Grey skies getting you down? Pack your shades and escape to sunnier shores – these 10 cities are just what the doctor ordered…
Topping our list of sun-drenched cities is the Maltese capital, Valetta. While you’re there, don’t miss out on the beautiful Baroque architecture and stunning natural attractions such as The Blue Lagoon.
Hours of sunshine per year: 2,957
Flights to Malta
With its fiery flamenco, mouth-watering tapas bars and orange-laden trees, sizzling Seville provides the perfect pick-me-up at any time of the year. To experience the city’s traditional culture at its best, visit in spring for the annual Semana Santa processions (week before Easter) and the colourful Feria de Abril festival (two weeks after Semana Santa).
Hours of sunshine per year: 2898
Flights to Seville
France’s second city may lack the sparkle and polish of the French Riviera, but this Mediterranean gem is filled with enough sunny beaches and interesting restaurants and bars to banish the blues whatever time of year you visit.
Hours of sunshine per year: 2858
Flights to Marseille
Located on Spain’s busy Costa Blanca, Alicante has long been the destination of choice for sun-starved Europeans. And rightly so. This Mediterranean city is home to all the sandy beaches, seafront promenades and non-stop nightlife you could want from a sunshine getaway. Visit in June for the famous Las Hogueras de San Juan festival or fly in for Carnival in February or March when spectacular parades take over the streets.
Hours of sunshine per year: 2864
Flights to Alicante
Wave bye-bye to miserable weather at home, party-loving Lisbon has turned up the heat, the volume and the sunshine – all that’s left for you to do is turn that frown upside down.
Hours of sunshine per year: 2799
Flights to Lisbon
Get your fix of vitamin D while you cross the city’s ancient wonders off your bucket list. To get a real sense of the Greek capital, explore the city by foot.
Hours of sunshine per year: 2771
Flights to Athens
Madrid’s mild climate and sunny disposition makes it a sight for sore eyes, winter, spring, summer or autumn. Kick back with a coffee on the light-filled plazas, stroll the beautiful El Retiro Park and when culture calls, wander indoors to see colourful masterpieces by Picasso, Miro and Dali in the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia.
Hours of sunshine per year: 2769
Flights to Athens
Nice has been pulling in sun-seekers for centuries. With a location on the turquoise shores of the Bay of Angels, it’s easy to see why. Soak up some rays on the palm-fringed Promenade des Anglais, explore the picturesque streets of the Old Town and whatever you do, don’t leave without treating yourself to an ice-cream at the famous Fenochio Glacier.
Hours of sunshine per year: 2724
Flights to Nice
Beautiful beaches, spectacular architecture and sunshine on tap…Valencia is a city that appears to have it all. Cameras at the ready for the magnificent futuristic buildings of the City of Arts and Sciences and the equally stunning Oceanogràfic aquarium. When it comes to eating out, the home of paella certainly doesn’t disappoint.
Hours of sunshine per year: 2660
Flights to Valencia
Bright, bold and buzzing, Barcelona is a feast for the senses. The beachside city’s mix of bohemian charm, eclectic nightlife and surreal Gaudi-designed buildings will have a smile on your face in no time.
Hours of sunshine per year: 2524
- Fiona Hilliard