When it comes to winter holidays in Europe, travellers are spoiled for choice. In the northern reaches of the region, visitors can watch the Northern Lights dance across dark skies or hit the slopes on snow-covered mountainsides. In contrast, many countries along the Mediterranean coastline boast beach weather throughout the season.
If you are hankering after a bit of winter sunshine, Spain is one of the best destinations for tours in Europe with mild temperatures year-round. Its heritage cities in particular have much to offer tourists at this time of year.
Located on Spain’s southern shore in the aptly named Costa del Sol (coast of the sun), Málaga is the best destination in Spain if you’re looking to catch some rays. This city has 16 beaches where tourists can relax on golden sand and paddle in the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
While some areas of the Costa del Sol suffer from the effects of overtourism, Málaga has a well-maintained historic centre and authentic culture. Don’t miss out on the centuries-old Alcazaba fortress, and take time to watch a flamenco show with delicious local food.
Although Málaga is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, Barcelona is undoubtedly Spain’s most artistic destination. This city was the playground of master architect Antoni Gaudi, crowned by the immense church La Sagrada Familia and the colourful Park Güell. Winter is a less popular time to visit Barcelona, so you can wander the streets and wonder at your leisure.
In the evenings, embrace the late-night dining culture at the tapas restaurants and enjoy live music performances at Casa Batlló – another of Gaudi’s incredible creations.
Seville is just inland from the south coast of Spain, and benefits from the region’s warm climate.
Although nights are cool, daytime temperatures hover in the mid-teens.
The city itself is a joy to explore, with a rich heritage evidenced by spectacular historic buildings and the sound of Spanish guitar that fills the jasmine-scented squares. Most notable is the awe-inspiring UNESCO-recognised Royal Alcázar complex with its elaborate architecture and exquisite hand-painted tiles.
Another Spanish city with medieval buildings that evidence the years of Moorish occupation is Granada, also a short way inland from the southern shoreline. The Alhambra hilltop fortress still looms above the city, as splendid as the day it was completed.
There is plenty for tourists to do in Granada apart from basking in the grandeur of its heritage architecture. A popular spot is ‘Little Morocco’, an authentic street with a vibrant market selling everything from cloth and jewellery to crafts and spices. Traditional Arabic crafts and swathes of silk can be found at La Alcaicería, home to the Granada Grand Bazaar. Why not have a read of our things to do in Granada article too, before you go.
Elle, along with Alan, is the owner of Spain Buddy and the busy web design business – Spain Web Design by Gandy-Draper.
Born a “Norverner”, she then spent most of her life “Dann Saff” before moving to Spain in 2006. Elle’s loves are Alan, the internet, dogs, good food, and dry white wine – although not necessarily in that order.