Five Winter-Sun hidden gems in Europe to escape the cold

Halloween is just around the corner and it’s time to say goodbye to summer. The nights are drawing in and the temperature is dropping as winter is well and truly on the way.

While winter brings all the joys of the festive season, you might be mourning the loss of the good weather already. In that case, now may be the perfect time to start thinking about your travel plans.

At this time of year, many people book European trips to visit places such as Berlin or Copenhagen and soak up the fairytale magic of the Christmas markets.

However, there are still places in Southern Europe where you can find good weather during the winter if you want an escape from the cold.

Here are five winter-sun hidden gems in Europe to visit this year.

1. Madeira

A sunny island getaway is the perfect remedy to the rain and frosty mornings, and you don’t need to head to the Caribbean to find it.

The Portuguese island of Madeira is part of Europe, but is located relatively close to mainland Africa. As such, you can expect sunny weather with a steady temperature all year round.

Madeira is a beautiful location with a similar atmosphere to mainland Portugal, complete with picturesque beaches. However, the volcanic island also offers some more impressive landscapes than you would expect to find elsewhere in Europe.

Winter is the ideal time to visit Madeira as it is less crowded than it is in the summer and most of the activities run all year. So, you can still enjoy whale watching, canyoning, or tours of the many amazing waterfalls on the island.

There are also some traditional Christmas markets on the island over the winter, so you can still enjoy the festive season while you soak up the sun.

2. The Azores

The Azores is another Portuguese territory in the Atlantic Ocean, which enjoys mild weather throughout the year. Just like Madeira, it is quiet in the winter so now may be the best time to book your trip.

It is slightly cooler than Madeira, so it may not be the best choice for a beach holiday over the winter, but it’s ideal for some sightseeing. The island is dotted with quaint villages and historic churches and forts you can visit.

The natural landscape is perfect for hiking too, with plenty of lakes and volcanic beaches to explore. The Azores is also a popular spot for whale watching and fishing tours, setting off from the traditional fishing villages that border the island.

Additionally, all the volcanic activity underneath the island creates some luxurious thermal pools and hot springs to relax and unwind in. So, you can still have an amazing time even if the weather isn’t on your side.

3. Nice

The French Riviera is always a popular spot for some winter sun, with lots of wonderful cities to choose from. Nice is an excellent choice as there is plenty to explore and you can expect some good weather while you are there.

The coastal paths offer beautiful views of the Mediterranean and the neighbouring cities, with plenty of places to stop off and sunbathe along the way.

Nice is also a very culturally rich city packed with some amazing museums such as the Musee Matisse or the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum.

You will find some bustling markets throughout the city too, and winter is the ideal time to experience this as they all prepare for the Christmas period.

If you want to combine a relaxing beach getaway and a great city break, Nice is a wonderful destination during the winter.

4. Malta

If you’re looking for sandy beaches and sunshine during the winter months, head for the “Golden Bay” in Malta.

The island itself sits on top of an impressive network of caves and caverns to explore. The Blue Grotto is a particular highlight, with regular boat trips through the caverns where the ocean reflects against the walls, giving them an impressive blue glow.

If you’re feeling adventurous, there are lots of opportunities for scuba diving and snorkelling in the caves too.

On days when the weather is not so kind, you can explore the capital city of Valetta. This UNESCO World Heritage City is a 16th century citadel with combined with elements of a modern 21st century city.

You will find plenty of sightseeing spots here, including the Upper Barrakka Gardens with beautiful views over the city, or the historic St. John’s Cathedral.

5. Antalya

Turkey is surprisingly cold in the winter months, but you can still find some sun on the south coast in places such as Antalya.

You may still see some rainy days but when the weather is good, it’s one of the best places for winter sun in Europe. The unique landscape of Antalya also means that, during the winter, you could spend the morning skiing in the Taurus Mountains in the morning and sunbathe at the beach in the afternoon.

The historic cities also have a rich winter culture too, with lots of street vendors selling roasted chestnuts and the traditional warm winter drink, Salep.

The ancient cities of Termessos and Perge are also a must-see if you want to experience the history and architecture of Turkey.

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This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

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