Dreaming of warm places in Europe during winter when the weather can be dark and cold? Missing summertime where you could lounge on the beach and feel the beaming sun on your skin? There are many warm places to visit in Europe in December with the hottest place being Gran Canaria (according to The Weather Channel). This post will go into more of the warmest places in Europe in December.
You’d be surprised by the number of cities with decent weather you can experience on this continent. Not only that, you get to benefit from the cheaper prices to travel during winter and even better fewer crowds!
Note: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase something through the links, at no additional cost to you. Read our Affiliate Disclosure here.
🧷 Travel Insurance with SafetyWing in case of any accidents. Better safe than sorry!
✈️ Get Airport Lounge Access across the world with Priority Pass
📱Mobile E-sim card to stay connected while traveling without the hassle of changing out your sim card!
|Top Hotel Pick
|1. Gran Canaria
|Cordial La Peregrina
|3. Madeira Island, Portugal
|Best Western+ Larco
|5. Malaga, Spain
|Room Mate Valeria
|7. Valletta, Malta
|La Falconeria Hotel
|8. Crete, Greece
|DOM Boutique Hotel
|9. Algarve, Portugal
|10. Palermo, Italy
|B&B Hotel Palermo
|11. Ibiza, Spain
|12. Lisbon, Portugal
|The Vintage Hotel & Spa
|13. Cagliari, Sardinia
|Villa Fanny Hotel
|14. Valencia, Spain
|Hotel Marqués House
|15. Nice, France
|Hôtel Nice Beau Rivage
|16. Barcelona, Spain
|H10 Madison Hotel
Warmest Places in Europe in December
1. Gran Canaria, Canary Islands (Spain)
Explored by Steph of A Nomad’s Passport
Gran Canaria is possibly the hottest place in Europe in December! It is the third largest Canary Island and is located in the Atlantic Ocean west of the African continent. Like the other Canary Islands, it is of volcanic origin and was colonized by the Spanish in the 15th century. Before that, the island was inhabited by an indigenous population.
One of the biggest appeals is the beaches, but Gran Canaria also has many charming towns and hikes. However, the best things to do in Gran Canaria in December are chasing waterfalls that are hidden in ravines and scuba diving (you can go on a beginner’s scuba diving tour here) to see nudibranchs and angel sharks. After all, the waterfalls carry the most water during the winter months, and thanks to the temperatures, hiking there is quite pleasant.
The water temperature in December is still 20°C (68°F), which is significantly warmer than that of the European coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Therefore, you can go for a nice and relaxing swim before relaxing at one of the great beaches of Gran Canaria.
If you want to attend a local festival in December, you should visit the municipality of Santa Lucia de Tirajana. The festival combines Canarian and Swedish traditions to celebrate the municipality’s patron saint.
Be sure to rent a car while exploring Gran Canaria, so you can visit some of the island’s many viewpoints like Pico de las Nieves in the center of the island and Mirador del Balcon on the west coast.
☀️ Temperature in December: High: 72°F / 22 °C, Low: 61°F / 16 °C. The center of the island is at altitude and therefore colder than the coastal areas.
🌧️ Rainfall days in December: 7 days
📍 How to get there: The closest airport is Gran Canaria Airport (LPA). Alternatively, you can also take the ferry from Tenerife, Fuerteventura, or Lanzarote.
🏨 Top Hotel Pick: The best place to stay in Gran Canaria is the Boutique Hotel Cordial La Peregrina. It is located in Las Palmas’ Triana district, but also offers a fantastic rooftop view of the historic city center and has a rooftop pool.
📖 Read my full blog post on things to do in Gran Canaria
Hiking Tours in Gran Canaria:
⛰️ This hiking excursion is an excellent opportunity for mountain lovers to get to know the island from a completely different perspective
🌋 Experience Gran Canaria like a local with this fully customizable hiking tour of the island with lunch
🚶 Feel the Canarian atmosphere and see beautiful landscapes on this full-day hiking and waterfalls experience
2. Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain)
Explored by Lara Hartog of The Best Travel Gifts
The Spanish island of Tenerife is also one of the hottest place in Europe in December. It’s the largest of the Canary Islands and due to its location next to Africa, temperatures are pleasant year-round.
If you are looking for the warmest places to stay, the southern part of the island is the best place to go. Two great towns in the south are Los Cristianos and Costa Adeje. During summer these towns are overcrowded tourist resorts, but in winter time you actually have the opportunity to see some of their true Spanish charms again, without the flocks of tourists.
