Iberia, Italy, Morocco & Gibraltar, Portugal, Spain

Top 5 Winter Sun Destinations in Europe and Beyond

December 18, 2019
Hot winter destinations: Barcelona

Looking for Europe’s warmest destinations to escape winter this year? Discover the Top 5 Winter sun destinations in Europe and beyond, a list of places where the sun is ever-present and the sandy beaches are awaiting, no matter the season! Hop on the journey to Europe’s hottest destinations

Top 5 Winter Sun Destinations in Europe and Beyond

1. Portugal

Our number one winter sun destination in Europe has to be Portugal, this beautiful land soaked in the sun that we fell in love with. Portugal is a country of contrasts. The Algarve region in the south will enchant you with its numerous pristine beaches all year round. Lisbon will impress you with its colorful picturesque streets that warm the heart of any traveler. Finally, Porto will be love at first sight, guaranteed – if you are lucky enough to visit the city on a sunny day.

Stunning Beach in Algarve
One of the Top 5 most beautiful beaches in Algarve.

If you’re looking for a place where temperatures remain the same all year round, Algarve is the paradise land you need to explore! Check out our guide to the Top 10 destinations you have to see in Algarve, including the best beaches in the area. We’ve spent over 3 months exploring this exciting part of Portugal and we cannot wait to head back there! A perfect spot for surfers, campers and everyone who wants to enjoy the sun in winter, Algarve is definitely our number one recommendation.

Moving on further north, Lisbon and Porto are Portugal’s major cities, each with their colorful personalities, quirky streets, and colorful rooftops. The sun may always shine on Lisbon, but Porto has its share of wind and rain during winter. Therefore, if you’re planning a winter adventure to Portugal, we recommend spending more time in Lisbon if you prefer warmer weather. But definitely check out Porto as well! It’s postcard pretty, and if you get at least one hour of winter sun, you’ll witness how the city will instantly transform. Check out our Winter in Porto for more winter travel tips!

2. Gibraltar

Conveniently located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, next to Spain, Gibraltar has all you need and more. The perfect winter getaway: sunshine, beaches, blue waters, and our favorites – monkeys. A border-crossing away from Spain, Gibraltar is within easy reach from Spanish cities such as Malaga, Seville, Granada, Cadiz, etc. Moreover, Gibraltar has its own airport and there are flights from the UK operating weekly.

Winter sun destinations in Europe: Gibraltar
View from the Rock of Gibraltar

Not only is Gibraltar a beautiful place to relax, but you can also engage in a lot of fun activities, exploring the Rock of Gibraltar, Michael’s cave and the nearby museums. Not to mention that Spain and Morocco are minutes away, so if you plan your trip wisely, you can end up visiting three countries that will keep you warm and happy during winter. Did we convince you to check out Gibraltar yet? Take a look at our tips for planning your trip to Gibraltar!

Top 5 Winter Sun Destinations in Europe and Beyond

3. Spain

The Top 5 Winter sun destinations in Europe and beyond would not be complete without Spain! This is one of the most welcoming European destinations all year round. No matter the season, Spain is warm, colorful and full of life. If cold winter weather gets you down, this is the place to escape to!

Our recommendation is Barcelona, a vibrant city where we’ve spent over a month last winter, and we loved every minute of it. Everything you need to know about planning a winter trip to Barcelona is in our Barcelona in winter guide.

Winter sun destinations in Europe: Barcelona
Orange trees last winter in Barcelona

Some of our recommendations:

If you want to see more beautiful pictures from the inside of Sagrada Familia and decide for yourself whether visiting it is worth it, check out our Sagrada Familia blog post and prepare to be amazed.

Winter sun destinations in Europe: Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

4. Italy

Ranked 4th in our Top 5 winter sun destinations in Europe and beyond is Italy, the homeland of pizza, pasta, and so many other delicious dishes. Not only is Italy known for its incredible cuisine, but it is also a country with so much to offer in terms of travel and experiences. Every region of Italy has its own, personal charm, and we’ve loved all of our adventures there so far.

Winter sun destinations in Europe: Italy
Colorful houses in Italy

Temperatures vary in Italy, depending on how far south your destination is. The north of Italy can be quite cold in winter, or even covered in snow since this region is home to the Italian Alps. So, if you’re running away from the cold, we suggest choosing places like Sicily, Naples, Bari, or even Rome, for moderate temperatures. Sunshine, greenery and amazing experiences will surely await you in Italy, one of our favorite countries in Europe.

Winter sun destinations in Europe: Italian cities

Top 5 Winter Sun Destinations in Europe and Beyond

5. Israel

Our fifth winter sun destination is not far away. If you hop on a plane from Europe, you’ll be there in a couple of hours. Israel is one of our favorite warm destinations for the winter period, which impressed us enough to return there for a second winter.

Winter sun destinations in Europe: Israel
Market in Tel-Aviv

So, here are some recommendations we have for you if you ever get to Tel-Aviv:

  • try Falafel from street vendors or tiny places that sell it at affordable prices – it tastes incredible.
  • try local cakes, sweets, and tropical fruit in street markets, many of these aren’t so common in Europe, or not as fresh anyways.
  • if you love jogging, Tel-Aviv has the best lanes by the beach. Moreover, you can fit in some exercises at the outdoor workout spaces. Even better, do this at sunset and enjoy the amazing colors of the sky.
  • take a trip to Jerusalem, the Dead Sea or a Desert Tour. There are many guided tours you can choose from if you want to go on a little adventure from Tel-Aviv.

Traveling is going beyond your comfort zone sometimes and engaging in bold experiences that teach you honest facts about life. If you want to experience something different than what most European countries offer, a trip to Israel might be an interesting choice. We loved discovering this destination! And for those of you who are interested to know more, we’ll have a dedicated blog post soon.

Travel enthusiast? Check out the Top 30 Gifts for Travelers that are actually useful!

What is your favorite winter destination?

We hope you enjoyed our little Top 5 Winter sun destinations in Europe and beyond. If you did, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter. You’ll get notified about other new exciting guides and travel tips and you get a free Lightroom desktop preset.

Do you prefer cold, festive winters instead? Check out the Best Christmas Markets in Berlin!

As for you, what is your favorite winter sun destination? We’re always eager to know more about your experiences and to plan new adventures to escape the cold! Use #journeyplane on Instagram to share your exciting travels with us!

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