When you think of a vacation destination and have enough budget in hand, often the first thought is “Europe.” Most people opt for a getaway in Europe during the summer months to enjoy. But we understand that it’s not always possible to fit Europe into your summer schedule. So, this article brings you the best warm winter destinations in Europe.
These locations are the perfect pick to make sure you do not freeze to death! (just kidding).
The top winter destinations in Europe are ideal for winter because they are not freezing cold. It allows you to go out and explore the city on your vacation.
Best Warm Winter Destinations in Europe
Thinking of the best warm winter destinations in Europe, Spain is one of the top names that come to mind. Moreover, because of their moderate weather, Portugal and Malta are also considered safe options to visit during autumn and winter. Furthermore, this article tells you about the top places in countries like Spain, Malta, Portugal, Croatia, Cyprus, and more.
So, let’s tell you about all the places you can explore and soak in the winter sun in Europe.
How could we begin the list of the best warm winter destinations in Europe with any location but Ibiza?
Ibiza is one of the most popular tourist locations in Spain. The weather in the city stays between 60°F and 75°F (15°C to 23°C) from November to April. It allows you to roam freely around the city and enjoy beach days on the island. You might see rain on some days. But the clouds go away soon, making it easy to enjoy your stay in Ibiza.
Ibiza makes an ideal vacation spot with friends and family or a romantic getaway. Explore the island on a cruise or plan an intimate sunset dinner with your partner.
Canary Islands, Spain
If you’ve ever thought the Canary Islands are overhyped, trust us; they’re not!
The Canary Islands are definitely one of the most splendid and interesting locations in Spain to visit in winter. The Canary Islands comprise eight islands, each of them breathtakingly beautiful. Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lanzarote, and Fuerteventura are among the best warm winter destinations in Europe. Others include La Gomera, El Hierro, La Palma, La Graciosa.
Gran Canaria and Tenerife are the warmest Canary Islands in winter, with temperatures around 71°F (22°C). Meanwhile, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura can be slightly windy.
The islands are not only sand water but have incredibly varied landscapes. They are perfect for scuba diving, jet skiing, and windsurfing. At the same time, you can opt for hiking, cycling, or watching the sunset on any of the lovely beaches.
Apart from numerous water sports and activities, the Canary Islands are home to volcanic national parks, hidden caves, sand dunes, and forested mountains. Moreover, you can enjoy relaxing massages or visit a local vineyard to experience local wine tasting. If you are more of a mountain person, don’t miss Mt. Teide, Spain’s tallest peak.
Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands. It is particularly popular for stargazing. This island also has the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe. As the temperatures rarely go below 68°F (20°C) here, it makes the right spot for tanning in winter.
Moreover, Lanzarote is known for its volcanic scenery and local vineyards. On the other hand, Gran Canaria is the best warm winter destination in Europe in November. Fuerteventura’s emerald blue water has an enchanting beauty that attracts visitors all year round.
Andalusia is the most beautiful province in Spain, making it one of the best warm winter destinations in Europe. It has sandy beaches, snowing peaks, and lush green mountains. Córdoba offers extensive historical architecture, making you feel like you are in a maze. Moreover, the Doñana National Park is among the most prominent attractions, with over 300 bird species that come here to breed.
Seville and Marbella are two of the most visited regions in Andalusia. Seville is the capital of Andalusia and is among the best warm winter destinations in Europe in October. It is one of the warmest European cities, even in winter. In fact, winter is the ideal time to visit Andalusia instead of the scorching summer months.
The temperatures may reach 63°F (17°C) in winter with plentiful sunlight. However, many don’t know this secret, allowing you to enjoy its magnificence without bustling crowds. Visit Real Alcázar, Plaza de Espana, Flamenco Dance Museum, and Las Setas while you’re here. Plus, Seville is home to museums, art, cathedrals, and bars you wouldn’t want to miss!
