Where to go in Winter? 13 Sunny Destinations for Cold Days

Every now and then, someone in our travel group on Facebook asks for warm holiday destinations for the winter. Because while temperatures in Central Europe have already dropped to single-digit levels, elsewhere in the world it is still comfortably warm and the days are noticeably longer. And you don’t even have to travel far away – there are so many sun paradises awaiting you right around the corner! We’ll reveal our favorite winter destinations within and outside Europe.


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Europe

  1. Canary Islands (Spain)

    Map of the Canary Islands
    Map of the Canary Islands

    Let’s start with our personal number 1: the Canary Islands! Here we spent most of the last winter and the turn of the year 2018/2019. When we begin to talk about the Canaries we can barely stop dreaming.

    First off, of course, is the climate, because it’s not without reason that the archipelago off the Moroccan coast in the Atlantic is also known as the islands of eternal spring. Furthermore, we were charmed by the many Canarian natural and national parks, which couldn’t be more different: Rich green meets dry volcanic landscape and sandy shifting dunes. That way, you are almost automatically tempted to go hiking. And lastly, there are all sorts of interesting culture and cities. If that’s too much for you, you can of course also just spend a beach holiday on one of the Canary Islands.

    National Park Parque Nacional del Teide
    National Park Parque Nacional del Teide

    To keep it short, we’ll link here our Canary Guide, in which you can read on:

    Canaries Guide: Which Canary Island is the Best?

    Be sure to check out our videos from the Canary Islands:

    Our videos of the Canary Islands

  2.  

  3. Algarve (Portugal)

    With a little bit of luck, you can spend a beach holiday in the Algarve even in winter
    With a little bit of luck, you can spend a beach holiday in the Algarve even in winter

    It’s no wonder that  the Algarve is known as a sunshine paradise, as it has the most sunny days a year in Europe. Its biggest asset is its coastline, where white sandy beaches and small bays cling to sandstone colored cliffs washed round by the turquoise Atlantic water. On cooler days, green nature parks and white old towns offer refuge.

    The highlight of the Algarve: the Benagil Cave
    The highlight of the Algarve: the Benagil Cave

    Sunbathing alone isn’t enough for you? Don’t worry, the Algarve is full of action! Here are 20 things you can do in the Algarve:

    20 Things You Can Do at the Algarve

    And so you don’t have to go hungry, we’ve tested the best vegan(-friendly) restaurants in the Algarve for you:

    Vegan Food Guide Algarve

    Watch here our video of the Algarve:

    Our video of the Algarve

  4.  

  5. Andalusia (Spain)

    Castillo Monumento Colomares in Benalmádena
    Castillo Monumento Colomares in Benalmádena

    Again Spain, but this time on the mainland: Andalusia, the southernmost region of the Iberian Peninsula, has a lot to offer. Between beaches and mountains, there are world-famous cities and romantic mountain villages. The Costa del Sol, Costa de la Luz, Costa de Almería and Costa Tropical delight with more than 3000 hours of sunshine every year countless beach lovers.

    But as a relaxing holiday on the seemingly endless sandy beaches on the Atlantic and Mediterranean, an active holiday with hikes in the numerous national and natural parks is possible just as good. If you want, you can even go skiing in the Sierra Nevada, before heading back to sunny Granada a few kilometers later. Here you’ll find the Alhambra, a real highlight of whole Spain.

    A lot of other places of interest can be found in the cities Sevilla, Malaga, Córdoba, Cádiz, Jerez de la Frontera, Almería and Ronda, to name just a few. Also, a trip to Gibraltar is worthwhile. In summary, hardly any other region in Europe has as much diversity as Andalusia.

    Ronda
    Ronda
  6.  

  7. Cyprus

    Paphos, Cyprus
    Paphos, Cyprus

    Cyprus, the third largest island in the Mediterranean, is still de facto divided into two parts as a result of the failed coup attempt of the Greeks in 1974 and the subsequent military occupation of the north by Turkey. Although under international law, the entire island belongs to the Republic of Cyprus, the northern part is still controlled by the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

    In both parts you will find beautiful sandy beaches, impressive natural landscapes, ancient monuments, historic monasteries and mythical places. For example, the rock Petra tou Romiou, which in the truest sense of the word is “legendary”: In Greek mythology, the rock formation is considered as the birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of love.

