10 Warmest Places in Europe in Winter - December, January & February

Tenerife is one of the best destinations for a warm winter holiday in Europe

Winter in Europe usually means low temperatures and snow, depending on the country that you're planning to visit.

However, if you're not a fan of snow and cold winter weather, there are still a few places in Europe where the temperatures are mild and the weather allows for visitors to enjoy some much-needed winter sun.

Winter Sun in Europe: Top 10 hottest places and countries in Europe in winter

When most people think of visiting Europe in winter, they think of sky vacations, heavy snow, Christmas markets in Germany, the Swiss Alps and other similar images. And although for some a white winter is the perfect scenario, that is not true in all cases.

There are some, ourselves included, who are desperately looking for a bit of warm weather in winter in Europe. And if that place is somewhere near a beach or the sea, that is even better!

There are a few places where you can travel if you want to find the best winter weather in Europe and we have several recommendations, depending on how you plan to spend your time: relaxing on the beach, hiking or sightseeing and discovering places full of history. 

So, this is our list of recommendations for the sunniest places in Europe in winter and also the best winter beaches in Europe, where you can sunbathe and even swim. Remember that UV protection is still necessary even when sunbathing in winter, so don’t forget about protecting your skin!

1. Malaga, Spain

Alcazaba de Malaga on a sunny winter's day

The south of Spain enjoys sunny and beautiful weather all year round, with temperatures still reaching 18°C to 20°C in December in Malaga.

Although it may not be warm enough to lounge on the beach or swim, it's still warm enough to walk around without freezing to death, while still enjoying outdoor dining when the sun is out.

Visiting Malaga during winter means fewer tourists compared to the summer months, better prices for flights and accommodation and less crowded attractions. You could rent a car and do a tour of the region, hitting Seville, Cordoba, Cadiz, Ronda, and even Gibraltar.

Out of all the winter months in Malaga, February seems to be the best choice, with the highest average high temperature of 17.7°C (63.9 °F) and only 60 mm of rain, spread over the course of 5 days. However, there are no big differences in terms of temperatures, but December tends to get the most rain, up to 100 mm for the entire month.

Malaga Average
High °C (°F)
Average
Low °C (°F)
Rain
mm (inches)
Rain
Days
Average
Sun Hours
December 17.5 (63.5) 8.9 (48.0) 100 (3.94) 7 5
January 16.8 (62.2) 7.4 (45.3) 69 (2.72) 6 6
February 17.7 (63.9) 8.2 (46.8) 60 (2.36) 5 6

Malaga weather in winter - December, January, February

  • Warmest month: December & February
  • Most amount of rain: December
  • Most hours of sunshine per day: January & February

2. Limassol, Cyprus

Limassol, Cyprus

Cyprus has a subtropical climate, which means mild winters on the coast, although it is possible to see some snowfalls in the Troodos Mountains.

In the day time, temperatures can still reach 19°C - 20°C in December and even in January and February, which means that you can leave your thick coat at home and just bring a light jacket for the evenings. 

Although Limassol is most popular in summer, you can still travel here for a winter break or to spend Christmas or New Year's Eve on the island. Cyprus is one of the hottest places in Europe during winter, with over 3200 annual hours of sunshine on the coast.

Most popular tourist destinations in Cyprus are Paphos, Limassol and Aya Napa.

Cyprus is a place full of culture and history, so there are lots to see if you want to go out and explore, or you could just book a nice hotel and soak up some winter sun by the pool.

In the spring there's also a nice carnival festival in Limassol, which is very popular in Cyprus.

Limassol Average
High °C (°F)
Average
Low °C (°F)
Rain
mm (inches)
Rain
Days
Average
Sun Hours
December 18.9 (66.0) 10.1 (50.2) 100 (3.93) 9 6
January 17.6 (63.7) 8.8 (47.8) 87 (3.41) 9 6
February 17.8 (64.0) 8.5 (47.3) 67 (2.63) 7 7

Limassol weather in winter - December, January, February

  • Warmest month: December
  • Most amount of rain: December
  • Most hours of sunshine per day: February

3. Madeira, Portugal

You can still get sunny days like this in Madeira in winter

Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago situated in the Atlantic Ocean, just 250 miles north of Tenerife.

Madeira has a Mediterranean climate, although the weather can differ from one island to another and even from one part of the island to the other, just like in the Canary Islands.

In the mountains of Madeira you can expect snow during the winter months and also rain, which mostly falls between October and April.

Out of all the destinations in our article, Madeira is the one that gets the most rain in December, with around 13 wet days per month.

