Looking for a non-urban affordable weekend in Europe for this winter? Here is a list of 7 green destinations to make you like winter again!
Winter begins to be roughly felt, shorter days, rain and bad weather! So here we wanted to create a list of 7 eco-friendly destinations, 7 cheap weekends in Europe for small and medium budgets in order to escape from the gray monotony of winter. Ideal for a few days, these destinations will allow you a break from the traditional city dwellers weekend.
Gozo and Malta
Malta in the winter time is obviously less exotic to explore than in the summer when you can enjoy its beach life. No seaside tourism during this time of the year except maybe for the more courageous types (or the crazier kind). However this island has a very mild climate during winter (temperatures between 10 and 20 degrees C) and for a weekend of 3-4 days it’s actually rather perfect. You could stay in La Vallette and pursue cultural tourism while enjoying the island’s mesmerizing landscapes. La Vallette is a very pretty, lively town that has a very rich history represented through its prehistoric temples and baroque churches as well as through its magnificent palaces. You will definitely not get bored here. Moreover you can visit Gozo, a natural wonder protected by UNESCO. Prices will be much more affordable than during high season.
The price of a weekend flight ticket from London? 68£ or 83$ (2h30)
We simply adore the Canary Islands – they have a particular significance for us since it is at the top of Mount Teide at sunrise that I asked Denis to marry me! And that happened in November! Just like Malta, the Canaries enjoy a mild climate and significantly less tourists! Moreover, these islands have become inexpensive destinations and you can easily have a 3-4 day getaway with direct flights from several European cities. Within 4 hours you will find yourselves in the midst of magnificent scenery with gorgeous coastlines and nature oriented activities, enjoying temperatures from 15 to 25 degrees depending on the island. In Palma you will be able to gaze at the stars under the 3rd clearest sky in the world. In Gomera you can visit the most beautiful national park in the Canaries – the Garajonay, in Tenerife you can go to the top of the Mount Teide that’s resting nicely above the clouds…in short, you are spoilt for choice.
The price of a weekend ticket to Tenerife from London? 72£ or 83$ (4h30)
Paphos in Cyprus
Another island where the climate is mild. Warm temperatures and attractive prices can be found here as it is low season! And if you go to Cyprus, go through the region of Paphos that is considered to be the birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite. This area strongly promotes responsible tourism and a wide range of activities besides the seaside ones such as wine tasting, hiking, bird watching…It’s definitely a destination to check out, enjoy its magnificent landscapes and the reduced number of tourists. It’s also the perfect time in the year to negotiate tour prices.
The price of a weekend flight from London: 188£ / 232$ approximately for Nicosia or Larnaca (4h)
Algarve in Portugal
Portugal is one of those countries that we only dream about during high season – the sun, its beaches…Yet there are so many things to do in the South of the country where temperatures are mild during winter time. Especially in the Alentejo region, if you want to take advantage of all nature has to offer. Go through the Algarve region, an absolutely incredible and little known area whose seaside city, the lovely Lagos, will truly awaken your senses. In addition, the whole region has earned the title of green and eco-responsible destination this year. Another city, Faro, the capital of the region, will surprise you.
Price of a weekend flight to Faro: 44£ / 54$ euros (2h45)
West of Iceland
Pretty much everybody has a friend or a colleague who has been to Iceland this year as the island has become one of the flagship destinations of 2016. Even Justin Bieber has filmed a video on site. However, many will have been disappointed by the touristic influx and the inflated prices during high season. That’s why we are recommending you to go there during winter time. We traveled to Iceland in March. It was cold but the sky was clear and we were able to dive at Silfra, visit Thingvellir of course, although upon further reflection I would have liked to visit the West, specifically the Snæfellsjökull region or even more so Borgarfjörður. During winter you will have better chances to get into the Blue Lagoon for example or to enjoy nature without all the selfie taking tourists. Also, the optimal season to observe the Northern Lights is winter.
Ticket from London: 210 £ / 260 $ (flight time: 3h35)
Lapland in Finland
Are you amateurs of sky and of beautiful snow? Or do you simply wish to meet Santa? Go take a tour in Finland and Lapland – the snow is breathtaking and you will have the chance to observe the Northern Lights! In the northernmost region of Finland you will find yourselves above the Arctic Circle and you will experience a true “polar night” which is called in Finnish “kaamos”. And you can also take advantage of a polar bath! Which is of course excellent to get your blood flowing! The only general advice to take into account? Dress very warmly! Temperatures vary between -30 and 0 degrees! There are no direct flights from Paris to the capital of the Finnish Lapland, but there is a possibility to go by plane, train and bus from Helsinki or even reserve a 3 day tour to Lapland with a tour operator.
Price of a Weekend ticket to Helsinki: 164£ / 202 $ 3h)
Ljubljana in Slovenia
Ljubljana was declared the European green capital of the year. The work being done to protect its resources, develop sustainable tourism and limit greenhouse gas emissions has truly paid off. Moreover, since Slovenia is a relatively small country, you can easily do a lot of different things during a weekend such as culinary tours and wine tasting, hikes towards Saint Catherine Church, discover incredible caves, visit fairytale-like castles, take a cruise on the Bled Lake!
The price of a Weekend ticket from London: 132£ / 163$ (2h flight)
Translation & Copy Editing by Liana Marinoiu