    Rock Petra tou Romiou
    Rock Petra tou Romiou

    While the temperatures in summer often climb to over 40 degrees Celsius, the Cypriot winter is pleasantly mild: During the day, 15 to 20 degrees on the coast are the norm, sometimes even more than that. On warm days you can even swim in the sea, after all, the Mediterranean Sea around Cyprus has the highest water temperatures in the entire Mediterranean area. Above 1500 meters, on the other hand, there may even be snow. For example, on Mount Olympus, which at 1952 meters is the highest mountain in Cyprus.

    We especially liked the vegan cheese in Cyprus, as you can read here:

    Cyprus: Vegan Cheese Paradise

  8.  

  9. Malta

    Malta
    Malta

    Also in Malta we were already during the winter. It wasn’t that warm, but with an average of 12 to 19 degrees in the winter half-year still much more pleasant than in Germany.

    The archipelago consists of the three inhabited islands Malta, Gozo and Comino as well as the uninhabited micro-islands Cominotto, Filfla, St. Paul’s Islands and Fungus Rock. With an area of ​​316 square kilometers, Malta isn’t even as big as the German city of Bremen. The majority of the population is concentrated in the capital region around Valletta, where around 394,000 people live.

    As early as the late Neolithic, important megalithic temples were built on the archipelago, the remains of which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Malta fell prey to the Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines and Arabs during antiquity and the Middle Ages, before being conquered by the Order of St. John, the French and the British and finally granted independence in 1964. This multifarious and unique history has shaped Maltese culture and left behind many historic sites.

    In addition to busy and quiet beaches, Malta, Gozo and Comino offer a special kind of natural sceneries. The Azure Window on Gozo was probably the most famous one: a 100 meter long and 20 meter high rocky gate, which completely collapsed in March 2017 during a storm. But even today, with the Inland Sea, the Blue Lagoon, the Blue Grotto and the Dingli Cliffs, you can find beautiful nature spectacles as well as snorkeling and diving spots.

    Azure Window on Gozo
    Azure Window on Gozo

Worldwide

  1. Dubai (UAE)

    Dubai Marina
    Dubai Marina

    There is hardly any other holiday destination that close to Europe with year-round sun guarantee like the United Arab Emirates. Their largest city Dubai is not only one of our favorite places for the winter, but also in general. No matter how many times you travel to Dubai, the desert city is developing so fast that each time there is something new to discover.

    Dubai has two city centers, the old one and the new one, both of which are about 20 kilometers apart on the coast. In the old city center, there are many souks (traditional Arab markets) and an old fortress, which now houses the Dubai Museum.

    While you can let yourself be taken with a wooden boat across the river for a few cents there, the driverless Metro rushes through the desert not far away up to the new city center and Dubai Marina. There you’ll see numerous modern skyscrapers, huge elaborately designed shopping centers, artificially created watercourses along promenades and with the 828 meter high Burj Khalifa the tallest building in the world.

    The special and fascinating thing about Dubai is precisely the interplay of these two worlds: the traditional Arab culture and the futuristic realizations, united in a city in the middle of the desert. Dubai proves again and again what is possible.

    Oh yes, of course there are beaches as well. And you will be able to use these very often, because even in winter the temperatures in Dubai seldom drop below 15 degrees. During the day they move somewhere between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius. There are virtually no rainy days, but plenty of sunshine and year-round pleasant water temperatures.

    Here you can see Dubai in the third part of our video series of Asia:

    Video excerpt of Dubai in the video of Asia

  2.  

  3. Egypt

    Karnak Temple
    Karnak Temple

    At the beginning of the year, we spent a good two months in Egypt. Where many European all-inclusive holidaymakers spend a cheap sunny holiday in the winter each year and hardly leave their resort, we set out on the trail of the Ancient Egyptians and explored (almost) the whole country from south to north. And we can tell you: It’s worth it!

