Winter sun hotels in Europe offer a welcome respite from the end-of-year chill, with temperatures along the Mediterranean hovering in the mid teens for much of the season. Whether you’re taking a cooling dip in the rooftop pool of a 5-star resort, heating up a romantic break with a hot-stone massage, or strolling through rustic vineyards and evergreen olive groves, you’ll find the region’s balmier climes offer experiences you don’t get at home. From chic hotels overlooking Malta’s Valletta Harbour to charming establishments on Cyprus’ volcanic coast or among Sicily’s rolling hills, here are some of our favourite winter sun hotels in southern Europe.
Heat up the festive season with winter sun hotels in Europe
Want to escape the bad weather? Enjoy the mediterranean temperatures in one of these exotic winter sun hotels.
Winter sun hotel in Europe: embrace tropical life in Cyprus
Featuring gardens bursting with tropical trees and glittering lagoons that reflect the Cypriot sun, the Olympic Lagoon Resort Paphos makes the most of its seaside location. Picture opulent yachts lining the nearby marina (Paphos Port is a 2km stroll away) for an idea of this 5-star resort’s luxury. Inside, tiled floors and a light palette lend rooms a fresh feel, while en-suite bathrooms feature upscale rain showers, large tubs and a sound system. There’s also a separate, adults-only wing for a truly peaceful retreat.
This hotel offers five themed pools to make every day a new experience. The interior Serenity pool glitters with blue and gold lights – a mesmerising effect that soothes and relaxes. Visiting as a group? The adults-only Serenity Oasis has a swim-up bar and exclusive sunbeds, while the Mayan Temple, with rocky cliffs and twisting water slides, is ideal for family fun. The lush vegetation of your surroundings, characterised by palm trees and dense shrubbery, adds to the ambience and provides welcome shade.
Six restaurants take guests on a culinary world tour; relish a Malaysian green curry at the Seven Orchids Pan Asian Restaurant, step back in time with a classic hot dog at ’50s-style Rock N Roll American diner, or sample national delicacies at the Captain’s Deck Cypriot Tavern.
Winter sun hotel in Europe: leave kids behind with an adult-oriented stay in Spain
With its Turkish bath, sauna and petal-strewn treatment rooms, the Despacio Spa Centre at the H10 Ocean Suites is a romantic oasis. Let tensions vanish with a full-body massage, or nourish skin by opting for an anti-aging facial treatment. Post-therapy, stretch out on mosaic-patterned loungers in the reception area – the gentle lapping of the nearby swimming pool providing an ambient soundtrack to a well-deserved cool down.
Nespresso coffee machines are available in each room, so you can treat yourself to a morning pick-me-up on your terrace after a powerful rain shower. Allow the softly cascading waters to wash your cares away ahead of a day exploring nearby attractions such as the sand dunes in Corralejo Natural Park (just a 10 minute drive). If you’d prefer to stay near to the hotel’s amenities, the adjacent beach’s dazzling white sands are only steps away – just pick up a towel and head down.
Of course, you could simply soak up the Portuguese sun in the hotel’s ample grounds. Admire leafy palms and verdant succulents in the tropical gardens or challenge a loved one to a game of paddle tennis in the resort’s spacious court.
Winter sun hotel in Europe: savour international flavours in Tenerife
Relish the traditional taste of Spanish cuisine – including dishes like authentic Valencian paella – beneath the swaying palm trees at Europe Villa Cortés‘ La Sirena restaurant. No visit to Spain would be complete without sampling this tantalising medley of beans, rice, meat, saffron and rosemary. Alternatively, tuck into fiery Mexican food at Pancho Villa. This Latin American-style taverna brings to your table classics like fish ceviche and tequila tacos. Alternatively, try Bavarian highlights, such as home-made apple strudel, at the Bräuhaus brewery.
Picture gold gilding around the mirrors, terracotta tiles beneath your feet and rich, wine-red bedding and you’ll have a clear image of the hotel’s hacienda-inspired guest rooms. The Hernán Cortés suite comes with two terraces and an outdoor Jacuzzi, so you can soak in the warm water and soak up panoramic sea views in total privacy. The Moctezuma Suite, meanwhile, has its own kitchen and dining room for guests who prefer the independence of self-catering.
The spa centre here features a Scottish shower, sauna, Jacuzzi and Turkish bath. There’s also a large pool – take a refreshing dip beneath its rippling waterfall then stroll over to the sea-facing solarium. Sit back and admire the glistening waves beyond, as the Spanish sun filters through the glass and gently caresses your skin.
Winter sun hotel in Europe: discover authentic Mediterranean style in Italy
Sitting on the natural rock formations that line Cefalù bay, the Le Calette Garden & Bay offers enchanting vistas across the glistening water and weather-beaten volcanic outcrops of the Sicilian coast. Clean white walls and time-honoured Mediterranean architectural features – think arches and tasteful French doors – lend the structure a spacious, open feeling. For an Italian winter break with an inviting ambience, look no further than this hotel with its family-run heritage.
For breakfast, eggs served how you like them are accompanied by a collection of freshly baked breads and seasonal fruits. Evening meals are taken in the lavish dining room, where the flickering flames of the silver candelabras create an intimate ambience. After dinner head back to your elegant room – décor here ranges from all-white minimalism to old-world tiled floors and icons on the wall.