Besides the capital, Seville, tourists love Marbella for its eye-pleasing beauty. Many people also believe it is the most beautiful city in Andalusia. It is the perfect spot to enjoy your Christmas differently; soak under the sun and swim on the shore instead of watching snowfall. Visit Parque de la Alameda to enjoy the greenery and immerse in exquisite artwork at Museo del Grabado Español Contemporáneo.
Whether you visit Seville, Marbella, or any other part of Andalusia, don’t forget to try the local Tapas and alcohol for the complete experience.
Another suitable warm winter location in Spain is València, which has moderate weather in the cold months. València is the third largest city in Spain and is among the top choices for a winter getaway. The day-time temperature in València in winter does not go below 60°F (15°C); you might feel slightly chilly at night at 45°F (4°C).
València is known for its food and culture, which you can explore conveniently during winter, away from the crowd. The city lights up with Christmas decorations in December, and you can see Christmas booths everywhere; do not miss out on the seasonal treats and sweets in these markets.
Besides the local hustle and bustle during Christmas, you can enjoy a peaceful time in the city. It is worth visiting when looking for a less cold place to spend your holidays.
How could we talk about Spain without mentioning Barcelona?
Barcelona is a tourist favorite in Spain because of its lively party environment. Also, you might be happy to know that it is also suitable for a winter getaway. Whether you want to go with your partner, friends, or family, you cannot go wrong with Barcelona.
Barcelona is among the best warm winter destinations in Europe in January because of the smaller crowds and regional festivals. Other than the strikingly beautiful beaches, the contemporary art is a treat to the eyes. Antoni Gaudí’s Casa Batlló, Casa Milá, La Sagrada Familia, and Park Güell are amazing pieces of art you shouldn’t miss.
Moving towards the next country on the list, Madeira is a must-mention when talking of Portugal. It is also known as the Portuguese archipelago with eternal spring. You would be happy to know that Portugal is categorized among the cheapest countries of Europe.
Madeira is 309 miles (498 km) north of the Canary Islands, with moderate temperatures. The winters are no different than summers in many parts of the world; the temperatures do not typically fall below 57°F (14°C).
Madeira does not have a white Christmas due to warm temperatures. Most people roam around in Christmas markets in t-shirts and shorts to combat the weather.
This gorgeous part of Portugal has gorgeous beaches and hiking trails, making it one of the best warm winter destinations in Europe. The Levada is one of the most popular hiking paths along the ancient network of channels.
So, whether you want to rest in a hotel or indulge in sports activities, Madeira can be your best pick!
Exploring the capital is typically on the list when visiting a country, especially when it is as gorgeous as Lisbon.
Lisbon, Portugal’s capital and largest city, is a tourist favorite. It is one of the best warm winter destinations in Europe for filling up on Vitamin D. The city temperatures during the day do not fall below 60°F (15°C). However, the nights may be slightly cold at 40°F (4°C); it offers the perfect opportunity to cozy up in a blanket with the love of your life.
Compared to other cities that offer historic architecture and majestic beaches, Lisbon is great for Christmas shopping. Tourists prefer shopping in Lisbon as they can find more affordable pricing compared to the UK, Germany, and France. This modern city has everything you’re looking for!
You might see a few tourists in Lisbon around Christmas, but the crowds disappear in January. So, you can enjoy alone time with your partner in January and February in this charismatic city. Lisbon has various landmarks to explore, including the Gothic Belem Tower, Jeronimos Monastery, Jardim Botanico Tropical, the Byzantine, Santa Justa Elevator, Bairro Alto, and Alfama. Furthermore, explore UNESCO monuments in the Belém region.
The Azores, Portugal
The Azores Islands are among the most beautiful locations among the best warm winter destinations in Europe; they are nine islands along the North Atlantic Ocean.
Also known as Europe’s Hawaii, it is home to beaches, waterfalls, and natural thermal pools. You will also find mountains, volcanoes, and greenery on these gorgeous islands. Visit the Terra Nostra Garden, explore the Angra do Heroismo, or kayak in the Volcanic lakes.
