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As northern Europe plunges into a cold snap, you might be dreaming of brighter days ahead.
Devout sun worshippers may even be planning an Easter escape to warmer climes.
Weather can be unpredictable but some parts of the continent are more consistent than others.
To help you plan a fair weather holiday, we’ve sought out the sunniest cities in Europe.
Based on data from World Weather Online, holiday rental search engine Holidu analysed the weather of the 300 most populated cities in Europe from 2009 to 2021. These were the results.
Europe’s sunniest cities are in Spain and Italy
No surprise here: Europe’s sunniest cities are in Spain and Italy. These two countries dominate the top 30, with 12 cities from Spain and 11 from Italy making the list.
This ranking reflects the average number of sunny hours per month in each city, rather than comparing temperatures.
Taking a closer look at the top 10 sunniest cities, four of them are located in the south and southeast of Spain, and three are on Italy’s island of Sicily.
If you’re a fan of sunny weather, these are the regions for you. They are year-round travel destinations thanks to their mild climates.
1. Alicante, Spain: For a daily dose of vitamin C
Located on Spain’s southeast coast, Alicante has the highest number of sunny hours in Europe.
With an average of 349 hours of sunshine per month (an average month has 730 hours in total, including nighttimes), it’s a dream destination for sun lovers. Roughly half of the day, every day, is sunny in Alicante.
The Costa Blanca coastline has wonderful beaches for water sports. When the sun goes down, the colourful old town of Barrio Santa Cruz will keep you entertained with narrow streets, museums, restaurants and lively nightlife.
2. Catania, Italy: For sun, sand and Sicilian street food
Catania, on the eastern coast of Sicily, enjoys an average of 347 hours of sun per month.
The baroque ‘old town’ of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, bringing rich history and culture in addition to its sun.
Besides the stunning beaches, you can also enjoy delicious Sicilian street food like arancini and cannoli.
3. Murcia, Spain: For a sunny escape from Madrid
With an average of 346 hours of sun per month, mild winters and long summers, Murcia offers warm waters year-round on the southeastern coast of Spain.
The university city recently welcomed a high-speed train connection with Madrid.
Further south, the coastal district of Costa Cálida has long beaches that are perfect for swimming and water sports.
4. Malaga, Spain: For art and sunbathing
The port city of Malaga on Spain’s southern coast has an average of 345 hours of sun per month.
The city offers a wide variety of hotels and resorts for visitors seeking sandy beaches.
Malaga is also the birthplace of Spanish painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso – don’t miss the Picasso Museum on your visit.
5. Messina, Italy: For beaches along two coastlines
Messina, in northeastern Sicily, has an average of 345 hours of sun per month.
This harbour city is a popular destination for cruise ships. It offers long stretches of beautiful coastline dotted with beaches and historical sites.
6. Valencia, Spain: For paella and parties
With an average of 343 hours of sun per month, Valencia is the sixth sunniest city in Europe.
The city offers amazing beaches with sand dunes and opportunities for water sports.
It is also the birthplace of paella, the iconic Spanish seafood dish. Be sure to try it with an Agua de Valencia, a famous cocktail made from a base of champagne or cava mixed with orange juice, vodka and gin.
7. Nice, France: For promenading along the seafront
France enters the list of sunny destinations with Nice, which enjoys an average of 342 hours of sun per month.
Located in the French Riviera, Nice offers sandy beaches along with top-class restaurants. It is also a city famous for its culture and architecture.
8. Las Palmas, Spain: For urban beaches
Located on Spain’s Canary Islands, just off the northwest coast of Africa, Las Palmas is a popular travel destination – and for good reason.
With an average of 341 hours of sun per month, the year-round pleasant weather continues attracting visitors during the off-peak months.
Even in October and November, the average temperature in Las Palmas is 21 degrees.
9. Granada, Spain: For sun-drenched architecture
Spain’s Granada is home to the impressive Alhambra Palace. With an average of 341 hours of sun per month, the Andalusian city attracts visitors through the whole year.
A multitude of cultures intersect here and are beautifully reflected in both the architecture and in the city’s day-to-day life.
10. Palermo, Italy: For a taste of history
Italy has three cities in the top 10 and they are all on the island of Sicily.
With an average of 340 hours of sun per month, Palermo is a perfect destination for sun-seekers and culture enthusiasts.
The city offers authentic Sicilian street food, Italy’s largest opera house and many other historic buildings that are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Prefer cold weather? These are the snowiest cities in Europe
For most people, sunshine and holidays go hand in hand – but not everyone loves to roast on a beach.
If you prefer to wrap up warm and explore wintry landscapes, this section is for you.
While the sunniest cities are heavily clustered in Spain and Italy, the snowiest cities are spread out across more countries.
This ranking is based on the average number of snowy days per month from December to March between 2009 and 2021.
There are a dozen major cities with an average of more than 15 snowy days each month from December to March.
Fans of winter sports, take note: Estonia’s capital Tallinn is the snowiest city in Europe with an average of 20.5 days of snow per month.
Lithuania’s Vilnius has an average of 18.5 days of snow per month, and Germany’s Erfurt ranks third with 17.3 days. These cities are followed by Finland’s Turku (16.8 days) and Helsinki (16.5 days).
Some of the other snowiest cities in Europe are Kyiv (Ukraine, 16 days), Kaunas (Lithuania, 16 days), Grenoble (France, 15.5 days), Riga (Latvia, 15.5 days) and Innsbruck (Austria, 15.5 days).
However, with a repeat of last summer’s heatwaves on the cards, you may want to check ahead before booking your trip.
Where are the rainiest cities in Europe?
Enjoy dancing in the rain? Book a trip to one of Europe’s rainiest cities.
The UK and rain are practically synonymous, and the data supports this – 12 of the top 30 rainiest cities in Europe are located in the UK. You’ll certainly want to keep this in mind while planning your holiday activities.
But what exactly does ‘rainiest’ mean? Holidu analysed the 300 most populated cities in Europe based on data from World Weather Online from 2009 to 2022.
The average number of rainy days per month and the average amount of daily rainfall per month were combined to determine the results.
Bergen in Norway is the rainiest city in Europe with the highest average number of rainy days per month (12.7) and daily amount of rainfall (8.8 mm).
The UK’s Sunderland and Glasgow both average 11 rainy days per month, and Romania’s Brasov and Germany’s Augsburg follow.
The UK’s other rainy cities in the top 30 list include Belfast, Swansea, Stockport, Manchester, Liverpool, Plymouth, Wigan, Derby, Edinburgh and Wakefield.
Italy and Spain are the homes of the sunniest cities in Europe, but they also have three and two of the rainiest cities, respectively, including Milan, Vigo and A Coruna.