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Spain in December best things to do

Are you thinking of making Spain your festive holiday destination this season? Or do you wonder how Spain is in December? You’re right here.

I lived in Spain for over 2 years (in Barcelona), and one time in December, we set on a big road trip from Barcelona to southern Spain with my friends. We visited many places, including the central part (Madrid and Toledo) and celebrated Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Seville.

With that said, I’ve gained a great understanding of what Spain is really like in December thanks to these experiences. So, in this article, I’ll share all my insights into this topic for you, give you ideas for the best places to visit, go skiing, the best Christmas Markets, and a lot more.

Let’s get started.

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Should You Visit Spain In December?

Yes, you must visit Spain towards the end of the year if you want to avoid the heat wave, enjoy fewer crowds, and have more affordable accommodation. Besides, you can enjoy a beautiful Chrstimasy atmosphere and even go skiing.

I actually think December is the best time to visit Spain overall.

I don’t recommend visiting Spain inland in December if you’re looking for a warm place to relax on a beach. If that’s your goal, visit the Canary Islands, a warm destination all year round.

December in Spain is for those who want to enjoy the culture, go sightseeing, make some road trips, and enjoy it all for a fraction of the price you would in the summertime.

Spain itinerary 14 days Alhambra Granada
Alhambra Granada

Advantages & Drawbacks Of Visiting Spain In December

😍 Fewer Crowds
😍 Lower Prices
😍 Mild Temperatures
😍 Chrstimasy Atmosphere
😍 Skiing Season
😍 Sunny But Not So Hot

😪 Colder, Not For Swimming & Beach Time
😪 Snow In Some Parts
😪 Cold In Northern & Central Spain

Spain In December Weather

Spain is a huge country, and the weather varies significantly depending on the location. The northern and central parts are colder, while you can enjoy much warmer weather in the southern and eastern parts, especially the coastal areas.

So I’ve divided this section into the weather in each part of Spain. Generally, the weather in December in Spain is cold, yet pleasant. It can snow in some parts of Spain, and others are dry and sunny.

Temperatures in December in Spain are, on average, around 12°C/53°F. The southern part of Spain is dry but warmer, and the northern part of Spain is wetter and colder.

southern Spain itinerary 10 days Sevilla Plaza Espana
Sevilla Plaza Espana

Weather In December In Northern Spain

The weather in northern Spain is usually wet and cold in December. Temperatures range around 12°C/54°F. On average, it rains around 13 days per month.

This part of Spain is the coldest, with the central part, too. You’ll need a winter jacket and maybe light gloves to keep you warm. However, you don’t have to bring extra puff jackets and too many layers. One winter jacket with warm shoes is enough.

Weather In Barcelona In December

The weather in Barcelona in December is dry, yer pretty warm. You can easily walk around with a light jacket, sometimes just with a sweater. It’s pleasant and a great time to explore Barcelona.

Temperatures range between 14°C/57°F and 16°C/60°F and it only rains 3 days in the month on average.

Weather In Madrid In December

I felt Madrid was really cold compared to the rest of Spain on the last calendar month. I had a light jacket on and had to put a warm scarf around my neck to keep me warm. While walking, it was all right. But when you stand outside, it gets chilly. So bring some layers if you’re only visiting Madrid.

However, it gets significantly warmer when the sun shines, and you can walk around in a sweater only.

The weather is dry and cold, and temperatures range between 7°C/45°F and 10°C/50°F and it usually rains about 8 days a month.

Yet, december is my favorite time of year to visit Madrid, mainly due to the Christmas Markets. They make Madrid so much better and magical.

Spain in December Toledo
Toledo – Spain

Weather In December In Southern Spain

If we exclude the Canary Islands, Southern Spain is the warmest part of the country in December. It’s one of the best parts to explore at this time of the year.

You can enjoy temperatures between 14°C/57°F and 17°C/63°F. It’s sunny yet dry. So you’ll feel the cold a but.