Even so, Madeira still is one of the best and warmest tourist destinations in Europe in winter, because temperatures still rise above 20°C  during the day (especially in December), which means you'll be able to walk around wearing just a T-shirt.

The best time to visit Madeira during winter is for New Year's Eve when the island hosts the largest fireworks show in the world, an event which you should see at least once in your lifetime.

Madeira Average
High °C (°F)
Average
Low °C (°F)
Rain
mm (inches)
Rain
Days
Average
Sun Hours
December 20.7 (69.3) 15 (59.0) 115 (4.53) 13 5
January 19.7 (67.5) 13.7 (56.7) 74 (2.92) 12 5
February 19.7 (67.5) 13.4 (56.1) 83 (3.27) 10 6

Madeira weather in winter - December, January, February

  • Warmest month: December
  • Most amount of rain: December
  • Most hours of sunshine per day: February

4. Alicante, Spain

View of the beach in Alicante from Santa Barbara Castle

Alicante and the entire Costa Blanca region are already popular summer destinations in Spain, but the weather stays fairly mild and warm even in winter.

While the average high temperature in Alicante between December and February stays at around 17-18°C, the great thing about the climate here is that it rains a lot less compared to the other destinations on this list. The amount of rain is similar only to the Canary Islands, but considerably less than in any other place on this list, which is why we consider Alicante to be a great warm winter destination during the European winter.

Alicante Average
High °C (°F)
Average
Low °C (°F)
Rain
mm (inches)
Rain
Days
Average
Sun Hours
December 17.7 (63.9) 7.4 (45.3) 22 (0.87) 4 5
January 17.0 (62.6) 6.7 (44.1) 21 (0.83) 4 6
February 17.6 (63.7) 7.1 (44.8) 20 (0.79) 3 6

Alicante weather in winter -December, January, February

  • Warmest month: December & February
  • Most amount of rain: December
  • Most hours of sunshine per day: January & February

5. Malta

La Valetta, Malta

Of course, we couldn't talk about warm weather in winter in Europe without mentioning the tiny island of Malta.

Malta enjoys a Mediterranean climate, which means mild winters, with temperatures around 15°C  to 19°C during the daytime, depending on the month. 

Although not as warm as some of the other destinations mentioned before, the weather is still warm enough to allow for city-breaks and visiting, as there are lots of cool places to see the on the island.

There's more to Malta than being a beach destination and the winter season is a great time to explore its territory, without bumping into tourists at all times.

Malta has around 3000 hours of sun per year, which almost guarantees a sunny holiday, even though the temperatures may not be as high as in the previous destinations mentioned.

Malta Average
High °C (°F)
Average
Low °C (°F)
Rain
mm (inches)
Rain
Days
Average
Sun Hours
December 17.1 (62.8) 11.6 (52.9) 109 (4.3) 10 5
January 15.6 (60.1) 9.9 (49.8) 99 (3.88) 10 6
February 15.6 (60.1) 9.4 (48.9) 60 (2.37) 7 6

Malta weather in winter - December, January, February

  • Warmest month: December
  • Most amount of rain: December
  • Most hours of sunshine per day: January & February

6. Sicily, Italy

View of snowy Mount Etna from Catania, Sicily

Sicily is a popular beach destination in summer, but for those interested in history and sightseeing, winter is still a great season to come for a visit. 

While the temperatures are the lowest on this list, you can still enjoy comfortable temperatures of around 16 - 18°C during the daytime, which is pretty good for the European winter. Just come with moderate expectations in terms of sun hours, as the average is of 4 hours of sunshine per day, for December, January and February.

Sicily Average
High °C (°F)
Average
Low °C (°F)
Rain
mm (inches)
Rain
Days
Average
Sun Hours
December 16.8 (62.2) 6.7 (44.1) 86 (3.38) 9 4
January 15.8 (60.4) 5.3 (41.5) 75 (2.94) 9 4
February 16.4 (61.5) 5.4 (41.7) 53 (2.07) 7 4

Sicily weather in winter - December, January, February

  • Warmest month: December & February
  • Most amount of rain: December
  • Most hours of sunshine per day: very similar between all winter months

The Canary Islands are the warmest destination to visit in Europe during the winter season

The Canary Islands have one of the best climates in the world and here you can enjoy a day on the beach and a swim in the ocean at any time of the year. The Canary Islands are part of Spain, so you can travel here just as you would to any other part of Spain.

