Europe is hardly the first destination that comes to mind when, in winter, you yearn for tanning in the Mediterranean or dreamy exotic beachsides spread under a sweltering summer sun. The continent is, however, replete with decently warm cities during the coldest months, and an online community of adventurers thinks you’ll be surprised to find warm winter getaways in Europe like you’re on a Safari in Africa or on a sunlit island far off somewhere in the Caribbean.
If you seek warmth between the lush estate of ancient architecture and small colorful boats ferrying for fish and the sandy banks of small sunny islands, Malta, according to one traveler, is your best port of call in Europe’s coldest months. Another globetrotter recommends Malta for its ease of access, adding that you can travel the whole of Malta in 45 minutes.
2. Las Palmas, Canaries
Seated under one of the comfiest weathers in Europe, Las Palmas, by the account of one forum member, hardly experienced bad weather. “I stayed there for eight months and never had more than half a day of bad weather. Someone adds that you wouldn’t have a language problem since most locals in Las Palmas speak English and Spanish fluently.
3. Valencia, Spain
Valencia, for its ease of transportation and all-year-round warmth, is the favorite go-to place for most Europeans on the thread when they seek sunny climates. The scenery, food, and locals make Valencia a special place to visit.
4. Limassol, Cyprus
Limassol is tipped as the city with the best of both worlds. It’s a blend of modern architecture and timeless old towns spread across fishing harbors and houses dating back centuries,” someone explains. A second person says they enjoy Limassol for its warmth, scenery of Greek ruins, and ancient castles replete with ancient histories.
5. Porto, Portugal
Home to colorful buildings, narrow streets, and Ribeira, a Unesco World Heritage site, a contributor remembers Porto for its warmth between January and March when other cities are sizzling cold. Several other people reminisce on Porto’s renowned wine cellars and original Portuguese cuisines that make for the perfect winter getaway.
6. Dubrovnik, Croatia
Croatia isn’t famous in Europe as a tourist destination, but some people recommend Dubrovnik for its sunlight and coastal cities that have enchanted visitors since medieval times. “I recommend Dubrovnik for its picture-perfect old towns. Dubrovnik is a great place to start if you’re a history buff and enjoy spending time in the sun.”
7. Faro, Portugal
The second Portuguese city on the list, Portugal’s southernmost city is revered for its quaint and quiet neighborhood that makes for a perfect meditation holiday. In winter, you can expect 20+ days of sunshine to walk through Faro’s long beaches, play golf, cycle, or watch birds.
8. Gibraltar, United Kingdom
Most of the UK is covered in snow in the winter months, but the British overseas territory just at the tip of Spain doesn’t share the rain and the cold. Several people think Gibraltar is a small place that may not fulfill your wanderlust, but there’s a long list of things to do, including exploring its antique caves, botanical gardens, and world war tunnels.
9. Crete, Greece
Crete is Greece’s largest island, and even though it can get a little wet during winter, the sunny days trump the rain. Crete boasts hundreds of miles of beaches, and you can never run out of good food and hospitable locals on the island. Visiting Crete in winter also means you’ll escape the overwhelming trudge of tourists characteristic of summertime.
10. Palermo, Italy
Sitting on some of the world’s oldest rocks, the warm Sirocco wind that blows in from Africa makes winter in Palermo warm and mild. Someone described it as the place to savor unreal street food before a near-endless spread of turquoise sea waters every day, all year.
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