Weather in Spain in December (2024): The Ultimate Guide

Spanish village with snow showing an example of the winter weather in Spain in December
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The weather in Spain in December is when the winter vibes really start to set in, bringing a cozy, festive feel with them. The days get cooler and the nights colder, setting the perfect scene for holiday lights and warm drinks in cozy cafes.

But in some ways, this can make it harder to know what to expect and how to pack for it! After all, are you likely to get snow, so you should bring that heavy jacket? Or is that way too much?

Living in Spain, I’ve come to love the unique charm of December. It’s a great time to soak in the festive markets in cities like Barcelona or find a quiet, snowy spot in the mountains.

So keep reading to see what to expect and how to enjoy Spain during this chilly, cheerful month.

Weather in Spain in December

Spain in December offers a variety of weather conditions, depending on where you are. You’ll find mild winter temperatures and generally pleasant days in many parts of the country and freezing temperatures in others. However, it’s important to pack both warm and cooler clothing to be prepared for fluctuating weather.

In December, northern regions such as Galicia can be quite cold, with average temperatures ranging from 4°C (39°F) to 10°C (50°F), while in the south, in Andalusia, average temperatures are milder, often between 7°C (45°F) and 15°C (59°F).

The central plateau, including cities like Madrid, experiences colder weather, with lows which can drop to 2°C (36°F) and highs up to 10°C (50°F).

Spain’s coastal regions, such as the Costa del Sol, maintain warmer conditions with more sun, providing a pleasant escape from the chill of northern areas. However, don’t be fooled by the milder coast – it can still feel quite chilly, especially in the evenings.

December also brings an increase in precipitation across most of Spain. You’re likely to encounter more rainy days, with an average of 50ml (1.97 inches) to 95ml (3.74 inches) of rain depending on the region.

Despite the rain, there are still many sunny days to enjoy, especially in the southern parts of the country.

Not sure exactly when you’re coming to Spain? If you might be coming slightly earlier, take a look at what the weather is like in Spain in November.

Maybe planning to visit a bit later? Check out the weather in January in Spain to see what you can expect.

How Hot Is Spain in December?

Spain in December is generally cool, with average highs ranging around 14°C (57°F) in the northern regions. In the southern parts, you’ll find it a bit warmer, typically around 18°C (64°F). The coastal areas, especially along the Mediterranean, can offer milder temperatures still, sometimes reaching up to 20°C (68°F).

When you’re planning a trip to Spain in December, packing warm clothing is advisable as nights tend to be chilly, particularly inland where temperatures can drop. While the days might be mild, evenings will remind you that winter has set in.

The variability in weather patterns across different regions of Spain requires preparing for a range of conditions. Precipitation is also a factor, but generally, December isn’t one of the wettest months in Spain, so you won’t usually encounter much rainfall.

dry Spanish landscape showing the varying but cool weather in Spain in December

Which Part of Spain Is Warmest in December?

The warmest part of Spain in December is generally the Canary Islands. Here, you’ll find milder temperatures and more sunny days compared to the mainland. December weather in the Canaries sees average highs around 22°C (72°F). The southern parts of Gran Canaria, Tenerife, and Lanzarote tend to be the warmest.

Tenerife’s southern coast, for example, boasts some of the warmest winter temperatures in the country.

You won’t need heavy winter clothing in these regions, but it’s a good idea to bring layers for the evenings, which can be cooler. Rainfall is limited, with places like Tenerife receiving an average of 30ml (1.18 inches) in December, ensuring most of your vacation days will be dry.

Mainland southern Spain, particularly the Costa del Sol and some parts of Andalusia, also offers relatively warm weather. Locations such as Malaga experience average highs of approximately 15°C (59°F) during this month.

While not as warm as the Canary Islands, these areas still provide a comfortable winter escape.

Which Part of Spain Is Coldest in December?

