of a Lord of the Rings movie set.
The location south of Sicily means that it is rarely cold here, and winter lasts only a few weeks in Malta thanks to the balmy surrounding Mediterranean Sea that cradles the island nation. All of Malta’s cities offer similarly warm days and nights, including other UNESCO World Heritage centers besides Valletta like Mdina and The Three Cities. If you like historic church hopping, you could spend months seeing all of the hundreds of gold interior covered historic gems that dot the island and its dozen castles and three walled cities.
Add to this soaking up the sun on the island’s famous sandy beaches such as Golden Bay and Ghadira Bay, eating some of the best baked bread on earth and the freshest caught seafood right off the coast hauled in by still working fishing fleets in Marsascala and Marsaxlokk in the island’s south, and you have a recipe for a wonderful winter getaway.
Sicily – Italy
Sicily is most romanticized as the birthplace of Don Vito Corleone of Godfather movies fame. Thanks to the warming Sirocco winds that come in off of Africa’s Sahara Desert, the winters along the coast of the island are so mild that the temperatures can reach the 70s many afternoons (away from the mountainous interior).
Palermo is the cosmopolitan and historical gem on the island as the largest city in Sicily and in fact the fifth-biggest one in all of Italy. It just so happens to be among the warmest in Italy too lying as far to the south of the country as it does.
Besides unparalleled tasting street foods here, you can enjoy walks along the town beaches. Day trips out to Taormina and the historically infamous volcano of Sicily Mt. Etna are great side possibilities in the unlikely event that you get bored. You can even catch a special bus out to Corleone and see the town that started the legend of the Godfather, guys.
SeaSpiration Tip: Read these Italy beach vacation tips that include all the information you need to know before your trip!
Crete – Greece
The southernmost Greek island is also the largest and warmest place in the ultimate cradle of Western culture. Crete may suffer from quite a bit of Mediterranean rains in the winter, but it shouldn’t keep you away from day-tripping out to literally hundreds of miles in different beaches.
Rainy days are just better excuses to eat at leisurely sit down Greek restaurants for their amazing national and island cuisine. You are sure to find the Cretans even more hospitable and welcoming in the leaner winter months than in the crazy-busy summer ones. Prices are less, lines practically non-existent, and cities are blessedly free of unmanageable tourist hoards. Such a perfect winter sun destination in Europe!
SeaSpiration Tip: Need more information? Read our complete Greece beach vacation guide!
Algarve – Portugal
The southern coast of Portugal is a land that time forgot. It also happens to be among the warmest places in the continent offering ideal conditions to enjoy some winter sun in Europe. The climate between the months of December and March is blessedly cool yet still warm enough. This haven for foodies, beach and bar lovers, casino aficionados, and stunning landscapes is calling you this winter.
A few different cities and towns here are worth your time to visit and explore. Among these are Lagos, Lagoa, Albufeira, Olhao, Quarteira, Portimao, Tavira, Silves, and Vila Real de Santo Antonio. These coasts are pocked with limestone caves to explore plus stunning iconic sea-side scenery among cliffs that drop straight into the Atlantic Ocean.
The local seafood is among the finest and freshest in all of Europe. Among the finest beaches on the cultured continent are found here as well alongside unforgettable historical architecture and a rich culture. An added bonus is Southern Portugal (like Southern Spain) is so much more affordable than you can imagine.
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When it comes a beach vacation, Vic is the person who certainly has tips on where to go and what to do no matter it is a luxury tropical holiday, peaceful seaside getaway or a family trip to the ocean. She enjoys exploring new places, trying out various water sports and most of all, loves sharing her tips with those seek out their next adventure.