25 Best European Cities to Visit in Winter (December til March)

25 Best European Cities to Visit in Winter (December 2020 to March 2021)

Europe is gorgeous – in winter and summer, all year long. The trick is to know where to visit. We are Europeans and we’ve visited the big cities and hidden gems at different times of year.

This is my list of the best European cities to visit in winter 2021.

It’s a brand new article, leading you to cold, warm and beautiful destination from December to March and ahead.

So give it a read.

We also included approximate costs of accommodation, transport to get here as well as ideas for itineraries.

Read: best Christmas Markets in Europe

Getting around Europe

The best website to score cheap flights is kiwi.com and for public transport check Omio.com

I wrote up a full review about Kiwi.com. It covers how you can score cheap flights, plus how to find even more winter destinations around you.

I also included HOW to book and all the other websites I check out BEFORE purchasing anything.

Update: I also included now the newsletter I recommend to score cheaper flights.

Kiwi Review for Flights

Where to travel in Europe in Winter?

In this list we have everything from warmer places, to European Christmas market and beautiful landscapes. In this list you will find great places to travel as a solo traveler as well as family.

Without any further ado, let us start with some warm weather, food food and beaches: the Canary Islands!

25 Best European Cities to Visit in Winter (December til March)

1. Canary Island (it is warm here!)

Our #1 European winter destination is Canary Islands.

Although, geographically speaking, it is Africa, the Canary Islands are part of the kingdom of Spain.

Enjoy warm weather, long beaches and amazing Spanish culture. considering Spain in winter? Then read our guide to one week in Spain here.

There are the following islands to choose from:

  1. El Hierro
  2. La Palma
  3. La Gomera
  4. Tenerife
  5. Gran Canaria
  6. Fuerteventura
  7. Lanzarote

Gran Canaria and Tenerife are the most popular ones.

I especially felt in love with Fuerteventura. It’s a semi-desert island. It is perfect for nature lover, surfers, kite-surfers and beach-goers. The culinary scene is also not to miss.

You can

  • climb volcano’s
  • relax at white and black beaches
  • drive a vehicle through the dunes
  • and explore hidden beaches and even a small grand canyon.

However, if you prefer nightlife, then Tenerife and La Palma in Gran Canaria are the places to be.

How to get to Canary Islands?

Check out the flights to Canary Islands here. Just draw a circle of the islands, simple as that.

You can also take a ferry to the Canary Islands, BUT: it takes around 1 1/2 days just to get there. Unless you want to bring a vehicle and stay long-term, it is not really an option.

Smart tip: Fly first to Madrid or Barcelona. From here you can score cheaper flights plus you can visit a major city in Spain.

Also smart: Rent a car. It is the easiest way to get around without the hassle of a public bus. Discover Car Rental is a reliable website for renting you car in Europe.

Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

2. Lisbon, Portugal

Let us continue this amazing list with another sunny and warm city.

Lisbon is also a fantastic choice during the colder month.

July and August are the busiest months, it is tourist-packed over summer. In winter you can enjoy the city at a slower pace. Soak in the culture, and get lost in the culinary scene and nightlife.

In the area around Lisbon you can also go surfing all year long. A wet suite is necessary though, but your surf school will share the required details.

There are many surf spots dotted around Lisbon. Some of them however remain closed in the colder months. Keep this in mind. Here is our guide to spend 7 days in Lisbon.


Lisbon is sunny all year long

Things to do in Lisbon over winter?

How to get to Lisbon?

Lisbon has its own big airport. Therefore, it is fairly easy to get here. You can find cheap flights to Lisbon with Kiwi.com

Where to stay in Lisbon?

Stay central! My personal recommendation is the Lisboa Pessoa Hotel. Enjoy breakfast and dinner on the roof top terrace. It comes with an amazing view over the city.

There are also plenty of cute Airbnb apartments in Lisbon. Check them out here.

More on a budget? Then here’s a few cool hostels in Lisbon too:

  1. Sunset Destination (best hostel for solo-travelers)
  2. Hub Lisbon Patio Hostel (top pick for backpackers)
  3. Lisbon Calling (awesome for couples)

Lisboa Pessoa Hotel

3. Granada – Sweet sun & Alhambra Aura

If you are expecting cold destinations in South Spain, Granada is the place!

Granada in winter is COLD!

However, Granada is sunny all year long. It stands out like a painting. The old town Albaicín climbs up the mountain, the majestic Alhambra rules the panoramic view from every point in the city.

In the background, you see the snow covered peaks of Sierra Nevada.

The highest mountain on the main land of Spain is snow covered all year long – even in summer. The contrast is spectacular.

At winter times you can still expect sunny but cold weather, super tasty food and south Spanish culture to fall in love with.

Important: Get your ticket to Alhambra as soon as you can! It is almost impossible to get tickets for the same day. Since this is a must-visit, you should get your tickets to Alhambra here.