10 Warmest Places to Visit in Europe in January

Looking for some winter sun? Then you’ll want to know some of the warmest places in Europe in January. Without the crowds of either summer or the Christmas holidays, January is the ideal month to seek warmth in some of Europe’s storied cities.

Beach days, ancient ruins, hiking, and lapping up no end of culture (and food) are the order of the day in winter in Europe. (As long as you’re not heading to northern Europe!)

I’ve put together this list of my favorite January destinations to give you some much-needed travel inspiration for the new year.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means that should you click on certain links, and then subsequently purchase a product, I will receive a small commission.

What’s January weather in Europe like?

For most of Europe, January is a pretty cold month. In fact, this is the coldest month for most of Europe, a snowy, freezing time of year that you’d think would be more suited to skiing or snowboarding than soaking up some winter sun.

This is certainly true for northern Europe! But the climate differs between different European countries. So if you are looking for warm places to visit in Europe in January, it’s best to set your sights on the Mediterranean.

While temperatures aren’t exactly subtropical, the weather in January in some European countries is mild enough — good for wandering historic streets, going on day trips to see ancient monuments, and (maybe) even hanging out at the beach!

Hottest Places to Go in Europe in January

1. Canary Islands, Spain

Comprising eight main islands, the Spanish archipelago that is the Canary Islands has long been a favorite for sunseekers (even in winter).

These islands are, officially, the warmest place in Europe in January. Temperatures can reach as high as 68°F, with averages hovering around 62°F.

Temperatures differ between the islands, too, with Fuerteventura and Lanzarote being slightly warmer than Tenerife and Gran Canaria, for example.

Beach days aren’t completely out of the question in January in the Canary Islands, what with the sea temperature at 68°F and an average of six hours of sunshine daily.

Only around five days in the month see rainfall, making it fairly dry and ideal for soaking up some sun in the new year!

Where to stay in the Canary Islands

You have eight islands to pick from! If you want to get off the beaten track and away from crowds looking for winter sun, head to El Hierro. For something more developed, I’d recommend Fuerteventura.

Canary Islands - Warmest Places to Visit in Europe in January

Suggested hotels in El Hierro

Balneario Pozo de la Salud – Set right on the coastline itself, this polished hotel features dramatic sea views from its comfortable guest rooms. There’s a restaurant, children’s play area, and spa treatments available.

Suggested hotels in Fuerteventura

Bahiazul Resort Fuerteventura – If you really want to splash out, take note of this sophisticated 4-star hotel. Featuring a chic swimming pool, dining room, and breakfast bar, it’s got everything you need.

Things to do in the Canary Islands in winter:

2. Crete, Greece

Chania Crete Venetian port
Venetian Harbour in Chania

The largest Greek island, Crete, makes up the southern boundary for the storied Aegean Sea and its scattering of islands and archipelagos. From its dramatic coastlines and interior hiking opportunities to its long history, there’s a lot to draw you to Crete.

This attraction includes the weather. In January you can expect not to freeze completely thanks to an average temperature of 52°F. Though lows can dip down to a fairly chilly 46°F, you’ll also be grateful for the 61°F highs in January. Ideal for exploring the outdoors!

Another bonus, which goes for pretty much everywhere in the Mediterranean at this time, is the fewer crowds at Crete’s famed historic sites — namely the ancient Minoan palace complex at Knossos.

Lighthouse in Rethymnon Venetian port
Lighthouse in Rethymnon Venetian port

Where to stay in Crete

I’d recommend either Chania (the capital of the island until 1971) or Rethymno. While the former is awash with interesting history, Rethymno also has a coastal charm of its own.

Suggested hotels in Crete

Veneto Boutique Hotel – Situated in Rethymno, this gorgeous hotel is set in a former Venetian building dating to the 14th century. Staying here puts the old town right on your doorstep for easy sightseeing.

Scala de Faro – You’ll find this historic but recently renovated property in Chania. An easy walk from both the archaeological museum and the beach, rooms here are polished and contemporary.

Things to do in Crete in winter:

3. Murcia, Spain

Murcia in Spain - Warmest Places to Visit in Europe in January

Murcia is among the warmest places in Europe in January. Temperatures here reach highs of 59°F, with averages sitting around 50°F and chilly lows of 41°F.

