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Hidden European gems that are affordable and perfect for winter sun | Travel News | Travel

Cadiz is an affordable alternative to the more popular winter holiday destinations (Image: Getty)

January in the UK is always a slog, with its limited hours of daylight and freezing cold temperatures enough to make even the hardiest of souls consider spending a portion of the month elsewhere.

However, holidaymakers in search of some winter sun tend to head to the same popular destinations, such as Corfu and Tenerife.

Despite this, there are a number of lesser-known and tourist-free places in Europe for British travellers to soak up some Vitamin D this winter.

The travel experts at eurochange have compiled a list of affordable hidden gems in Europe for some glorious winter sun.

Laura Evans-Fisk, head of digital engagement at eurochange, said: “There are so many great destinations you can visit across Europe if you’re keen to feel that little bit of warmth in January. 

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Promenade with the New Cathedral at sunset.

Cadiz is a beautiful and affordable alternative to Seville (Image: Getty)

“Places such as Cadiz in Spain and Northern Cyprus, away from the popular tourist spots like Paphos and Larnaca, have so much to offer, and are so much quieter.

“Temperatures can reach up to 18 degrees in the southern regions of Europe in January, so it will certainly be a welcome contrast to the UK weather!” 

Cadiz, Spain 

With an average January temperature of highs of 16C, Cadiz is a fantastic option for a warm city break.

A beautiful coastal city on the southern tip of Spain, it is just a short train ride away from the more popular tourist destination of Seville.

A beautiful beach in Karpaz, Northern Cyprus

The Karpas Peninsula in Northern Cyprus is a well-preserved secret (Image: Getty)

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Cadiz is rich in history and has plenty of amazing landmarks to visit, including the Castle of Santa Catalina, and the Torre Tavira, which offers visitors stunning views of the city.

This coastal town is incredibly rich in history, with plenty of stunning landmarks to visit, including the Castle of Santa Catalina, and the Torre Tavira, which offers amazing views of the city. 

Karpas Peninsula, Cyprus 

If you’re in search of winter sun and seclusion, this area of the less densely populated area of Northern Cyprus is for you.

Also known as the Karpass, it is considered one of the Mediterranean’s most unspoiled places, with breathtaking beaches and the outstanding natural beauty of the Dipkarpaz National Park.

In Iskele there are plenty of charming farmhouses to stay in, while the quaint beach town of Rizokarpaso is another good option to base yourself in. 

Clock tower in, Sao Vicente, Madeira

Madeira is one of the most up-and-coming holiday destinations in Europe (Image: Getty)

São Vicente, Madeira, Portugal 

Dubbed the ‘Hawaii of Europe’, Madeira is one of the hottest travel destinations of 2024. Home to out-of-this-world landscapes, stunning coastlines and excellent wines, it is a stunning place to visit all year round.

São Vicente is located in the area of Laurissilva, known as the land of valleys and vineyards. You’ll find 890 thousand-year-old volcanic caves and secluded beaches to explore. 

Temperatures in January can reach up to 19C, making Madeira an ideal destination for soaking up some winter sun.

View of Lady of Mount Carmel church, Valletta

Valletta is Europe’s southernmost capital city (Image: Getty)

Valletta, Malta 

The southernmost capital city in Europe, Valletta is certainly one of the continent’s most underrated.

A UNESCO World Heritage site, the walled city is filled with stunning palaces, gardens and churches to explore.

If you need any more convincing, Valletta is also known as the ‘sunny city’, as it averages just under 3,000 hours of sunshine each year – guaranteeing some winter sunshine.

Formentera view of turquoise water and yachts

Formentera is a more affordable alternative to Ibiza (Image: Getty)

Agios Nikolaos, Crete 

Agios Nikolaos is a vibrant beach town on the Greek island of Crete with beautiful natural scenery.

The clear, white sand beaches are perfect for picnics or leisurely strolls and the marina is full of relaxing bars to enjoy a drink or two.

Formentera, Spain 

Formentera is a fantastic alternative to the far busier and much more expensive Balearic island of Ibiza.

Located just nine miles away from the popular party destination, Formentera is equally as beautiful thanks to its stunning white sands and bright blue waters. There is an extremely distinctive relaxed and laid-back atmosphere on the island.

Palermo, Sicily 

Palermo is an incredible Italian city break destination with far fewer crowds than elsewhere in the country during January. 

Located on Italy’s southernmost island, Sicily, Palermo is a perfect winter sun destination offering both city break and beach holiday vibes. A trip to Italy would be incomplete without trying the local cuisine, and the Arancini in Palermo is a must-try.


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