I recommend bringing a light jacket just in case it’s colder. But usually, it’s delightful to walk around in a sweater and enjoy the sunshine. I loved Andalusia in December.

Weather In Seville In December

The weather in Seville is amazing, sunny, and warm. The temperatures in December are around 15°C/59°F, which is the perfect time to explore the city, not too hot, but also not too cold.

Spain itinerary 14 days Sevilla
Me picking oranges in Sevilla

Weather In Malaga In December

The weather in Malaga in December is even slightly warmer than in Seville. The temperatures range between 15°C/59°F and 17°C/62°F, the air is warmer, and you can enjoy the ocean breeze, which is super nice.

It barely rains in Malaga in December, so it’s one of the warmest destinations in mainland Spain in winter.

Weather In Mallorca In December

The weather in Mallorca in December is also pleasant and temperatures are mild. It ranges around 15°C/59°F and inly only rains 5 days per month on average.

It’s also a great place to be for sightseeing, to enjoy less crowds, and Christmas in Palma de Mallorca.

Which Part Of Spain Is The Warmest In December?

The Carany Islands are the hottest part of Spain, and southern Spain is the warmest place in inland Spain to visit in December.

The Canary Islands are the hottest part of Spain, where temperatures don’t change even in December. You can still go swimming and enjoy some beach time.

It’s one of the best destinations in Europe to warm up during the cold winter months and temperature range around 22°C/72°F

The southern part of Spain is the warmest in December, considering mainland Spain. The temperature ranges between 14°C/57°F and 17°C/63°F.

Granada is the coldest (within southern Spain) as it’s close to Sierra Nevada and Malaga and Marbella are the warmest places to visit in inland Spain.

best places to visit in Europe in November Andalusia Spain
Seville – Spain

Does It Snow In December In Spain?

Yes, it snows in Spain at the end of the year. Due to global warming, the snow season has shifted, and the first snow might fall in January. Still, it’s usual for December to get some snowfall, too.

It usually snows in Northern Spain, Central Spain, and mountainous regions of southern Spain. It barely snows on the eastern and southern coast of Spain (Costa Brava, Costa del Sol).

Best Places To Experience Snow In Spain & Map

To enjoy snow in Spain, visit Leon and Burgos in northern Spain. These are some of the coldest cities and usually get some snowfall.

Central Spain is also one of the coldest regions, and it typically snows in Segovia, Madrid, or Cuenca.

It also snows in Barcelona, but usually in late January and February. December is rather dry and warmer than the beginning of the year.

You can also enjoy some snow in southern Spain (Andalusia) on the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range near Granada. It’s also one of the best places to go skiing in Spain.

Overall, these are the best places to experience snow in Spain:

❄ BURGOS
❄ LEON
❄ SEGOVIA
❄ MADRID
❄ CUENCA
❄ SIERRA NEVADA
❄ BAQUEIRA-BERET

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Best Places To Visit In December In Spain

Spain is a great destination all year round. It mainly depends on your preferences, the purpose of your visit, and what you want to see in December.

But generally speaking, I think these are some of the best places to visit in December overall when you’re in Spain:

📍 BARCELONA
📍 TOLEDO
📍 MADRID
📍 CÓRDOBA
📍 SEVILLE
📍 GRANADA
📍 RONDA
📍 VALL DE NÚRIA
📍 CÁDIZ

Map Of The Best Places To Visit In December In Spain

Here is a map of the best places I recommend you visit in December in Spain. Save it and use it when exploring.

Best Places For Christmas Markets In Spain & Map

Spain has fantastic Christmas Markets. What I love about them is that they’re fairly unique compared to the rest of Central Europe. The cities has beautiful decorations and each has its unique Spanish Christmas traditions.

For example, In Catalonia (Barcelona), you’ll see a dressed log everywhere as local children beat it and beg it to poop presents for them.

