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11 Warmest Places in Europe in Winter

11 Warmest Places in Europe in Winter

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Are you already exhausted by the cooler climes and ready to check out the warmest places in Europe in winter?

Winter in Europe is typically associated with festive markets, holiday shopping, and chasing fresh powder at ski resorts. However, if you’re seeking winter sunshine, the continent delivers its fair share of sunny skies. Venture to southern islands and remote archipelagoes to find the hottest places in Europe in winter. 

This guide contains the lowdown on the warmest places in Europe in December, January, and February.

What are the warmest places in Europe in winter? 

As a quick overview, these are the hottest places in Europe in winter by month:

  • Hottest place in Europe in December: Tenerife
  • Warmest place in Europe in January: Gran Canaria 
  • Hottest place in Europe in February: Cyprus

Read on for more details about each of these warmest places in Europe in winter.

Hottest places in Europe in Winter

Let’s dive straight in with the hottest place in Europe in December, January, and February: the Canary Islands. Here is a selection of the three best islands within the archipelago to visit in winter. 

coastline of tenerife spain

Tenerife, Spain.

1. Tenerife, Spain

Despite officially being a part of Spain, this chain of islands is closer to the African continent. As the largest within the Canary Islands archipelago, Tenerife offers the most variety in terms of things to do, where to stay, and nightlife. Besides, it also has the best connections with mainland Europe.

The landscape of Tenerife is dominated by Mount Teide – a dormant volcano that claims the title of Spain’s tallest peak. You can explore the national park via a network of hiking trails.

However, although being one of the warmest places in Europe in January, snow does impact the Montaña Blanca trail. But, you can still ride the cable car to the viewpoint near the summit of Mount Teide during the winter months.

Down at lower elevations, you can soak up the winter sun on piping-hot beaches. Santa Cruz de Tenerife is worthy of a visit for its Old Town buildings and attractions. Consider an excursion to Masca, a mountain village where islanders would seek refuge from pirates, and the less-developed seaside town, Garachico.

  • Average high: 70°F (21°C)
  • Average low: 59°F (15°C)
  • Mean temperature: 62°F (17°C)

See the location on Google

sailboat in the water with cliffs

Gran Canaria, Spain.

2. Gran Canaria, Spain

Gran Canaria is another island within the Canary Islands sequence. Arguably, Gran Canaria is the most diverse in terms of landscape, with a spread of beaches, volcanic terrain, and botanical spaces. Additionally, Gran Canaria is the hottest place in Europe in December and January.

The rugged hinterland provides a wealth of hiking trails for all abilities. Spend a day exploring the viewpoints and craggy lava boulders of the Nublo Rural Park, including Roque Nublo and Roque de la Rana. On the other hand, you can tackle the climb to Pico de Las Nieves, the highest point in Gran Canaria.

Down on the southern coast, the Maspalomas Dunes (Dunas de Maspalomas) offer a year-round adrenaline rush. Mind you, they are prone to windier conditions in winter so dress appropriately to cover all bases. 

Get your culture fix at Las Palmas, the capital of Gran Canaria. Meanwhile, Playa del Ingles is Gran Canaria’s nightlife hub, with awesome bars and nightclubs where you can let your hair down. Besides, the island is known for its events and festivals that take place throughout the year, winter included. 

  • Average high: 72°F (22°C)
  • Average low: 59°F (15°C)
  • Mean temperature: 65°F (18°C)

See the location on Google

white houses on the hill with blue skies

La Gomera, Spain.

3. La Gomera, Spain

One final offering for the Canary Islands, La Gomera is considered the least developed of the archipelago. With daytime temperatures averaging 60°F, La Gomera is one of the warmest places in Europe in February – perfect for hiking and getting outdoors.

Located west of Tenerife, the island is known for its black-sand beaches, excellent cuisine, and sparse population. Despite its humble size (22 miles from east to west), La Gomera boasts 400 miles of hiking trails. These take you through the Garajonay National Park and the Valle Gran Rey canyon. Visit the former and you’ll see the  Roque de Agando rising out of the vegetation as well as waterfalls. 

San Sebastián de La Gomera is home to museums, heritage buildings, and a beautifully preserved waterside fortress. 

Much of the food served in restaurants is based on locally-grown ingredients and cheeses made on the island. Key dishes to look out for include watercress soup and anything that features the locally-made cheese paste, almorgate.

It’s possible to reach La Gomera from Tenerife via a 1-hour ferry. So, you can even visit the second-smallest Canary Island in conjunction with the largest!