    Indeed we also expressed our criticism of the land of the Pharaohs in one of our articles. Overall, however, we can sum up that Egypt is simply “extreme” in all areas. Extremely exhausting, extremely loud, extremely annoying – but also extremely impressive, extremely different and extremely surprising. Egypt has in fact a lot more to offer than just the Pyramids and the Great Sphinx of Giza!

    Mahmya beach in Giftun Island National Park
    Mahmya beach in Giftun Island National Park

    Here you’ll learn everything you should know before your trip to Egypt:

    Egypt: General Information & Tips

    Watch here our video of Egypt:

    Our video of Egypt

  4.  

  5. Tunisia

    Sousse: Beautiful Medina & Beaches
    Sousse

    Tunisia is a bit more northern than Egypt, which can be felt by the temperatures. It’s in fact the northernmost country in Africa. Nevertheless, it’s still pleasantly warm and sunny in winter compared to most European countries.

    We must admit that before our trip to Tunisia we knew little about the history, culture and places of the country. Now that we have a good picture of most of the larger cities, we plan to travel to Tunisia again to explore every corner of the country. So far we can definitely recommend Sousse,TunisCarthageSidi Bou SaïdEl DjemMonastir and Yasmine Hammamet.

    Sidi Bou Saïd
    Sidi Bou Saïd

    Here you will learn everything you should know before your trip to Tunisia:

    Tunisia: General Information & Tips

  6.  

  7. Morocco

    While we have a true love-hate relationship with Egypt, we can’t claim that of Morocco. Because the spark of enthusiasm never really hit us there. In comparison to Egypt, Morocco is pleasantly surprisingly modern and the inhabitants actually often helpful even without ulterior motive. However, in our opinon, there just are no really unique sights either.

    But we also have to say that we’ve already seen quite much of the Arab world and that’s why a simple medina with souks can’t knock our socks off any more. However, if you have never been to any other Arab country, Morocco suits well as a “beginner country”. The Moroccan winter is mild and much better compatible with the Muslim clothing guidelines than in the heat of summer.

    Our personal highlights weren’t the cities (with the exception of Essaouira, which we really liked), but rather the natural attractions such as the Hercules Grotto, the Ouzoud Falls, the Atlas Mountains, the Dades Gorge, the Todra Gorge and the Sahara. Don’t underestimate the size of the country: We were traveling by car and could hardly believe that you can drive through Morocco for hundreds of miles without seeing anything interesting.

    We found Morocco to be very safe and even slept in the car there. There are many police checks, for example at almost every entrance to a town. Nevertheless, a healthy level of distrust shouldn’t be missed. More about Morocco will soon follow in further posts.

  8.  

  9. Thailand, Vietnam & Cuba

    Hội An, Vietnam
    Hội An, Vietnam

    There are probably countless other places around the world that have a pleasant climate during the European winter. However, as we are only reporting on our personal experiences here, the last place on our list is shared by the countries of Thailand, Vietnam and Cuba. All three are beloved favorites of ours.

    While temperatures in Cuba are between 18 and 34 degrees year-round and the winter months are dry, the north of Vietnam is rather cool and rainy at that time. In return, South Vietnam offers shelter: at 20 to 30 degrees, it is still warm to hot and dry here in winter compared to the rest of the year. In Thailand you escape the monsoon in winter and can still expect a day temperature of 25 to 30 degrees Celsius.

    Havanna, Cuba
    Havanna, Cuba

    Thailand has something for everyone with its countless paradisiacal islands, the international metropolis of Bangkok and the Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai. Cuba has much more to offer than cigars and the well-known holiday destination Varadero: The capital Havana stands for architecture from the Spanish colonial era, salsa music and beaches. Although the south of Vietnam offers beautiful beaches as well, it also has exciting cities such as Đà Nẵng, Hội An, Cần Thơ and of course not to forget Hồ Chí Minh city (colloquially also known under its old name Saigon).

    Bangkok, Thailand
    Bangkok, Thailand

    Here you can see Thailand and Vietnam in the first part of our video series of Asia:

    First part of our video series of Asia

 

Most of the mentioned sunny destinations are in off season during the winter, which not only benefits you in terms of price, but also offers the advantage that it isn’t that crowded there at that time. Which summery places have you already visited in winter? Let us know in the comments. 🙂

 
 
 

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