Almost everywhere in Spain, you can find the Christmas Loterry on sale. It’s so fun how crazy locals go about winning ‘El Gorgo’. Everyone buys a loss and hopes for the best. They pick the winners exactly on the 22nd of December, and one lucky winner has an even more special Christmas.

christmas in madrid
Christmas In Madrid – Spain

Try some Spanish Christmas delicacies on the markets, such as turron, polvorones, or churros with hot chocolate.

If you’re eager to experience Christmas and visit some of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Spain, I recommend the following places:

🎄 MADRID
🎄 TOLEDO
🎄 SEVILLE
🎄 BARCELONA
🎄 BILBAO
🎄 MÁLAGA

👉 READ ALSO: Christmas In Austria: Complete Guide With Traditions & Places

Best Place To Go Skiing In December In Spain & Map

Spain also has some excellent ski resorts that you can enjoy in December. Look for the mountains if you want to go skiing (obviously). The higher the mountains, the higher the chance it’ll snow in December.

spain in december best ski resorts

If you want to go skiing in December in Spain, I recommend the following ski resorts:

⛄ SIERRA NEVADAclosest to Granada & Seville
⛄ LA MOLINAclosest to Barcelona
⛄ BAQUEIRA-BERETPyrenees, closest to Barcelona
⛄ VALL DE NÚRIAPyrenees, closest to Barcelona
⛄ PUERTO DE NAVACERRADAclosest to Madrid

👉 READ ALSO: Best Of Spain Itinerary: 14 Days In Spain

13 Best Things To Do In December In Spain

To help you plan your vacation, I’ve got a great list of things you can do in December when visiting Spain. It includes something for every type of traveler.

I’ll mostly take you to southern Spain, as it’s one of the best places to be in December. So check it out and create your perfect itinerary from it.

Here is a list of the best things to do in December in Spain.

  1. Explore Barcelona & Its Sights
  2. Enjoy Magical Atmosphere In Toledo
  3. Make A Road Trip Through Andalusia
  4. Explore Seville
  5. Visit Alhambra & Granada
  6. Make A Day Trip To Morocco From Tarifa
  7. Learn About The History In Córdoba
  8. Make A Cooking Class In Madrid (Christmas Special)
  9. Go Tapas Hunting In Seville
  10. Enjoy Flamenco In Granada
  11. Visit Ronda
  12. Go Skiing In Sierra Nevada
  13. Enjoy Spanish Christmas Traditions & Markets

1. Explore Barcelona & Its Sights

Barcelona is great to explore all year round. But in December, you’ll enjoy a unique Christmasy atmosphere with fewer crowds. I loved Barcelona in December with its mild temperatures and walking around on half-empty streets.

You can visit all the major sights such as Sagrada Família, Park Guell, Casa Batló, and many more at this time. Make sure to stop for a while in a cafe and enjoy the atmosphere.

You can’t go wrong with visiting Barcelona in winter; I’m sure you’ll love it.

👉 READ ALSO: Barcelona Itinerary 3 Days: See The Highlights

spain in december barcelona
Barcelona

2. Enjoy Magical Atmosphere In Toledo

Toledo is hands down one of my favorite towns I’ve seen so far during my travels. I visited it in December, and it was even more magical.

If you want to experience a proper Christmas atmosphere with cute Christmas Markets and a magical setting, come to Toledo.

It’s only an hour from Madrid, so you can easily make a day trip. But I recommend spending at least a night or two.

Walk around at night as the lightning is beautiful. During the day, learn about the history on a free walking tour and take some cool pictures from the best viewing point: Mirador del Valle.

spain in december toledo
My friend and I visiting Toledo in December

3. Make A Road Trip Through Andalusia

Southern Spain is one of the best parts you can visit in December. It gets cold in Spain at this time of the year, and Andalusia is the hottest part.

Even though you’ll need a jacket to keep warm, the sun shines, and the weather is usually great.

Andalusia has, in my opinion, the best sights in Spain, and exploring them in December is the best time since they’re less crowded.

Follow my 10-day best of southern Spain itinerary and enjoy what the former Al-Andalus was.