Azores Island is not a popular tourist destination, which makes it excellent for some alone time with your favorites. You will not see any extra crowd besides the locals; it takes around two hours to reach the Azores from Lisbon.
The Algarve, Portugal
If you have not thought of surfing in winter, The Agarve can change your mind!
This beautiful location in Portugal has cliffs and beaches that make your trip worth every penny. You will immediately fall in love with the beauty of the place and the weather it offers in winter. It is an immensely romantic destination with sunny winter days with periods of rain and wind.
The best part about adding The Algarve to your warm winter destinations in Europe is its secretiveness. The villages and beaches are not laden with tourists, making it an ideal getaway location.
The Ria Formosa Natural Park is one of the most attractive locations in The Agarve when the migrating birds move to this region. Moreover, Quinta do Lago Beach is the perfect picture of peace and tranquility in winter.
While all the rage is about Venice in Italy, Positano is a hidden gem you’ll be ecstatic to explore!
Postino is one of the warmest regions in Italy, making it on the list of the best warm winter destinations in Europe. It is perfect for soaking in the winter sun and admiring the beauty of nature. The average temperature in Postino typically lies at 60°F (15°C) in winter. The temperatures from December to February do not fall below 52°F (11°C).
You can enjoy various activities, but usually, locals and tourists love lazying around on the beaches. Relish delicious Italian cuisines, sunbathe under the winter sun, and enjoy the fragrance of lemon trees; it’s an experience to remember for life.
Visiting Postino in winter spares you from the tourist crowd, and the accommodation costs are incredibly low. What’s better than that?
When you think of Italy, Sicily is one of the top names that come to mind. This lovely city does not only attract tourists in summer but also in winter and autumn. You might be surprised to know that winters in Sicily have sunshine up to eight hours a day!
Visiting Sicily in February also offers you the opportunity to attend the local Carnevale. The citrus trees bearing limes, lemons, and oranges in winter make the air interestingly citrusy.
Alternatively, you can also go to Ustica, north of Italy, via a ferry. It makes an excellent trip from Sicily and is among the best diving locations in the region.
If you have thought of Greece as windy and chilly in winter, Crete invites you to change your perspective. However, despite being the warmest island in Greece, it can be quite chilly compared to other warm winter destinations in Europe. So, prepare for cold nights after warm days in this city. Also, you can only go to Crete through Athens in winter.
Crete is the largest island in Greece and one of the best winter vacation locations. Visiting it during cold months will make you appreciate Greece even more. You will not have to bargain for lower rates and wait in long lines at popular destinations. Winter getaways in Crete also mean less rush at the Elafonisi beach and Heraklion Archaeological Museum.
Begin your trip in the Old Town of Chania and visit the 14th-century Venetian harbor. Moreover, the Venetian Lighthouse is the most prominent landmark in the city; it is among the oldest lighthouses in the world. The Palace of Knossos, the Firka Fortress, and the multicolored seaside buildings are popular among tourists.
Lastly, don’t forget to taste the local wine, which represents hundreds of years of the region’s winery culture. Visit the vineyards and wineries in Chania and Heraklion to learn more about the production process and taste exquisite wine.
Some days can be rainy in Crete, but the sky cleans up soon. So, don’t worry about showers, and get ready to enjoy your winter holiday!
Athens is one of the best warm winter destinations in Europe. But it is often overcrowded with tourists in the summer months. In fact, summer in Athens is too hot to enjoy a fun vacation. So, what’s a better option than visiting Athens in winter?
Besides being the capital city of Greece, Athens is also one of the oldest European cities. Known for its ruins and historic architecture, Athens welcomes thousands of tourists annually. Opposed to hot summers, winters have moderate weather with slight rainfall.
The Acropolis, Temple of Olympian Zeus, and the Ancient Agora are sites you must not miss on your visit to Athens.