  • Average high: 62°F (17°C)
  • Average low: 50°F (10°C)
  • Mean temperature: 60°F (16°C)

See the location on Google

Warmest places in Europe in December, January, and February  

Beyond the Canary Islands, Southern Europe offers yet more glorious islands and glamorous city destinations where you can escape for some winter sun. Let’s find the warmest place in Europe during winter to suit your adventure style. 

green cliffs on the edge of the water

Madeira, Portugal.

4. Madeira, Portugal 

An autonomous region of Portugal, Madeira is an archipelago of four islands floating off the northwest coast of Africa. The island enjoys a subtropical temperature and has earned such accolades as the “Hawaii of Europe” and the “Island of Eternal Spring”. It is hottest place in Europe in January. 

Madeira, the principal island, is characterized by its plunging coastal cliffs, volcanic mountains, and a tapestry of flora. Don’t miss either the Madeira Botanical Garden or the Monte Palace Tropical Gardens if you love encountering botanical species!

Pico Ruivo, the highest point on the island, is accessible only on foot. Considered one of the most beautiful hikes on earth, the trail from Achada do Teixeira only takes 90-minutes but will surprise you at every turn. 

After exploring the island’s natural beauty, you can grab a seat at a terrace bar and sample Madeira wine. Madeira has a rich culinary heritage, focusing on seafood and shellfish such as lapas (limpets) and polvo (octopus). 

Despite its isolated setting, flights connect Funchal with Lisbon in as little as 90 minutes. 

  • Average high: 66°F (19°C)
  • Average low: 57°F (14°C)
  • Mean temperature: 62°F (17°C)

See the location on Google

cathedral dome in florence italy

Florence, Italy.

5. Florence, Italy 

While not officially the warmest place in Europe during winter, Florence does enjoy milder conditions than other urban destinations. This is due to its transitional Mediterranean climate – which keeps the sun beaming and avoids temperatures dropping below freezing.

Florence is one of the best Italian cities for architecture, art, and food. There are tons of incredible restaurants in Florence.

On the other hand, it tends to be one of the most crowded during the peak months. Therefore, Florence is one of the best European cities to visit in winter when crowds have dispersed.

Florence shines as one of the warmest places in Europe in winter for a city break packed with culture and excellent food. You can easily spend 2 days or 3 days in Florence, checking out the art galleries, ogling the Duomo, and polishing off mountains of pasta. 

  • Average high: 54°F (12°C)
  • Average low: 36°F (2°C)
  • Mean temperature: 45°F (7°C)

See the location on Google

pool and houses in the forground and the sea and hills in the backround

Cyprus.

6. Cyprus 

Cyprus is a large island located off the Anatolian Peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea. Geographically speaking, Cyprus is within Western Asia. However, it’s considered part of Southeast Europe. 

Benefiting from a subtropical climate and sunny skies all year, Cyprus is one of the warmest places in Europe in February. Although unpredictable, daytime temperatures can nudge 64°F although you’ll appreciate a jacket or sweater on blustery days and evenings.

The island is an awesome spot for history enthusiasts, with winter making it more comfortable to explore the ruined sites. Book a stay in Paphos on the southwest coast and you can explore the Tombs of the Kings, the Archeological Site of Nea Paphos, and excellent museums. 

Mount Olympus claims the highest point on the island and is available for hiking year-round. However, with an altitude of 1,952 meters (6,404 feet), it’s not uncommon for snowfall to blanket the peak in winter. For those with snow climbing experience, it’s an adventurous day out while novices can enlist the support of a local guide. 

Other hiking trails at lower elevations weave through the Paphos Forest. 

  • Average high: 65°F (18°C)
  • Average low: 46°F (8°C)
  • Mean temperature: 55°F (13°C)

See the location on Google

turquoise waters with boats floating aerial view

Malta.

7. Malta 

Malta drifts in the central Mediterranean Sea in between Sicily and the North African coast. It’s considered one of the sunniest destinations in Europe, receiving over 300 days of sun per year with mild winters. 

The archipelago consists of three main islands: Malta, Gozo, and Comino. While Malta is the typical base for a vacation, you can easily visit the other two over the course of your stay. 

Rugged Gozo is famed for its gorges, cliffs, caves, and salt pans with Comino being the site of crystal-clear lagoons. Although the water might not appeal for a swim, these sights are a marvel whatever the season. 

Malta, the largest island, is awash with beaches where you can stretch your legs and catch the winter sunset. The San Anton Gardens and Ta’ Qali National Park are a visual treat while both Valletta and Mdina are rich in historical attractions including catacombs, palaces, and temples. 

Direct flights serve Malta but it is also possible to travel there via ferry from Sicily – another of the warmest places in Europe in winter. 

