When the cold, harsh climes of winter begin to fall on the Northern Hemisphere, we all wish that we could get away and stay away until springtime. Fortunately for us, there are plenty of places where the terrible chill of winter can be avoided while having fun and engaging in a vibrant local atmosphere. Some of the best places to relax in the world during winter can be found along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, where sun-kissed days are virtually never a rarity. Throughout my travels, I have sought some of the best places to escape the freezing winter of the North and am ready to share them with you.
Situated at the tip of southern Portugal, the Algarve is a well-known yet docile area that consistently remains warmer than the rest of Europe and offers a variety of great eats and scenic views. Bird watchers love spending time in the open fields and marshes, examining all the different types of avian creatures that dot the landscape. The very best shellfish in the world can be found in the Algarve and enjoyed outdoors year-round, regardless of how cold it may be back home. Many golfers love the Algarve for its wide range of courses offered and those who enjoy the water will love the clear, open ocean.
This area is a well-known favorite of European travelers seeking to beat the snowy, dreary winter that rears its head every year. Located on the northeastern coast of Spain, the main hub of activity can be found around the resort town of Lloret de Mar. With old towns, museums and ruins of civilizations gone by, there is plenty to explore and see while along the coast. The beaches offer a break from the frigid environments many are used to and the water sports arenas and botanical gardens help you relax and feel at home with nature again.
One of the most picturesque Greek islands known to outsiders, Santorini retains its natural charm through friendly people, ancient buildings and most important of all: a warm climate. Fine dining, art shows, locally-crafted jewelry, yachting and diving are just a few of the activities available on this gem in the Mediterranean. The water is warm and inviting year-round and the best part about the island may be its rugged, volcanic cliffs and beaches. There are several microcosms on the island to explore and you will be amazed at how “lost” you become in the environment when exploring this small island.
If you are emerging from the farthest latitudes, winter may be relative to you. Sochi is a resort town located at the southern tip of Russia on the Black Sea and offers the most hardy people in the world with the opportunity to escape the harshest winters. Winter sports are still available but the climate rarely drops below freezing the valleys in the winter, giving you the opportunity to enjoy all that this winter resort town has to offer without freezing into oblivion. Whether you want to ski or lounge around the natural hot springs in the area, Sochi has a winter adventure for you.
Photo courtesy of Mahatsorri