4. Explore Seville

Seville is amazing. So, if you can’t decide where to go or only have a few days, make Seville your destination. It’s a huge city full of life. We celebrated the last day of the year with my friend on the main square here, and it was so much fun.

You know the Spanish tradition makes you eat 12 grapes, one each, when counting down the last 12 seconds of a year before the New Year starts. We did so with locals on the main square, and it was such a great celebration.

So come to Seville, explore its beautiful sights, including La Giralda, Alcazar, and the stunning Cathedral, and don’t forget to walk through the charming Jewish Quarter.

The city has a great coffee and tapas culture. So sit anywhere on the street and enjoy the sun with coffee or hot chocolate with churros.

Explore The 3 Major Sights Of Seville With This Combo Ticket.

spain in december seville
My friend and I eating grapse 12 seconds before New Year’s Eve – Seville

5. Visit Alhambra & Granada

Alhambra (in Granada) is a must-visit any time of the year. But since you’re in Andalusia, you can’t miss a major sight. It’s the former palace of the Nadrid Dynasty residing in Spain and ruling the country during the Al-Andalus times in the 13th century.

Today, you can enjoy the stunning Islamic architecture unique to Europe. Book your tickets ASAP, as they’re often fully booked even 3 months in advance.

To get the best views of Alhambra, climb up to St. Nicolas Viewing Point in Granada. These views are some of the most beautiful in Spain, with the Alhambra and Sierra Nevada Mountain Range in the background, covered by snow.

Get A Skip-The-Line Ticket For Alhambra Here.

Spain itinerary 14 days Alhambra Granada
Alhambra Granada

6. Make A Day Trip To Morocco From Tarifa

Do you want to visit even one extra country? It’s possible, even as a day trip from Spain. And it’s not Portugal. Sure, you can drive across the border to Portugal for a day. But what I mean is crossing to Morocco, a bit more exotic destination.

From Tarifa, take a ferry to Tangier Ville. And then drive to the charming town of Chefchouen. It’s all blue, which makes the town so special. You can walk through the streets, experience Moroccan culture, and taste local dishes like Tajin and Couscous.

Then, take the last ferry from Tangier Ville back to Tarifa.

Chefchaouen
Chefchaouen – Morocco

7. Learn About The History In Córdoba

Cordoba is another city you can’t miss when visiting Spain in winter. Its beautiful patios with decorations and flowers make you feel like you’re in a fairy tale.

As with Sevilla, I loved the atmosphere of Cordoba (perhaps even more).

Visit the Great Mosque and learn about the Moorish history. Then, walk around and taste some Andalusian dishes like Salmorejo, Flamenquín, Gazpacho Andalus, or fried eggplant.

Book A Guided Tour Of Córdoba Including The Major Sights Here.

spain in december cordoba
My friends and I visiting Cordoba in December

8. Make A Cooking Class In Madrid (Christmas Special)

Madrid is a great destination all year round, too. Whether you come for sightseeing or Christmas Markets, you’ll love it.

But a cooking class is one of my favorite things to do in Madrid. Enjoy the culture with a local, go with him to the market, and shop for all ingredients. Then cook traditional dishes like Paella or prepare some Tapas.

It’s so much fun and brings you closer to the culture and the people in the city.

Besides, you have to try some of the best churros in the country; go to Chocolatería San Ginés and treat yourself. Then do some sightseeing and visit at least one museum as Madrid is famous for so many (mainly Reina Sofia & Prado Museum).

Join This Cooking Class In Madrid With A Local.

Paella traditional Spanish food in Valencia
Paella – traditional Spanish food in Valencia

9. Go Tapas Hunting In Seville

Did you know? Tapas comes from Seville. And so it’s the place to go tapas hunting or make a tapas crawl with your friends or locals.

It all started when locals took their piece of bread with a slice of ham and put it into their glass of wine. This way, they wanted to prevent flies from dipping into their glass. It became a tradition, and that’s how tapas evolved.

Nowadays, you can enjoy these delicious food pieces of various kinds in almost every bar when you sit for a glass of wine or beer.

