Winter need not be that gloomy time of year with dark days and wet nights. Swap the fireplace for blue skies and sunshine and the gloves and scarf for shorts and sunscreen by booking a winter getaway to one of Europe’s warmer destinations.
The Costa Blanca region of Spain is so named for its white and golden sandy beaches, and these are just as delightful in the winter months. With average temperatures in the region 3x warmer in the winter than in the UK and more sunshine throughout the day, this quick getaway is the best way to shrug off any winter blues.
Benidorm is the biggest attraction for Brits looking for a bargain holiday, although there is plenty of luxury accommodation to choose from, too. The city is right beside the beaches for quick access to the water while boasting proud Spanish cuisine, theme and water parks for families, and a shopper’s paradise in its enormous indoor market.
But Benidorm isn’t the only regional attraction, with nearby Valencia, Alicante, and Cartagena each offering their own draw for culture-seekers, sunshine-lovers, and adventurers. The regions mountain hikes, coastal coves, and castle ruins are the best way to make the most of the blue skies when you’re no sunning yourself on the sand or riding the waves.
For winter sun chasers looking for even warmer temperatures than mainland Europe, the islands off the African coast are the perfect way to enjoy a hot winter while staying inside European borders. While the Canary Islands offer a choice of islands which cater for partying, relaxation, nature, or water sports, we recommend Madeira for the perfect blend of everything…and all at a cheaper price!
This Portuguese archipelago only has a population of 300,000, yet its romantic gardens, delicious Madeira wine, and rocky coastline all serve to complement the miles and miles of sandy beaches. If you’re someone who would rather skip winter and prolong your summer, Madeira is the ideal winter escape.
Another European island basking in the African climate is Malta. Positioned in the heart of the Mediterranean, at the crossroads between Europe, Arabia, and North Africa, the island of Malta is awash with culture and history.
Turquoise water laps against beach coves, although holidaymakers can also enjoy privacy by the pools in their relaxing hotels. The island enjoys warmer weather and longer days in the winter than the UK, and the gorgeous landscape, markets, and restaurants are ripe for exploration, although the best way to explore Malta and its neighbouring islands, Gozo and Comino, is by boat, kayak, or by diving below the waves.
There is also plenty here for children, including taking a tour aboard a pirate ship and visiting Popeye Village. Malta is the perfect spot for families seeking a warm winter sun that is just a short flight from home.
A winter holiday to a sun-soaked island paradise might be the dream, but the further away you need to travel, the more expensive it can be. This is why Majorca (or Mallorca) is the perfect blend of a beautiful island escape while being only a few short hours from most UK airports.
Majorca is the ideal choice for holidaymakers looking for a quick, weekend getaway, who want to squeeze in as much as possible (even if that to-do list mostly consists of sunbathing and sipping cocktails). It is also the best choice for that tourist who wants a little of everything: an island surrounded by beautiful beaches, exciting coastline, and warm, winter water, while also being connected to the mainland if you want to take a few days trips into Spain.
Lastly, holidaymakers who prefer to prioritise culture ahead of laying on a beach should make Sicily their winter retreat. The stunning architecture and ruins of the island off the southwest coast of Italy are so popular that, unfortunately, the historic sites can get rather crowded in the summer months. This isn’t so during the winter. While Sicily may not be as warm during the winter as the other locations on this list, temperatures are more than double those experienced in the UK, and calmer climate means you have less wind and rain to contend with, too. Better still, the fewer crowds mean flights and hotels are cheaper, restaurants and popular sites are less busy, and locals are much more welcoming.
Post-Christmas is also a great time to visit Sicily’s larger cities or take a ferry over to the mainland to explore Southern Italy. The fashionable shops are always holding huge holiday sales, and seafood cognisors can indulge in the culinary sea urchin season.
While winter is the “off-season” in so many places, this actually makes it the best time to travel (provided you don’t visit somewhere where many of the restaurants, hotels, and local services close down). You can suspend any winter blues by jetting off to a warmer climate with more sunshine, while also taking advantage of lower prices and less busy locations.
Of course, these are just our top winter sun destinations, but you can check out our full list of discounts on hotel and flight packages to find the perfect winter sun getaway for you.