Europe is a continent which experiences bitter winters with sub-zero temperatures common in much of Central, Eastern and Northern Europe from December to February. However things heat up rapidly during the summer months. In this post, we’re going to look at the hottest countries in Europe by average temperature.
This is not an easy thing to measure. All countries have both yearly and regional climatic variations, sometimes significant. There have been few long-term studies on this but the biggest we could find data for was by the UEA’s Climatic Research Unit. They measured the data between 1961 and 1990 in countries across the world.
It’s thought that the actual figures today may be slightly higher due to global warming but the overall picture and rankings should be pretty much the same.
The 10 Hottest Countries in Europe – by Average Temperature
Malta is the hottest country in Europe by average temperature. While it is not technically viewed as a winter sun destination given there are very clear season shifts, Malta’s extreme southerly location gives it a bit of extra heat compared to all of mainland Europe.
The tiny island nation is actually located even further south than nearby African capitals Tunis and Algiers. It has become a popular destination for digital nomads and remote workers in Europe looking for a sunny base. If you want a beach break, then Malta can be relied upon to be warm enough between May and October with even the winter months relatively mild with average highs of 15-16°C during January and February.
Estimated Average Yearly Temperature in Malta: 19.2°C
Another contender for having the best climate in Europe to live in. Cyprus, situated in the southeast corner of the Med, gets very hot during the summer, although it doesn’t quite hit the extreme highs of some places. However it experiences even milder winters than Malta and still gets around 200 hours per month of sunshine during the coldest periods of the year.
Cyprus is a much larger island and it does have some mountainous regions where you can find fresher air and cooler temperatures too. That’s a welcome relief at times, although its main popularity for those visiting Cyprus largely comes thanks to its sunny beaches and party towns with areas such as Paphos, Ayia Napa and Protaras among the most popular destinations.
Estimated Average Yearly Temperature in Cyprus: 18.45°
Neighbouring Greece is actually around 3°C cooler on average across the year when compared to Cyprus. However it does have some islands that experience a similar climate. Crete and Rhodes are among the warmest with higher temperatures than the national average.
Overall, Greece is certainly one of the sunniest countries in Europe and it has such a wide choice of islands and beach towns, that you shouldn’t struggle to find one to your liking. From beautiful quieter islands such as Ikaria and Lesvos, to the rowdier Mykonos and Corfu, you have a great number of options when planning a trip to the Southeast European nation.
Estimated Average Yearly Temperature in Greece: 15.4°C
Over to Iberia next, where Portugal is slightly warmer than neighbouring Spain across the year. Its sun-kissed Algarve region basks in hot summer weather while the Portuguese island of Madeira is one of the warmest winter destinations in Europe. Funchal, the largest town in Madeira, experiences average temperatures of 20°C even during December and January, making it a really popular place with New Year revellers.
However northern parts of Portugal are surprisingly chilly during the winter. Porto for example has average lows of around 5°C in the coldest periods of the year and you’ll find even colder temperatures further inland.
Estimated Average Yearly Temperature in Portugal: 15.15°C
The tiny microstate of Monaco is at least a bit easier to measure given its small size. Located on the French Riviera, it experiences average yearly temperatures of between 13 and 14°C. There are actually many destinations in Europe that have higher summer daytime peaks but Monaco retains much of its heat at night and doesn’t have huge drops during the winter.
Average highs of 13-14°C between December and February are surprisingly high given its latitude. Frosts and snowfalls are extremely rare in the winter months while sea breezes make the summer heat more bearable so it’s not somewhere with one of Europe’s more extreme climates.
Estimated Average Yearly Temperature in Monaco: 13.55°C
The top 10 hottest countries in Europe are rounded off by Italy (13.45°C), Spain (13.3°C), San Marino (11.85°C), Albania (11.4°C) and Croatia (10.9°C). Turkey is a fraction higher than Croatia but most of its territory lies in Asia.
What is the hottest place in Europe in summer?
The above data relates to average temperatures across the year. That favours winter sun destinations such as Spain’s Canary Islands and the Portuguese island of Madeira – which remain warmer than mainland Europe during the winter months. However there are plenty of hotter summer destinations than those places.
These are the average temperatures in some of Europe’s most popular summer destinations:
|Palma de Mallorca, Spain||27°C||29°C||30°C||27°C|
|Heraklion (Crete), Greece||27°C||29°C||29°C||26°C|
The whole of the Mediterranean enjoys warm sunny weather throughout the summer months and you can pretty much rely on the weather to be generally good anywhere. Europe’s hottest summer destinations include Southern Spain, Malta and Cyprus.
However if you’re a real lover of the heat, you will find higher temperatures in Turkey with the southern Antalya region basking in extreme summer heat.
This article was published in June 2021.