A photo from the north of Tenerife in December at Playa de las Teresitas

7. Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

The islands are located very close to the coast of Morocco, with Fuerteventura being the closest island to the continent of Africa.

Fuerteventura Average
High °C (°F)
Average
Low °C (°F)
Rain
mm (inches)
Rain
Days
Average
Sun Hours
December 22.0 (71.6) 15.9 (60.6) 26 (1.02) 3 6
January 20.6 (69.1) 14.7 (58.5) 14 (0.55) 3 6
February 21.0 (69.8) 14.8 (58.6) 16 (0.63) 2 7

Fuerteventura weather in winter - December, January, February

  • Warmest month: December
  • Most amount of rain: December
  • Most hours of sunshine per day: February

8. Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Winter is considered as high season in the Canary Islands, due to the fact that many people from the north of Europe and the UK come here to live for a few months between December and March or April, enjoying the winter sun and hot temperatures of the Canaries.

Lanzarote Average
High °C (°F)
Average
Low °C (°F)
Rain
mm (inches)
Rain
Days
Average
Sun Hours
December 21.8 (71.2) 15.4 (59.7) 29 (1.15) 5 6
January 20.7 (69.3) 14.0 (57.2) 17 (0.65) 3 7
February 21.3 (70.3) 14.3 (57.7) 18 (0.72) 3 7

Lanzarote weather in winter - December, January, February

  • Warmest month: December
  • Most amount of rain: December
  • Most hours of sunshine per day: January & December

9. Tenerife, Canary Islands

If you don't already know the Canaries and you don't have a favourite yet, we would recommend choosing Tenerife or Gran Canaria as the best places for a winter break.

The south of Tenerife has a warmer climate compared to the north of the island, which is why most of the tourist resorts are concentrated here. Temperatures still rise above 20°C on most days and you can see more photos of Tenerife in December, to get a better view of how the weather usually is.

Tenerife Average
High °C (°F)
Average
Low °C (°F)
Rain
mm (inches)
Rain
Days
Average
Sun Hours
December 22.8 (73.0) 16.5 (61.7) 30 (1.19) 4 6
January 21.7 (71.1) 15.2 (59.4) 17 (0.65) 2 6
February 22.0 (71.6) 15.0 (59.0) 20 (0.78) 2 7

Tenerife South weather in winter - December, January, February

  • Warmest month: December
  • Most amount of rain: December
  • Most hours of sunshine per day: February

10. Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

If you want to know more about the weather in the archipelago, you can read our article about the warmest Canary Island, but keep in mind that all the islands enjoy great weather and the differences are not huge, so you should choose in accordance to what you'd like to do and see during your time spent there.

Gran Canaria Average
High °C (°F)
Average
Low °C (°F)
Rain
mm (inches)
Rain
Days
Average
Sun Hours
December 22.2 (72.0) 16.2 (61.2) 31 (1.22) 5 6
January 20.8 (69.4) 15.0 (59.0) 25 (0.98) 3 6
February 21.2 (70.2) 15.0 (59.0) 24 (0.94) 3 7

Gran Canaria weather in winter - December, January, February

  • Warmest month: December
  • Most amount of rain: December
  • Most hours of sunshine per day: February

Although the Canary Islands are the hottest place to visit in Europe in winter, you can still get the odd rainy days or even a few days of calima, a phenomenon where hot sand dust comes from the Sahara Desert and stays suspended in the air (the days can be very hot during the calima and it can be hard to breathe, due to the sand in the air).

Depending on what activities you prefer during a holiday, you can look here and decide which Canary Island you should visit.

Warmest places in Europe in December: TENERIFE and GRAN CANARIA

View of the ocean in Gran Canaria, one of the hottest destinations in December in Europe

If you're looking for warm places in Europe in December, then take a look at our list below. You should especially take Spain and Cyprus into consideration if you're searching for warm European countries in December.

Besides the Canary Islands, which form is an archipelago that is part of Spain, there aren't many good chances to find hot weather in December in Europe. Since these islands are located so close to the African continent, they enjoy a mild climate, considered by many as the best climate in the world. 