The wellness centre overlooks rugged cliffs and lush vegetation, including thick, luxuriant yew trees. When you’ve completely relaxed, thanks to your facial, manicure or beauty treatment, soak in the balmy midday sun in the revitalising pool, which has a shallow section for younger kids. Sunbeds are provided here and the nearest beach is a convenient 100 metre walk away.
Winter sun hotel in Europe: experience Portugal's flower power
Originally a vineyard and banana grove, the Quinta da Casa Branca hotel continues to showcase Funchal’s staggering floral diversity, from the leafy camphor trees that accent the entrance to golden trumpets that line the gardens. Stroll beneath the orange-red bloom of African tulip trees, or sit in the shade of towering bamboo and soak in the majestic surroundings of these fragrant and colourful displays. From a garden-view room, the tantalising perfumes of the plants tempt you to make your way outside.
The rolling hills and fertile valleys of Funchal stretch out before you from the hotel’s glass-and-steel terrace, so take some time to bathe in the winter sun and admire your verdant surroundings. Sun loungers are available to spread out on if you want to bask in the rays, while shutters are installed outside your room to keep you cool as the midday sun sizzles. The shimmering white marble of your Deluxe Suite bathroom is an opulent touch, with his and hers sinks to give a home-away-from-home feeling.
Descend the polished steps to the dining area – which was once the estate’s manor house – and admire the crystal chandeliers that glitter from overhead. Dishes like pan-fried scallops and duck magret provide an ideal accompaniment to your opulent environment.
Winter sun hotel in Europe: sink into serenity at this 4-star Cyprus stay
Sip complimentary wine as you stroll through your spacious suite at the Mediterranean Beach hotel, admiring the parquet flooring and marble-top work area. Fragrant flowers and eye-catching contemporary artworks supply splashes of colour, while iPod docking stations and LCD TVs add 21st-century appeal. Guest rooms come with balconies and terraces for sitting out on – take some downtime here and be captivated by the imposing palms as they sway in the breeze.
The hotel’s on-site restaurant, Il Tinello – which means ‘traditional Italian dining room’ – has a menu that honours its title. Options here pay homage to the culinary delights of the Tuscany region, with dishes such as creamy mushroom risotto and wine-marinated veal wrapped in crispy prosciutto ham offering a scintillating taste of rustic Italian home cooking.
The hotel spa has an extensive selection of beauty treatments, which use Babor products designed to nourish and replenish your skin. Rehydrate with a hyaluronic facial, or feel the heat of warm volcanic stones penetrating your muscles and restoring the body’s natural balance. Seaside treatment spaces mean the glittering Mediterranean is your idyllic backdrop.
Winter sun hotel in Europe: explore the beauty of Portugal
Set winter temperatures to soaring with a spell in the hot tub at the Aqua Natura Madeira Hotel, or relax in the steamy surroundings of the wood-panelled sauna, allowing the heat to re-energise you after a day of exploring. Afterwards, bask in Portugal’s balmy winter climate by reclining in the glass-lined solarium, stretching out on a comfortable lounger with a cosmopolitan cocktail in your hand as the radiant sun warms your skin.
Whether it’s the fragrant aroma of fresh flowers greeting you as you step over the threshold, or the bold green bedspreads and curtains reflecting the verdant nature of the country itself, the Aqua Natura Madeira Hotel’s guest rooms offer a tantalising glimpse of Portugal’s finest natural assets. Lounge on your private balcony listening to the crashing waves of the Mediterranean, marvelling at the jagged basalt cliffs that line this sheltered archipelago.
The hotel’s staff are happy to organise activities in the area, so head off to the rocky volcanic outcroppings and sun-kissed beaches around Porto Moniz with a hiking or cycling excursion. If you’re more of water fan, opt for snorkelling or diving in the azure ocean, which teems with conger eels, groupers and bluefish.
Winter sun hotel in Europe: live the high life in Malta
Courvoisier cognac, vanilla liqueur, Kahlua and blackcurrant cordial – this tempting medley of flavours makes up Manny’s, the signature cocktail at the hotel’s Mokka lounge. This year-round bar at the Radisson Blu Malta Golden Sands proffers its designer drinks alongside a selection of classics: think Aperol spritz and martinis – the ideal aperitifs before you dine. You’ll find four restaurants here serving globally inspired cuisine, from pan-fried swordfish to mushroom risotto with truffle paste and local goat’s cheese.
The hotel boasts 144 Serene Collection rooms, as well as 164 suites under the Zenith portfolio. The latter come with kitchens if you prefer to create your own meals, as well as sweeping sea vistas and bathrooms adorned in stately marble and granite countertops. Warm wood accents and a soft colour palette of blues and creams create a homely ambience.
Myoka Sands Spa specialises in putting the mind, body and soul in balance, so indulge in a lavish treatment or two here. Let the mingling perfumes of jasmine, organic ylang-ylang and peppermint oils carry you away in an inner peace massage, or head to the steam-steeped Turkish bath for total rejuvenation. The fluid strokes of a Lomi Lomi massage will take you on a journey of relaxation, leaving you refreshed and ready for the Maltese adventures ahead.