Where to Holiday in Europe for the Most Sun
It’s that time of the year where we’re thinking about our summer holidays, or perhaps already looking forward to the one you booked months ago. Many people refer to the Mediterranean as one of the best climates in the world and this, of course, is not accidental. Not only does it have long, hot summers and short, mild, bearable winters, but the Mediterranean region is also among the sunniest places.
For many people, the vital ingredient in a summer holiday is guaranteed sunshine. The UK’s weather is notoriously changeable, so where should you go if sunny days are a must? It’s simple geography really: the north isn’t going to be anywhere near as hot as the south in winter. That said, there are a few places to have a sunny and warm family holiday and avoid the long-haul drama. June through August is generally the high season in Europe, although in Italy, depending on your destination, August may bring low season benefits like fewer crowds and low rates as most Italians go on holiday this month and temperatures in the major cities can be too hot to bear.
First, have realistic expectations — nowhere in Europe is tropical in the winter. The Canary Islands are the warmest place in Europe, and January temperatures will be roughly 12-18 C (55-65 F). So don’t look for sultry summer weather — look for gentle spring weather. One year I spent February and March in Portugal and Spain, and even though it wasn’t beach weather, it was so nice to be walking around in a long-sleeved shirt instead of a winter coat.
We spent last Christmas and New Year in Funchal, Madeira and had a marvellous time. The New Year firework display in the harbour was fantastic. Lots of local low priced restaurants and bistros to eat at. The fish and seafood is out of this world. Just try and get away from the hordes that come in on the cruise liners. We did a lot of walking in the mountains: Hire a car or get there by taxi and explored the lavadas. Its usually very quiet and peaceful away from the city at that time of year. Bring a torch as you walk through a few long dark tunnels at the side of the water. The weather was warm and very pleasant, both day and night.
The best time for good weather can vary quite a bit in Europe. In many places, July and August brings the best weather of the year. With high temperatures typically hovering around 20 to 22°C. In much of continental Europe, you can generally expect good weather from mid-May through mid-September. With the highest temperatures in July and August, ranging from the low 20s to the low 30s. Summer is hot in the Mediterranean, so if you want to avoid the heat but still enjoy fairly mild weather, go in April/May or mid-September through mid-October. Europe spans over 50 countries, with diverse geography and climates that range from the sunny Mediterranean to the Arctic.
We suggest you check out this European Sunshine Index before you book!