Europe is probably not the first place that comes to your mind when thinking about a warm winter getaway. Most people think about visiting all-inclusive Caribbean resorts or the beaches in Southeast Asia, but many European cities stay surprisingly warm during the winter months. Here are eleven of our top warm places in Europe to visit this winter.
11 Warm Places in Europe to Visit this Winter
The Greek Isles top our list of warm places in Europe to visit this winter. With fewer crowds and discounted accommodations, winter is the best time to visit the islands of the Aegean Sea. Set in luxury, the Mykonos villas offer picturesque views of the coast and clear blue skies, with water that is perfect for year-round swimming.
Azores Islands, Portugal
Nicknamed “Europe’s Hawaii,” these islands in the North Atlantic are rich in wildlife, full of rugged, dramatic craters and caverns, hot springs and lush forests. With only 5% of the land developed, this is a perfect place for the adventurer.
Winter in Sicily means you can enjoy almond trees in full bloom and extraordinary archaeological sites all to yourself. Visit in February to try fresh sea urchins, a local delicacy.
An ideal destination for history buffs, Malta is home to 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Stroll along the ancient sunny streets of Valletta or explore the untouched countryside where you can find enticing harbors, beautiful fishing villages, rocky coves and towering cliffs.
With 300 days of sunshine a year, there is a lot you can do in Cyprus. Lounge on the beach or wander around archaeological parks, gaze in awe at the Hellenistic-era mosaics and visit countless other Greek ruins. Visit Salt Lake to see a glimpse of pink flamingos or explore some of the fascinating Byzantine churches.
The Canary Islands, Spain
Soak up some vitamin D on the black sandy beaches of these rugged volcanic isles. Explore local wildlife with a snorkel dive or enjoy sailing or other water sports with the winter breeze in your hair.
Pleasantly mild during the winter months, Istanbul is also friendly on your pocketbook in the winter months – especially for those seeking culture without the long lines at important historical sites. Sip hot Turkish coffee at the Pierre Loti Hill where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Golden Horn and other important architectural gems.
Gibraltar is a tiny British Overseas Territory, located off the tip of Spain, with views toward Morocco. You can explore more than 150 caves, 50 kilometers of World War II tunnels, or wander through the stunning botanical gardens. Or for the more adventurous, take the cable car or walk across the suspension bridge.
Get lost in the beautiful Baroque architecture, interesting museums, and delicious local cuisines in the city of Nice. Cruise along the French Riviera to neighboring Monte Carlo or travel to the hilltop villages inland. In February, expect to see dancing, music, and a procession of incredible floats making their way through the city every day and night for two weeks as the city holds a huge festival.
One of the most mild countries of the Balkans, Kotor is an ancient walled city with history dating back to the Middle Ages. While not a beach escape, use the cooler weather to hike, bike, jog and stroll around the old town and its many fortifications throughout the city.
If you desire tranquility and relaxing on the beach, you’ll love the islands of Kornati National Park and the Dugi Otok Island. Or, if you’re looking for more action with a variety of dining options, then Hvar is the perfect choice for you. Don’t miss the island of Brac and the picturesque town of Bol, where you will find remote coves and beaches.
Just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean you have to scratch Europe off your holiday bucket list!