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Weather in Spain in December: Region-by-Region Guide

Weather in Spain in December: Region-by-Region Guide

What might the weather in Spain in December have in store for you?

December in Spain is winter so a distinct chill creeps into the air following a warm fall.

If you’re looking for warmer conditions, the weather in southern Spain in December is the hottest. It’s definitely not beach weather, mind, and you’ll want warmer clothes on your Spain packing list.

Despite the frosty December weather in Spain, the country remains “warm” through festive markets and other yuletide happenings.

A quick overview of the weather in Spain in December

November was a wet month in many parts of Spain. December dries up in most places, with scattered showers affecting some of the typical vacation destinations in Spain.

The temperatures in Spain in December, January, and February are the coldest. It can be windy and cloudy both on the coast and further inland.

If you aren’t a cold-climate person, you’ll find the warmest weather in southern Spain in December. It’s not hot-hot but the temperatures are mild and the sunshine takes the edge of the cooler conditions.

The weather in the Canary Islands in December is warm enough for shorts and ocean dips.

  • Average Temperature in Spain in December: Depending on where you are, the temperatures in Spain in December sit around 15°C (59°F). It gets a little warmer in the south and cooler in Madrid and the north.
  • Precipitation: December is fairly dry but some cities, namely Málaga and Seville, are prone to heavier rainfall.
  • Snow: Snow is likelier in the hinterland regions, particularly in Northern Spain and around the Pyrenees. The Spanish ski season starts in December.
  • Sea Temperature: The Mediterranean settles around 16°C (61°F). It’s too cold for swimming (especially further north) unless you’re feeling courageous.

December isn’t the worst time to visit Spain if you’re looking for a low-season getaway minus the summer crowds.

front of a facade of a building with blue skies above and elegant windows.

Madrid is perfect for visiting any time of year, but it is particularly magical in December.

How does the December weather in Spain compare?

Consult all our month-by-month guides to the weather in Spain.

Barcelona: Catalan Christmas Vibes

The weather in Barcelona in December is colder than November but a little drier. While it’s too cold to swim in the sea and picnic in the parks, you can bundle up in warm clothing and enjoy the outdoor activities.

As Barcelona only receives four hours of sunshine, days can feel quite short. All the more reason to hit up the tapas bars nice and early!

  • Average Temperature: 10°C (51°F) with lows of 5°C (41°F).
  • Precipitation: 35 mm affecting five days.
  • Snow: Unlikely but not impossible.
  • Sea Temperature: 16°C (61°F).
  • Activities: If you do want to see some snow, check out day trips from Barcelona to the Pyrenees. Visit the festive markets in the Gothic Quarter, Plaça de Catalunya, Montjuic Hill, and beyond.
top of montserrat in Barcelona which has wonderful weather in spain in december.

Explore the different sites around the major cities at this time of year in Spain.

Northern Spain: Drizzly Spanish Weather in December

The northern maritime and wine regions receive the coldest weather in Spain in December. Cooler temperatures are often accompanied by rain, cloud cover, and wind.

It can be quite mesmerizing. However, you’ll need to be someone who sees the magic in rain to appreciate northern Spain in December. Bear in mind that sunshine hours can be as low as two or three hours.

  • Average Temperature: Anticipate averages of 7-10°C (45-51°F) and highs of around 13°C (55°F) subject to the destination. Record lows of -6°C (21°F) have been recorded but that’s rare!
  • Precipitation: Anywhere from 110-130 mm across Spain’s northern towns.
  • Snow: Inland areas and the Picos de Europa could receive snowfall.
  • Sea Temperature: At 14°C (58°F) and with colder air temperatures in Spain in December, it’s too cold to swim. It’s possible to partake in water activities in busier areas.
  • Activities: Tuck into Basque pintxos and seek out festive delicacies at the Christmas markets. It’s a bit cold for hiking but villages along the Camino de Santiago host little festivals in December before the weather drops lower.

Málaga and the Costa del Sol: Comfortably Cool

The weather in southern Spain in December is pleasant on the whole. As this is the Coast of the Sun, you’ll receive five sunshine hours per day – plenty for some seaside strolls before catching sunsets.

The weather in Málaga in December is nippy with bursts of warmth. Málaga in November/December is wet. Rain tends to come down hard and heavy but doesn’t stick around all day.