The coldest area in Spain during December is the northern mountainous, including the Pyrenees and the Cantabrian Mountains. Here, you’ll encounter below-freezing temperatures, particularly at higher altitudes. The central plateau, including Madrid and Castilla y León, also experiences cold temperatures because of its plain nature and continental climate, despite being at a lower altitude.

Besides the cold, these regions have varying levels of precipitation during December. The Pyrenees can get quite snowy, making it a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts.

The central plateau usually gets less snow, but you should still be prepared for the occasional snowfall, which can cover the plains in a thin white layer.

You should pack warm clothes if visiting these regions in December, as temperatures can be quite brisk. Dress in layers to adapt to changing conditions, and don’t forget a good pair of waterproof boots, as you may encounter snow or rain.

northern mountainous area with a lake in Spain

Weather in Different Regions of Spain in December

Weather in Southern Spain in December

In December, you can expect Southern Spain to have mild temperatures compared to much of Europe. The days are usually sunny with some occasional rainfall. Temperatures typically create a comfortable climate for winter travel, without the harsh cold found in northern Europe.

  • Temperature: Daytime highs average around 15°C (59°F), with nighttime lows dropping to about 7°C (45°F).
  • Average days of rainfall: Expect about 6 to 9 days of rain in December.
  • Average amount of rainfall: The region typically sees around 50-70 mm (1.97-2.75 inches) of rain, indicating occasional wet days.
  • Sea temperature: The sea temperature averages around 16°C (61°F), which is generally too cold for swimming.
  • Number of hours of sunlight: Expect about 5 to 6 hours of sunlight per day in December.

Weather in Northern Spain in December

December in Northern Spain is known for its cold weather. You can expect temperatures to often hover around 4-10°C (39-50°F). Rainfall isn’t uncommon, with several days in the month likely to be wet and there’s a good chance of snow if you’re in the Pyrenees mountains.

  • Temperature: Average temperatures range from highs of about 10°C (50°F) to lows near 4°C (39°F).
  • Average days of rainfall: There are around 12 to 15 days of rain in December, with frequent showers.
  • Average amount of rainfall: The region receives about 100-120 mm (3.94-4.72 inches) of rain.
  • Sea temperature: Sea temperatures average around 14°C (57°F), too cold for swimming.
  • Number of hours of sunlight: Northern Spain experiences approximately 4 to 5 hours of daylight per day in December.
snowy village in the Pyrenees

Weather in Barcelona in December

December in Barcelona is cool and occasionally wet, marking a quiet and festive time in the city, ideal for enjoying its cultural offerings and Christmas markets. It’s a good idea to pack a raincoat, as you can expect around 51 mm (2 inches) of rain over the month.

  • Temperature: Average daytime temperatures are around 14°C (57°F), while nighttime temperatures hover around 6°C (43°F).
  • Average days of rainfall: Expect around 5 to 7 days of rain in December.
  • Average amount of rainfall: Rainfall averages around 40 mm (1.57 inches), with a mix of sunny and rainy days.
  • Sea temperature: The sea temperature in December averages about 16°C (61°F).
  • Number of hours of sunlight: Barcelona enjoys around 5 hours of sunlight per day in December.

Weather in the Canary Islands in December

December in the Canary Islands offers a respite from the colder weather of mainland Europe, with mild temperatures. You’ll experience more sunshine than in mainland Spain, averaging about six hours of daylight. Rainfall is relatively low, with an average of 30 mm (1.18 inches) across the islands.

  • Temperature: Average temperatures range from highs of around 22°C (72°F) to nighttime lows of 17°C (63°F), offering comfortable conditions.
  • Average days of rainfall: Rainfall is minimal in December, with about 3 to 5 days of rain.
  • Average amount of rainfall: The islands receive an average of about 30 mm (1.18 inches) of rain, ensuring mostly dry days.
  • Sea temperature: The average sea temperature is around 20°C (68°F), which can be refreshing for swimming for some people.
  • Number of hours of sunlight: The Canary Islands enjoy about 6 hours of sunlight per day in December.
beach on the Canary Islands

Weather in Mallorca in December

Mallorca experiences mild winters, and December is no exception. You can expect cooler temperatures compared to the summer months and it’s also a wetter month than the rest of the year. Overall, though, the island experiences a much milder winter compared to much of Europe.