  • Average high: 62°F (17°C)
  • Average low: 50°F (10°C)
  • Mean temperature: 55°F (13°C)

See the location on Google

beautiful lake with green mountains surrounding it

Azores, Portugal.

8. Azores Islands, Portugal

The Azores Islands are another autonomous region of Portugal. However, this archipelago is even more remote – occupying a position in the mid-Atlantic Ocean. With a subtropical climate, the archipelago of nine islands never gets too cold. They feature as one of the hottest places in Europe in winter, although the winter months can bring wet weather. 

São Miguel is the largest island. Its capital, Ponta Delgada, is beautifully turned out with black-and-white architecture. Venture to Tony’s Restaurant in Furnas where local cozido is slow-cooked on the volcanic soil.

Other beautiful attractions on São Miguel include the Sete Cidades crater lake, the botanical wonderland of Parque Terra Nostra, the Caldeira Velha hot springs, and the historic Gorreana Tea Factory. 

Ferries connect São Miguel with the isles of the Central Island Group if you fancy a day trip or spot of island hopping. 

Due to the location of the Azores, the islands are reachable from both Europe and the East Coast of the US.

  • Average high: 65°F (18°C)
  • Average low: 57°F (14°C)
  • Mean temperature: 59°F (15°C)

See the location on Google

white buildings with boat and blue skies

Crete, Greece.

9. Crete, Greece

As the southernmost island in Greece and one of the warmest places in Europe in winter, Crete is the best choice for a spot of winter sun.

While the weather isn’t ideal for swimming and sunbathing, you will still enjoy pleasant conditions suitable for digging into the island’s historic sites.

Crete, as with all Greek islands, is prone to overcrowding in the summer season. Therefore, by visiting in winter, you will find that tourist attractions, restaurants, and hotels are somewhat depleted.

Naturally, one of the top things to do in Crete is to tour Knossos Palace – the site that held the legendary Minotaur. During the winter months, the complex runs free admission on the first Sunday of every month. The palace is best visited in conjunction with the Heraklion Archaeological Museum. 

Elsewhere, you can appreciate the pink sand of Elafonissi Beach without the summer crowds and chew on dácos in the Old Port of Chania. Plus, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Kournas Lake.

During winter, the water level is higher which restricts beach access and hiking trails but the sight of the island’s sole freshwater lake itself is wonderful.

It’s a nice time to visit Athens for three days before or after your time in Cyprus as well if you want to enjoy the history of the capital without the summer crowds.

  • Average high: 59°F (15°C)
  • Average low: 46°F (8°C)
  • Mean temperature: °F (12°C)

See the location on Google

blue skies with blue ocean and the skyline of malaga in winter

Malaga, Spain.

10. Málaga, Spain

Located on the southern coast, Málaga is one of the best cities to visit in Spain for Moorish architecture and beaches. 

This city is one of the most popular places to visit during the summer season. However, when you visit in winter, you will be able to explore such landmarks as the Alcazaba, Roman Theater, and Catedral de la Encarnación de Málaga at a leisurely pace. 

Another of the best things to do in Málaga is to walk up to the summit of Gibralfaro, a mountain peak topped by a 14th-century castle. Without the belting summer sun on your back, the walk is far more agreeable!

While visiting Málaga in winter, you can anticipate windswept wanders along the city’s sublime beaches followed by laid-back beers in the city’s excellent bars and restaurants. Although temperatures do decrease, Málaga remains one of the warmest places in Europe in winter on the Spanish mainland. 

  • Average high: 65°F (18°C)
  • Average low: 46°F (8°C)
  • Mean temperature: 59°F (15°C)

See the location on Google

yellow buildings with red awnings

Nice, France.

11. Nice, France

We are partial to the south of France for a winter escape here at Eternal Expat and Nice has perhaps one of the best climates during winter in Europe.

You get more sunlight hours and if you choose a nice south-facing apartment to rent during your trip to the region, then you will be able to basque in that glorious sunlight all day long (and long it is when compared to life in northern Europe in winter).

There are plenty of wonderful things to do in Nice during the winter months thanks to the abundance of sunshine and warm days. It’s also a great time to visit Nice which during the summer season is tourist-packed. Winter is cheaper and more laid back.

Explore the Roman ruins of Cimiez, grab fresh picnic essentials from Cours Saleya Market, and hike up to Castle Hill Park to take in stunning views (and enjoy your picnic al fresco!).

Although the average temperatures don’t appear to be the warmest in Europe in winter, the long days of sunshine and the heat of the sun make this part of the continent feel far warmer than its average temperatures suggest.

  • Average high: 59°F (15°C)
  • Average low: 45°F (7°C)
  • Mean temperature: 55°F (12°C)

See the location on Google.