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21 Warmest Destinations in Europe for Winter Sun

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Looking for a warm, gorgeous European getaway to escape the cold weather? Get inspired with our rundown of some of the best places to visit in Europe for winter sun, and give yourself a lovely little vacation to look forward to in the midst of winter.

While these locations won’t give you the searing heat of summer, they will give you some of the warmest temperatures in Europe, allowing for plenty of beach days, outdoor adventures, and cozy al fresco dining.

Warm Destinations in Europe for Winter Sun

1 – Tenerife

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The largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife is a great place to escape the cold and enjoy pleasant temperatures year-round. With beautiful hiking trails, amazing beaches, colonial towns, and the impressive Teide volcano towering over the island, there is a lot to do in Tenerife. 

Hit the beaches in Tenerife South, explore the lively streets of Puerto de la Cruz, and discover the island’s picturesque towns and villages. In the north, hike in the Anaga Rural Park and visit the lovely town of Taganana.

In the west, explore the beautiful Masca Valley and check out the impressive cliffs of Los Gigantes. Finally, don’t forget to climb the Teide and enjoy the spectacular landscape. 

Average daily maximum temperatures in Tenerife in winter: 

  • December: 22°C, 72°F
  • January: 21°C, 70°F
  • February: 21°C, 70°F

2 – Fuerteventura 

Lukas Bischoff Photograph/Shutterstock

The second largest Canary Island Fuerteventura is, in fact, a perfect destination for sports like windsurfing and kitesurfing, as it can be very windy throughout the year.

Despite the wind, you’ll likely find pleasant temperatures even during the colder months of January and February. One of the biggest perks of visiting Fuerteventura during the winter months is that you will find it much less crowded. 

Enjoy the long sandy beaches of Costa Calma nearly all to yourself, get lost in the desert of Las Dunas de Corralejo, and explore the more remote areas by foot via the many walking and hiking trails. 

Average daily maximum temperatures in Fuerteventura in winter: 

  • December: 22°C, 72°F
  • January: 21°C, 70°F
  • February: 21°C, 70°F

3 – Gran Canaria

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Gran Canaria is somehow similar to Tenerife in the division between north and south. The north of the island is covered in lush greenery, while the south is arid and warm. The south also tends to be more touristy, with many resorts and big hotel chains. 

In the south, you must check out the impressive desert of Maspalomas and explore the colorful streets of Puerto de Mogan. In the north, visit Tejeda and hike to the most popular peak on the island, Roque Nublo. 

In the capital city Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, try traditional Canarian food, enjoy the lively beaches, and walk around La Isleta. 

Average daily maximum temperatures in Gran Canaria in winter: 

  • December: 22°C, 72°F
  • January: 21°C, 70°F
  • February: 21°C, 70°F

4 – Lanzarote

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The lunar landscapes of Lanzarote make the island stand out among the others in the archipelago. Lanzarote has also seen massive urban landscaping work initiated by César Manrique, who made it his life mission to make the beauty of his island stand out through his art and architecture. 

Explore the inactive volcanoes scattered all over the island, watch the sunset from Punta Papagayo, hike in the Timanfaya National Park, and visit the cave system of Jameos del Agua, where Manrique’s architecture meets nature. 

Lanzarote also has many beautiful beaches that are far less crowded, often nearly deserted, during winter. On warm days, you may even go for a swim, especially in the south of the island.

Average daily maximum temperatures in Lanzarote in winter:

  • December: 22°C, 72°F
  • January: 21°C, 70°F
  • February: 21°C, 70°F

5 – Madeira

Lukas Bischoff Photograph/Shutterstock

The Portuguese Island of Madeira is just off the coast of Morocco, so it enjoys a temperate climate year-round. The pleasant temperatures are ideal for enjoying a stroll in the beautiful Funchal, hiking the impressive Pico do Arieiro, and going for coastal walks in lovely little towns. 

The island offers many options for both relaxation and exciting adventures. If the weather allows it, have a dip in the natural pools of Seixal or Porto Moniz. In Funchal, enjoy delicious seafood dishes and taste the local drink, Poncha. 

Don’t forget to check out the traditional houses in Santana and explore the impressive nature reserve of Ponta de São Lourenço.

Average daily maximum temperatures in Madeira in winter: 

  • December: 20°C, 68°F
  • January: 19°C, 66°F
  • February: 19°C, 66°F

6 – The Azores


The Azores archipelago, despite being in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, almost halfway between Portugal and Canada, has mild temperatures during the winter months. The main island is São Miguel, also known as “the green island” or Ilha Verde. 