  • Average Temperature: 13°C (55°F) with highs of 17 °C (64°F).
  • Precipitation: 88 mm spread over seven days.
  • Snow: Snowfall is rare anywhere on the Costa del Sol.
  • Sea Temperature: 17°C (63°F).
  • Activities: Rent a bicycle and tour all the festive installations dotted throughout the city center and Paseo Maritimo. Rise early and catch a Costa del Sol winter sunrise: in December that’s usually around 8:00 AM. Shelter from the rain at the Hammam Al Ándalus – one of the best things to do in Málaga in winter.
a plaza in spain in december with tio pepe sign on the top of the building.

Explore the plazas in the Spanish sunshine which is still warming you even in chilly months in Spain!

Valencia: Variable Weather in Spain in December

Further north than Málaga and more southerly than Barcelona, December in Spain’s Valencia region meets in the middle. The Mediterranean climate brings a crispness to the air that’s still agreeable to outdoor sightseeing. Temperatures peter off toward the end of the month.

You can leave your bathing suit at home but don’t forget your sunnies: Valencia sees six hours of sunshine in a typical December.

  • Average Temperature: 10°C (50°F) with highs and lows going five degrees on either side.
  • Precipitation: Six days are impacted with an average of 42 mm.
  • Snow: Very unlikely.
  • Sea Temperature: 15°C (59°F).
  • Activities: Swing by Valencia Cathedral to see the Holy Chalice. Cruise the Christmas markets at the City of Arts and Sciences and the Plaza de la Reina. Ice skate at the rink in the Plaça de l’Ajuntament. Blow your Christmas budget on Valencia’s awesome tapas bars.

Madrid: Frosty But Enchanting

Brace yourself for chilly weather in Madrid in December. January and December in Spain see the coldest weather in the capital with four hours of sunshine on average.

As Madrid’s climate mixes Mediterranean and continental climates, it does feel colder than coastal cities on the guide. It’s dry on the whole with ad hoc showers that may catch you off guard. The wind can be bothersome but not enough to impact your Madrid itinerary.

  • Average Temperature: 6°C (44°F) with highs of 11°C (52°F) and lows of 2°C (36°F).
  • Precipitation: 50 mm affects up to 10 days on average.
  • Snow: Snow isn’t likely in Madrid but there’s a chance. You might see snow on the mountains nearby.
  • Activities: Warm up with hot wine at the pop-up markets in Plaza Mayor and Plaza de España. Browse the sales on the Gran Vía. Bag theater tickets or catch a flamenco performance once night sets in.
painted outside of a building with fake and real trees in front of it and blue skies above.

Madrid can be chilly, but there is still plenty of sunshine and wonderful murals and markets to explore.

Alicante: Hot Spells in the Costa Blanca

Alicante mimics the December weather in Spain’s port city of Valencia. There’s an average of six sunshine hours in Alicante and it might be warm enough to forego the jacket on hotter days.

Powerful northwesterly winds attempt to penetrate the city although the surrounding mountains keep these at bay. Alicante is also the gateway to the Costa Blanca beaches where the winter sun shines strongly.

  • Average Temperature: 13°C (55°F) with highs of 18°C (64°F) on cloudless days and lows of 8°C (46°F).
  • Precipitation: A minimal 34 mm falls across five days.
  • Snow: A near-impossibility in Alicante.
  • Sea Temperature: It’s quite chilly at 17°C (63°F) but that doesn’t deter hardy Alicantinos.
  • Activities: Prance down the esplanade with your arms outstretched – there’s plenty of room in December! Pick up seasonal biscuits and pastries at bakeries to enjoy on empty beaches.

Almería: T-shirt Weather in Spain in December

Typical of the weather in southern Spain in December, Almería experiences mild daytime conditions, brisk evenings, and minimal rain.

The only downer is that the desert city is pretty cloudy in December. All being well, you’ll enjoy around six hours of sunshine.

  • Average Temperature: 14°C (57°F) with highs of 18°C (64°F) and lows of 10°C (50°F).
  • Precipitation: A meager 20 mm scattered over seven days.
  • Snow: It never snows in Almería.
  • Sea Temperature: 16°C (62°F).
  • Activities: Don’t miss the chance to visit Europe’s sole desert, the Tabernas Desert. After a day on the dunes, you’ll be greeted with gran displays and light tunnels in the city center.
mountains with rushing water through the rocks.