  • Temperature: The average high temperature is around 15°C (59°F), with nighttime temperatures around 8°C (46°F).
  • Average days of rainfall: There are about 7 to 9 days of rain in December.
  • Average amount of rainfall: The rainfall averages around 50 mm (1.97 inches), with frequent showers.
  • Sea temperature: The sea temperature averages about 16°C (61°F), which is cool for swimming.
  • Number of hours of sunlight: Mallorca enjoys roughly 5 hours of sunlight per day in December.
Happy woman walking down street in Spain

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Weather in Ibiza in December

In December, Ibiza experiences mild temperatures and a fair amount of rainfall, marking a quieter and more relaxed time on the island. Daytime temperatures hover around 15°C (59°F), while at night they can drop to about 9°C (48°F). You’ll need to pack some warm and waterproof clothing for both sunny days and rainy periods.

  • Temperature: Average temperatures in Ibiza during December range from highs of 15°C (59°F) to lows around 9°C (48°F).
  • Average days of rainfall: The island typically experiences about 7 to 9 days of rain in December.
  • Average amount of rainfall: Ibiza receives an average rainfall of about 50 mm (1.97 inches).
  • Sea temperature: The average sea temperature is around 16°C (61°F), which is generally too cool for swimming.
  • Number of hours of sunlight: Expect about 5 hours of sunlight per day in Ibiza during December.
village in the Spanish hills

Weather in Madrid in December

December in Madrid offers a crisp and sometimes cold winter atmosphere, with the city adorned in festive decorations and lights, perfect for enjoying its indoor and outdoor attractions. It’s also a time when you might encounter occasional rain showers, so it’s best to bring a waterproof coat.

  • Temperature: Daytime highs average around 10°C (50°F), while nighttime temperatures can drop to about 2°C (36°F).
  • Average days of rainfall: Expect about 5 to 7 days of rainfall in December.
  • Average amount of rainfall: Rainfall averages around 30 mm (1.18 inches).
  • Number of hours of sunlight: Madrid experiences approximately 4 to 5 hours of sunlight per day in December.

Weather in Tenerife in December

Tenerife enjoys a mild and pleasant climate in December, making it a popular choice for those seeking a warm winter holiday destination. You’ll experience more sunshine and warmer weather here than in mainland Europe. However, you should be prepared for occasional rainfall.

  • Temperature: Average high temperatures are around 21°C (70°F), with lows at night around 16°C (61°F).
  • Average days of rainfall: Rainfall increases slightly with about 5 to 7 rainy days in the month.
  • Average amount of rainfall: The island receives an average of about 30 mm (1.18 inches) of rain, mostly dry with occasional showers.
  • Sea temperature: The sea temperature averages around 20°C (68°F), which is still suitable for swimming for some people.
  • Number of hours of sunlight: Tenerife enjoys about 6 hours of sunlight per day in December.
beach in Tenerife enjoying a mild and pleasant climate in December

Weather in Costa del Sol in December

In December, you can expect milder temperatures in Costa del Sol although it remains relatively mild overall, making it a pleasant escape from the harsher winters found in many parts of Europe. At night, temperatures can dip, so you’ll want to pack some warm clothing.

  • Temperature: Average temperatures range from highs of about 17°C (63°F) to lows of 10°C (50°F).
  • Average days of rainfall: There are around 5 to 7 rainy days in December, with occasional showers.
  • Average amount of rainfall: The region sees an average rainfall of about 40-60 mm (1.57-2.36 inches).
  • Sea temperature: The average sea temperature is around 16°C (61°F), which is generally too cool for swimming.
  • Number of hours of sunlight: Costa del Sol enjoys about 5 to 6 hours of sunlight per day in December.

