Trekking the Pico Ruivo Circuit |  <i>Tali Emdin</i> cycling in the Alentejo region of Portugal Inside the iconic Alhambra |  <i>Kristina Hunt</i>
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Want to Enjoy a Crowd-free European Break?

11 Active winter sun holidays in Europe

Europe remains a firm favourite for British holidaymakers and not just during the summer months. Perhaps not always on top of people’s mind, but the continent offers fantastic opportunities for active winter sun holidays. From the Canary Islands to southern mainland Spain and Portugal, whether you are interested in cycling or walking holidays, you can travel to these European holiday destinations year-round.

So, if you want to beat the others and enjoy a crowd-free break, follow the suggestions below for an activity-based winter holiday in Europe this season.

The Portuguese Road: Porto to Santiago

Walking through vineyards on the Camino in Portugal The colourful buildings of Porto |  <i>Pat Rochon</i> The beautiful Capela Das Almas chapel near Porto train station |  <i>Pat Rochon</i>

Walk the Camino Portugues from Porto to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.

Puglia Guided Walk

At night the Sassi District of Matera feels like an ancient town |  <i>Kate Baker</i> Roof tops of Trulli houses in Alberobello |  <i>Kate Baker</i> The magnificent view of Santa Maria di Leuca |  <i>Kate Baker</i>

Discover Italy's historical "Gateway to the Orient" on this guided walk that takes you from Lecce to Matera.

Winter Walking in Cyprus

Seaview towards Ayios Yeoryios Island |  <i>John Millen</i> Agios Georgios Church near Sotira village Frescos at Panagia Tou Moutoulla |  <i>John Millen</i>

Enjoy on foot the best of Cyprus' stunning Akamas Peninsula during the cooler months.

Walking in the Canaries

A hiker walking through Benchijigua in Gomera Dusk at the mountain village of Chipude in La Gomera Ferry to La Gomera

Year round walking opportunities exploring the mountains and coasts of Spain's most exotic islands.

Granada and the Alpujarras

Walk through whitewashed villages in the Alpujarras |  <i>Erin Williams</i> View of the Alpujarras in Spain |  <i>Erin Williams</i> The Alhambra, Granada |  <i>Rachel Imber</i>

An exhilarating mountain walk through white-washed Moorish villages and with the snowy peaks of Sierra Nevada as a backdrop. Visit the spectacular Alhambra this winter.

Cycling in Sardinia

Santa Teresa di Gallura, Sardinia, Italy. |  <i>Iulia Skoda</i> Cycling in Sardinia Cagliari in Sardinia |  <i>Brad Atwal</i>

Cycle along the spectacular southwest coast of Sardinia to discover Phoenician ruins and beautiful white sandy beaches.

The Fishermen's Trail - Rota Vicentina

Hiker on the Rota Vicentina in western Portugal Interesting scenes on the route from Almograve to Zambujeira do Mar Resting on the trail between Zambujeira do Mar and Odeicexe

Part of the Rota Vicentina long-distance footpath, the Fishermen’s Trail, in the Alentejo region, follows Portugal’s southern coast. During the day enjoy quiet walks, while at night indulge in typical Portuguese cuisine.

La Palma Island Walking

Walking the Caldera rim near Muchachos |  <i>John Millen</i> Prickly vegetation along the coast path |  <i>John Millen</i> Bottle-nosed Dolphins off Tazacorte |  <i>John Millen</i>

Explore the natural features of La Palma on a series of walks. Famed for its biodiversity, in 2002 UNESCO declared the island a World Biosphere Reserve.

Camino - Sarria to Santiago

Walking along the Camino Hiking equipment used on the Camino Trail |  <i>Edwina Parsons</i> Hiking the Camino in Spain |  <i>Edwina Parsons</i>

Get a chance to walk the final 110kms into Santiago to obtain the Compostela certificate. The winter months are much quieter without the summer hustle & bustle, so you can make the most of cosy cafes and wholesome cuisine.

Madeira Island Walking

Madeira |  <i>David Holmes</i> Sign post on the island of Madeira |  <i>Janet Oldham</i> Trekking the Pico Ruivo Circuit |  <i>Tali Emdin</i>

Rising steeply from the Atlantic Ocean off the coasts of Europe and Africa, Madeira offers both a mild climate and a 1,350-mile network of ‘levadas’. The island enjoys a subtropical climate, which makes it perfect for your next winter sun holiday.

Portugal Wine and Castles (Guided) Cycle

Relaxing by the lagoon with a picnic lunch in the Alentejo Prehistoric dolmans near Evora Cycling through vineyards in Portugal

Stay in a castle, delight in Alentejo food & wine and appreciate the history and local crafts on this cycling holiday through a landscape dotted with vineyards, olive groves and cork oaks.

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