São Miguel is famous for its many volcanic lakes, beautiful landscapes, the oldest tea plantation in Europe, and the thermal area of the Furnas Valley with the beautiful hot springs Poça da Dona Beija. 

Other islands worth visiting in The Azores are Terceira, with the UNESCO classified historic center of Angra do Heroismo, the underrated Graciosa, Faial, with its volcanic landscapes, the charming São Jorge, and Pico, with the highest mountain in Portugal, Mount Pico.

Average daily maximum temperatures in The Azores in winter: 

  • December: 18°C, 64°F
  • January: 17°C, 63°F
  • February: 17°C, 63°F

Related: Portuguese Foods You Need to Try

7 – Algarve


The Algarve region in the south of Portugal, though not extremely warm, is still a great place to enjoy pleasant temperatures during the winter months. In summer, the area gets flooded by tourists, but in winter, it makes for a perfect escape to avoid the crowds and enjoy the sun. 

The Algarve is the place to go to if you enjoy dramatic cliffs, impressive rock formations, and lovely little coastal towns. Explore Lagos and admire the amazing Ponta da Piedade, walk along the scenic coastline of Algar Seco near Carvoeiro, and visit the former fishing village of Albufeira, turned popular tourist destination and nightlife scene.

If you want to see this gorgeous region of Portugal in all its colorful and wave-lapped glory, take a look at some of these beautiful photos of the Algarve to get you excited.

Average daily maximum temperatures in Algarve in winter: 

  • December: 17°C, 63°F
  • January: 16°C, 61°F
  • February: 17°C, 63°F

8 – Valencia

Razvan Ionut Dragomirescu/Shutterstock

Depending on when you visit Valencia, you may get nearly summer-like temperatures or milder days when you can walk around with a light jacket. However, the city sees several sunny days during winter, which makes it a lovely destination for a winter escape.

The Spanish city boasts beautifully curated parks, impressive buildings, a lovely historical center, and many museums. Most importantly, Valencia houses the Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias, a science complex featuring the largest aquarium in Europe, an impressive projection hall, an interactive science museum, and a beautiful garden.

 Average daily maximum temperatures in Valencia in winter: 

  • December: 18°C, 64°F
  • January: 16°C, 61°F
  • February: 17°C, 63°F

9 – Malaga


Located at the top of the Costa del Sol Occidental, Malaga is one of the best places to enjoy the winter sun in Spain. If you’re lucky, you may even be rewarded with temperatures exceeding 20 °C, 68°F.

Take advantage of the fewer crowds to visit popular places like the Moorish Castillo de Gibralfaro, the Alcazaba, and the impressive Catedral de la Encarnación de Málaga. On warmer days, stroll along the Playa la Malagueta and enjoy delicious tapas and other traditional Spanish food in the historical center. 

If you have extra time and have a passion for art, don’t miss the Picasso Museum, Museo Carmen Thyssen dedicated to Spanish and international art, and the contemporary art center CAC Málaga. 

Average daily maximum temperatures in Malaga in winter: 

  • December: 18°C, 64°F
  • January: 17°C, 63°F
  • February: 18°C, 64°F

10 – Seville

Massimo Santi/Shutterstock

Seville, the capital of Andalucía, reaches scorching temperatures during the summer months but is a lovely place to explore in winter. With fewer crowds, you can easily access popular places like the imposing cathedral and the Real Alcazar (Moorish Royal Palace).

A stroll around the beautiful Plaza de España is lovely during any season, with the canal and the ceramic-covered bridges providing the perfect backdrop to your walk. For some amazing views of the city’s rooftops, climb the modern structure known as the Setas de Sevilla (Seville Mushrooms), which you’ll soon understand is aptly named when you see it for the first time. The view is even more beautiful at sunset. 

Average daily maximum temperatures in Seville in winter: 

  • December: 17°C, 63°F
  • January: 17°C, 63°F
  • February: 19°C, 66°F

11 – Cádiz

Sergey Didenko/Shutterstock

Close to the border with Portugal, Cadiz is an ancient port city, thought to be the oldest inhabited city in Spain. The city dates to 1100 BC when Phoenicians founded it under the name of Gadir. One thing is certain, the city is full of history waiting to be discovered.

A great reason to visit Cádiz in winter is the famous carnival that takes place in February and turns the city into a big party scene. Aside from witnessing the carnival, you can stroll along the beautiful seaside promenade, visit the Castillo de Santa Catalina, climb on top of the cathedral’s Tower of Poniente, and enjoy local food at the Cádiz Market.

