As soon as the cold temperatures arrive, and the snow starts to fly, people are scrambling to book flights to many of the warmer, and sunnier, destinations around the world.
While many people automatically choose the Caribbean, the savviest of travelers, like yourself, know that Europe has some pretty amazing destinations that are full of sun!
Read more: 30+ Best Places For First Time International Travelers
Best Sunny Winter Destinations in Europe
Malta is comprised of multiple islands, so your winter vacation can include a little island hopping under the sun. While there is plenty of historical delights to see when visiting Malta, you will quickly see that the modern culture will have you wishing you lived here year-round.
When you are not out hiking to see the views and scuba diving to see the shipwrecks, you can relax on the beaches or enjoy a few of the delectable meals that the locals love.
2. Ibiza, Spain
Ibiza is crowded and noisy during the summer months, but this area turns into a true paradise as soon as the winter season arrives. We recommend exploring all the smaller villages before partaking in a yoga class, slipping into a quiet cove, and sitting on the sandy shorelines.
Don’t worry, you will still find some action at night, but it won’t be as lively as it is during the warmer months of the year.
Read also: Best Things to Do in Madrid, Spain
3. Crete, Greece
Out of all the Greek islands, Crete is the largest, and you will love all that you can find to do there during a visit. We recommend walking around the island to see the white buildings with their blue doors and talking to the locals in the villages.
Up in the northern part of the island, you can sit on any number of beaches, while the south will have you hiking the cliffs and exploring canyons. Don’t forget to stop into at least one or two of the Byzantine chapels and churches, as you will not find many others in the world that are just as beautiful.
Read more: Best Activities in Crete for Young Families
4. Madeira, Portugal
The weather in Madeira is perfect any day of the year, but this is especially true during the winter, when the weather is horrible in many other places. You must walk along the trails when you are in Madeira, because that is how you will see multiple mountain views, waterfalls, beaches, and the fabulous flora that seems to grow everywhere.
The prices are reasonable in this part of the country at this time of the year too, unless of course, you are traveling there for the week of Christmas. However, that is an excellent time to go, especially if you want to wander through an authentic Christmas market and see fireworks on New Year’s Eve.
5. Bari, Italy
Not too many people consider Bari during the winter months, which is perfect for you, because the area will not be crowded at all. While the temperatures are cooler than in other parts of Europe, which means that you could encounter a touch of snow, this is still is a fairly warm destination most of the time.
We recommend simply wandering around this part of the country and considering taking a day trip to Alberobello if you have the time.
Read more: Best Christmas Markets in Europe
6. Lanzarote, Canary Islands of Spain
Lanzarote is one of the islands that is part of Spain’s Canary Islands and the weather is warm there all year long. You must spend some time hiking over at Timanfaya National Park, which was created back in the 1730s when volcanoes were erupting all over the island.
Make sure you venture over to the caverns, Cueva de Los Verde, as well, because they were created by the same volcanoes. When you are done hiking and exploring the landscape, head down to the beach for some rest and relaxation before you go back home.
You get two cultural delights in one when you take the time to visit Cyprus during the winter. As you are exploring the history on this island, you will find yourself continuously changing between the Greek and Turkish communities.
However, that will be good for you, because it means that you will have knowledge of many different customs and have the chance to eat many different types of traditional foods. The beaches are fantastic and if you love water sports, you may have found your new home away from home with scuba diving, kitesurfing, windsurfing, and more.
8. Sicily, Italy
If you are not ready to tackle the boot of Italy, or you already have, then Sicily is the perfect option for a winter getaway. This island is within the Mediterranean, Tyrrhenian, and Ionian Seas, so you get three different waters combined for all your swimming pleasures.
When you are done exploring Mt. Etna, you might want to find the time to see the Valley of the Temples or check out the citrus orchards, almond trees, and olive groves that are scattered about the island.
Read also: Best Things to do Along the Amalfi Coast
On a final note…
These are the best destinations when it comes to sun in Europe during the winter months, so when you start planning your next cold weather adventure, you don’t need to look any further than here! Simply choose one for this year and continue down the list until you have a new favorite place to be when the weather turns colder back home!
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Author's Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the company in question before planning your trip.
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11 thoughts on “Best Winter Sun Destinations in Europe”
I’d love to visit Ibiza!
I’ve been in some of these places. Good to know about some new places.
such good recs! I’ve been to some of those places in the summer but I bet their equally as beautiful in the winter
I sometimes imagine what it would be like to travel and visit some of the beautiful places. Float in a cenote or visit a sacred site…
Canary Islands are the best. Constant temperature all year long!
I am so very interested in visiting few places in Europe in my coming future. Feeling wonderful going through this post and the amazing places to visit. My point of interest are Spain, Greece and Italy for sure 🙂 Thanks for sharing.
There’s such a big and beautiful world out there. I need to get out and travel. Thanks for sharing these wonderful locations.
Such wonderful places to visit and Crete, Greece is my dream place to visit someday 🙂
Oo, I like the sound of some warmth! It’s minus in most places in December, so this is a delight!
I live in the Southern part of Spain and this is a great destination for winter sun as well. At the moment there are 21 degrees and clear sky, and it’s December.
Oh my gosh, now I want to visit all of these places! They sound amazing! I will definitely add them to my bucket list. Thanks for sharing this great information.