With flowers starting to blossom, days getting longer, and the weather in general improving across parts of Southern Europe, you may be wondering whether now is the time to start planning your next Transatlantic trip.

The short answer is YES!

Europe should be placed at the top of your bucket list right now: not only are temperatures higher, and in the ever-warmer south, the risk of precipitation is much lower, but touristy cities feel quieter, and prices can be a lot cheaper, too.

But where will you find the summery vibes you’re looking for, minus the associated heat exhaustion and surging July crowds?

Thanks to Holidu, which gathered data from World Weather Online, now we know the 7 sunniest cities in Europe you could visit this upcoming season:

Nice, France

Promenade In Nice, France, Southern Europe

Nice is the capital of France’s aptly-titled Côte d’Azur, a stretch of coast that is as beautiful as it sounds, with its pastel-tone villages and turquoise-colored waters, and the seventh sunniest city in Europe, with an average 342 hours of sunshine every month.

The UNESCO-listed Old Town Nice is particularly beautiful, with its endless rows of yellow-washed, narrow buildings lining narrow alleyways and Italian-inspired architecture.

The best thing is that you can remove all those extra winter layers: it’s now a pleasant 62 degrees Fahrenheit outside.

Valencia, Spain

aerial view of the old city walls and towers in valencia spain

One of the largest coastal cities in Spain, Valencia has a History spanning at least two millennia, from its founding as a Roman colony in 138 BC to the prominent role it played during the Age of Discovery when it flourished as an economic and cultural hub.

It is best known for being the birthplace of the popular paella, its perfectly-preserved Old Town, dating back to the medieval period, and of course, the amazing weather: irrespective of season, temperatures rarely drop below 68°F, and the sun always seems to be at peak.

Messina, Italy

Aerial View Of Messina, Sicily, Italy, Southern Europe

A lesser known port in Sicily, Italy’s largest and warmest island, Messina boasts a notoriously high concentration of historical landmarks, from the 12th century cathedral, to the monumental Forte del Santissimo Salvatore, to the Messina Astronomical Clock, one of the largest ever built.

Other than its fascinating regional museums, chronicling life in ancient Messina, lively harbor hosting ferries from the mainland, and charming piazzetas with ornate fountains, Messina is the fifth sunniest city in Europe, enjoying 345 hours of sunshine per month, on average.

Malaga, Spain

Ancient Roman Theater In Malaga, An Ancient Historical City On The Mediterranean Coast Of Andalusia, Spain

The second Spanish entry on the list, vibrant Malaga is one of the cultural centers of Andalusia, an autonomous province in Spain heavily influenced by North Africa, and its warmest Mediterranean metropolis, with an average temperature of 68 degrees.

The local ‘Malagueta’ beach is buzzing with beach bums year-round, being outside in shorts is possible whether it’s summer or winter, and the sprawling Centro Histórico, overlooked by a towering Muslim fortress, always has that soft, sun-kissed, ocher-colored glow.

Murcia, Spain

The Spit Of La Manga In The Murcia Region Of Southern Spain, Iberian Europe

Spain is truly Europe’s leading sunny destination, and Murcia is further proof of that: with around 346 hours of sunshine per month, a median temperature of 68 degrees, helped by mild winters and scalding hot summers, it is your go-to beach holiday this spring.

The sands on the beaches are a lovely golden color, and the water in this section of the Mediterranean is crystal clear, giving off tropical vibes even though it’s springtime in the Northern Hemisphere. For the culture buff, Murcia offers a nearly intact Roman theater, art museums, and stately Baroque architecture.

Catania, Italy

View of Militello in Val di Catania with Mount Etna in the background

Back to Sicily, Catania is yet another Baroque gem made popular by its offspring of artists and tall domes. It is the city that launched Renaissance painter Vincenzo Bellini and acclaimed composer Giovanni Pacini, and it’s one of the island’s most cosmopolitan and warmest cities.

Getting lost in the cobbled lanes of Via Crociferi or relaxing at a pristine Catania Beach, bounded by the azure Med, you are unlikely to feel that spring chill or see dark clouds forming overhead, as the East Coast of Sicily is blessed with 347 hours of sunshine monthly.

Alicante, Spain

Panoramic View Of Alicante, Province Of Valencia, Southern Spain, Southern Europe

Unsurprisingly, Spain takes the crown this time, or more specifically, the trendy coastal town of Alicante, characterized by modern high-rises, an elongated boardwalk lined by tall palm trees, and a more youthful atmosphere compared to other expat retirement spots on the coast.

The coldest it gets in Alicante in spring is a pleasant 66 degrees, and with its varied selection of seafood restaurants, student-frequented beach clubs, quirky tapa bars, and sun-drenched sands, it’s easy to see how it would attract partygoers and beach bums alike.

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