Average daily maximum temperatures in Cádiz in winter: 

  • December: 17°C, 63°F
  • January: 16°C, 61°F
  • February: 17°C, 63°F

12 – Almería

Sergey Dzyuba/Shutterstock

Almería is one of the sunniest cities in Europe, with roughly 320 sunny days per year. If you want to escape cold and rain, this is one of the best places to visit in Europe in winter. 

Almería is home to the largest fortress in Andalucía, the Alcazaba, which served as a set for many Hollywood movies. A visit to the Alcazaba is a must in Almería, together with the cathedral. If you have extra time, plan a visit to the nearby Mini Hollywood, a theme park recreating the American Wild West. The park is just half an hour away from Almería.

Average daily maximum temperatures in Almería in winter: 

  • December: 18°C, 64°F
  • January: 17°C, 63°F
  • February: 17°C, 63°F

13 – Gibraltar


The small British territory off the southern Spanish coast, Gibraltar is also known as “the Rock” due to the limestone promontory towering over the town. The Upper Rock Nature Reserve is also one of the must-see places in Gibraltar, famous for the Barbary macaques living there and the impressive St. Michael’s Cave.

For spectacular views over the coast, take the Gibraltar Cable Car and then walk to O’Hara’s battery at the highest point in Gibraltar. On a clear sunny day, head over to the Europa Point Lighthouse, and you may be able to spot Africa across the Strait of Gibraltar.

Average daily maximum temperatures in Gibraltar in winter: 

  • December: 17°C, 63°F
  • January: 16°C, 61°F
  • February: 17°C, 63°F

14 – Mallorca

Artesia Wells/Shutterstock

The largest of the Balearic Islands, Mallorca may be a famous summer destination, but has a lot to offer in winter as well. With pleasant temperatures and many sunny days, Mallorca in winter is great for exploring little towns like Artà, Fornalutx, Valldemossa, or Soller.

When the weather is not quite hot enough for soaking in the sun on a beach, Mallorca is a perfect destination for hiking and enjoying beautiful nature. The Tramuntana mountains run from the southwest to the northeast of the island and offer many hiking options. If you don’t feel like hiking, explore the many landmarks of Palma, and enjoy some tapas in a local restaurant. 

Average daily maximum temperatures in Mallorca in winter: 

  • December: 17°C, 63°F
  • January: 15°C, 59°F
  • February: 16°C, 61°F

15 – Ibiza 


While Ibiza may be known for its lively nightlife, it has so much more to offer during the low season. Explore the pretty villages all around the island, go on hikes, and enjoy the blooming almond trees in January and February. 

Winter is also great for local fiestas, not to mention the carnival, which makes the island a fun place to escape during the cold months. And despite temperatures not being high enough to go for a swim, you can still enjoy the beautiful, deserted beaches.

Average daily maximum temperatures in Ibiza in winter: 

  • December: 17°C, 63°F
  • January: 16°C, 61°F
  • February: 16°C, 61°F

16 – Athens

Tomas Marek/Shutterstock

Winter is a great time to visit the Greek capital without the usual crowds that fill the city in summer. With moderate temperatures even in the coldest months of January and February, Athens is perfect for exploring the city, enjoying good food, and admiring the impressive Acropolis. 

Check out the museums, eat traditional Greek food, and climb to the top of Philopappos Hill for a gorgeous view of the Acropolis. Just outside the city center, hike to the top of Mount Lycabettus for a panoramic view, even better at the early winter sunset. 

Average daily maximum temperatures in Athens in winter: 

  • December: 15°C, 59°F
  • January: 13°C, 55°F
  • February: 14°C, 57°F

17 – Crete

Georgios Tsichlis/Shutterstock

The largest and southernmost of the Greek islands – except for the tiny Gavdos – Crete is filled with charming towns and beautiful monasteries you can explore during winter. The most famous monasteries worth visiting are the Eastern Orthodox Arkadi Monastery, the Byzantine Agia Triada, the Venetian-style Gouverneto Monastery, and the nearby ruins of Monastery Katholiko.

If you’d rather stick to the cities, the capital of Heraklion has a lot to offer, from the Venetian Dockyards to the beautiful squares and museums. Another must-see is the city of Chania, famous for its Old Venetian Port with colorful houses. 

