Although I live in the Algarve, Portugal, and therefore am blessed with many days of sun throughout the year, there is still wintertime with more cloudy than sunny days showing up. Temperatures also drop to around 15 degrees celsius or less, which for me is very cold. So I’m always in search for places within short flight distance that have sunny warm weather in the winter.
This year I went for the first time to the Canary Islands and the island of Gran Canaria. The climate here is perfect, with mostly sunny days and temperatures around 24-27 degrees during the day time in December. I couldn’t ask for more from a destination that is just a 2-hour flight away from Lisbon. Gran Canaria island isn’t that big, but to get around, it’s a good idea to rent a car, which gives you more flexibility to discover some of the fantastic natural sights. High mountains, hiking trails, and cute villages.
The places I would personally recommend visiting are the capital of the island, Las Palmas, and it’s beach las Canteras. The old town of Vegueta has a lot of cute streets, beautiful churches, monuments, places to eat and nearby is the Poema del Mar aquarium, which is worth a visit if that is your kind of thing. I stayed in the Maspalomas area, which is in the south of the island, it seems like the weather here is best. Maspalomas itself is a small town with some excellent restaurants, bars, and shopping areas. Its highlight is the fantastic dunes and beach.
One of my favorite places I visited was the Barranco de las Vacas, which is a hiking trail that leads to a canyon, described as a small version of Antelope Canyon in the USA. I also loved visiting the many beaches on the island, which, even in December, were full of people due to the great year-round weather. From Maspalomas, it’s a short drive to Puerto de Mogan, which is a charming port town with whitewashed houses and gorgeous colorful flowers in its charming streets. Lots of great places to eat, too, while looking over the ocean and boats. If you are looking for a holiday destination from Europe for some winter sun, for sure the Canary Islands are a great choice!