Some other highlights of Tenerife include the cliffs of Los Gigantes, Parque Rural de Anaga, and National Park El Teide (with the highest point in Spain, Mount Teide 3,715 meters/12,188 feet).
Christianity is still the main religion in Spain and Tenerife, which is why you find a lot going around Christmas in Tenerife. Each village will be beautifully decorated and each church will have some form of celebration, especially for Midnight Mass on December 24th.
The best way to explore the island is by car. That way you can base yourself in the warm south, while also exploring the beautiful and green north of the island. You can rent a car from Discover Cars which will find you the most affordable prices across different rental companies. Driving and navigating the island is relatively easy.
☀️ Temperature in December: High: 68°F / 20°C, Low: 57°F / 14°C
🌧️ Rainfall days in December: 6 days
📍 How to get there: The closest airport to the South part of the island is Tenerife South-Reina Sofia Airport. Alternatively, you can fly into Tenerife North Airport (or Los Rodeos) and then drive to the south part of the island.
🏨 Top Hotel Pick: The best place to stay in Costa Adeje Tenerife is Dreams Jardin Tropical Resort & Spa because of the great reviews and is the perfect spot for a calm getaway.
3. Madeira Island, Portugal
Explored by Joanna of The World in My Pocket
Madeira makes a perfect winter city break in Europe and is a popular holiday destination. This beautiful island is located in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Morocco, and has mild temperatures all year round. In December, you can expect 20 degrees Celsius in Funchal, and plenty of sunny days.
Madeira is often referred to as the Hawaii of Europe due to its volcanic and spectacular terrain. Because it is quite small, you will be able to reach most places in around an hour. If you only have a weekend, you can therefore see a lot in a short time.
One of the most breathtaking things to do in Madeira is watching the sunrise from above the clouds, on Pico do Arieiro. Be sure to visit Pico Ruivo for a morning hike – it is the highest point on the island and offers amazing views.
Another great thing to do in Madeira, even in December, is to swim in the natural pools from Porto Moniz. Madeira also sees one of the most spectacular fireworks displays in Europe, on New Year’s Eve.
If you’re in for a fun activity, try tobogganing, which is similar to sledding. You can book a tour like this from Monte. It will involve riding in a traditional wicker basket which was previously used by locals when there wasn’t an easy way to get to Funchal quickly. To get to the starting point you have to take the cable car from the seafront in Funchal, which offers beautiful views over the city and the ocean as it goes up. At the top, there is a beautiful palace with stunning gardens, a must-see in Funchal.
☀️ Temperature in December: 68°F / 20°C, Low: 59°F / 15°C
🌧️ Rainfall days in December: 16 days
📍 How to get there: The closest airport is Madeira/Funchal
🏨 Top Hotel Pick: The best place to stay is the VidaMar Resort because it has great spacious rooms, sea views, and many pools.
Be sure to read about the warmest European places in January to travel!
Explored by Alina Schweiger of World of Lina
Another country among the warmest places in Europe in December is the small country of Cyprus. Cyprus is an island country in the eastern Mediterranean Sea close to the country of Turkey and a member of the European Union since 2004.
Probably the most special thing about Cyprus is that the country is divided into two parts. In 1974, Turkey invaded the northern part of Cyprus – apparently in response to a military coup on the island by the Greek government. Since then, the country has been divided and the northern third is now run by the Turkish Cypriot government whereas the two-thirds in the south are led by the Greek Cypriots.
December is the perfect season to visit Cyprus if you plan to explore the island. At the sea, you can enjoy the warm sun rays whereas in the mountains you may be even able to see some snow!
Spend at least 3 days in Cyprus to see all the major attractions such as the Archaeological Park and the Tombs of the Kings in Paphos or the Love Bridge in Ayia Napa.
If you’re a nature lover and want to enjoy some hiking, explore Avakas Gorge or do a Troodos Mountains Tour. The view from the highest mountain peak is truly fantastic!
The capital city of the Greek part of Cyprus is called Larnaca and is also worth a short visit. There you’ll find a big salt lake where you can observe flamingos if you’re lucky.
☀️ Temperature in December: High: 68°F / 19 °C, Low: 49°F / 9 °C
🌧️ Rainfall days in December: 8 days
📍 How to get there: The closest airports are Larnaca International Airport and Paphos International Airport.
🏨 Top Hotel Pick: The best place to stay in Cyprus is the Best Western Plus Larco Hotel due to its central location and close driving proximity to the airport.
