Stave off winter blues and see out the year on a high with our round-up of Europe’s best destinations for November and December.
Tenerife: Tenerife is one of Europe’s most reliable destinations for winter sun, with the island enjoying average November temperatures of 20C. As the largest island of the archipelago, you’ll find an excellent choice of accommodation in the resorts of the Costa Adeje and Playa de las Americas. And the sun-drenched fun doesn’t end there. There’s plenty of action and adventure to be found in the challenging hiking trails of the beautiful Mount Teide Natural Park.
Marrakech: Set on the edge of the Sahara, with its mix of colourful souks, palatial riads and exotic flavours, Marrakech is about as far away from a chilly November at home as you can imagine. For a city break and beach holiday rolled into one, spend a few days in Marrakech before soaking up the sunshine and laid-back surf vibes of nearby towns such as Taghazoute, Tamraght or Essaouira.
Athens: Leave winter woolies at home and look forward to a warm weekend getaway in beautiful Athens. Lively cafés and quirky rooftop bars await in the trendy neighbourhoods of Monastiraki and Psirri, while mild weather means you can comfortably explore the iconic sites of the Acropolis and the Parthenon.
Gran Canaria: The island has waved adiós to sizzling summer highs, but Gran Canaria is still looking infinitely more inviting than home, with temperatures hovering around the 21C mark and accommodation rates much cheaper than at peak season. And with fewer crowds, you’ll have the pick of the sun loungers on the beautiful beaches of Maspalomas. Happy days.
Amsterdam: It’s jingle all the way in Amsterdam, when Saint Nicholas drops into town on November 15th. Forget Rudolph and Co., this Santa Claus makes his grand entrance by ship before trotting through the streets of the city on a white horse. Every year around 400,000 people turn out to catch a glimpse of the big man and grab a share of the special cookies and sweets, thrown by his army of 600 helpers.
Oslo: Jet into the Norwegian capital, then plot an adventure to Svalbard, Hammerfest or the Lofoten Islands – these are generally considered the best spots to catch a glimpse of the beautiful, but elusive Northern Lights. With Norway’s trains, boats, good roads and small airports on your side, you’ve every chance of crossing the Aurora Borealis off your bucket list.
Prague: Wrap up warm, grab a cup of mulled wine and check out the spectacular Christmas tree on the Old Town Square and the festive log cabins selling Christmas tree decorations, wooden toys and local crafts. Don’t forget your camera. The Czech capital’s Christmas market is nothing short of picture-perfect.
Fuerteventura: With a location just over 100km off the coast of North Africa, Fuerteventura is the closest of the Canary Islands to Africa. On average you can expect highs of 24C in November. Catch some waves in Corralejo, take a hike up one of the volcanoes or just kick back in the sunshine and forget about December’s chilly weather at home.
Cervinia, Italy: Shoop. Shoop. The mountains are calling. Fly to Turin or Milan Bergamo and hit the slopes of Cervinia on the southern side of the Matterhorn. Here you’ll find some of the best early snow in Europe, with 10 separate ski runs and plenty of alternative winter fun including ice karting, air-boarding and snow-scootering.
Berlin: Start the new year as you mean to go on – Berlin is home to some of the best New Year’s Eve celebrations in all of Europe. Around a million locals and visitors pack into its Party Mile every year, a dedicated route filled with music, fireworks and open-air celebrations.
- Fiona Hilliard