Enjoy the natural beauty of the mountains in Spain in December if you enjoy some snowy trails.

Seville: A Spellbinding Winter Escape in Spain

Known as Europe’s frying pan due to its scorching summers, Seville goes on to become one of the warmest places in Spain in winter.

It can get chilly on a colder day. However, walking around the city’s neighborhoods and monuments will keep you feeling toasty.

  • Average Temperature: 12°C (54°F) with highs of 16°C (61°F) and lows of 7°C (45°F). Nights tend to hover around 10°C (51°F) with the occasional dip.
  • Precipitation: 79 mm across eight days.
  • Snow: Snow rarely touches Seville.
  • Activities: Most of our favorite Seville tours run in December, including tavern-hopping tours and journeys into the city’s darkest past. Visit the Bethlehem Fair at Seville Cathedral

Ibiza: Mild and Calm

Ibiza sees some of the windiest weather in Spain in December. You can thank this and the lower temperatures for shooing away the revelers.

Clubs close for winter in Ibiza and it’s not warm enough to swim, unless you’re one tough cookie. However, this lull in the action is delightful and it can be nice to experience Ibiza Town and island villages free from crowds.

  • Average Temperature: 13°C (55°F) with highs of 16°C (61°F) and lows of 10°C (51°F).
  • Precipitation: Only 36 mm on average sprinkled across 11 days.
  • Snow: There’s zero chance of a snow day in Ibiza.
  • Sea Temperature: 17°C (63°F).
  • Activities: See the Christmas lights in Ibiza Town and Sant Antoni (yes, it’s Christmas in the Balearics too!). Make the most of those seven sunshine hours through coastal hikes and cycling adventures around the deserted resort towns.
front facade of a grand building in spain with bright blue skies above.

There are some parts of Spain that can be warmer than others. Of course, the further south you head in the country, the more likely it is to enjoy a little bit of winter warmth.

Canary Islands: The OG Winter Sun Destination

The gloriously mild weather in the Canary Islands in December makes it feel almost like early summer, not the start of winter! This is where you’ll find the highest temperatures in Spain in December.

You can expect warm, dry, and sunny conditions across the archipelago. Gran Canaria tends to be the warmest Canary Island in December although it will be quieter on La Palma.

  • Average Temperature: Averages linger around 19°C (66°F) with highs of around 22°C (72°F) and lows of 15°C (59°F).
  • Precipitation: Only around 30 mm over a couple of days.
  • Snow: There’s no snow at sea level but you might catch some on the mountains of Gran Canaria and Tenerife.
  • Sea Temperature: A perfectly swimmable 20°C (68°F).
  • Activities: Anything goes in the Canaries during winter! Choose from hiking, surfing, stargazing, and even swimming. All islands channel the festive spirit through the traditional markets and nativity scenes that grace the mainland.

What Else Is Happening in Spain in December?

Besides the mild weather in Spain in December, this month marks the countdown to Christmas and the New Year.

Winter Sports: December in Spain is the kick-off for ski season. The Pyrenees and Sierra Nevada offer the best skiing this month but sometimes it pays to wait until later in the season.

Christmas in Spain: Festive markets start popping up in Spanish cities at the end of November and last until just before or just after New Year’s Eve. Expect other festive happenings such as light installations, wintery menus, ice rinks, and themed club nights.

Winter Solstice: There’s no better place to observe the shortest day in the Northern Hemisphere than sunny Spain. It might pass you by but it’s worth checking out special events as bonfires are common.

New Year’s Eve: Another global event! Make sure you book your accommodation, train tickets, and any tours/tickets way ahead of time.

Dia de Los Santos Inocentes: This day, December 28, is similar to April Fool’s Day. Children (and even adults) will play practical jokes and prank their friends. It’s fun to check the local news and guess which bulletins are spoofs!

girona colorful buildings along the river with a reflection in the river.

Girona is a beautiful part of Spain to explore no matter what time of year it is!

Is it worth visiting Spain in December?

The mild Spanish weather in December makes this a good time to visit Spain if you’re happy to throw on a couple of extra layers. There’s lots of festive goings on so you can tackle any Christmas shopping between exploring.

You’re unlikely to have your travel plans thwarted by snow in Spain in December. However, you might see some snowy peaks on a day trip.

Note that accommodation prices rise toward the end of the month around Christmas and New Year. You’ll also have to pre-book any train tickets in advance.