Join This Tapas Crawl In Seville With A Local & Have Fun.

Spain itinerary 14 days Granada tapas culture
Granada tapas culture

10. Enjoy Flamenco In Granada

Granada is the birthplace of Flamenco, so if you can, wait to watch it here.

Granada used to have a big population of gypsies. They made the neighborhood called Sacromonte their home here in Granada. And we all know how great dancers and musicians they are.

They casually performed Flamenco dances in this neighborhood. And it has become a major tradition in the city, especially in Sacromonte.

So, if you’re visiting Granada, go to Sacromonte and enjoy an authentic Flamenco show.

Experience Authentic Flamenco Show In Granada By Getting This Tickets.

spain in december flamenco granada
Flamenco Show – Spain

11. Visit Ronda

Ronda is one of the most impressive Spanish towns. Its stunning scenery will capture you as this town is built on top of a deep gorge. So you’ll see the cute white houses, and suddenly, a steep gorge is falling from the city. It’s super cool.

So come, walk around the city, and enjoy another beauty of Andalusia.

Besides, Ronda is also famous for some great culinary and wine experiences. So make your reservation in Restaurante Azahar or a Michelin Star Restaurant Bardal.

southern Spain itinerary 10 days Ronda
Ronda

12. Go Skiing In Sierra Nevada

You may not know, but you can also go skiing in Spain. Yes, it’s amazing. So if you argue with your wife who wants to visit a sunny place and go sightseeing, but you can’t wait for the skiing season to kick off. Spain could be a great match for you both.

Sierra Nevada Mountain Range is one of the best ski resorts in Spain. They usually open the door in late November. So prepare your equipment and experience a new ski place.

Skiing in Switzerland ski resorts

13. Enjoy Spanish Christmas Traditions & Markets

Spain has some unique Christmas traditions you can’t miss when visiting it in December.

Sevilla, Malaga, Bilbao, Barcelona, Madrid, and Toledo host the best markets in Spain.

Toledo has of the most magical Christmas atmospheres in Spain. Besides, it’s also one of the most beautiful towns in Spain.

For the craziest traditions, go to Barcelona and see the dressed log pooping presents.
Taste various Christmas delicacies like polvorones and turron, and get into the Christmas mood.

December Events In Spain

If you want to experience some unique Spanish traditions or participate in local events, here is a quick calendar of events happening in December in Spain.

So plan your itinerary accordingly:

DATES:CELEBRATION:
5th – 17th December 2023Virgen del Castillo – Murcia
8th December 2023Festivity of the Immaculada Concepción – Seville
10th December 2023Marathon in Malaga
16th December 2023International Comic Convention – Zaragoza
24th December 2023El Encanto de la Sibila – Palma de Mallorca
25th December 2023Carnival of Alcázar de San Juan
25th December 2023León Vive La Magia

👉 READ ALSO: 6 Famous Spanish Festivals You Must Experience

Spain In December Itinerary

Are you prompt to visit Spain at the end of the year? I’ve got a great itinerary for your visit. Whether you want to visit Spain for Christmas, New Year’s celebrations, or sightseeing, I recommend doing these things.

It’ll help you see the highlights of Spain and get the most out of your visit.

So follow this 10-day itinerary for Spain if you’re visiting in December:

DAY:DESTINATION:
1.Barcelona
2.Barcelona
3.Barcelona ⇒ Madrid
4.Madrid ⇒ Toledo (in the evening)
5.Toledo
6.Toledo ⇒ Granada
7.Day Trip To Cordoba
8.Granada ⇒ Seville (in the evening)
9.Seville
10.Seville

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Practical Tips For Visiting Spain In December

I’ve got some further tips for you to help you plan your visit to Spain at this time of the year. See what to pack and wear and where to stay.

What To Wear In December In Spain

What to pack and wear in December in Spain depends on the part of Spain you want to visit and what you want to do.

Bring a winter jacket, warm shoes, and a few layers if you want to go sightseeing in northern Spain and Madrid. It’s quite cold.