Weather in Valencia in December

In December, Valencia experiences cooler temperatures and a higher chance of rain. It’s not too cold, but you’ll still need a jacket or coat for most activities, even though the city generally remains milder than many other European destinations during winter.

  • Temperature: The average high temperature is around 16°C (61°F), while the lows at night can drop to about 7°C (45°F).
  • Average days of rainfall: Valencia experiences around 5 to 7 days of rain in December./
  • Average amount of rainfall: The average rainfall is about 40 mm (1.57 inches).
  • Sea temperature: The sea temperature averages about 16°C (61°F), which is cool for swimming.
  • Number of hours of sunlight: Expect around 5 hours of sunlight per day in Valencia during December.

Is December a Good Time to Visit Spain?

December in Spain mostly offers a mild winter experience, especially when compared to other European countries. You’ll find it’s less crowded than the peak tourist seasons, which means you get to explore more comfortably. While the weather varies by region, you’re likely to encounter cool to cold temperatures and some festive events.

In the southern region, like Andalusia, daytime temperatures hover around 12-17°C (54-63°F) which is quite pleasant. Nights can be chillier, dropping to around 4-6°C (39-43°F).

Northern Spain is cooler, with average temperatures ranging from 8-14°C (46-57°F) during the day and potentially below freezing at night. Coastal areas in the north, like Galicia, might be wetter, with December averages of over 200 ml (7.9 inches) of rain.

And then in the higher altitude areas, you can even come to Spain for a skiing holiday!

cove in Mallorca

Cultural events during December add a special allure to your visit. Cities like Madrid and Barcelona are adorned with lights and decorations, embracing the festive cheer.

You can also experience unique Spanish traditions, such as the caga tió and caganer in Barcelona (seriously, look them up) and vibrant New Year’s celebrations complete with the “Twelve Grapes” tradition at midnight.

Do remember that December 25th and January 1st are public holidays in Spain. Many shops and attractions may close or have limited hours, so planning ahead is vital.

Which Part of Spain Is Best to Visit in December?

Depending on your preferences, several regions in Spain offer unique experiences in December. You might prefer the milder climates of the southern regions or enjoy the festive atmosphere of the cities. Some areas are ideal for winter sports, while others provide a reprieve from the cold.

Southern Spain, particularly Andalusia, provides a relatively warm climate during December. Cities in that part of the country like Seville, Malaga, and Granada offer a range of cultural experiences with fewer tourists.

Northern Spain, such as the region of Galicia, offers a cooler and wetter climate which can feel quite brisk. However, this is compensated for by the spirited atmosphere and festive celebrations, especially in cities like Santiago de Compostela.

Northeastern Spain, hosting the Pyrenees, is perfect if you’re looking for a winter sports destination. Expect colder temperatures and snow with some incredibly picturesque landscapes.

Basically, whether you’re looking for winter warmth, cultural festivities, or alpine sports, Spain in December caters to a variety of interests. It’s all about finding the region that aligns with what you’re looking for in a holiday experience.

Is it hot in Spain in December?

No, in December, you won’t find hot weather in Spain as it’s winter season. Temperatures vary depending on the region you visit, with some being much warmer than northern Europe. However, expect cooler climate with a chance of rain, particularly in the Northern areas.

In coastal regions such as Barcelona and Valencia, temperatures during the day range from 9°C to 14°C (48°F to 57°F), while nighttimes can drop to around 4°C to 9°C (39°F to 48°F).

Heading south to Andalusia, it can be slightly warmer – Seville, for example, sees daytime temperatures between 11°C to 16°C (52°F to 61°F) and nighttime lows of 5°C to 10°C (41°F to 50°F).

Madrid, located at a higher altitude in the center of Spain, experiences cooler weather. Here, daytime temperatures hover around 6°C to 9°C (43°F to 48°F), with night temperatures often falling to 1°C to 5°C (34°F to 41°F).

