Warm winter destinations in Europe
If you are looking to banish the winter blues in northern Europe and brighten your days with some winter sunshine, some of the best winter holiday destinations include:
If you want to be close to the action but also within easy driving distance of the more tranquil north of Madeira, stay in the capital, Funchal. If you really want to enjoy some peace and quiet, take a ferry from Funchal to Porto Santo, a tiny island, just 6 miles wide with golden beaches and wild scenery. The ferry takes just 2 hours from the capital. Madeira is visited every year by around one million tourists, and is renowned for its Madeira wine, its breathtaking wild flowers and its annual New Year celebrations which feature one of the largest firework displays in the world. If you are fortunate enough to be visiting Madeira in February, you can join in the annual Mardi Gras Carnival which pays homage to the Rio Carnival in Brazil.
Malta not only boasts average winter temperatures of 29ºC, but it also offers visitors some of the most important cultural and historical attractions in the world. The stunning city of Valletta has been chosen as the European Capital of Culture, 2018 and has also been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, owing to its beautifully-preserved 16th century buildings and rich architecture. Sliema is situated on the north-eastern coast of Malta and is one of the most popular holiday destinations on the island. Visitors can enjoy designer shopping, fine dining and a range of long, sandy beaches where they can relax and soak up the sun.
Tenerife, Canary Islands
Tenerife will provide a welcome respite if you want to escape grey skies and frosty mornings, and boasts average temperatures in November and December of around 16ºC with plenty of sunshine. The largest of the seven Canary Islands, Tenerife is well served by low-cost airlines. If you are looking to enjoy a Christmas break on the island, accommodation in Tenerife is plentiful and reasonably priced. The warm climate and spectacular scenery will provide a relaxing backdrop to the festivities. Tenerife is the most developed Canary Island, and offers attractive beaches with a wide range of water sports, and some of the best theme parks in Europe. Siam Park is set in 185,000m2 of exotic gardens, and offers a choice of adrenalin-fuelled water based rides.
Cyprus is a magical island, which has been welcoming visitors for thousands of years. The Romans, Greeks and Arabs have all left their mark on the island´s culture, and many ancient buildings can still be seen today. Visitors now flock to Cyprus to enjoy the superb beaches, the secluded villages and the cosmopolitan resorts which regularly see temperatures of 20ºC in winter with plenty of sunshine. From the resorts of Ayia Napa with its vibrant night life and non-stop partying to the more traditional villages in the Troodos Mountains, Cyprus offers a diverse choice of places to visit and an idyllic climate. Paphos is a great place to explore if you are interested in the island´s ancient history, and if you are looking for long, sandy beaches head east to Nissi Bay. Take a trip around the Old Town of Paphos, with its pavement cafés, tavernas and colourful harbour. If you are visiting Cyprus, Tenerife, Malta or Madeira this winter, make sure you book a guided city tour, a cultural tour, an adventure tour or a gastronomic tour before you go to make the most of the local attractions.