If you only want to visit southern Spain, a light jacket with a scarf will be enough to keep you warm. Have a sunscreen handy, too. It’s sunny.

And if you want also to try skiing, bring skiing clothes. But you can also rent all the clothes on the spot.

Where To Stay In December In Spain

First, choose the things you want to do in December in Spain. After, make these cities your base, enjoy some day trips, and explore the area.

🏠 BARCELONA

If you want to visit Barcelona, enjoy some mild weather, and even go skiing in the nearby ski regions Vall de Nuria and Baqueira-Beret, book your stay here.

Here are my hotel recommendations for Barcelona:

HCC Montblancbudget friendly hotelbook here
Catalonia Plaza Catalunyamid-range hotelbook here
W Barcelonaluxury hotel with ultimate viewsbook here

🏠 MADRID

If you want to enjoy delicious Spanish food, a cooking class, or skiing in Purto de Navacerrada, book your stay in Madrid.

I recommend the following hotels in the city:

Hostal Palacio Luna budget-friendly hotelbook here
Hotel Liabenymid-range hotelbook here
Oriente Palace Apartmentsluxury apartmentsbook here

🏠 TOLEDO

To enjoy some of the most magical Christmas atmospheres in a historical and cultural city, stay in Toledo.

These are the hotels I suggest:

Barrio Reybudget-friendly hotelbook here
Parador Del Toledomid-range hotelbook here
Hacienda Cruzluxury apartmentsbook here

🏠 SEVILLE

If you want to explore Andalusia, make some day trips to Cordoba and Granada, and even go skiing in the Sierra Nevada, book your stay in Seville.

These are the best hotels in Seville I suggest:

atLumbreras 16budget-friendly hotelbook here
Uma Suites Parada Del Marquesmid-range hotelbook here
Hotel Alfonzo XII Luxury Collection – luxury apartmentsbook here

What Is Barcelona Like In December?

December is one of the best times of the year to visit Barcelona. The weather is mild and temperatures are around 13°C/55°F, perfect for sightseeing in the city.

Besides, prices drop significantly, there are fewer tourists, and you can enjoy some Christmas Markets and experience unique Christmas celebrations in Catalonia.

You can also go skiing in the nearby regions such as La Molina.

👉 READ ALSO: 8 Best Road Trips From Barcelona: Explore Catalonia

FAQs

I’ve also answered some frequently asked questions to help you understand how Spain really is at the end of the year. Check my answers below.

Is It Worth Going To Spain In Winter?

Yes, Spain is 100% worth visiting in winter, especially in December. It’s the best time to go sightseeing and enjoy mild temperatures, lower prices, and fewer crowds.

You can also experience unique Spanish traditions or even go skiing. It’s a destination where every traveler will find their perfect activity.

Is Spain Good For Christmas?

Yes, Spain is great for Christmas. It has some of the best and most authentic traditions. The best Christmas Markets in Spain are Madrid, Toledo, Bilbao, Barcelona, and Malaga.

Is Malaga Hot In December?

Yes, Malaga is warm in December. It’s the hottest place in mainland Spain at this time of the year. Temperatures range between 15°C/59°F and 17°C/63°F. It’s sunny, and you can enjoy a refreshing ocean breeze.

WRAP-UP: December In Spain

This is what Spain is like in December. I honestly believe it’s one of the best times (or the best) to visit this amazing country. You can enjoy sightseeing without tourists, experience unique traditions, and even go skiing. It’s a great destination that will satisfy you even at this time of the year. Besides, it’s a great place to end a year and start the beginning of the next one.

If you have any questions or need a customized travel itinerary, contact me at info(at)voicesoftravel.com. I’ll gladly help you.

Happy Travels!

voices of travel about me photo

About the author: Nicoletta is a travel enthusiast and passionate language learner. While traveling, she loves to connect with locals using her language skills to learn about new cultures. Look for her skiing, hiking in the mountains, or exploring new destinations as she designs travel itineraries for her clients.

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