5. Malaga, Spain
Explored by Cristina Reina of My Little World of Travelling
When people think of Malaga, they picture it being a summer destination. However, if you visit in the winter, you’ll have an opportunity to explore this gorgeous Spanish city without the crowds or blistering heat. See why Malaga is the ultimate winter getaway!
Malaga is one of the oldest cities in the world with close to three thousand years of history that is waiting for you at every corner! The winter is the best time of the year to explore this rich history as it’s not too hot. Visit the Alcazaba fortress palace overlooking the city. Dating back to the 11th Century, it is the best-preserved Alcazaba in the country. Next to it, you can also see the Roman Theatre.
Feeling adventurous? Consider taking a hike as it’s a great time to sightsee and hike in the mild weather. The closest and most popular hiking destination in the city is Los Montes de Malaga Natural Park. If you’re looking for more gorgeous sites, don’t miss Gibralfaro for the best views of Malaga.
For delicious Spanish food, check out El Pimpi. You can order traditional dishes like fritura malagueña (fried fish). Make sure to also stop by the Mercado de Atarazanas to grab some mantecados! You’ll find these shortbread cookies at every local’s table during Christmas time.
Immerse yourself in the holiday spirit and attend the light show on Calle Larios Street. You will find shops and cafes shimmering underneath the magical lights. Visit the Paseo del Parque market where you can see one of the traditional nativity scenes called belén, in the cathedral or town hall.
☀️ Temperature in December: High: 64°F / 18°C, Low: 48°F / 9°C
🌧️ Rainfall days in December: 7 days
📍 How to get there: Flying into Malaga Costa del Sol Airport (AGP) is considered the best choice given its location. You can also take a train ride that brings you from Madrid’s Atocha Station to Maria Zambrano Station in downtown Malaga. The train ride takes less than three hours.
🏨 Top Hotel Pick: Consider staying at the Room Mate Valeria. It’s right in the city center, and it has lovely rooms as well as a great rooftop terrace which is great for taking stunning photos.
6. Gibraltar (British Overseas Territory)
Explored by Linn Haglund of Amused by Andalucia
One of the warmest places to visit in Europe in December is the tiny British Territory of Gibraltar that is connected with the southern Spain mainland in the Strait of Gibraltar. Its proximity to northern Africa assures steady winter temperatures and compared to the rest of Britain, Gibraltar gets around 300 days of sun a year which makes it an attractive destination.
While there are lots of interesting things to do on the tiny peninsula, most travelers go on a day trip to Gibraltar from Malaga, Seville, or other nearby Spanish destinations. Gibraltar has an intriguing history of battles between different kingdoms throughout the years which you can witness through the Moorish Castle and the World War Two shelters. But caves with evidence dating back to the Neanderthals have been found in Gibraltar.
However, the most popular attractions are The Rock of Gibraltar with the Ape’s Den. Considering the apes of Gibraltar are the only wild monkeys living on the entire European continent, it is not hard to understand why the monkeys are the most popular tourist magnet. But also the St. Michael’s Cave which formerly was believed to have no bottom, and was later believed to be the entrance to an underwater tunnel to Africa is incredible to visit.
Europa Point with its red and white lighthouse is another of the picturesque sites you can enjoy in Gibraltar, but even the old town is enchanting in its own way with its high-end English shops, old book shops, and red British phone boots reminding you that this is British territory. In the evenings, you can browse the Christmas Market and enjoy hot drinks as the temperatures cool down.
☀️ Temperature in December: High: 63°F / 17°C, Low: 54°F / 12°C
🌧️ Rainfall days in December: 9 days
📍 How to get there: The closest airport is Gibraltar International Airport. Alternatively, you can get there by bus or car crossing the border from La Linea in Spain.
🏨 Top Hotel Pick: The best place to stay in Gibraltar is Rock Hotel because of the spectacular views.
7. Valetta, Malta
Explored by Moumita of Chasing the Long Road
An island country in the Mediterranean Sea, Malta is one of the warmest places in Europe in December. Due to its Mediterranean climate, the weather in Malta remains relatively warm and dry in December, with an average temperature of around 15°C. So, if you are looking for someplace in Europe to escape the cold winter, Malta is perfect for you.
Start your Maltese holiday with a visit to Valletta – a UNESCO World Heritage site and the capital city of Malta. Wander around the winding streets of this historic city to marvel at the lovely photogenic architecture. A visit to St John’s Co-Cathedral is a must in the city. Founded in the 16th century, the heavily ornate interior of the cathedral is one of the best examples of Baroque architecture in Europe. For a breathtaking panoramic view of the city, visit the Upper Barrakka Gardens. Afterward, take a small traditional Maltese boat to reach the Three Cities across Valletta.