It can get even hotter — the record high for Murcia is 82°F!

This is the ideal sort of weather to spend time exploring the pretty city itself. Set in southeastern Spain, this university town is awash with stunning architecture, cultural sights, and some amazing local cuisine!

With six hours of sunshine and only around 40mm of rain expected for the entire month, you won’t need to worry about getting caught in a downpour during your wanderings.

Murcia - Hottest Places to Visit in Europe in January

Where to stay in Murcia

Without a doubt, the best place to stay in Murcia is the Centro Histórico. Staying here puts the city’s top sights within easy walking distance of your accommodation. Plus you’ll have some super charming streets to wander on your doorstep!

Suggested hotels in Centro Histórico, Murcia

Occidental Murcia Siete Coronas – Just a five-minute walk to the cathedral, this sparkling new hotel features chic, modern guest rooms and plenty of amenities for a comfortable stay. The breakfast is particularly good!

Hesperia Murcia Centro – This centrally located hotel is a great place to stay in Murcia for all your sightseeing needs. Add to this spacious rooms in a contemporary setting, and this hotel is ideal for a winter trip to Murcia.

Things to do in Murcia in winter:

  • See the stunning cathedral
  • Admire the imposing Monteagudo Castle
  • Explore the cafes along Trapería Street
  • Cross the “old bridge”, Puente de los Peligros
  • Eat at the palatial Restaurante Real Casino de Murcia

4. Faro, Portugal

Faro - Warmest Places to Visit in Europe in January

The capital of Portugal’s Algarve region, Faro is among the warmest places in Europe in January.

While the sea is a little rough and cold this time of year, putting beach days pretty much out of the question, the city itself will be more than pleasant enough for a sunny change from, say, winter in London!

Temperatures at this time of year can climb to 61°F, but average out at 54°F. It can drop as low as 46°F, so you’ll still need to pack sweaters and jackets. Ideally waterproof ones, too, as around 10 days in January see rain in Faro.

Faro - Hottest Places to Visit in Europe in January

Where to stay in Faro

While I’d usually recommend Marina del Faro, this is more of a summery place to stay (it’s by the marina). Otherwise, I would suggest Cidade Velha, which translates to “old town” in English. It’s packed with charm and rustic hotels.

Suggested hotels in Cidade Velha, Faro

Sunlight House – Staying here means staying in a lovingly decorated villa with plenty of space and photogenic design touches. There’s a shared kitchen and lounge, and breakfast is included in the price. It’s an ideal way to start the day!

Hostel Casa d’Alagoa – Choose to stay either in shared accommodation or a private room in this beautiful accommodation option. Set in a historic building on a cobbled street, it features a shared terrace and kitchen, among other facilities.

Things to do in Faro in winter:

  • Spot flamingos at Quinta do Lago
  • Shop for fresh produce at Faro Municipal Market
  • See Algarve beaches without any tourists on them!
  • Visit the Santa Maria Cathedral
  • Get a history lesson at the Municipal Museum of Faro

5. Madeira, Portugal

Madeira in Portugal is one of the Warmest Places to Visit in Europe in January

While Madeira is definitely among the warmest places in Europe in January, the Atlantic island also gets quite a bit of rain this month. On average, almost half of the days in the month see some rainfall. But with five hours of sunshine too, it’s a mixed bag.

But if all you want is mild temperatures, then you’ll be happy with the 64°F highs that Madeira gets in January.

Plus, unlike other places in Europe in January, it never gets too cold! Even the lows only reach 57°F or so (the average is about 61°F).

So for some really mild weather in January, Madeira is definitely a safe bet.

Where to stay in Madeira

I’d suggest staying in Funchal, the capital city of Madeira. Here you’ll find plenty of things to do, sights to see, and places to eat and drink. It’s perfect to explore at your own pace and, with the weather so mild, you won’t be walking around dripping in sweat!

Suggested hotels in Funchal, Madeira

Reid’s Palace – It doesn’t get much more luxurious than this five-star accommodation option in Funchal. The elegant rooms here feature balconies and marble bathrooms, while amenities include two restaurants (one is Michelin-starred), three swimming pools, and an oceanfront spa.