Info about the weather in December in the Canary Islands 

  • Warmest weather vacations in December in Europe: Tenerife & Gran Canaria
  • Least amount of rain in December: Fuerteventura
  • Where to go in December in Europe for sun: All 4 Canary Islands & Limassol, Cyprus
December Average
High °C (°F)
Average
Low °C (°F)
Rain
mm (inches)
Rain
Days
Average
Sun Hours
Malaga, Spain 17.5 (63.5) 8.9 (48) 100 (3.94) 7 5
Limassol, Cyprus 18.9 (66) 10.1 (50.2) 100 (3.93) 9 6
Madeira, Portugal 20.7 (69.3) 15 (59) 115 (4.53) 13 5
Alicante, Spain 17.7 (63.9) 7.4 (45.3) 22 (0.87) 4 5
Malta 17.1 (62.8) 11.6 (52.9) 109 (4.3) 10 5
Sicily, Italy 16.8 (62.2) 6.7 (44.1) 86 (3.38) 9 4
Fuerteventura, Canary Islands 22 (71.6) 15.9 (60.6) 26 (1.02) 3 6
Lanzarote, Canary Islands 21.8 (71.2) 15.4 (59.7) 29 (1.15) 5 6
Tenerife, Canary Islands 22.8 (73) 16.5 (61.7) 30 (1.19) 4 6
Gran Canaria, Canary Islands 22.2 (72) 16.2 (61.2) 31 (1.22) 5 6

Warmest place in Europe in January: TENERIFE

A hot day in January at Siam Park in Tenerife, our favorite winter place for a warm trip

Most places in Europe are under heavy snow in the first month of the year, but not the ones we recommend to you. Here's a list of warm destinations in January in Europe.

Info about the weather in January in the Canary Islands 

  • Where is hot in January in Europe: Tenerife
  • Least amount of rain in January: Fuerteventura
  • The sunniest place in Europe in January: Lanzarote
January Average
High °C (°F)
Average
Low °C (°F)
Rain
mm (inches)
Rain
Days
Average
Sun Hours
Malaga, Spain 16.8 (62.2) 7.4 (45.3) 69 (2.72) 6 6
Limassol, Cyprus 17.6 (63.7) 8.8 (47.8) 87 (3.41) 9 6
Madeira, Portugal 19.7 (67.5) 13.7 (56.7) 74 (2.92) 12 5
Alicante, Spain 17 (62.6) 6.7 (44.1) 21 (0.83) 4 6
Malta 15.6 (60.1) 9.9 (49.8) 99 (3.88) 10 6
Sicily, Italy 15.8 (60.4) 5.3 (41.5) 75 (2.94) 9 4
Fuerteventura, Canary Islands 20.6 (69.1) 14.7 (58.5) 14 (0.55) 3 6
Lanzarote, Canary Islands 20.7 (69.3) 14 (57.2) 17 (0.65) 3 7
Tenerife, Canary Islands 21.7 (71.1) 15.2 (59.4) 17 (0.65) 2 6
Gran Canaria, Canary Islands 20.8 (69.4) 15 (59) 25 (0.98) 3 6

Warmest places in Europe in February: TENERIFE and FUERTEVENTURA

Fuerteventura is one of our top recommendations if you're wondering where to go in February for some winter sun

Thinking of spending Valentine’s Day in a warm destination? Generally speaking, you don't really have many options if you want to find a place with a warm climate in February in Europe. Just like in the previous months, the Canary Islands are your best bet to escape the winter boots and heavy coats. So if you want to stay within European borders, these are your best options for hot and nice weather in Europe in February.

Info about the weather in February in the Canary Islands

  • Warm European places in February: Tenerife (and the rest of the Canaries)
  • Least amount of rain in February: Fuerteventura
  • Where is sunny in February in Europe: All 4 Canary Islands & Limassol, Cyprus
February Average
High °C (°F)
Average
Low °C (°F)
Rain
mm (inches)
Rain
Days
Average
Sun Hours
Malaga, Spain 17.7 (63.9) 8.2 (46.8) 60 (2.36) 5 6
Limassol, Cyprus 17.8 (64) 8.5 (47.3) 67 (2.63) 7 7
Madeira, Portugal 19.7 (67.5) 13.4 (56.1) 83 (3.27) 10 6
Alicante, Spain 17.6 (63.7) 7.1 (44.8) 20 (0.79) 3 6
Malta 15.6 (60.1) 9.4 (48.9) 60 (2.37) 7 6
Sicily, Italy 16.4 (61.5) 5.4 (41.7) 53 (2.07) 7 4
Fuerteventura, Canary Islands 21 (69.8) 14.8 (58.6) 16 (0.63) 2 7
Lanzarote, Canary Islands 21.3 (70.3) 14.3 (57.7) 18 (0.72) 3 7
Tenerife, Canary Islands 22 (71.6) 15 (59) 20 (0.78) 2 7
Gran Canaria, Canary Islands 21.2 (70.2) 15 (59) 24 (0.94) 3 7
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