Up north, cities like Bilbao and Santiago de Compostela see even more significant drops, with average temperatures ranging from 5°C to 10°C (41°F to 50°F) and a higher likelihood of rain, receiving approximately 120ml to 160ml (4.7in to 6.3in) throughout the month.

You should also be ready for occasional snowfalls if you plan to visit mountainous regions such as the Pyrenees or the Sierra Nevada. It’s always a good idea to check the local weather forecast before your trip for the most accurate information and to pack accordingly.

But overall, warm clothing and rain gear are essential for traveling to Spain in December – you won’t get a typical beach holiday at this time of the year.

Is it cold in Spain in December?

Yes, it can be quite cold in Spain during December, especially in the northern and central parts of the country. You’ll find that temperatures often dip below 10°C (50°F) and even reach freezing in many areas. However, the southern coastal areas are generally milder.

Here’s a summary of the cold you can expect:

  • Northern Spain: Expect chilly conditions with averages from 4°C to 11°C (39°F to 51°F). It’s not uncommon for places like the Pyrenees to have snow, making it a popular time for skiing.
  • Central Spain: Madrid and the surrounding areas see similar temperatures to the north, if not a few degrees lower, though it can feel colder due to wind chill.
  • Southern Spain: Coastal cities like Malaga experience milder weather with averages from 8°C to 17°C (46°F to 62°F). Inland areas, such as Seville, have slightly cooler nights.

Rainfall across Spain varies, but you’re less likely to encounter much in December. Southern areas usually have drier conditions compared to the north.

On average, you might see 50 ml (1.97 inches) in Madrid, while coastal areas could have around 100 ml (3.94 inches).

garden overlooking hills in Spain

What to Pack When Visiting Spain in December

In December, you’ll find Spain’s weather to be quite varied depending on where you are. It’s generally colder with potential for rain, so packing layers is key. You’ll want a warm jacket and waterproof items to stay comfortable while exploring.

Here’s a general packing list to make sure you’re prepared for the weather in Spain in December:

  • Warm jacket: Preferably waterproof, as December can bring rain showers, averaging around 50 ml (around 2 inches) in places like Madrid.
  • Layers: Long-sleeve shirts, sweaters, and thermal wear will help you adapt to changing temperatures, which can range from 1°C (34°F) in the North to 14°C (57°F) in the South.
  • Scarf, hat, and gloves: While you won’t need these in every part of the country, at least a scarf is a good idea for chilly mornings and evenings.
  • Umbrella: Compact and sturdy to handle sudden showers.
  • Comfortable walking shoes: Waterproof if possible, as you may encounter wet conditions.
  • Boots: For warmth and to keep feet dry on rainy or cooler days.

Remember, indoor heating can be less powerful than you’re used to, so even inside, a good set of warm pajamas can keep you cozy. In addition, checking the local weather forecast for your specific destinations right before packing ensures you’re prepared for any unexpected changes in weather.

Main Events in Spain in December

In December, Spain offers a variety of events that showcase its rich culture and festive spirit. From religious festivals to lively markets, there’s something for everyone. The month is packed with unique traditions, many of which are centuries old.

  • Fiesta de Santa Lucía: In the lead-up to Christmas, the Feast of Saint Lucy is celebrated, particularly in the region of Catalonia. You can enjoy traditional music, dancing, and parades.
  • Christmas Markets: Spanish Christmas markets are magical, with stalls that sell crafts, food, and holiday items. Cities like Madrid, Barcelona, and Seville host beautifully decorated markets where you can find unique gifts.
  • Feria del Belén de Sevilla: This is one of Spain’s most important nativity scene markets, held in Seville. Here, you’ll find everything needed to create the perfect belén, a Spanish nativity scene.
  • Día de la Constitución: December 6 marks Constitution Day, a national holiday commemorating Spain’s transition to democracy. You’ll observe fewer events on this day since many spend it with family.
  • La Inmaculada Concepción: Celebrated on December 8, it’s a public holiday that involves religious processions and festivities in honor of the Immaculate Conception.
  • Las Hogueras de Navidad: An ancient winter solstice tradition, where people jump over bonfires in belief it will protect them from illness. This event is particularly popular in Granada.
  • Christmas Eve and Christmas Day: Festivities peak on these days with family meals, church services, and the exchange of gifts.
  • Nochevieja and New Year’s Eve Celebrations: Spaniards celebrate New Year’s Eve with parties, eating 12 grapes at midnight for good luck, and enjoying fireworks.
  • El Día de los Santos Inocentes: On December 28, Spain’s version of April Fools’ Day takes place, where pranks are played and the mood is jovial.
  • New Year’s Concerts: Cities often host concerts to welcome the new year, featuring a range of music from classical to contemporary.
street in a Spanish town

