Winter Sun Destinations in and around Europe

Winter Sun Destinations in and around Europe

Looking for warm places to visit in winter months? Scratch the UV lamp off your Christmas wish-list, we’ve put together the best winter sun holiday destinations in and close to Europe; where to find the best beaches in winter, and even some winter islands you can count on for sunny winter trip – you’re vitamin D level will spike just by reading it!

Has the appearance of festive lights done little to brighten your spirits, the glow from your once summer-sun-kissed skin faded, fumbling with scarves become the bane of your daily life, or the thoughts of enduring more dull-winter-weather filled you with dread? Thankfully, there are several budget-friendly places that suit a spontaneous winter-sun holiday in or around Europe.


Winter destinations in Europe


We’re going to make like migratory birds and head south. First stop, Malta.


1. The islands of Malta

malta island village

The southern-European island nation of Malta is kind of a mixed bag when it comes to its credentials as a winter destination. The archipelago boasts some beautiful beaches with suitably exotic-sounding names, such as Paradise Bay and the Blue Lagoon (Island of Comino). And the capital, Valletta, sees more sunshine than any other city in Europe with temperatures hovering around the very high teens.

November and December are Malta’s rainy season. That said, the average rainfall in the months of December or January is just 8 days – so the odds are certainly on your side. The good news is that should a little rain threaten to interrupt your beach flopping, there is so much more to see and do in Malta than sprawling in the sand.

The landscape here is a fascinating stretch of cliffs and natural coves punctuated by many man-made marinas and generations of historical structures, much of which has survived millennia. Add to this the flavourful Maltese food, the Mediterranean vibe, remarkable history, intriguing culture, and delightfully friendly locals, and Malta makes for a wonderful winter-break in Europe.


2. Málaga, Spain

malaga spain winter sun destination Source: Wikimedia - Adrian Scottow from London, England (CC BY-SA 2.0)


The port city of Málaga on southern Spain’s Costa Del Sol is an ideal destination for winter sun-seekers in Europe. With average daytime high temperatures in December, the coldest month in Málaga, lingering around 18 oC, you can be sure of a warm winter vacation here; indeed, it’s even a contender among warm places to spend Christmas.

Málaga embraces Christmas with spectacular lights in Larios Street, Christmas trees, traditional red poinsettias and craft decorations throughout the city, as well as daily music recitals and a Christmas market in Paseo del Parque where roasted chestnuts, turron, marzipan, and Málaga wine-flavored borrachuelos await.

There’s so much to see and many things to do in Malaga in winter – dine on delicious food, marvel at incredible ancient sights, and bask in the winter sun, but there’s little else more enjoyable here than a walk along the seafront of Muelle Uno port. We got some great local tips and recommendations to visit Malaga, check this video out and get inspired.


3. Seville, Spain

seville spain winter destination

Sticking with Southern Spain, we look to Seville. The Andalusia region boasts pleasant, mild winter weather and, along with Córdoba, Seville sees average day time winter highs of 14-17 oC. With relatively long days in winter and only about 6 days of monthly rainfall, Seville is a pretty safe bet for some winter sunshine, even if it is not the hottest of our suggestions on this list.

Among the many incredible attractions of Seville is the fantastic, 700-year-old Palace, The Alcázar, also known as the Royal Alcázars of Seville – a real must-see in any season. And, with it being the low-season for this otherwise busy tourist destination, there’s far less foot traffic around the beautiful sites of Seville to contend with.

Seville is also quite a romantic setting, making it an ideal winter sun destination for couples looking for warm weather and ancient charm. A balmy winter evening’s stroll through Maria Luisa Park or a glass of wine in Plaza de España is just the thing for winter lovebirds.


4. Cyprus

cyprus winter sun destinations

Cyprus, Cape Greko


Cyprus is a proper Summer holiday destination – and it’s precisely that which makes it a very attractive place to visit for winter sun and mild days from November through February. With much fewer tourists visiting Cyprus in winter, prices for accommodation and attractions tend to cool down, while the climate stays warm!

Cyprus has some of the best winter weather in Europe and you can comfortably expect temperatures around 17-19°C. Cyprus is known for its pristine beaches, but the sun doesn’t just shine on the sand here; it illuminates incredible history and culture and the remarkable sights of one of the Mediterranean’s most ancient civilizations.

A nation divided into North & South, there’s a common thread throughout both the Greek and Turkish sides of Cyprus – that is one of warmth, friendliness, hospitality, culture, and delicious cuisine. All in all, an incredible European destination for warm winter vacations.


5. Gibraltar

gibraltar sun destination

Source: Wikimedia - David Stanley (CC BY 2.0)

A less-heralded winter vacation destination is Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory, but we think this historic headland off Spain’s south coast has a whole lot going for it when it comes to a great winter sun holiday.