While not as historic as Athens, Corfu is more popular among party-lovers. You will find huge crowds in summer, but you can have Corfu all to yourself in winter. The winter Corfu is different from the summer Corfu: quiet and crowd-free. Moreover, the temperatures around 60°F (15°C) make it a favorite in winter.
Though you might not experience Corfu to the fullest in colder months, there is still so much to do. Sit on the beach and enjoy the waves, or go hiking to appreciate this marvel of nature from the top. Furthermore, enjoy drinks at the pubs and buy souvenirs at the local shops.
Gibraltar, United Kingdom
If you’ve always had the United Kingdom on your bucket list, this could be the right time to visit this magnificent region. Gibraltar might not give you the exact modern UK vibes. But it is an excellent choice for a pleasant winter holiday.
Unlike the metropolitan cities in the UK, Gibraltar is a tiny British Overseas Territory. This beautiful location in the UK is among the best warm winter destinations in Europe.
Gibraltar has a rich history, which is shown in the city’s architecture and culture. You can explore the botanical gardens, caves, and tunnels from World War II. Walking on the suspension bridge is one of the most interesting attractions in Gibraltar.
Isles of Scilly, United Kingdom
If you are looking for the warmest location in the UK, it’s the Isles of Scilly along the coast of Cornwall. The area stays moderately warm throughout winter due to the North Atlantic Current.
Besides the temperate climates, the Isles of Scilly are not highly populated. So, you can enjoy your vacation in peace without crowd noises everywhere.
These islands might not be the most popular warm winter destinations in Europe. Yet, they make an excellent getaway location to take in the winter sun.
Also known as the Pearl of the Adriatic, this tourist magnet is an important mention among the best warm winter destinations in Europe. Did you know that Game of Thrones was shot in Dubrovnik? If not, now you do!
Croatia, being the safest country, is full of history, culture, and gorgeous nature. Those who visit this part of the world wish to stay forever. The temperatures do not fall below 44°F (7°C) even in the coldest month (January). The moderate temperatures make Dubrovnik perfect for the Dalmatian Coast views and visiting Mount Srd.
The best part is that Dubrovnik is a festivity hub from December to February. Starting in November, festivities last through December, followed by New Year’s Eve and the Feast of Saint Blaise.
Furthermore, it is ideal for water sports enthusiasts and nature lovers. Many celebrities also love visiting Dubrovnik in winter when the crowds wear down.
You would not find space to rest your foot on the ground in Limassol in Cyprus in summer. But did you know it is also an excellent choice for a winter vacation?
Limassol is the capital of Cyprus and a favorite among the best warm winter destinations in Europe. It is crammed with tourists in summer, especially from neighboring countries. The city has multiple beaches like Santa Barbara, Pissouri, and Vrysoudia, where you can relax and sunbathe. You can also enjoy water sports and sailing on the island.
This beautiful Cyprian city has fishing harbors, Greek ruins, and snowy mountains. Visit the Limassol Castle and Kolossi Castle to learn about the region’s history. Moreover, Limassol has the best shopping areas to ensure you shop to your heart’s content. From calm beaches to modern plazas, it is indeed the visual representation of the ‘best of both worlds!’
Also, did you know Cyprus has flamingos? You can spot flamingos on the salt lake in Larnaka. Enjoy this experience while you’re there.
Cyprus overall does not have incredibly low winter temperatures. So, you can also visit other cities like Larnaca besides Limassol. Larnaca also has average temperatures of 60°F (15°C), making it suitable for a warm winter vacation. However, locals also love it; you might find it busy even during winter.
This city, among the best warm winter destinations in Europe, is famous for its historic ruins. Visitors mostly enjoy scuba diving, hiking, horseback riding, and cycling. You can visit churches and museums in the city and go for winery tours. At the same time, tourists also use it as a spot to sail to other islands and Greece.
