Recently a reader reached out to me asking about the sunniest places in Europe that have the warmest winters and the lowest levels of humidity. His reason to look for a dry place that’s still sunny and warm was that he spent several years living in subtropical and tropical climates and has grown tired of humid weather.
You might not enjoy humid weather, either, or perhaps you’re looking for a drier climate due to health reasons. Where should you move to if you’re looking for a sunny, warm, and dry destination in Europe? The question seems simple enough, but in fact the answer isn’t that easy because we can define humidity in several different ways.
The easiest way would be to simply look at the number of overcast days and conclude that the place that gets the fewest number of them is the driest place in Europe. Theoretically, this makes sense because the fewer cloudy days, the less rain a place should get, right? Using this simple approach would make the islands of Lanzarote or Fuerteventura, the sunniest places in Europe, the driest destinations, too, because they get just 23 cloudy days a year.
And if we looked only at how little rain they get (both feature a hot desert climate), it would be the correct answer. These two islands are the best choices for a person who wants to escape rainy weather and doesn’t mind living in the desert.
But the reader cared specifically about the thermal comfort, or in other words, how sticky the weather feels. And for this there’s a better, albeit a little complicated measure—dew point temperature.
Exploring Dew Point Temperatures
The dew point temperature, the temperature to which you’d have to cool the air to get it to saturate (contain maximum amount of moisture), is the best single metric to explain how humid/dry a place feels. We won’t go deep into the specifics of this metric. The only things we need to know are that:
- The higher the dew point is, the more humid the air. This makes it more difficult for you body to cool itself with perspiration.
- The lower the dew point is, the drier the air. It means that your body can more effectively cool itself.
Dew point temperature around 15 °C (59 °F) is when some people accustomed to a temperate climate begin to feel slight discomfort. Dew point temperature of 18 °C (65 °F) or higher is when most people will start complaining about the humidity. 21-24 °C (70-75 °F) and higher dew point temperature is uncomfortably sticky or oppressive for most people wishing to move to a warmer climate, unless you’re already accustomed to tropical levels of humidity.
One of the driest places in the world is Aswan in Egypt. If we take a look at dew point temperatures there, we’ll discover that it has extremely low dew point throughout the year. Even when there’s over 40 °C (104 °F) during the day in the summer, the dew point never goes above 8 °C (46 °F).
One of the most humid places in the world is Singapore with dew point temperatures that never go below 23 °C (73 °F). With year-round average temperatures of about 32 °C (90 °F) and such high dew point, the weather feels oppressively humid all year round.
And just to compare to a temperate climate, London’s highest dew point temperature according to timeanddate.com data is 12 °C (54 °F), which, with average temperatures in the hottest months reaching 22-24 °C (72-75 °F), results in comfortable weather.
So What’s the Best Place in Europe Considering Dew Point Temperatures?
If we take a look at dew point temperatures in Arrecife, Lanzarote, we’ll discover that dew point is uncomfortable (18 °C / 65 °F or above) between July and October, with the highest dew point reaching 19 °C (66 °F) in August and September with daytime temperatures of 29 °C (84 °F). In total, we have four months of sticky weather. The numbers are the same for Fuerteventura which shares almost the same climate.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, third in our ranking of the sunniest European destinations, features dew point temperatures of 18 °C (65 °F) in two months: August and September. Even though it’s a little cloudier than Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, from the perspective of human thermal comfort, it feels drier.
But that’s still two months of humid weather. Is this the best we can do in Europe or is there a place with warm, sunny weather that doesn’t feel as humid as the Canary Islands in the summer? We can, if we look toward destinations that aren’t as warm in the winter as the Canary Islands, but that are still relatively warm even on an average winter day (we only feature places where winter daytime temperatures reach at least 15 °C / 59 °F).
Larnaca, the next place on our list, gets four months of uncomfortable dew points reaching up to 22 °C (72 °F). This, of course, makes it even more humid than the Canary Islands.
But the next sunniest city, Kyrenia in Northern Cyprus, has only one month with uncomfortable dew point of 18 °C (65 °F). This, from the perspective of dew point, makes it a better choice than the Canary Islands for those looking for a warm, sunny, and dry destination in Europe.
But Let’s See If We Can Do Even Better…
The next on our list is Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Dew point temperature for this location comes from the airport which is located in an area with a much colder microclimate, which won’t work for comparison purposes. It’s safe to assume, though, that dew points in the city wouldn’t differ much from Gran Canaria.
Fast-forward, skipping the next destinations without any improvements in the dew point department (the next best destination with just one month of uncomfortable dew point is Murcia in Spain), we reach Seville, Spain.
This city ticks all our boxes to make it the driest, warmest, and sunniest city in Europe:
- It only has 49 overcast days a year, which means 316 annual days of sunshine,
- Winter days offer temperatures of 16-17 °C (61-63 °F) and 5-6 °C (41-43 °F) at night with summers reaching 37 °C (99 °F) during the day and 19 °C (66 °F) at night,
- The highest dew point temperature the city gets is in August when it reaches 16 °C (61 °F).
We could end the article here, but that last point might make you object—after all, some people begin to feel uncomfortable with dew points of 15 °C (59 °F), so a perfect sunny, warm, and dry European destination shouldn’t get any months with dew points over this temperature, and ideally stay below it. Does such a place exist?
It does, and it’s another city in Spain—Córdoba. This place ticks all the boxes for those who want the sunniest and warmest city in Europe with dew points that stay within the comfortable limits. Here are the details:
- It has 65 overcast days a year, which means 300 annual days of sunshine,
- Winter days offer temperatures of 15 °C (59 °F) and 5-6 °C (41-43 °F) at night with summers reaching 37 °C (99 °F) during the day and 21 °C (70 °F) at night,
- The highest dew point temperature the city gets is in July and August when it reaches 14 °C (57 °F).
If you’d like more choices, Faro in Portugal, along with nearby Albufeira, Lagos, and Portimão get dew point temperatures that reach at most 16 °C (61 °F): Then we have Lisbon with dew points reaching 15 °C (59 °F). In between these locations, you can also consider Vila Nova de Milfontes and Sines, all of which we mention in the article about the sunniest places in Portugal.
2 thoughts on “What’s the Driest, Sunniest, and Warmest Place in Europe?”
Where would Almería, Nerja, Malaga and Marbella be located on this list? Just curious… Thanks!
Hi Andreas. Almería would be ahead of the other places since it features a desert climate. Other than that, they would be somewhere in the middle as there’s fewer days of sunshine there than in the drier parts of Spain.