Monday, July 28th, 2014

Ask Kate: Warmest Place in Europe in the Winter

32

Whitewashed Granada

Today’s letter is about Europe — and where to travel for some winter sunshine.

Hey Kate,

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!

Want Kate to answer your travel question?  Email kate [at] adventurouskate [dot] com and perhaps yours will be answered next week!

Comments

32 Responses to “Ask Kate: Warmest Place in Europe in the Winter”
  1. Oh I bet Turkey this time of year would be incredible – great suggestion!
    Erica { EricaDHouse.com }´s last blog post ..Vegetable Packed Low Calorie Pasta

  2. Muerl says:

    Maderia? Funchal’s Winter high average is 19.8 according to Wikipedia. (I may have just seen a bus advertising it ;)

    • Madeira — another great choice!

      • Carrie says:

        Spent Last Christmas and New Year in Funchal, and had a marvellous time. The New Year firework display in the harbour was fantastic. (get there early). Lots of local low priced restaurants and bistro to eat. Fish and seafood is out of this world. Just try and get away from the hordes that come in on the cruise liners!
        We did a lot of walking in the mountains: Hire a car or get there by taxi – very cheap) and explored the lavadas. Its usually very quiet and peaceful away from the city at that time of year. Bring a torch as you walk through a few long dark tunnels at the side of the water! The weather was warm and very pleasant, both day and night. Some days warm enough to sunbathe,
        Be warned – no beaches worth looking at, and the north side of the island is dead in winter.

  3. I always had avoided Europe because I imagined it all as dreary weather – this post is very inspiring!
    Rika | Cubicle Throwdown´s last blog post ..100 Days of Summer

  4. Lily says:

    Istanbul is cold but nice in the winter (and hot as hell in the summer–I’d recommend the winter, much less crowded) but I agree with Kate: Southern Turkey is really nice! I’m guessing Greece would be nice as well (I’ve only been during the summer). Italy/Spain are probably pleasant.

    Here’s an idea: Why don’t you go to Morocco? It’s not much further south than Spain and it’s always hot!

  5. alistair brown says:

    In winter the warmest paces in Spain are Almeria and Valencia.The ouro valley an be very cold , rainy anddreary. Better try South Portugal and its pristine landscape . In Italy go down south from Napoli and r places like Cosenza .. an of course all of Sicily. Do no forget the Canary Islands and Malta ( in both cases lousy food , good cheap hotels and great weather).

  6. AJ Aerni says:

    Perfect timing! I will be leaving south eastern Asia in the next month and heading towards Europe to walk the Camino de Santiago in April. I’ve been spoiled with days in the 90′s and nights in the low 60′s here in Thailand the past month. Looks like the canary islands are a must-visit place on my itinerary. Be well. And namaste.

  7. Millie says:

    I found Andalusia to be great at that time of year. I was there mid February 2012, and we had not a drop of rain! Clear blue skies, gentle breeze… Nicer than the oven it would be in summer I’d venture!
    Millie´s last blog post ..Kiwiana Culture Corner: Welcome to my back yard

  8. province says:

    Summer is fast approaching and one country that I would recommend to travelers , visitors and guests out there is the Philippines – you will surely enjoy your stay here.

  9. Katherina says:

    Hi Kate! Great tips :) On the Canary Islands, I’d like to add that it really depends on the island itself (and even the region!). I went back home for Christmas and it was around 22ºC! Also, it´s usually warmer in the south of Tenerife than in the north – which is why many english people spend their winter holidays in this area.
    Katherina´s last blog post ..Photo Essay: Walking On Lava

  10. Georgia says:

    Hi Kate! Completely agree with Andalusia. Tarifa is a fantastic little town that’s really worth a visit, and it’s cheap to fly to Gibraltar from London (nearest airport to Tarifa) – plus it’s only a 45 minute ferry ride to the heat of Tangiers in Morocco from there if you want to cheat a little x

  11. Tereza says:

    wha about Greece ? :) I see u havent vsited that county yet (which is pretty odd )plus its definitely one of the warmest (and most beautiful ) places in europe all year round..Especially in Crete…in December temperatures can climp up to 20 degrees very often.

  12. thkalas says:

    The warmest place in europe is the town of ierapetra in southern crete and pigadia town in the lad of karpathos, with an annual average of 20,4C and 20,2C respetively.Only the Canaries and Madeira are warmer than these two places. In january ( which is the coldest month) karpathos island(at the eastern coast) has an average of 16,5C high temperature and 12,5C average low temperature. There is no other place in mediterrenean with such a high average of low temperature.

