Best Winter-Sun Destinations in Europe

October 06, 2022

When you dream of swapping out the freezing, winter weather with a warm, sun-drenched getaway, we wouldn’t blame you if the tropical Caribbean islands were some of your top choices, and we are quite certain that Europe sits right at the very bottom of your list. However, Europe has so much more to show for itself than just being an amazing summer destination. It has quite a few decently warm towns and cities that would make wonderful winter-sun escapades with all the perks of more budget-friendly air tickets, lesser crowds, a relaxing pace and free of scorching 95 °F+ weather – it’s a great time to tick off some insanely gorgeous countries off your bucket list with just the right amount of Vitamin D. Below, we have chosen the best winter-sun European destinations to keep in mind for your next trip.

Portugal: Algarve and Madeira

Boasting a whopping 300 days of sunny weather every year, Portugal is a haven of mild temperatures all year round, and one of your top choices for a winter-sun European destination. While the beauty of Portugal extends to every corner of its terrain, we outline two destinations to keep an eye out if you are looking to enjoy the warm sun during the winter months.


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Located in the southern part of Portugal, the Algarve is one of the hottest regions of the country, while some would argue in the whole of Europe. There is no denying that it is Portugal's go-to destination for summer escapades thanks to its amazing beaches and historical monuments but enduring the heavy crowds of the high season is not a bearable endeavor for everyone. On the other hand, visiting this part of the country during winter is an entirely different experience. With an average temperature of 63 °F and more than 10 hours of blissful sunshine on most days, you have the chance to explore this historically rich region as if it’s springtime and free of all the swarming crowds. While in Algarve, we would definitely recommend either visiting or staying in the town of Faro, the region’s capital. It is a fascinatingly charming city whose old town and sun-soaked harbor will have you falling in love. It also features medieval fortifications and an enchanting maze of cobblestone alleyways that will keep you wandering for hours as you admire the antique houses that decorate its streets. As for things to do nearby, the choices are plentiful; parks, wetlands, beaches…it’s nature at its greatest. What’s more, there are also some wonderful islands for quick daytrips, boasting their own medieval towns with top-notch restaurants to spend your lunch or afternoon dining alfresco, while you might also come across some beautiful golden dunes.


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Apart from being one of the prettiest places of Portugal, Madeira is also the ultimate destination for absolute relaxation as well as outdoor adrenaline-fueled adventure all year-round; it truly has it all. With winter temperatures ranging from 59 °F to 68 °F, it is never too cold nor too hot, allowing visitors to enjoy all the pleasures of Madeira with comfort. Its natural landscape is a dream for those who love being outdoors, while its hotels are of the highest caliber, focused on offering their guests a sanctuary of tranquility. As for spending the festive days in Madeira, there is no need to think twice! Funchal, the capital of Madeira, is known worldwide for its epic New Year’s fireworks, while its celebrations, seasonal markets and festive atmosphere is nothing short of fantastic – just make sure to leave your heavy coats and scarves at home, you won’t need them.

Italy: Palermo

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Who wouldn’t love a winter break in Italy, and what better way to enjoy the romantic Italian ambiance than in a sun-kissed destination that can have you exploring for days. Palermo is all that and more. It is Sicily’s capital, Italy’s 5th largest city and boasts a fascinating cultural background, while its gastronomic scene is highly coveted. Being an island, one could argue that Sicily is better suited for summer, but its numerous sunny days during wintertime beg to differ. Its moderate winters render it an ideal winter-sun destination, while the warm Sirocco winds coming in from Africa help keep temperatures within a very comfortable range, with some afternoons reaching a pleasant 68 °F. This means that you can easily go on a binge of its unbeatable street food paired with amazing Italian wine to make your tastebuds sing, or even enjoy its absolutely stunning, clear-blue ocean all year-round. For cloudier days, Palermo can still keep you on your feet with its variety of cultural and historical sites, a magnificent blend of architectural styles to admire (such as the Palatine Chapel, the Palermo Cathedral and the Pretoria Fountain), inspiring art exhibitions and, of course, a bit of high-fashion shopping never hurt (you’re on holiday, after all!). All this, without the busy crowds of the summer season!

Greece: Athens

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While Athens is a slightly colder contender with the occasional rainfall making its guest appearances, its winter climate is still warm enough to make it stand out from other European destinations. Hence, you get a slice of sunshine complemented by pleasant temperatures of 48 – 60 °F as you stroll around one of Europe’s oldest cities. Athens offers its visitors a varied selection of activities and monuments to discover, and if it is your first time in town, then there’s no missing its archaeological gem, the Acropolis and its Museum, which are perfectly combined with the Ancient Agora and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. For the true culture-seekers and history buffs, paying a visit to the National Archaeological Museum will deepen your understanding of Ancient Greece even further, and for those occasional wet days, there is nothing better than Athens’ many libraries and galleries that can expose you to the multi-faceted culture of the country. To top off the Athenian experience even more, the recent influx of new-age chefs and restaurants have been shining a light on quirky, up and coming neighborhoods that were often overlooked, while the gastronomic artistry of the capital has been booming with lots of opportunities to enjoy fine dining, as well as fascinating street food. And, if you really want to live it up like a local, Athens is brimming with live music bars, restaurants, and venues vibing to traditional Greek tunes, but if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, then there are plenty of places that cater to various music genres.