Island Breaks For Winter Sun

With summer well and truly behind us, many of us will already be missing the feeling of sun on our skin and sand between our toes. Sigh.

You don’t need to wait until summer to get your fix of sun, sea and sand. Now that the world’s starting to open up again, there are destinations across Europe that are welcoming British tourists with open arms.

From the Mediterranean paradise of Greece’s sparkling shores to the sun-drenched Canaries, here are some of the best islands to escape to this winter.

The Canary Islands, Spain

If you’re searching for guaranteed winter sun close to home, the Canary Islands should be on your radar. Lanzarote, Tenerife, Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria are the archipelago’s most popular islands, but the tiny isles of La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro are also full of charm.

Although it has a selection of pristine, white and black-sand beaches, Lanzarote is so much more than a beach holiday. The island’s otherworldly landscape is signposted with walking and cycling trails to guide the more adventurous visitor. Alternatively, head to Timanfaya National Park and feel the heat of the island’s most famous volcano.

Just a few miles south of here lies Fuerteventura, the archipelago’s second largest island. Like Lanzarote, the island is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and has some of the biggest and best beaches in the Canaries.

The Balearic Islands, Spain

Made up of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera, Spain’s Balearic Islands are synonymous with sun, sea and sand. In the winter months you can still expect averages of around 14-16°C and plenty of sunshine.

Mallorca is by far the largest of the four, and also the most popular. With its postcard-worthy beaches washed by turquoise sea and strewn with hidden coves, it’s easy to see why! Its capital and historical heart, Palma, is worth a visit; filled with markets, pretty churches and galleries, it’s also known for its up-and-coming drinking and dining scene.

Menorca, Mallorca’s teeny neighbour, is perfect if you’re looking to escape the crowds. Its beaches are some of the loveliest in the Mediterranean and the beautiful green countryside makes it perfect for cool afternoon strolls in the sunshine.

The Greek Islands, Greece

A cocktail of history, sun-bleached beaches and aquamarine shores, Greece’s islands are nothing short of paradise. From the gorgeous, whitewashed houses of Santorini to Corfu’s historic remains, there’s a Greek Island for everyone.

Summer can be busy in Greece but you can expect a quieter vibe in the winter. Bars and restaurants will still be lively on the more popular islands, but you’ll have more personal space to explore safely and at your own pace.

With over 200 islands to choose from, you’re spoilt for choice. Santorini is one of the most popular, thanks to its spectacular scenery and glamorous hotels. Then there’s Crete with its tapestry of ancient treasures, dreamy villages and splendid beaches. Crete also has some of the warmest temperatures during the winter months due to its southerly position.