Lisa Owen

The European winter probably has you thinking of snow, grey skies and below zero temperatures – but that’s not the case everywhere in Europe.

In Europe’s south, there are plenty of cities you can visit during the wintertime where you’ll get blue skies, people are sitting outside enjoying the sun while sipping on a cappuccino, and snow is very rare.

And while summer sees many thousands of tourists visit Europe, tourist numbers over the cooler months are considerably less. In some destinations like Lisbon and Valencia, you’ll be hard pressed to find a tourist some days between November and February.

Winter is also a good time for the budget traveller in Europe as accommodation prices are lower – sometimes even half of what is charged during the summer months.

Here are 5 European cities that are ideal to visit during winter.

lisbon portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

How does a sunny 16 degree Celsius days sound to you in the middle of winter? That’s what you can get in Portugal’s capital of Lisbon.

Some days it won’t even feel like winter – and you’ll enjoy wandering the scenic streets and checking out the viewpoints in a T-shirt!

Key sights include the city and river views from the top of the Rua Augusta Arc and the many miradouros; St George’s Castle; the Tagus River promenade; and Belem Tower.

From Lisbon, you can also make a day trip to Sintra and check out the Castle of the Moors and the colourful Pena Palace.

valencia spain

Valencia, Spain

While mornings are fresh in Valencia, they often result in clear, sunny days.

Enjoy a coffee in the sun on the patio of a café; take in the city and blue sky views from the old city gates, and do as the locals do and take a stroll through the Turia Gardens while soaking up some Vitamin D.

You can also hire a bike and ride out to the nearby beaches.

street in aix en provence france

Aix En Provence, France

Aix En Provence is another beautiful European city that gets a good share of sunny days. In fact, the Provence region boasts that it gets more than 300 sunny days a year!

The southern French city is a year-round destination and you can spend hours roaming the picturesque and historical streets, and checking out the daily markets offering up everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to clothing.

You can also use Aix En Provence base to explore other locations in the Provence region such as Cassis, Marseille and Avignon – or even go hike up Mt Sainte-Victoire.

roman ruins in italy

Rome, Italy

The Italian capital of Rome is a great city to spend the winter months in. While Rome always attracts a crowd, there are far less people over the cooler months than in the summertime.

Rome is also one European city where it is much cheaper to stay over winter than during peak season.

You’ll often get bright sunny days during the winter months which are perfect for checking out the Colosseum or getting a selfie at the Trevi Fountain.

valletta malta

Valletta, Malta

The island of Malta is another country that is blessed with a mild winter climate and offers travellers many sunny days in winter.

Under the sunshine you can explore the historical streets of Valletta, and enjoy the clear blue waters off Gozo and Comino islands.

While the water might be a little cold for swimming, you can still go to the Blue Lagoon off Comino island to relax by the turquoise waters, or chill by the St Peter’s Pool in Malta’s south.

Need another reason to visit Malta in the winter months? Bus tickets are €1.50 ($2.40 AUD) in the winter months, but from mid June to mid October they go up to €2 ($3.20 AUD).

If all the people and the expensive prices are putting you off visiting Europe during the summer – consider visiting these sunny destinations during the low season.

Things You Should Know

  • While you’ll get your fix of sunshine in these European destinations, temperatures can be cold in the early mornings and after dark. Make sure you bring a warm jacket with you – and gloves and a beanie may also come in handy for places like France and Italy.
  • Travelling in the winter months is perfect for travellers that don’t like to plan too far ahead. It’s easy to book buses, trains and hostels only a day or two in advance as there will always be spots available.

winter in europe

Lisa Owen is a pint-sized Australian following her dreams to travel to as many places as she can, and loves to share her photography, travel hacks, hiking adventures, and food discoveries along the way. At last count, she has travelled to more than 80 countries in between working in public relations and discovering hidden gems in Australia's great outdoors. Instagram: @thelittleadventurer. Facebook: The Little Adventurer Australia.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and are meant as travel inspiration only. They do not reflect the opinions of Cover-More Insurance. You should always read the PDS available from your travel insurance provider to understand the limits, exclusions and conditions of your policy and to ensure any activities you undertake are covered by your policy.