We wouldn’t blame you if you did not think of France on the list of the best warm winter destinations in Europe. France is typically considered a colder part of Europe, with average winter temperatures of 32°F to 46°F. However, Nice is slightly nicer during winter!
Nice, the queen of the French Riviera, is one of the warmest cities in France. Typically, the temperatures are around 50°F (10°C). So, you do not have to worry about packing your leather jacket when visiting Nice in winter. You will enjoy many sunny days in winter; it is considered one of the best spots to enjoy the winter sun.
Nice is particularly famous for its local produce and cuisine. Thus, you must not shy away from eating all the good stuff while you are there.
While it can be slightly controversial, Istanbul makes it to the list of the best warm winter destinations in Europe.
This unique city in Turkey stretches from Asia to Europe, taking in both cultures. You might be surprised to see the influence of Asian and European cultures in routine Istanbul life.
As Istanbul is also a part of Asia, it is not as cold as the rest of Eastern Europe. The city has moderate temperatures but not a 6-hour sun during winter. However, the days are not incredibly cold, offering just the right weather to explore the city.
Despite being the last on the list, Valletta is one of the most gorgeous top winter destinations in Europe. It is perfect to experience serenity and get lost in the architecture. Malta is rightfully named the European Capital of Culture.
While Malta is popular among people who want to relax and swim, the capital, Valletta, is a favorite. The winter months are usually 10°C or 50°F; it might not be the warmest European city, but it is suitable for stepping out and exploring.
Valletta is rich in historic buildings and architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The walled city on the Mediterranean Sea dates back to the 1500s. You can also visit the National War Museum, which takes you to Maltese’s wartime history, followed by The Grand Master’s Palace and St. John’s Co-Cathedral.
Besides this jaw-dropping gorgeous Maltese city, others like Rabat, Zabbar, and Mdina are also worth a visit. Also, don’t forget to try seafood when in Malta. It does not go well with the warm climate, but who made it a rule, anyway?
Make sure to bring your swimsuits and sunglasses when visiting Valletta.
The Bottom Line
Europe is generally a summer location because of cold winters and heavy snowfall. However, that does not mean you cannot visit Europe in winter. European cities like Ibiza, Athens, and Dubrovnik are best visited in winter if you do not like crowds. The winter months have a moderate temperature and are not too cold. Similarly, other best warm winter destinations in Europe include Sicily, Barcelona, The Azores, Lisbon, Andalusia, Gibraltar, Crete, Nice, and Valletta. Stretching from Asia to Europe, Istanbul also makes it to the list.
Where is the warmest place in Europe in winter?
The Canary Islands are considered one of the best warm winter destinations in Europe because of the moderate winter climate. The winter months in the Canary Islands have temperatures ranging between 57°F and 73°F (14°C to 23°C).
Where to live in winter in Europe?
If you plan to visit Europe in winter, you cannot go wrong with Spain, Italy, Portugal, or Cyprus. While islands like Santorini might not be warm in winter, you can visit Athens and Crete. But still, not to forget, Santorini would be a perfect place to take your partner on her birthday! Besides, most cities in Cyprus, Portugal, Italy, and Malta are suitable for a warm winter getaway.
Does Portugal have snow?
Yes, some cities in Portugal experience snowfall during winter. However, regions like the capital, Lisbon, do not get snow. Moreover, The Azores, Algarve, and Madeira do not have winter snow. Instead, you can enjoy warm winter months in these areas.
Which European country is warm in January?
Spain is among the best warm winter destinations in Europe in January because of its moderate weather. Additionally, Croatia and Portugal are also perfect for soaking in the winter sun.
Diana was an active fitness model in the past. She has had numerous shoots done at different locations and found out that her true interest was in exploring the world! Later on, this passion motivated her to write multiple tarvel blogs about whatever place she visited and discovered, and here it is! Enjoy reading a variety of blogs by Diana to get a lively experience of several places.