Is Autumn one of your favorite seasons? It is indeed a glorious season when leaves turn orange and red, the sky changes color, the forest becomes a true painting with a thousand shades of gold. But it means that winter is coming! The days are getting shorter, you feel the lack of natural light on your body and your morale takes a dip.
Time to avoid depression and recharge your batteries in the sun. Prepare your holidays in beautiful destinations where, even in winter, the sun is at the rendezvous.
Go on, treat yourself to a sunny winter break in the best European destinations.
1. Canary Islands, Spain
Best for: dyed-in-the-wool sun-seekers
December temperature range: 11–21°C
Low travel costs and pleasantly warm year-round weather make Spain’s Canary Islands one of Europe’s best winter sun destinations. Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote – they’re all brimming with culture, beautiful beaches, and lots of things to do.
If you’re looking for a tranquil getaway, coupled with unspoiled landscapes and unique traditions, you might want to consider the archipelago’s lesser-known islands of El Hierro and La Gomera.
There’s no better time to take a trip than today, so why not take advantage of the low travel cost and exciting holiday packages on the market and go get your dose of Vitamin D while seeing some of Europe’s best-kept historical and cultural treasures awash in warm temperatures and glorious sunshine.
2. Algarve, Portugal
Best for: getting away from it all
December temperature range: 9–18°C
Royals, celebrities from around the world, families, nature lovers, birdwatchers, trekkers, nightclubbers, everyone finds happiness in the Algarve, a destination to discover throughout the year. The Algarve is like a good friend always smiling, always in a good mood, warming your heart, and taking away the worries of the day.
The Algarve is an incredible destination that offers sublime hotels at very attractive prices in winter such as the Pine Cliffs Hotel located in Albufeira, the EPIC SANA Algarve Hotel, or for small budgets who want to enjoy sea views the Muthu Oura Praia Hotel.
For more hotels to stay, check here.
Best for: design buffs and hotel obsessives
December temperature range: 11–17°C
Home to 9 UNESCO Heritage World Heritage Sites, Malta is an ideal destination for a winter sun escape with a cultural twist. During winter, it hardly rains and temperatures rarely drop below 15 °C, making it very pleasant to be outside all day long strolling the sunny streets of Valletta or exploring the untouched countryside. An alluring mix of natural harbors, pretty fishing villages, rocky coves, and towering cliffs, Malta’s lovely coastline is a delight to discover no matter the season.
4. Madeira, Portugal
Best for: thrill-seekers (but still good for pensioners, too)
December temperature range: 7–13°C
Madeira has a perfect climate, never too hot, never too cold. Madeira is a perfect destination for leisure activities, sports activities, rest or rejuvenation in hotels immersed in nature or luxury hotels; everything you dream of is in Madeira.
Come trekking, watch the dolphins or rest on the beaches of Porto Santo. Madeira is the perfect destination to discover all year long with family, lovers, and friends. The temperature is almost the same throughout the day, neither too hot nor too cold; do not expect a white Christmas in Madeira but you will enjoy a stroll in the beautiful Christmas market dressed simply in a t-shirt that will be good enough to face 18 degrees/ 64 Fahrenheit, average at this time of the year. Welcome to Paradise!
For nature lovers we advise you to book your room at the hotel Quinta do Furao and for lovers of the most beautiful hotels in the world, we recommend the hotel Belmond Reid’s Palace, a sublime 5-star hotel where Churchill and Lady Churchill resided.
5. The Azores
Best for: eco-conscious adventurers
December temperature range: 13–18°C
For in-the-know travelers, the Azores have long represented a beckoning blip on the radar of possible destinations. Recognition from Unesco and other organizations has helped that blip to pulse more brightly over the years.
But most people still know little, if anything, about this far-flung archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic. And yet it is hard to imagine a place better suited to nature lovers, fans of adventure sports, or anyone looking for a beacon of sustainability. As if that wasn’t tantalizing enough, there is a new reason to visit this autonomous region of Portugal: for the past few years, there have steadily been more carriers, more choice and cheaper fares for travelers trying to reach this other Eden.
Best for: nature lovers
December temperature range: 10–19°C
With balmy winter temperatures hovering around 20°C, Cyprus is an excellent choice for a sunny break filled with culture, history, and mouthwatering food.
Located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, this fascinating island country has everything from wonderful beaches and spectacular nature parks to fabulous archaeological sites. The country’s capital, Nicosia (Lefkosia in Greek) has some of the best museums and restaurants; Paphos abounds in beaches and archeological treasures, and Limassol is famous for its lively nightlife.
7. Crete, Greece
Best for: open-water swimmers
December temperature range: 10–17°C
Discover the vineyards of Crete and the famous Cretan diet known to make centenarians of its inhabitants. But perhaps their secret is not in their olive oil, in their wine nor in their diet based on fish and vegetables, maybe this longevity and joy of living come from the incredible sunshine they enjoy.
During December, the ‘worst’ month of the year, you are sure to enjoy at least 5 hours of sun a day (compare this with 1 hour a day in London) and temperatures reach an average of 17 degrees (63 F).
Do not waste time and book your hotel, B&B, apartment at the best price guaranteed in Crete and your best activities such as an “afternoon sailing trip to the Dia Island” or a full-day tour of Heraklion.
8. Sicily, Italy
Best for: adventurous foodies
December temperature range: 11–17°C
Winter in Sicily means fewer crowds, bright blue skies, and almond trees in full bloom. It also means you’ll have the island’s stunning Baroque towns and extraordinary archaeological sites all to yourself and that you’ll be able to ski on Mount Etna, indulge in delicious cuisine, and enjoy beautiful Taormina at its most relaxed.
Best for: stop-and-flop and families
December temperature range: 10–16°C
Antalya which can be visited any season is an indispensable touristic destination. For winter sun, the best part of the country to visit is, predictably, the south coast, particularly the area around Antalya. There’s a long stretch of fairly upmarket hotels to the west of the city, many of which are family-friendly entertainment retreats in their own right, with golf courses and adventure playgrounds beside the beach. On Turkey’s wilder south-west coast, there’s the pretty city of Bodrum and lovely Didyma with its astonishing ruined temple.
10. Malaga, Spain
Best for: sight-seeings
December temperature range: 8–17°C
Malaga is a great city surrounded by other jewels of European tourism such as the “Caminito del Rey”, this incredible walk along the mountains of Spain or again, exceptional small cities like Ronda and its famous bridge ranked among the most beautiful bridges of Europe.
During the coldest months, you will enjoy at least 5 hours of sunshine a day in Malaga (compare this with 1 hour for London in December) and average temperatures of 17 degrees (63 F) in the daytime.
Come and load with sunshine this winter by booking your hotel at the best price guaranteed in Malaga as well as your best activities such as a “Gourmet tapas tasting tour”. We recommend the hotel La Casa Azul B&B in the center of Malaga for its very good value for money.