Snow on the beaches of Majorca where the freak weather has turned the island into a winter wonderland

Snow on the beaches of Majorca where the freak weather has turned the island into a winter wonderland

Brits who headed to Europe this week in search of some winter sun were in for a nasty surprise as a snow storm swept across the continent and Spain experienced its heaviest snowfall in 35 years.

The usually sun-drenched holiday destinations in Germany, Croatia, Italy, Corsica and Serbia are all feeling the chill thanks to the freak cold snap.

Beaches at numerous coastal resorts - where tourists flock to escape the British weather - have been wiped out by freak snow storms.

But the cold weather didn't stop Orthodox Russian Christians taking cold dips in freezing temperatures as part of a celebration of the Epiphany.

Many who have retired to Spain for its sunnier climes were stunned to see snow covering beaches on the eastern coast today - and even sticking to the citrus fruits the country is famous for

Many who have retired to Spain for its sunnier climes were stunned to see snow covering beaches on the eastern coast today - and even sticking to the citrus fruits the country is famous for


Bikini-clad women and brave, topless men dunked themselves underwater in various locations across Europe as the continent turned icy cold.

In Eastern Christianity, the feast of Epiphany commemorates the Baptism of Jesus.

The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the holiday according to the Julian calendar, and many took part in events in Vladivostok, Russia, Belarus and Serbia.

People in the 'sunshine island' of Majorca woke up to find a blanket thick snow had left the isle looking more like the mountains of the Alps than the Med.

Snow even fell in the island's capital Palma, which normally enjoys January temperatures of up to 18C.

Palm trees are normally associated with sunnier climes but these on Javea beach on Spain's Costa Blanca were covered in snow today

Palm trees are normally associated with sunnier climes but these on Javea beach on Spain's Costa Blanca were covered in snow today
Roads have also been cut off as unusual driving conditions caused chaos, leading to delays of four hours or more.

Schools on the Costa Blanca, home to popular resorts including Torrevieja, Alicante, and Benidorm, were closed this morning because of the heavy snow that had fallen overnight.

The snow is the heaviest that has been seen in Alicante since 1983.

Spain's Met Office has issued an alert for adverse weather conditions, especially for the southeast peninsular and areas near Castilla-La Mancha and Aragon.

Temperatures have dropped across the mainland, with frost and minus ten degrees in the mountain areas, and areas of southern Valencia and northern Alicante have seen up to ten inches (25cm) of snow in 24 hours.

The unlikely arctic conditions are down to a cold weather system sweeping in from Siberia.

The weather system has already brought bitterly cold conditions to countries including Greece, Serbia, Macedonia and Turkey, putting the lives of thousands of people under threat.


This restaurant in Valldemossa, a small village of Majorca, has been completely carpeted in snow

This restaurant in Valldemossa, a small village of Majorca, has been completely carpeted in snow