Best European destinations for winter sun

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.

Malta

Marsaxlokk, a small fishing village in Malta
Marsaxlokk, a small fishing village in Malta

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.

Ibiza

street in old town ibiza, one of the best european destinations for winter sun

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.

French Riviera

view of antibes, one of the best european destinations for winter sun

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.

Santorini

looking out over the water in santorini, one of the best european destinations for winter sun

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

teatro greco in sicily, one of the best european destinations for winter sun

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.

Cyprus

tomb of the kings in cyprus, one of the best european destinations for winter sun

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?

About JuliaHammond

Website: http://www.juliahammond.co.uk

Julia Hammond is a Geography teacher turned travel writer with a passion for places. Winning Mail Travel's Deep South competition was the catalyst to write for a diverse range of publications including Bradt's Bus Pass Britain Rides Again. She’s written Kindle guides to Cape Town, Peru and London for Unanchor and advice on Savannah for Wanderlust. When not travelling, she can be found at home in Essex planning her next trip, her two golden retrievers curled up at her feet.

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