Winter in Europe typically falls between December and March. During this time, temperatures can vary significantly depending on the region. In the northern parts of Europe, temperatures may drop below freezing with icy winds and heavy snow to be expected. In the south, temperatures may remain milder, but rain and wind may be more frequent. Long nights and limited sunlight can make the days seem colder too.
These conditions can make life less fun and many of us living in Europe escape to places with better weather. Especially those of us who think of skiing as "waiting to fall down".
Southeast Asia, South America, and Africa are obvious top choices to meet the requirement of a winter getaway trip. However, if you are living in Europe and do not feel like leaving the continent, or if you are visiting Europe in the winter and trying to avoid the cold places, this list is for you.
It might seem like a simple task, but to find places that feel properly warm during winter we had to create a ranking model based on the average lowest and highest temperatures as well as the average sunshine hours per day. We looked at weather data for each month during the winter and assigned scores for hundreds of popular places in Europe. Only the top places made it to the list below.
Gran Canaria is one of the Canary Islands and a very popular warm-weather destination. The Canary Islands is a group of islands that are part of Spain but sit off the coast of Africa. They have a unique weather climate in the winter due to their location in the Atlantic Ocean and their position along the equator.
Gran Canaria is famous for its year-round warm climate, beautiful beaches, and diverse landscape, which includes mountains, forests, and deserts. The island also has a unique blend of Spanish and African cultures. Las Palmas in the northern part is by far the most exciting and authentic city on the island. The tourist zone in the south is slightly warmer, making beach destinations such as Maspalomas very popular too.
In the winter, Gran Canaria typically has warm and pleasant weather. The days are sunny with clear skies. The nights are cool with a light breeze. Sunshine is plentiful, with an average of 8 hours per day. The humidity is relatively low, and there is little wind. It is a great time to visit the island, as the temperatures are warm enough to enjoy the outdoors but not too hot to be uncomfortable.
Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands, located off the northwest coast of Africa. The island also benefits from the warming effect of the Gulf Stream, which brings warm water from the Caribbean to the shores of Tenerife. This helps to keep temperatures mild and consistent throughout the season. The largest city Santa Cruz de Tenerife, is surprisingly lush thanks to its surrounding mountains holding on to some clouds and allowing for a bit of humidity amidst all the sunshine. Visitors mainly there for the beach opt for the resort towns spread out along the coastline.
The island has a green but rugged volcanic landscape with a mountainous interior, beautiful beaches, and turquoise waters. It is a popular tourist destination with various activities and attractions to suit all tastes, from hiking and cycling to swimming, surfing, and sunbathing.
Tenerife typically enjoys mild and sunny weather throughout the year, with winter being no exception. It has the most winter sunshine in the Canary Islands, with an average of 9 hours per day. Rainfall is also low, with only a few days of rain throughout the winter.
Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago in the North Atlantic Ocean, just off the coast of Morocco. Madeira is known for its warm, sunny weather, subtropical climate, and beautiful scenery. The Madeira islands have lush green landscapes, dramatic cliffs, and stunning beaches. It is home to a variety of plants, and animals, as well as some of Europe's best hiking and surfing spots. The islands are also renowned for their delicious local cuisine, featuring fresh seafood, local wines, and traditional dishes.
The daytime temperatures are pleasant in the winter, and the evenings are a few degrees cooler. The wind is generally mild, and the sun shines for an average of 6 hours per day. While January in Madeira is typically mild and wet, with common rain throughout the month, the weather in February and March is sunnier, making it an ideal time to visit the island, with lots of opportunities for hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities.
Valencia is a sunny coastal city in eastern Spain on the Mediterranean Coast. It is the third-largest city in the country and the capital of the autonomous community of Valencia. The city is known for its beautiful beaches, lively nightlife, historical sites, and rich cultural heritage. Valencia's cuisine is famous for traditional dishes such as paella, horchata, and salted cod. The local oranges are some of the best in Spain, so you will get plenty of D and C vitamins.
Valencia's winter weather is generally mild and sunny, with average daytime temperatures ranging from 16°C to 19°C. Winds tend to be light to moderate. Rainfall is relatively low, with only a few days of showers, mainly in January. The occasional cold front can bring colder temperatures, but these usually don't last for more than a few days.
Malaga is a beautiful city located in the south of Spain. It is famous for its beaches, warm sunny climate, beautiful architecture, delicious food, and being the birthplace of the famous painter Pablo Picasso. The city has a rich history, with monuments such as the Alcazaba, Gibralfaro Castle, and the Roman Theatre.
With over 25 km of coastline, the area boasts some of the most stunning beaches in Spain, including Calahonda, El Palo, and La Malagueta. The warm, Mediterranean climate makes perfect weather for sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying the sand and sea.
In the winter, the weather in Malaga is typically mild and sunny in January and February. In March, the climate gets warmer. The days are usually dry, with occasional rain in the late afternoon or evening. The evenings tend to be a bit cooler and may require a light jacket. The sun shines for an average of 9 hours per day, with some cloud cover in the early mornings and late evenings.
Marbella is a vibrant and glamorous city on Spain’s Costa del Sol in the south. It is renowned for its glitzy nightlife, stunning beaches, year-round sunshine, first-class shopping, and beautiful landscapes. Its old town has a historic charm with cobblestone streets, whitewashed houses, and many small plazas.
Marbella is a popular holiday destination for tourists from all over the world. It offers an array of attractions, from chic bars and restaurants to luxury resorts and championship golf courses. The city features a marina filled with luxury yachts. Marbella is also home to some of the most exclusive real estate in all of Spain, making it a popular destination for wealthy expats and celebrities.
Marbella typically experiences mild and sunny weather in January, February, and March. Nights can be cool, but the days are usually pleasantly warm. Rain is uncommon in February and March, while there is a bit more in January. Sunshine is plentiful during this time of year, with an average of 8 hours of sun each day.
Palma de Mallorca is the capital and largest city of the Balearic Islands in Spain. Located on the south coast of the island, the city is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and vibrant Mediterranean atmosphere.
The city is also known for its stunning beaches and marinas, as well as its proximity to the Tramuntana Mountains, which offer a variety of outdoor activities. The old town is a maze of narrow cobbled streets lined with beautiful boutique shops, restaurants, and galleries. The majestic Santa María Cathedral stands on the waterfront, while the Gothic Almudaina Palace is a stunning example of medieval architecture.
As it is located in a Mediterranean climate, the winter in Palma is generally mild, sunny, and pleasant, with January being a bit cooler and rainier than February and March. Rainfall is usually light, and there are usually 6 hours of sunshine every day.
Limassol is an ancient port city located in the southern part of Cyprus, on the Mediterranean Sea. It is the second largest city in the country and is an important business, shipping, and tourist hub. Limassol is known for its long beaches lined with palm trees.
Limassol is also home to numerous historic sites, including ancient ruins, churches, and castles. Nearby attractions include the Troodos Mountains, the Akrotiri Salt Lake, and the Paphos Archaeological Park. The city is well-connected with the rest of the island, with an international airport, a harbor, and a railway station.
Limassol experiences mild winter weather. The days are typically sunny, while the evenings can become cool and windy. Rainfall is light, and the humidity is usually low, making it comfortable for outdoor activities.