Quinta da Penha de Franca – This charming hotel is an ideal spot for those who want to get away from it all. From its outdoor pool (heated in winter) to its multiple restaurants, and classically decorated guest rooms, it feels sophisticated the moment you arrive.

Things to do in Madeira in winter:

  • Stroll around the Monte Palace Madeira
  • Explore Madeira Botanical Garden
  • Snap photos at the Farmers’ Market
  • Admire the carved wooden ceiling at Funchal Cathedral
  • Visit the Contemporary Art Museum, set in the 17th-century São Tiago Fortress

6. Cyprus

Cyprus - Warmest Places to Visit in Europe in January

With temperatures creeping up to average highs of around 63°F, Cyprus ranks among the warmest places in Europe in January. You may even find it warm enough to chill out on one of the island’s many beaches!

But surprisingly enough, you can actually go skiing this time of year in Cyprus! Winter sports enthusiasts should head to the Troodos Mountains for skiing, snowboarding, and wintry scenes.

Then again, down by the coastline, you’ll find it mild enough for beach strolls, exploring ancient monuments, and maybe even eating al fresco at a local taverna.

Where to stay in Cyprus

Paphos is the ideal place to stay in Cyprus for sightseeing. Here you’ll find places to eat, plenty of ancient history to learn about, and good transport links for the rest of the island.

Aphrodite Rock , Cyprus - Warmest Places to Visit in Europe in January

Suggested hotels in Paphos, Cyprus

Queens Bay Hotel – This seafront property boasts gardens, swimming pools, and a sauna, plus activities from archery to table tennis to get involved in. Guest rooms feature balconies with sweeping views and polished bathrooms.

Amphora Hotel & Suites – Set among manicured gardens, this hotel boasts guest rooms with sea views and large, comfortable beds. Enjoy meals in the restaurant, a cocktail in the lounge bar, or sun yourself on your own private balcony.

Things to do in Cyprus in winter:

  • Explore the Archaeological Site of the Tombs of the Kings
  • Go skiing!
  • Snap photos of Aphrodite’s Rock
  • Have a beach day
  • Visit Panagia Chrysaliniotissa, the oldest Byzantine church in Nicosia

7. Valletta, Malta

Valletta, the capital city of Malta, has a little bit of everything: history, coastal ambiance, great food, and good transport links. It’s also one of the warmest places in Europe in January, with average highs hovering around 59°F, and lows only dropping to around 50°F.

But one of the best things about visiting Valletta in January is the sea temperature. That’s right. This time of year, the seas around Malta are a positively balmy 82°F! This means that days at the beach, splashing around in the shallows, are a must for sunseekers here.

But with the mild temperatures, you’ll also find plenty of opportunity to take to one of Malta’s many hiking trails. It may be small, but only around a fifth of Malta is urbanized — there’s plenty of countryside to explore!

Suggested hotels in Valletta

The Phoenicia Malta – This amazing hotel pretty much has it all. From the infinity pool and spa services to its multiple bars and restaurants, you’ll find it hard to tear yourself away for sightseeing. The cherry on top? The Phoenicia Malta’s incredible customer service.

The Falconeria Hotel – Set just a few steps from the heart of Valletta’s old town, The Falconeria Hotel is a polished accommodation option in the Maltese capital. Start the day with a delicious a la carte breakfast before heading out to explore.

Things to do in Valletta in winter:

  • Explore the beautiful Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens
  • Stroll the attractive Valletta Waterfront
  • Learn about WWII history at Lascaris War Rooms
  • See the stunning interiors of St. John’s Co-Cathedral
  • Be awed by the sprawling Grandmaster’s Palace

8. Malaga, Spain

Malaga spain - Warmest Places to Visit in Europe in January

It turns out that the Costa del Sol is great in winter. One of the reasons for this is not only the weather but also the lack of tourists. Sightseeing in this part of the world can be hellish in summer, what with the heat and the crowds, but come winter that’s not an issue!

Malaga is one of the better warm places in Europe in January to visit. The temperature varies, ranging daily from about 39°F to 69°F. So while it can get chilly at night and early in the morning, you’ll be treated to mild weather most of the time, with around five hours of sunshine per day to soak up.

That means the ideal temperature for wandering Malaga’s historic streets and even hitting the beach (though the sea temperature, at 61°F, isn’t that warm).