Where to Go in Spain in December

Spain offers a diverse range of destinations in December, whether you’re looking for winter sun or cultural festivities. The Canary Islands are known for their mild weather, so can be great for a warm winter escape. Cities like Seville and Granada celebrate the holiday season with vibrant decorations and traditional events.

  • Tenerife: With highs around 21°C (70°F), it’s perfect for beach days or exploring Teide National Park.
  • Gran Canaria: Experience diverse climates and landscapes, from sandy shores to rugged mountains.
  • Lanzarote: Visit Timanfaya National Park to see lunar-like terrain with temperatures about 19°C (66°F).
  • Seville: Discover the Gothic Seville Cathedral as the city lights up for Christmas, with temperatures around 15°C (59°F).
  • Granada: Tour the Alhambra palace against a backdrop of the snow-capped Sierra Nevada; expect 12°C (54°F).
  • Cordoba: Walk through the historic streets with fewer tourists, enjoying mild 14°C (57°F) weather.
  • Valencia: Stroll through the Turia Gardens and visit the City of Arts and Sciences; the weather hovers around 16°C (61°F).
  • Barcelona: Explore Gaudí’s architecture and festive markets with daytime highs near 14°C (57°F).
  • San Sebastián: Savor Basque cuisine and explore the charming Old Town, often around 11°C (52°F).
  • Bilbao: Enjoy the Guggenheim Museum with averages of 11°C (52°F), with occasional rain.
  • Oviedo: Experience traditional Asturian culture and architecture; typical temperatures are 10°C (50°F).
  • Madrid: The capital city buzzes with holiday energy under crisp clear skies, around 10°C (50°F).

What to Do in Spain in December

In December, Spain offers a mix of traditional festivities and mild winter weather. You can partake in unique holiday celebrations and enjoy outdoor activities without the extreme cold found in many other European countries. On the other hand, you can also find some excellent ski conditions this month.

  • Visit Christmas Markets: You’ll find Christmas markets bustling with holiday cheer, perfect for finding gifts and savoring local treats.
  • Attend La Nochevieja (New Year’s Eve): Join the locals in eating 12 grapes at midnight for good luck — a Spanish New Year tradition.
  • Go Skiing or Snowboarding: Head to the Sierra Nevada for ski season — it’s a great spot with plenty of winter sports options.
  • Explore Museums: Take advantage of shorter queues and spend more time with the masterpieces in Spain’s world-class museums.
  • Enjoy Indoor Flamenco Shows: Feel the passion of flamenco with a cozy indoor performance, a perfect escape from the chilly evenings.
  • Relax in Thermal Baths: Soak in the warm waters of thermal baths found in several cities, a blissful way to unwind.
  • Hike in National Parks: Milder temperatures make for ideal hiking conditions in Spain’s beautiful national parks.
  • Tour the Alhambra: Explore this iconic palace complex without the summer crowds; you’ll appreciate its history and architecture in peace.
  • Sample Seasonal Cuisine: Warm up with hearty dishes, like cocido or fabada, which are particularly satisfying in cooler weather.

Each activity provides a chance to immerse yourself in Spain’s culture or natural beauty during the winter season. With so many options, your December trip to Spain can be as diverse and fun as you make it!

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