  13. thkalas says:

    DECEMBER 2012 STATISTICS :
    AVERAGE HIGH – AVERAGE LOW
    ALICANTE 18,0 7,5
    MALAGA 18,2 7,9
    MURCIA 18,3 6,1
    VALENCIA 18,7 6,2
    MELLILA 18,2 10,5
    KARPATHOS (greece) 17,3 14,5
    MALTA 17,0 10,5
    LAMPEDUSA 16,8 14,2
    ANTALYA 16,7 7,9
    FARO 16,8 9,5
    IERAPETRA (greece) 17,6 12,8
    KASOS(greece) 17,6 13,0

    So it’s clear that if you exclude the canary islands and madeira, then only in southern crete and islands of karpathos and kasos you have a average low temperature much higher than 10C .So…what do you prefer?To be in Valencia having 18,7 degrees and when the sun goes down to start freezing because the temperature will immediately go below 10 or you wanna be in Karpathos where you wear the same clothes all day long and you don’t have to worry about feeling cold at night?

  14. Andrew says:

    My wife and I are looking for something a bit more interesting this winter. Not just sun. We have heard St Marteen is quite unique. Does anyone have a good idea? we are in Edmoonton Canada so travel is tough.

    • R says:

      If you are in Canada ,St.Maarten is very nice and so is Aruba and many places in the Caribean.I would suggest Florida or Costa Rica

  15. R says:

    What about Cyprus? It is still part of the European Union.

  16. joppy says:

    What about Batumi, Georgia, not getting any mention here.

  17. Kasu says:

    wooow…what a beautiful world. Sri Lanka….A land Like no other.
    Set in the Indian Ocean in South Asia, the tropical island nation of Sri Lanka has a history dating back to the birth of time. It is a place where the original soul of Buddhism still flourishes and where nature’s beauty remains abundant and unspoilt.

    Few places in the world can offer the traveller such a remarkable combination of stunning landscapes, pristine beaches, captivating cultural heritage and unique experiences within such a compact location. Within a mere area of 65,610 kilometres lie 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 1,330 kilometres of coastline – much of it pristine beach – 15 national parks showcasing an abundance of wildlife, nearly 500,000 acres of lush tea estates, 250 acres of botanical gardens, 350 waterfalls, 25,000 water bodies, to a culture that extends back to over 2,500 years.

    This is an island of magical proportions, once known as Serendib, Taprobane, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, and Ceylon. Discover refreshingly Sri Lanka!
    http://www.srilanka.travel/index.php?route=common/home

  18. jackie says:

    I was looking for somewhere nice and peaceful and warm for December and someone mentioned La Gomera…..does anyone have experience of going there at that time of year?

  19. Mara says:

    After reading your articles I’m still not sure. I might just go back to BKK :)

  20. paul maleski says:

    The Canaries and Madeira are in Africa. Cyprus is in Asia. Tarifa is the most southerly point in mainland Europe and number one, is the Island of Gavdos near Crete. The warmest place in Europe in winter, however, is the Azores 700 miles west of Lisbon. Ponta Delgada the capital, is the place to go. It’s very green and hilly a bit like the Devon, in fact the weather doesn’t change that much throughout the year. I’ve seen Gavdos, never been on it! 35 years ago, stayed in Tarifa, never seen such massive tuna as in the local fish market. Also good for wind-surfing!

  21. paul maleski says:

    By the way, Batumi on the Black Sea coast of Georgia, is south of the Caucasus mountains and is just in Asia. Very controversial subject down in that neck of the woods.

  22. Zoe says:

    Hi I have just booked a holiday to Lagos, Portugal for the 3rd week in April what sort of weather should we expect. I’m aware the lagos beaches are sheltered from winds due to the coves/ cliffs

  23. my teacher want to go on holiday in the summer for 14 nights and dont now where to do.

  24. Ossie says:

    If your looking for good all round weather then Southern Thailand is the place to be . I live on the island of Koh Samui except for the rainy season which is in November the weather is always above the lower 20s so it is very rare to feel cold ,the last time I put on a pair of jeans was over 4 years ago when I had to head back to the Uk as I write this it has just turned 4 in the afternoon and the temp is 29 on top of this the food is superb and very cheap that is one of the many reasons I chose to leave the Uk some 8 years ago to have a better healthier and more affordable life style !!!

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