Average daily maximum temperatures in Crete in winter: 

  • December: 17°C, 63°F
  • January: 15°C, 59°F
  • February: 15°C, 59°F

18 – Rhodes

Melinda Nagy/Shutterstock

Rhodes is an island of the Dodecanese archipelago, close to the coast of Turkey. With stunning archaeological sites, a beautiful medieval city designated as a UNESCO site, and many museums, Rhodes has plenty to offer even during the winter months, when temperatures are warmer than on the Greek mainland. 

Exploring the island is even better without the summer heat and crowds, so you’ll get the chance to see places like the Lindos Acropolis and the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes with much fewer tourists. 

Average daily maximum temperatures in Rhodes in winter: 

  • December: 17°C, 63°F
  • January: 15°C, 59°F
  • February: 15°C, 59°F

19 – Cyprus

Ryzhkov Oleksandr/Shutterstock

The island country of Cyprus has spring-like temperatures even during its coldest months, so you can comfortably explore the natural and historical wonders it has to offer. 

Discover the ruins of Ancient Kourion, hike to St. Hilarion Castle for impressive coastal views, visit the beautiful Kolossi Castle, and check out the Greco-Roman ruins and mosaics at the House of Dionysus.

In the divided capital of Nicosia, check out the Selimiye Mosque adapted from a Gothic church, visit the traditional inn Büyük Han Mescidi, and try traditional Cypriot food, a mix of Greek and Turkish flavors. 

Average daily maximum temperatures in Cyprus in winter: 

  • December: 19°C, 66°F
  • January: 17°C, 63°F
  • February: 17°C, 63°F

20 – Malta

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The fewer crowds and moderate temperatures during winter are perfect for exploring the beautiful streets of a nearly empty La Valletta. 

Once you’re done exploring the capital, head to the former film set turned theme park Popeye Village. While in summer it’s taken by assault, in winter it’s much less crowded, and the prices are lower.

If you have extra time, visit the smaller island of Gozo. Explore the ancient Citadel in Victoria, go on a coastal walk for some stunning views, and visit the impressive Ta’Pinu Basilica. Oh, and of course, be sure to try as much delicious Maltese food as you can!

Average daily maximum temperatures in Malta in winter: 

  • December: 17°C, 63°F
  • January: 16°C, 61°F
  • February: 15°C, 59°F

21 – Sicily

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You could easily spend the entire winter exploring everything Sicily has to offer. Although temperatures during the winter months are generally mild, you can easily get warm days when the temperatures hit 20°C, 63°F. The weather can be especially warm in the southeast, around Syracuse. 

There are endless opportunities to spend winter in Sicily, from visiting the main cities of Palermo, Catania, and Syracuse, to discovering the Greek ruins in Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples and the Greco-Roman theatre in Taormina. 

Just outside of Catania, explore the national park of the active Etna volcano. And, of course, don’t forget to try delicious Sicilian food like arancini, caponata, and cannoli.  

Average daily maximum temperatures in Sicily in winter: 

  • December: 17°C, 63°F
  • January: 16°C, 61°F
  • February: 16°C, 61°F

Places to Visit in Europe for Winter Sun Summary

Just because the cold and harsh conditions have set in for a few months, that doesn’t mean you need to hunker down and wait for the winter to pass.

Why not plan a warm winter escape, or two, to some of these beautiful vacation spots, and give yourself something to look forward to? Yes, you won’t get the scorching heat of the European summer, but you’ll still get plenty of warm, enjoyable weather to enjoy.

Traveling in the European fall and winter is also off-peak, meaning many of the often crowded cities, resorts, and top tourist spots are far less crowded. Sometimes, hugely popular beaches and other spots can be pretty much deserted during the winter.

All of these factors give you more than enough reason to plan a much-needed winter retreat in Europe by yourself, with your partner, or the whole family. Don’t let the cold weather bog you down: escape it for a little while, and see what wonderful adventures you can go on!

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Save and Pin for Later

Eager to escape the cold European winter for a little warmth without traveling across the world? Keep these gorgeous European winter vacation spots for safekeeping pinned to one of your travel planning boards.

Contributor: Roxana Fanaru is a Romanian content writer, journalist, and avid traveler, especially across Europe, who has written for various publications in lifestyle and travel niches.

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  • Hey there! We are Dale and Doina, the founders of Nomad Paradise. We traveled full-time for over three years, and while we now have a home base in the U.K., continue to take trips abroad to visit new places and try new cuisines and foods. Our food guides are curated with the guidance of local foodies, and their contribution is indicated under each article. We also cook the foods we try abroad, and you can discover how to make them in our 'recipes from around the world' category.

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