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Winter is a great time to visit Europe: prices dip while the temperatures do, with airfares at rock-bottom prices and promotional rates at hotels throughout the continent. However, travelers seeking warm places to visit in Europe during winter sometimes get stumped. Where do you go if you don’t want to pack your parka and get blasted by the cold?
Keep in mind that warm places in Europe in winter doesn’t mean you’ll find a tropical destination. There are regions with mild, temperate climates (in the 50s & 60s degrees Fahrenheit), but it’s not quite warm enough for sunbathing.
So grab a light sweater and take advantage of low season! You can finally visit Europe without the crowd.
I can’t for the life of me understand why travelers would want to visit Sicily in the sweltering heat of July and August. That makes Sicily one of the best places to visit in Europe in winter — you get a comfortable temperature for touring. This is especially nice if you’re interested in seeing outdoor historical and archaeological sites, like the Temples of Selinunte or the ancient theatre of Taormina.
Sicily is also a great place for hiking and nature, which are far more enjoyable in a moderate temperature. There can be snow on Mount Etna, but there are great walks through rolling hills and vineyards so add it to your list of where to visit in Europe during winter. And don’t forget the amazing Sicilian food — something you can enjoy year-round!
The Canary Islands
It’s always spring in the Canary Islands, since they’re off the coast of sunny Morocco (although technically Spanish). Of the seven islands – El Hierro, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, La Gomera, Lanzarote, La Palma, and Tenerife – Tenerife is the most popular, even in the winter months.
If island hopping sounds like a great idea, base yourself in Los Cristianos in South Tenerife so you can take fast ferries to La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro. As an alternative, look for weeklong cruises which make it easy to see a bunch of places in one week…or just enjoy an in-depth visit to one of the large islands. You’ll save tons of money by booking a condo for a week.
One of the reasons that Malta is one of the best warm places to visit in Europe during winter may surprise you! Believe it or not, Gozo is a great place to scuba dive year-round. Sea temperatures hover in the upper 50s, even in January or February, so with a thick wetsuit, you’re good to go! There are virtually no tides or currents and great visibility to spot the prolific marine life.
But the Mediterranean country offers a bit of everything during the winter months and is completely underrated. Malta is well-known for it’s architecture, and visiting historic sites like the limestone temple Mnajdra or any of the numerous megalithic temples in the winter means you won’t have to feel rushed by crowds as you take the history in.
Most of the Greek Islands are bombarded by rain in the winter, but Crete stays relatively dry. It’s also one of the warm places to visit in Europe during winter, with average daily temperatures of 52+ (and particularly nice days in December & March).
Winter in Crete is the perfect time to appreciate the natural beauty of the island. Stroll the Elafonissi beach when its pink sand is not crowded by families on summer vacations, hike through the Samaria Gorge National Park (arguably one of the most beautiful national parks in Europe), or spend an afternoon at the Botanical Park and Gardens of Crete in Fournes. Palm Beach, with over 5,000 palm trees, will make you feel like you’re somewhere exotic!
Are you ready to book a trip to one of these warm places in Europe during winter?
If you’re looking to escape this winter, don’t overlook Europe. Of course there are fascinating cities and wondrous snowscapes in northern countries, but you’ll find plenty to enjoy in warm places in Europe, too!
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10 thoughts on “Warm Places to Visit in Europe During Winter”
I was in Eastern Europe during the mid-90s and have longed to go back… just not in the winter.
That said, however, now I want to go to these places, even though I’ve never had the desire before.
OK, that’s a lie. I would love to go to Sicily. I love Italy and all of its provinces, and escaping the nasty cold would be just one more great reason.
@Brett, I haven’t been to Sicily but based on the regions I’ve seen, I bet I’d love it. Hope you get the chance someday!
I would love to visit any or all of these places in the winter. They are so beautiful, but more importantly, they’re WARM!
@Audrey, Isn’t it funny how our preferences change so much due to time of year?
Thank you so much for sharing these. They are all such beautiful places. I live outside of Miami, so cold isn’t an issue for me, but that beauty is definitely giving me the world travel itch.
@Jennifer, I’m a little jealous of where you live this time of year. Happy travels!
You had me at the title! I’m looking for warm places to visit right now so we can escape this cold!
@Melissa, I’m just heading back to cold and snow now and already crossing my fingers for the next escape. Brr!
I WILL visit these places some day. They are beautiful!
@Connie, Hope you get the chance someday. Which would be first on your list?