Ask Kate: Warmest Place in Europe in the Winter
Today’s letter is about Europe — and where to travel for some winter sunshine.
In the next few weeks I’m planning on leaving the UK but I can’t decide where to go first. January is a bit cold and dreary in Europe, I’m aware, but I was wondering if you had any suggestions on where to go in Europe for warmth this time of year.
First, have realistic expectations — nowhere in Europe is tropical in the winter. The Canary Islands are the warmest place in Europe, and January temperatures will be in the mid-50s to mid-60s (12-18 C).
So don’t look for summer — look for spring. And that’s not a bad thing. Last year I spent February and March in Portugal and Spain, and even though it wasn’t beach weather, it was so nice to be walking around in a light jacket instead of a winter coat!
Here are the places I recommend that you visit:
Portugal. You’ll find the warmest temperatures down south, but it’s still quite pleasant in the north. In the south, Lisbon is beautiful, and be sure to check out Sintra and surprisingly wonderful Évora as well. In the north, Porto is a lot of fun, and go further out to the Douro Valley for amazing scenery and wine.
Andalusia. This is the warmest part of mainland Spain, filled with flamenco, orange trees, whitewashed buildings, and romance. Sevilla and Granada make good bases, and consider visiting Cordoba, Malaga, and Cadiz — or renting a car and exploring the tiny villages. Cadiz also has Spain’s biggest Carnival celebrations.
Malta. You’ll find year-round sunshine and warmth in Malta and some of the world’s most beautiful cities, like Valletta. Be sure to check out the ancient city of Mdina and the island of Gozo. Malta is small, but rent a car to explore it to the fullest.
Southern Turkey. Ignore the popular resorts like Kusadasi — they’ll be mostly shut down — and head to towns where people live year-round, like Fethiye and Antalya. Walk the streets, eat everything in sight, talk to people, and enjoy a relaxed side of southern Turkey.
Just because you’re in Europe during the winter, it doesn’t mean you need to be shivering in a snowstorm. Get out there and enjoy your winter sun!
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