“Cover me in sunshine, shower me with good times.”
Did you know that there’s a city in Norway called Tromsø that doesn’t see any sun from November 27-January 14? During the Polar Night, the sun doesn’t rise for weeks. On the flip side, in summers, the sun doesn’t set for a month in the city. We have just one sun, but destinations are blessed with sunshine differently—some with more sunny days than the rest. So this summer, if you want to bring back a tan from your trip, fly off to these sunniest cities in Europe. Hint: Spain is a sunshine country with six cities in the top 10!
This study is conducted by a search engine for rentals, Holidu, using data from World Weather Online. The methodology used is explained as, “This ranking was made by extracting the average number of sun hours per month in each city for the years 2009 to 2021. In total, the 300 most populated cities in Europe were analyzed. With this data from World Weather Online, we then calculated the average number of sun hours per month using the average from each month of the year.”
Don’t forget your sunscreen!
Top Picks for You
Located on the Costa Blanca in Spain’s southeast, the coastal city of Alicante is the sunniest of ’em all! It gets 349 hours of sun every month, so your trip will be bright and shiny. Whether you want to pencil in tee time on the golf course, sunbathe on the beach, or watch the magnificent coastline from the walls of the Santa Barbara fortress, the sun will be a fixture on your trip. And after dark, the party starts—Alicante’s deserves a big mention.
A very close second is the Italian city of Catania, on the east coast of Sicily, with 347 monthly hours of sun. Catania is situated on the foothills of an active volcano, Mount Etna, which is the highest active volcano in Europe. If you’re feeling adventurous, go on a walking tour of this volcano. There are historic buildings and monuments (the city’s central piazza is a UNESCO World Heritage Site) that will delight travelers, but the ancient city also has a modern vibe with its upbeat restaurants and trendy boutiques. Want to soak up the sun? The golden sandy La Playa beach is your best bet.
With an average of 346 hours of sun per month, Murcia on the Costa Cálida also serves a holiday sunny side up. It has a variety of beaches and along with sunbathing, you can also enjoy water sports here. The old town is fascinating with historic architecture and the city has an excellent dining scene, thanks to all the local produce and wines.
The birthplace of Pablo Picasso is a tourist favorite for many reasons. Málaga sits on the southern coast of Spain, on the Costa del Sol, and enjoys 345 hours of sun every month. The city is known for its beaches, art and museums, and beautiful weather, so it’s worth a note on your Europe travel bucket list.
The harbor city of Messina in the north of Sicily’s Ionian Coast was leveled by an earthquake in 1908. Revived after a devastating disaster, it is a bustling port with a pleasant climate and laidback culture. The regional museum and the Messina Cathedral are the two highlights of the city. And of course, its gorgeous coastline begets stunning beaches, which is where you should head after a city tour to get a few hours of sunshine—it gets plenty every month with 345 average hours.
The third-largest city in Spain, Valencia dances to its own tunes. Futuristic buildings, market gardens, colorful Las Fallas festival, electric nightlife, and tempting paella offer so much excitement to any visit. With 343 hours of sun every month and beaches to enjoy the days with an orange juice-based cocktail, it’s a city that has a lot to recommend itself.
The only non-Italian, non-Spanish city on this list is Nice. The French destination comes seventh with 342 hours of sun every month. The Promenade des Anglais, a seaside promenade in Nice, is a major attraction and is dotted with parks, beaches, restaurants, museums, and hotels along the stretch. This should be the first bullet point on your list when you decide to visit.
Las Palmas is the capital of Gran Canaria island, part of Spain’s Canary Islands—an archipelago off northwest Africa. It’s yet another Spanish city that is bestowed with the gift of the sun—341 hours of sun per month. To soak it all up, head to the Playa de las Canteras beach, which is perfect for a casual swim whenever the mood strikes. The long beach has a barrier reef and pleasant waters, and the promenade is filled with restaurants and cafes to replenish you after a dip.
Also with 341 hours of monthly sun is Granada, a city in the Andalusian region at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s a city full of culture; Arabic and Catholic influences are everywhere. The medieval Moorish architecture of the Albaicín district is a reminder of its past and thus, has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
And with 340 hours of sun every month, the 10th city on this list is Palermo. This Italian city is the third Sicilian destination to be featured on this list. So, if Italy is on the cards for you, the Mediterranean island sounds inviting with all its sunny cities. Palermo is the largest city here, with many historic buildings and Italy’s largest opera house and amazing street food, and ancient markets.