With a prevailing easterly wind, the Levante, blowing up from the Sahara, Gibraltar is used to a mild climate even in January, the coldest month here, when daytime temperatures can reach 18°C.
Among the impressive things to see in Gibraltar is a 14th-century Moorish Castle and the 18th century Great Siege Tunnels, but these are eclipsed by the iconic rock of Gibraltar – the unmissable 426m-high limestone ridge that dominates the view from almost any angle you look.


6. The Canary Islands



gran canaria canary islands

Dunes of Gran Canaria, Spain.


By right a number of winter sun destinations, this collective group of Spanish governed islands is indeed closer geographically to Africa than Spain – meaning near unbeatable warm winter weather. There are seven islands here, all of which will be comfortably balmy at around 20°C in winter months, but arguably the most well-known of these are Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Fuerteventura, and Lanzarote.

The rugged, volcanic islands of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura are havens for surfer’s seeking winter waves, the biggest of them rolling in November and December, while both Tenerife and Gran Canaria tend to experience less wind, keeping their average December and January temperatures just north of 20°C.
While the Canary Islands are well-known for resorts and beach-front high-rise holiday apartments, there is plenty of reprieve from this overtly touristic vibe, should you desire it. The landscape is at times awesome – long caves and secluded coves, sands of yellow, white and black, and impressive peaks, such as Mt. Teide, Tenerife’s dormant volcano, and Montaña de Tindaya on Fuerteventura, are incredible sights to marvel.



Winter destinations in Africa

And while we’re so close to the coast of Africa, we might as well pop over to the world’s second-largest continent for some excellent winter sun holiday destinations which are relatively quick and easy to go to from Europe.


7. Tunisia

tunisia africa

With daytime average temperatures of 17°C in winter, Tunisia is a worthy winter vacation destination to consider. With the Mediterranean Sea, archaeological treasures, colorful mosaics, and ancient Islamic art, it is an ideal place to soak up both sun and culture.

The capital, Tunis, hosts a bustling souk as well as the stunning Al-Zaytuna Mosque in the Medina quarter, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and a plethora of ancient ruins and historic sights. In winter months, the Marinas of Tunisia welcome many yachts and sail-boats, and the country’s golf-courses are more popular than ever.


8. Morocco

casablanca morocco

While the winter temperatures in Morocco can reach the low teens, the average day-time highs are much closer to the 20°C mark – though there is a chance of some rain, with December, in particular, tending to see more fall than other winter months.
Morocco isn’t on our list for being the hottest or driest destination you could go to in winter in Europe, though. It’s here because it offers a wealth of fascinating culture & history, intriguing sights & sites, and alluring atmosphere, while also being satisfactorily warm and mostly sunny!

The capital, Marrakech, tends to stay up around 19°C throughout winter and offers a host of things to do – exquisite cuisine, old medinas, vibrant souk marketplaces, and stunning architecture to enjoy. Morocco is full of life and colorful culture to experience in the winter sunshine.

We also suggest checking out Chefchaouen, Taghazout, and Casablanca. About an hour's drive from Agadir, Taghazout is a quaint traditional fishing town that has become a bit of a hipster mecca, luring surfers and nomads to soak up the winter sun; while Casablanca offers many great restaurants, white powdery sand beaches, and creative Kasbahs.


9. Cape Verde

cape verde beaches

Source: Flickr - Caroline Granycome (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Still off the west coast of Africa now, and a jaunt further south from the Canary Islands, we arrive in Cape Verde. This is one of best winter holiday destinations you could pick - winter sunshine is pretty much guaranteed, and the ten small islands are home to some of the best beaches to visit in December – while your friends prepare for Santa Claus, you can prepare to lounge on Santa Maria beach on the island of Sal!

The capital of Cape Verde, Praia, on Santiago island, is the largest town and home to a delightful historic Old Quarter, while the island of São Vicente is best known for its party vibe and nightlife offering. With similarities in the landscape to the aforementioned Canary islands, Cape Verde is also an archipelago of volcanic islands – the most impressive indicator of this being Pico do Fogo on Fogo Island.
Winter temperatures in Cape Verde range from 21-26°C and with friendly locals, cheap accommodation, and plenty of things to see and do, this is a winter vacation paradise within doable flying distance from mainland Europe.


That’s it, dear winter-sun-seekers. As you can see, you don’t need to spend all your time sipping piña coladas or lounging on a beach during your winter sun break – there are some exceptional must-see sights and things to do in all of these destinations too.

Make sure you make the most of your winter break, wherever you go, book a top quality budget or free tour with an excellent local guide on
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