The European Sunshine Index measures average days of sunlight against travel costs in 25 of Europe’s hottest destinations.
For most people, one of the important factors that go into making a great vacation is sunshine. Regardless of what you do—work on your tan, sightsee, whale watch, bar hop—sunny skies make every experience brighter.
So it makes sense that many sought after vacation destinations happen to be rich with sunlight—most of the time, anyway. Since prices tend to drop in the rainy seasons, travel insurance site Compare the Market recently did some math to find out exactly where the sweet spot is between maximum sunshine and affordability. In other words, this is where—and when—you should vacation in Europe to score the most time under the sun at the lowest cost.
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The hot spot where you’ll find the cheapest sunlight is the island of Crete, where—taking into account the cost of flights and accommodations—you’ll pay just $10 per hour of sunlight if you vacation there in May. (And, in case you’re wondering, the average temp is a heavenly 70 degrees.)
If fall getaways are more your style, the Greek island of Santorini is calling your name—from September to November, the cost per hour of sunlight caps off at $24, cheaper than anywhere else in the time frame. Winter, too, is a good time to be in Greece: the island of Rhodes leads the pack in affordable sunshine from December to January.
For those looking to expand their sunshine search outside of the Greek islands, Spain is a top contender. Mallorca, Barcelona, and Ibiza all ranked in the top 10 destinations for affordable sunshine, with Mallorca sporting the best deal at $18 per hour of sunlight in January.
We’re thinking it might be time to snag a flight—and perhaps a new pair of shades—immediately.