Camini del Rey in Malaga - Warm Places to Visit in Europe in January

Suggested hotels in Malaga

Parador de Málaga Gibralfaro – Located next door to Castillo de Gibralfaro, this four-star hotel is the ideal spot for your winter city break in Malaga. Guests can make full use of the swimming pool, rooftop sun terrace, and the onsite restaurant, which serves up fresh seafood among other delights.

Vincci Seleccion Posada del Patio – Feel like staying in luxury? Then take note of this place. Like something from the pages of a design magazine, Vincci Seleccion Posada del Patio is superbly chic. As well as a selection of high-end amenities, the hotel incredibly boasts its very own ancient ruins too!

Things to do in Malaga in winter:

  • Have a beach day minus the crowds
  • See the Catedral de la Encarnación de Málaga
  • Hike the Caminito del Rey
  • Discover history at the 10th-century Castillo de Gibralfaro
  • Explore the Alcazaba of Malaga

9. Marbella, Spain

Marbella Spain - Warmest Places to Visit in Europe in January

The hottest places in Europe in January also include Marbella, though I wouldn’t necessarily call it “hot”. The average temperature (52°F) is relatively cool for Marbella, which sees summer temperatures of around 75°F (though it gets much hotter).

That said, it’s a good option for some winter sun. It’s not snowing, it’s not freezing, and there are about six hours of sunshine per day to lap up — not to mention hardly any rain.

So if all you want to do is simply rock up, find somewhere you can sun yourself on a private terrace, eat in some good restaurants, and generally bask in temperatures warmer than back home, Marbella is a safe bet!

Marvbella - Hot Places to Visit in Europe in January

Where to stay in Marbella

While Marbella itself is nice, it’s also worth having a look at the accommodation in Puerto Banus. Set just to the southwest of town, this small village grew up as a resort in the 1970s and has since blossomed into a high-end getaway destination.

Suggested hotels in Marbella

Occidental Puerto Banus – The chic vibe of this hotel wows from the moment you arrive. Think designer furnishings, sleek guest rooms — each one with a private terrace or balcony — and a gorgeous garden setting.

Hotel Lima – Elsewhere, in Marbella city center, you’ll find Hotel Lima. This place is all about its blissful roof terrace, while guest rooms are well-appointed and the ideal place to chill after a day of exploring.

Things to do in Marbella in winter:

  • Witness the crowds gathering for Epiphany (6th January)
  • Go shopping along Avenida de Ricardo Soriano
  • People-watch in Plaza de Naranja
  • Explore the historic Marbella Old Town
  • Have a beach day (if it’s warm enough!)

10. Rhodes, Greece

Outside of the Acropolis at Lindos Rhodes
Outside of the Acropolis at Lindos Rhodes

With temperatures ranging from 50°F to 59°F this time of year, Rhodes isn’t exactly the hottest place in Europe in January. That said, it’s definitely mild and still beats a cold, cloudy winter in London or Paris.

Even the nights aren’t super cold, with temperatures falling to around 54°F on average.

This time of year, there are around 4 hours of sunshine per day in Rhodes, with an average of 10 days over the month expecting rainfall. A waterproof jacket may be needed when you’re out exploring the island!

As you enter the hospital of the knights Rhodes
As you enter the hospital of the knights Rhodes

Where to stay in Rhodes

Rhodes Town is the place I’d recommend staying in Rhodes. This is where the main port is, and is also not too far from the airport. Plus is where most of the major attractions are.

Suggested hotels in Rhodes Town

Best Western Plus Hotel Plaza – With rooms boasting either Old Town or sea views, this hotel also features a great central location (ideal for sightseeing). It also has a pool, sauna, and sun terrace for all your chilled-out vacation needs.

Rhodos Horizon City – This modern, 4-star hotel offering is the ideal spot to relax on a winter break in Rhodes. Start the day with a hearty breakfast, play a game of table tennis, or just admire those sea views.

Things to do in Rhodes in winter:

  • See a medieval castle at the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes
  • Marvel at the Lindos Acropolis
  • Discover ancient history at Mandraki Marina & Port
  • Hit up Tsambika Beach (deserted in winter!)
  • Simply wander Rhodes Old Town

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