For those looking to get away to warmer climes and escape the chills of the later months, Europe has some of the best destinations to visit and melt away the winter blues. From Spanish seas to Italian hills, catch the shining sun and pack your sunglasses for these ultimate winter cruise destinations.
Surprisingly, Barcelona is one of the finest destinations to visit during the winter months. Where in summer the beaches are full of umbrellas, buckets and spades, in winter, the streets are as empty as the azure blue skies which shine down upon the city. It is also the best time to join the city’s festivities, with the festival of Santa Eulàlia taking place on 12th February. This is a huge open-air parade complete with concerts, performances and workshops over several days.
Swap the crushed ice cocktails for a decadent hot chocolate at La Granja, where there are more types of chocolate than you knew existed – it even has its own section of Roman wall. Seasonal delicacies also come out of the woodwork during winter, with the most popular being churros – often paired with dipping chocolate.
Madrid’s Christmas Markets can be greeted in full swing when visiting in the winter months, with most vendors opening their stalls in late November right through to New Year for an enchanting winter experience. However, instead of the blustery, snowy days often found in Germany or Scandinavia, you can experience the festive spirit in the crisp, sunny air of the western Mediterranean. Take a romantic stroll through El Parque del Buen Retiro where the green space is a wonderful place to relax and people watch.
Explore the underground wine cellars of Bodega de Los Secretos, which dates back to the 17th century and features arched alcoves and sublime Spanish dishes with warming spices such as chorizo and hearty soups, for a cosy evening.
The Canary Islands are a prime cruise destination to chase winter sun, with seven islands just off the north-west coast of Morocco, each of which offers sun, sea and laid-back culture to soak up on the sand.
For relaxation, enjoy Fuerteventura, where you are closest to North Africa and can enjoy temperatures as high as 18°C from December through to March. The white beaches make it a beautiful place to enjoy water sports and, being relatively flat, Fuerteventura is perfect for hiking and gentle bike rides.
Let the cobbled streets and colourful houses of Santa Cruz charm you, with exceptional views of the Cumbre Vieja volcano and surrounding nature. Many of the buildings date back to the 16th Century, which has led to the region being declared a cultural asset.
Take advantage of luxurious locations with off-season price tags, as exploring the Amalfi Coast is much cheaper in the winter in comparison to the summer seasons. The weather is equally as spot on – you can still bask on a warm, Italian patio in the middle of November with temperatures reaching highs of 17°C.
Being able to explore the coastlines of this pristine Italian destination during the winter months also allows you to truly experience the beauty of the sunsets,the romantic walks in the hills and the food in the top restaurants, away from busy crowds and chatty groups. What could be better than exploring the characteristic town of Positano, watching locals playing on the beach and having time to chat with the restaurant owners?
Cruising along the Amalfi Coast during the later months gives you the ultimate Italian experience.
Away from the frosty windows and obligatory jumpers, Europe has some prime destinations for beating the winter blues and cruising for sunshine. Visit some of the world’s best-loved locations late into the year and still get your daily dose of Vitamin D, as you explore historical and cultural treasures away from the summertime crowds, hustle and bustle in the crisp, winter sunshine.
Browse our range of fantastic cruises around Europe for your chance to book a getaway to sunnier climes, even taking a look at our cruises for winter sun in 2019. Call our Cruise Concierge team on 0808 1234 118 for award-winning service and assistance with your booking.