Europe isn’t hot in the winter months, but if you’re hoping for blue skies and sunshine, it ticks a lot of boxes. Pull on a jacket and head to these, the best European destinations for winter sun.
By February, the island of Malta is enjoying on average seven hours of sunshine a day. Temperatures are still a little chilly, but there’s precious little rainfall to spoil your sightseeing plans. Head to the capital Valletta where you’ll find a clutch of excellent museums, churches, shops and restaurants to fill your time. Alternatively, rent a car and drive over to the harbour of Marsaxlokk for a seafood lunch beside its colourful boats.
The Balearics are another good choice for winter sun. The island of Ibiza is well worth considering outside of clubbing season for its unspoiled nature, hidden coves and whitewashed villages. A hilltop citadel that dates from the 7th century BC dominates Ibiza Town, known locally as Eivissa. The Dalt Vila (Old Town) with the imposing Santa Maria cathedral is also a must-see.
The health-enhancing properties of winter sun have drawn foreign
tourists to the south of France for centuries, yet visitor numbers remain at a
fraction of summer totals. Wander the quaysides and back alleys of Cannes,
Antibes, Menton and more in peace before settling down to enjoy some of the Côte d’Azur’s
freshest and tastiest seafood.
Greece too, enjoys a mild winter climate, with temperatures in the mid-teens and sunshine hours similar to those found in Malta. Finding a vantage point to soak up the views of Santorini’s famous caldera is less of a challenge and accommodation prices are a steal compared to what you’d pay in peak season.
Sicily’s long history and dramatic volcanic scenery make this a smart choice year round. Include a visit to Taormina’s Teatro Greco, a 3rd century BC delight from which there’s a fabulous view of Etna. The Valley of the Temples in Agrigento is another must-see. Your trip’s unlikely to be rained off – the island has on average just 40mm of rainfall in February.
The island of Cyprus is another which boasts year-round sunshine. Paphos has much to please the traveller, including a fort rebuilt after a 13th century earthquake and an extensive archaeological park with well-preserved Roman mosaics. Head out of town to visit the Tombs of the Kings, a necropolis burial ground only a few kilometres from Paphos harbour.
Where’s your favourite place for European winter sun?