The 27 Warmest Destinations for Winter Sun in Europe

Last Updated: April 12th, 2024

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Looking to get away for some winter sun during your next trip to Europe? Despite the freezing temperatures across a lot of the continent, there are still plenty of warm destinations where you can leave your big coats and sweaters at home.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in and check out the 27 warmest places in Europe in winter! Pack those sunglasses and let’s go!

The 27 Warmest Places In Europe In Winter

1. Madeira, Portugal

Camara-De-Lobos-Madeira-Portugal

As a Portuguese island off the coast of Africa, you can expect the weather in Madeira to be balmy all year round. Whether you want to hike the striking Pico do Arieiro trail, slide down the hills of Funchal in a traditional basket trolley, or prefer to soak in the saltwater pools on the edge of the Atlantic, there’s so much to enjoy on this amazing island.

Honestly, it’s an outdoorsy playground with awesome hikes, amazing surf spots, and plenty of stunning waterfalls and levada trails to check out.

2. Valletta, Malta

Valletta, Malta
A trip to Valletta, Malta in 2016 (we discovered a wine festival in the Upper Barrakka Gardens!)

If you love history, architecture, and sunshine, look no further than the walled city of Valletta in Malta. As the capital city, this destination is bursting with culture, with its roots harking all the way back to the Crusades!

In fact, the whole city was created by the Knights of St. John back in the 16th century, so there are a whole host of churches, castles, and museums to explore during a trip to sunny Malta! With the island sitting between Italy and the North African coastline, you can pretty much guarantee warm temperatures throughout the winter season.

3. Corfu, Greece

Paleokastritsa-Bay-Corfu-Greece

Do you want to check out one of the most popular winter sun destinations in Europe? Well then, the Greek islands are always a surefire hit, and Corfu is one of the most beloved islands, thanks to its varied history having been ruled by the Venetians, the French, the British, and finally the Greeks.

Of course, the old town of Corfu is bursting with history and has a wide range of architectural styles to enjoy. Prefer to chill on a beach? Corfu has plenty of top-tier beachside resorts to choose from!

4. Valencia, Spain

Valencia-Spain

Home to one of the most striking museums in Spain, the City of Arts and Science, Valencia is a melting pot of the old and the new, giving you plenty of amazing things to see and do during your winter getaway.

Once you’ve strolled around the old town, hit up a museum or two, settle down at a traditional paella restaurant, and enjoy a taste of authentic Valencia. As a major Spanish city, there are plenty of short-haul flights to Valencia from all around Europe, including a whole host of options from low-cost airlines like EasyJet and Ryanair.

5. Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

Tenerife-Canary-Islands-Spain

If you’re looking for one of the most beloved winter sun destinations, then head to the Canary Islands, a Spanish chain off the coast of Africa. It’s warm pretty much all year round, making it the ideal place to escape northern Europe and North American winters.

The largest of the Canaries is Tenerife, and it’s full of amazing resorts, stunning white sandy beaches, and a dormant volcano, Mt. Teide, which you can hike up if you’re looking for an outdoorsy excursion to help walk off the mountains of delicious tapas you’ll be eating.

6. Lagos, Portugal

Beach-Landscape-At-Lagos-Portugal

To be honest, anywhere in the Algarve in Portugal is a great place to visit during the winter months, but the small beach city of Lagos has something special about it.

It’s a popular destination for outdoorsy types with awesome surfing, kayaking, hiking, and paddleboarding. Like any Portuguese beach town or city, there’s a super laidback vibe to the whole place which is great after a frantic festive period when you just want to recharge your batteries and soak up some much-needed vitamin D.

7. Limassol, Cyprus

Limassol-Cyprus

Want to spend the winter season lounging about on soft golden sands and drinking local wine? Sounds kind of dreamy, right? Well, you should book a trip to Limassol, Cyprus.

As the second biggest city on the island after the capital, Nicosia, Limassol is full of art, castles, and archeological marvels, as well as relaxing spaces and gorgeous vineyards. Limassol is full of great resorts and amazing local restaurants, so if you want a chilled winter vacation, this could be the place for you.

8. Seville, Spain

Spain-Square-At-Seville

If you want to visit a stunning Spanish city that’s full of cultural history and magnificent Moorish architecture, then look no further than a trip to Seville.

As the home of bullfighting and flamenco, the Spanish cultural heritage runs deep in this labyrinthine city. Carve out time to visit the historic Royal Alcázar of Seville, the former Royal Palace, complete with gorgeous gardens that come to life thanks to the many fountains.

9. Taormina, Sicily, Italy

Taormina-Sicily-Italy

Did you love the dramatic second series of The White Lotus? Well, head to Taormina in Eastern Sicily to get your slice of White Lotus paradise. This historic Sicilian town is beloved for many reasons.

