×

Where to Spend a Warm Christmas in Europe

Ellie Swain

Contributor

When it comes to Christmas breaks, Europe offers plenty of choices. From traditional Christmas markets in Germany to snow-laden mountain regions in Austria, there are plenty of festive ways to embrace the chill this winter. But through the nail-bitingly cold winter months, many of us dream of sun-soaked beaches and fresh fruity cocktails. Luckily there are plenty of spots in Europe that benefit from warm toasty days and pleasant balmy nights, even in December. Whatever your idea of a perfect festive trip, Europe can deliver - here are the warmest places to spend Christmas in Europe.

Canary Islands

If the idea of spending Christmas Day baking on a beautiful beach fills you with glee, then head to the Canary Islands for some serious winter warmth. Sitting in the Atlantic, off the coast of West Africa, the Canary Islands are the best place to head for guaranteed sunbathing weather in December. You’ve got plenty of option too, as each island offers a different atmosphere and selection of things to do. Treat yourself to Christmas luxury on Gran Canaria, get up close and personal with camels on Lanzarote, indulge in Tenerife’s budding foodie scene or relax on one of Fuerteventura’s famous white sand beaches. As the weather is so pleasant on all four islands, there’s always plenty to do outdoors. A visit to any of the islands will make you feel like you’ve jetted off on a summer holiday rather than a Christmas getaway.

Tenerife

Madeira

Lost in the Atlantic, the autonomous region of Portugal provides a wonderful Christmas escape thanks to its mild December temperatures and sun-filled days. While Madeira is a gem worth exploring any time of the year, the winter months offer a reduced number of visitors so you can soak up the sights without elbowing through the crowds. The island’s capital, Funchal, is an ideal place to base yourself. There you can absorb the mix of modern and historic architecture. For magnificent views of stretching greenery, the sparkling ocean, and the sea of white-walled and red-roofed houses be sure to catch the cable car up to the Monte Palace Gardens. Out of the city, you can discover dramatic black sand beaches, the world’s biggest laurel forest, and plenty of winding nature treks through lush greenery.

Madeira

Cyprus

Offering temperatures as warm as 20 degrees Celsius in December, Cyprus is another island worth escaping the dreary winter weather this Christmas. As the sea has warmed from the sun all summer, the water is pleasant to swim in. So, if you fancy frolicking in the waves this Christmas Day, consider a trip to Cyprus. Swap the traditional turkey lunch for a gourmet seafood spread on a charming promenade and try to restrain gloating to your friends and family back home. You can also indulge in delicious local dishes such as grilled halloumi cheese and souvlaki skewers packed full of hearty chunks of meat and vegetables. Cyprus is dotted with vibrant coastal towns and pretty villages, and one of the most beautiful spots to visit is Paphos. Seeped with history, the city was the Roman capital of Cyprus and it’s home to plenty of curious myths and legends.

Paphos, Cyprus

Malta

With similar temperatures to Cyprus, Malta is one of Europe’s most underrated countries to visit at any time of the year. But hurry, as the secret won’t be kept for long. Already the island has seen a peak in tourism, especially during the sweltering summer months. By visiting Malta during December, you can escape the winter lull while also having the opportunity to explore this fascinating country during its quieter periods. 

With temperatures dipping in and out of the twenties during the festive period, expect warm rays and clear sunny skies. There are plenty of beaches to rest your head on, but Malta is so much more than golden sand and turquoise waters. The country is cultural and historical hub too, featuring dramatic walled cities and interesting side streets with a North African buzz. Malta may be as exotic as it gets without leaving Europe! While there are dozens of stunning spots to explore in Malta, the capital city Valletta is a treat for the senses. The sixteenth-century architecture is dazzling and the whole city exudes a lovely historic charm. If you have the time, Valletta also serves as a great base to explore other parts of the island.

Popeye Village, Malta

Spain

If you’re seeking warmer weather but want to retain a Christmas atmosphere, then a winter break to Spain often delivers the best of both worlds, especially if you head South. The island of Palma de Majorca is a great option for a Christmas getaway. On average, it’s 10 degrees warmer than most European cities and you can expect lots of sunshine too. Despite the balmy weather, Palma’s town centre is adorned with a host of pretty Christmas lights. There are also plenty of Christmas markets to get your festive fix and find stocking filler goodies for the big day. For a real Christmas-away-from-home experience, head to Palma Cathedral at midnight on Christmas Eve to observe the awe-inspiring midnight mass. There are plenty of restaurants open for Christmas lunch and dinner too, so you don’t need to say goodbye to all your festive favourites this year. Don’t forget to enjoy a jug of sangria on the beach between all the Christmas celebrations!

Palma Mallorca

Become a member to join the conversation!

Become part of the world's leading travel & lifestyle community!

Related articles