As the nights draw in and the days get rainier, who could blame you for wanting to escape to warmer climes? The problem is that winter is often a more expensive time for many, with presents to buy, higher power bills, and taking time off work. That’s why I wanted to show you my pick of sunny winter destinations to brighten your days without lightening your wallet. These inexpensive beach destinations are sure to thaw you out in no time.
Winter Destinations that are Not So Wintery
Corfu is the Place for Lush Coastal Paths
With average temperatures of 15°C and few rainy days, this Greek island is the perfect place to relax and recharge in winter. Best of all, because you’ll be spared the searing heat of the summer, you can explore the lush coastal paths, the vibrant Corfu Town, or even travel up the mountains to their quaint villages for a more cultural and less touristy experience.
If you’re interested in exploring this natural landscape, then it’s often recommended that you hire a car at Corfu Airport and save your energy for walking where the car can’t take you. To get the best deal on your car rental, compare prices at BookingCar Europe.
One sight that I can recommend you visit by car, and that’s not as widely known as the old town of Corfu and the sunny beaches, is the Byzantine fortress of Angelokastro. The fortress can be found on the northwestern coast and offers a spectacular view of the sunset. Plus there’s loads of Greek Mythology to explore when you’re in Greece!
Gran Canaria Where Small Streets Meet the Ocean Views
Even when the rest of Europe is besieged by icy weather, the Canary Islands remain at a pleasant 20°C, thanks to their prime position off the North African coast. Here, you can relax on the beach or even take a hike up a volcano (if you’re daring enough), making it one of the more popular winter destinations in Europe.
Best of all, unlike other islands in the vicinity, Gran Canaria doesn’t get too dry. Our top tip is to look for a hotel or resort on the south of the island for the best weather.
A place that you absolutely must visit while on Gran Canaria is El Roque in the town of Moya, on the north side of the island. Wander around in beautiful small streets until you hit the ocean and soak in the views!
Madeira and its Mountain Scenery is a Magical Place
If you’re looking for winter destinations that will give you a sense of outdoor adventure, head to Madeira. On this beautiful Portuguese island, winter feels like spring. Madeira’s pleasant, moderate climate means that you’ll be able to swim in mild waters (abiding by the safety signs posted, of course) and walk around the capital, Funchal, in just a sundress or shorts and a t-shirt.
While you could spend all day on the beach, the fresh mountain scenery is a hidden prize, with lush flora and laurel forests being the jewel in Madeira’s crown. Get your walking shoes on and get back to nature in the forests or up a volcano. You can even get in some dolphin and whale watching.
Something that’s interesting (and practical) to know about this beautiful island is that it has 6 (!) distinct climates. This is due to the mountains and the fact that the island is situated in a tropical zone, and it means that you should pack for milder weather, while not forgetting something warm and something rain-proof.
Cyprus Where You’ll Find Ancient Ruins and Beaches
Not only will you find the warmest winter weather in Europe in Cyprus, but you’ll also find an island balanced between Turkish and Greek influence, meaning there are literally two sides to this place. This becomes even more apparent once you’ve left the beaches and discovered the ancient ruins, steeped in history and mythology, like the Paphos archaeological sites.
As many hotels close in the winter, the ones that remain open will offer amazing deals to get you to stay with them. A truly cozy hotel I appreciate is situated in the foothills of Mount Olympus, in the town of Lofou. The owners, an architect and a designer, have renovated a cluster of old stone houses and the secluded nature of this place is something almost everyone can appreciate when on vacation.
Marrakesh a Place of Culture and Adventure
While most of this list has been focused on European destinations, I’d be remiss if I didn’t recommend this fascinating Moroccan city, which is steeped in culture and adventure. Plus, you can always take a detour and visit the Game of Thrones filming locations in Morocco as well!
As the country borders the Sahara Desert, it remains warm throughout the winter months, but flight prices drop significantly. You can check Flights to Morocco and Hotels in Morocco here. Here you can haggle at their famous souks, relax at the riads, and sip mint tea all day.
One place I particularly like visiting in winter, when the temperatures are milder, is the Majorelle Garden. This botanical garden and it’s adjoining house were created by the French painter Jacques Majorelle and renovated by Yves Saint-Laurent, so you can no doubt imagine its elegance and beauty. The studio has been converted into the Islamic Art Museum of Marrakesh, giving you enough to see and appreciate to spend at least an entire day on site.
Hopefully, this has helped you find a few winter destinations that tick all your boxes without breaking the bank so that you can take a well-earned holiday when you could be freezing.