Whether it’s the panoramic Mediterranean views from the cliff-top location of the town or the iconic Greco-Roman Teatro Antico di Taormina which hosts bands and festivals from all around the world, to the Taormina Film Festival, when the stars descend on this quintessentially Sicilian coastal town.

10. Crete, Greece

Crete-Island-In-Greece

What’s not to love about a few days relaxing on the largest of the Greek islands, Crete. With a few different towns to call home around the island, you can have your pick of vibes and activities.

So, whether you want to check out the Venetian harbor in Chania or check out the historic castles and architecture in Heraklion, or dance the night away with cheap drinks in Malia, there’s a little something for everyone here.

11. Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Cagliari-Sardinia-Italy

Often overlooked in favor of Sicily or the Balearic Islands, Sardinia is definitely a destination that’s now growing in popularity. With the capital, Cagliari, being home to a 13th-century cathedral, Roman archeology, and even a Medieval wall running around the outskirts of the city, it’s a harborside destination that’s bursting with history and culture. Characterized by the brightly colored buildings, coastal vibe, and incredible seafood, it’s about time that you put Cagliari on your European travel bucket list.

12. Nice, France

Panoramic-View-Of-Nice-France

Let’s be honest, we couldn’t have a list of the best winter sun destinations in Europe without taking a trip to the French Riviera. Nice is hands down one of the best winter destinations in Europe with its beautiful old town streets, the vibrant Promenade des Anglais, and bustling Place Massena with its amazing markets and eateries. Of course, no trip to Nice is complete without a stroll along the beachfront, watching the sun sink beyond the Cote D’Azur!

13. Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain

Fuerteventura-Canary-Islands-Spain

If you’re looking for an active holiday during the winter months, then Fuerteventura in the Spanish Canary Islands is going to be a playground for you. Well known for its hiking, surfing, and windsurfing scene, the winter winds and swells actually make it the perfect time to visit this balmy island. Stay in a local surf town, enjoy the laidback vibe, catch a few waves, and relax into the evening with a bottle of Spanish wine. Sounds pretty good to me!

14. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik-Croatia

You might recognize Dubrovnik as King’s Landing from Game of Thrones but this Croatian jewel is brimming with real-life history and culture. Take a guided walking tour around the old town, enjoy some classic Croatian seafood dishes, including the iconic squid ink risotto, and take a wander along the stunning Dalmatian coastline. It’s a beautiful destination for a long weekend away in Europe, and the winter months are a lot less crowded, so you’ll get to appreciate more of this amazing city.

15. Monte Carlo, Monaco

Monte Carlo, Monaco
A trip to Monaco in June of 2023

Are you feeling lucky? Maybe you want to treat yourself during the festive season? Or perhaps you just want to see how the other half lives. Whatever the reason, spending a couple of days in Monte Carlo can feel like you’ve wandered straight into a James Bond film.

Known for its harbor full of superyachts, impressive and exclusive casinos, and, of course, the Monte Carlo Grand Prix, one of the most historic and prestigious car races in the world, there are plenty of luxury experiences to check out in the capital of Monaco.

16. Mallorca, Spain

Mallorca-Beach-Spain

If you’re thinking about heading to the Balearic Islands in Spain, why not head straight to the biggest one, Mallorca? This island has everything you could want from a European winter escape.

From white sand beaches, and crystal clear waters, to party spots in Palma, to the impressive Almudaina royal palace, to mountainous hiking trails, and more. It’s a great spot if you want a little bit of everything in one sunshine-filled Spanish island.

17. Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor-Montenegro

So, Montenegro has been an up-and-coming destination for the past few years, and the walled city of Kotor is one of the best places to visit. Located on the northern coast of Montenegro, near the border with Croatia, this UNESCO World Heritage Site sits on the edge of the beautiful bay of Kotor, offering panoramic views. Wander around medieval cobbled streets, explore stunning cathedrals, and carve out time to visit the tiny island of Sveti Đorđe just off the harbor.

18. Athens, Greece

Acropolis-Of-Athens-Greece

Honestly, what is there to say about the mighty capital of Greece that hasn’t already been said? If you’re looking for a weekend away in Europe that is filled with great food and bags of ancient history, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find anywhere better than Athens.

Home to the Parthenon and the Acropolis Museum, it’s an ancient marvel that needs to be seen to be believed! Of course, Athens is also the gateway to the Greek islands, so it’s well worth combining your visit to the capital with some island hopping.

19. Istanbul, Turkey

Golden-Horn-Istanbul-Turkey

So, this one is kind of cheating as only half of Istanbul is actually in Europe. Once you cross the beautiful Bosphorus Sea, you’re in Asia, after all!

As one of the only major cities to straddle two continents, Istanbul is a melting pot of cultures, history, and, of course, delicious food. Spend a few days exploring the Hagia Sophia, and the Grand Bazaar, and make sure you book yourself on a Bosphorus Cruise to see all the major sights from the water!

20. Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain

Gran-Canaria-Canary-Islands-Spain

If you love sand and relaxation, pack your bags and head to Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands. With some of the best beaches in the Canary Islands, great resorts, and plenty of shops and restaurants in bustling Las Palmas, it’s an ideal destination for winter sun in Europe. If you’re feeling a little bit more adventurous, head to the interior of the island and check out the mountains and the mighty Dunas de Maspalomas, which spans almost 1000 acres!

21. Malaga, Spain

Cityscape-Of-Malaga-Spain

Love modern art and want to check out where one of Europe’s most famous artists was born? Head to Malaga in southern Spain, the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, Check out the wonderful Museo Picasso Málaga, where you can find almost 300 pieces of work by Picasso. Afterward, make sure to soak up some rays on the local beach, which is perfect for families thanks to the shallow and safe waters!

22. Naples, Italy

Naples-City-With-Mount-Vesuvius-Italy

If you want to soak up culture, history, and eat some of the best pizza and gelato in the world, make sure that Naples is at the top of your travel bucket list.

This iconic southern Italian city sometimes gets a tough rap, but it’s honestly one of the best places to visit in Europe. From the stunning Royal Palace of Naples to the winding streets of Spaccanapoli to the striking waterfront that’s home to the Egg Castle, there is so much to love about this city, and that’s before you even start your hunt for the best pizza in the city – every Neapolitan has a different answer!

23. Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain

Lanzarote-Canary-Islands-Spain

Want to spend your winter vacation checking out volcanos and enjoying some of the best dive sights in Europe? Honestly, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re on a Hawaiian island when you visit Lanzarote.

This place is unlike any other European island with the volcanic Timanfaya National Park, rocky outcrops that create beautiful coves to explore, and plenty of outdoor adventure to take advantage of, all in the Spanish sunshine, of course!

24. Nicosia, Cyprus

Iconic-Walled-Capital-Nicosia-Cyprus

Nicosia is an interesting capital city, in that it’s actually occupied by two other countries; Turkey and Greece. There are very distinct parts of the city, which allows you to check out different cultures on your trip.

As you might expect, Nicosia is full of historic buildings and archeological finds, including the stunning Aphrodite of Soloi statue and 16th-century Venetian walls. With terracotta, sunbleached buildings, delicious food and drink, and history around every corner, Nicosia is definitely a great winter sun destination in Europe.

25. Palermo, Sicily, Italy

The-Cathedral-Of-Palermo-Sicily-Italy

Located on the western side of Sicily, you’ll find the vibrant and historic capital of the island, Palermo. With stunning beaches, the 9th-century Palazzo dei Normanni, the mighty 12th-century Palermo Cathedral, and a gastronomic scene that’ll give you some of the best meals of your life, this city is a must-visit destination. For an authentic experience, wake up early and head down to the markets with the chefs and locals to find the best local ingredients and products!

26. Granada, Spain

Alhambra-Palace-Granada-Spain

Nestled at the foothills of the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains is the architecturally stunning city of Granada. Predominantly known for the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Alhambra with its classic depictions of Moorish architecture and gorgeous gardens, Granada is a wonderful city that clearly shows the impact of Moorish culture and history on this southern Spanish region. From palaces to churches to gardens to winding alleyways, there is something new and exciting around every corner.

27. Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece 2018
A ferry-hopping trip around Greece in 2018 saw us land in beautiful Santorini overlooking the Caldera!

Probably best known as the setting of Mamma Mia or the summertime playground of the rich and famous, Santorini has long been one of the most popular Greek islands.

With its striking chalky white and bright blue buildings, the friendly donkeys hauling bags up the hillsides, and the panoramic views out across the water, it feels like paradise. Don’t forget to visit a local vineyard or two, Santorini is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world, making delicious blends since ancient times!

About The Author

Lewis Ogden is a UK-based entrepreneur, travel enthusiast, dad, husband, and the founder and owner of WayToStay. He started his blog to share his own travel experiences and provide free EPIC travel guides. He caught the travel bug back in 2009 on a trip to Italy with his wife and has visited many different countries each year since. In 2018 he took an island-hopping trip to Greece (who doesn't love Greek food!) and loved the experience which made him eager to explore the rest of Europe!

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Picture of Lewis Ogden

Lewis Ogden

Lewis Ogden is a UK-based entrepreneur, travel enthusiast, dad, husband, and the founder and owner of WayToStay. He started his blog to share his own travel experiences and provide free EPIC travel guides. He caught the travel bug back in 2009 on a trip to Italy with his wife and has visited many different countries each year since. In 2018 he took an island-hopping trip to Greece (who doesn't love Greek food!) and loved the experience which made him eager to explore the rest of Europe!

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