5 Best European Sunshine Winter Breaks

View of the sea and tall palm trees with blue sky in the background.

16 Nov 2017

Posted in:  Going on Holidays

If you want to cut out the crowds, soak up the sunshine and bag a bargain, then a winter sun holiday is just the ticket. And the good news is, you don’t have to spend hours on a flight chasing the heat - you can have hot sand between your toes in just a few hours. We’ve picked out five of Europe’s top sunshine breaks for winter. So, shake off your heavy coat and get ready to catch some vitamin D.


Boasting highs of 24 degrees in November, this destination is a holiday classic - and with good reason. Lanzarote has something for everyone. If you’re after a relaxing holiday, then kick back on one of its many beaches like Playa Flamingo, where you can spend your day sauntering from sun lounger to bar. Or take it up a notch with some snorkelling or venture further out onto the water with a jet ski or boat ride. If you want to really feel the heat, take a trip inland to get up close and personal with a volcano - you can even have your dinner cooked in its fiery belly. With a flight time of just over four hours, Lanzarote is not the closest on our list but it’s certainly one of the hottest.


If you’ve never visited before, we can assure you that Malta’s stunning archipelago doesn’t disappoint. For active holidaymakers, this island offers some of the best diving in the Med, with courses available for all experience levels. Or if you’d prefer to stay dry, why not explore the capital city of Valletta? This World Heritage site is known for its abundance of monuments - with an impressive 320 located within easy walking distance - so you can soak up some culture while you soak up some rays. Malta’s sister Island, Gozo, is also worth a day trip and can be reached via ferry. Here, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find golden beaches and blue skies - Gozo enjoys an astounding 300 days of sunshine a year.

3. Madeira


Situated southwest of Portugal, a visit to Madeira offers lush rolling mountains, stunning flora and amazing coastal views. And with high temperatures averaging at 24 degrees in November, it’s the perfect spot for a winter getaway. Active types will adore Madeira's many hiking trails or ‘levada’. And the lower off-peak temperatures make hiking a lot easier. The clear waters of Madeira make it perfect for whale and dolphin watching as the waters of the island are home to over 20 species of whales and dolphins. If you fancy a dip, check out the stunning natural sea water pools in Porto Moniz.

4. Crete

Crete offers stunning beaches

As the largest of the Greek Islands, Crete is a popular tourist destination. A winter visit means you’ll avoid the crowds and get to see more of the authentic Greek culture. For a real mix of history and culture, take a trip to the Venetian Harbour where you’ll find colourful buildings and charming narrow streets - it’s the perfect spot for a sunset walk.

Crete is of course, famous for its boundless beautiful coastline. For a taste of paradise, you can’t miss Váï Beach. Situated in front of Europe’s biggest palm grove, this stunning stretch of sand is where the famous Bounty bar ad from the ‘70s was shot. Another must-see beach is Elafonísi, where the sand has a beautiful pink tint thanks to crushed up shells. To really see the best of this Mediterranean jewel, renting a car and spending a few days touring the coast will give you the most bang for your buck.

5. Tenerife

Enjoying highs of 23 degrees in November, Tenerife gets almost year-round sunshine. So if you want to completely switch off from your day-to-day then this is the spot for you. Costa Adeje, Los Cristianos and Playa de la Arena are just some of the island’s sandy beaches, but the list really is endless. Lay out on the beach, cocktail in hand, and let life’s troubles melt away.

You can easily spend your days flitting from sun lounger to cafe to beach bar, but if you muster up the energy to leave the beach, then make sure to take a trip to the town of Garachico. This charming towns history dates back to 1496. Or why not visit Mount Teide, Spain’s tallest mountain, which looms over the island? Don’t worry, you don’t have to climb. Take the cable car all the way to the summit to enjoy some of the best views you’ll find anywhere.

In Need of Some Winter Sun?

Seeking some winter sun - stat? Check out AIB Travel Loans. AIB offer loans from €1,000 with a loan decision in just three hours*. You can apply online through AIB Internet Banking and the AIB Mobile App. You can also book a branch appointment if you’d like to speak to someone in person or phone 0818 724 725* 3 hour loan decision applies to fully completed new personal loan applications processed within 3 hours 9am-5pm, Mon-Fri excl. bank holidays. Loans from €1,000-€30,000. Excludes applications: to restructure or clear existing AIB credit facilities; received through Branch and referred to a lender for review, from customers in financial difficulty; for Student and First loans; applications through Business Centres; or where total borrowings exceed €100,000 (excluding Home Loan debt up to €600,000).

Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Copyright Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. 1995.

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