One of the main attractions of Malta is its gorgeous turquoise, sun-kissed sandy beaches. Head towards Blue Lagoon on Comino Island or the Golden Sand Bay on the mainland – both the beaches are fantastic spots for taking a swim or simply soaking in the sun lying on the beach. While the water in December is a bit cold for water sports, you can take a hike around the island. After a busy day, enjoy the vibrant nightlife at St. Julian. Enjoy a delicious dinner with some hearty traditional Maltese food and drink in Nenu the Artisan Baker.
☀️ Temperature in December: High: 63°F/17°C, Low: 52°F/11°C
🌧️ Rainfall days in December: 16
📍 How to get there: The closest airport is Malta International Airport.
🏨 Top Hotel Pick: The best place to stay in La Falconeria Hotel is because of its close proximity to the Valletta city center.
8. Crete, Greece
Explored by Noel of Oahu Travel Now
One of the best places to visit in wintertime for Europe would be Crete located in the middle of the Mediterranean sea. This island is fantastic to visit in the winter with hardly any tourists around.
Noteworthy places to visit in Crete include the historic waterfront city of Chania with its gorgeous architecture, cool markets, churches, and the harbor area to explore.
Further into the middle of the island is the historic Unesco World Heritage Site at Knossos with all the amazing structures and frescoes of the Minoan civilization to explore at this massive palace.
There are so many wonderful natural sites and beaches around Crete to explore and it seems every corner has a unique vista point and place that you can easily capture when you drive through the many lookout points around the island.
Don’t forget to try some of the local specialty dishes, fresh seafood, and of course the Greek wines that are grown in the area and very affordable to enjoy with a meal.
You’ll enjoy visiting Crete in December without the crowds and still enjoy the average temperature in the mid 50s°F (12°C) which is comfortable for December.
☀️ Temperature in December: High: 63°F/17°C, Low: 50°F/10°C
🌧️ Rainfall days in December: 9 days
📍 How to get there: There are two international airports on Crete: Heraklion Airport (HER) and Chania Airport (CHQ)
🏨 Top Hotel Pick: DOM Boutique Hotel is a great place to stay in Heraklio Town near all the popular points of interest.
9. Algarve, Portugal
Explored by Marjut Jogisoo of The Smooth Escape
Algarve is the southernmost region of Portugal and is known for its jaw-dropping landscapes and sandy beaches. Combining spectacular nature, rich history, buzzing nightlife, and an exciting culinary scene, it’s a destination that offers something for every type of traveler.
Although the Algarve is best known as a summer destination, attracting thousands of beach-goers from all over the world, it’s also an excellent place to visit in December. Since winter is the off-season in the Algarve, it means that the prices of flights, car rentals, and accommodation are significantly lower than in the summer.
Another major advantage of visiting the Algarve in December is that you can enjoy its charm without the hordes of tourists that suffocate the region in the summertime.
Whether you prefer to explore hiking trails, enjoy views of the Atlantic Ocean from its countless beaches or stroll around the picturesque towns, you can do that in peace and quiet in December. Some of the top attractions that you should include in your Algarve itinerary are the awe-inspiring cliffs of Ponta de Piedade, the Benagil sea cave (book this tour here), and the iconic Praia da Marinha beach.
In December, you can also explore the Loule Christmas market to sample some local Christmas treats, such as bolo rei and bolo rainha. In case you happen to be in the Algarve on New Year’s Eve, head to the town of Albufeira for a big fireworks display.
☀️ Temperature in December: High: 63°F/17°C, Low: 48°F/9°C
🌧️ Rainfall days in December: 9 days
📍 How to get there: The main airport in the Algarve region is Faro Airport. Alternatively, you can fly to Lisbon and then drive or take a train to Algarve.
🏨 Top Hotel Pick: One of the best places to stay in the Algarve is Casa Mãe in the beautiful town of Lagos. This sustainably-minded 5-star hotel features stunning minimalist aesthetics, several pools, and spa facilities.
10. Palermo, Italy
Explored by Jackie Rezk of Jou Jou Travels
If Sicily isn’t on your radar, it should be now! Plus, it’s the perfect winter destination as temperatures are still mild in December with a high of 61°F / 16°C.
Palermo is Sicily’s capital and largest city. It has an amazing food scene and interestingly enough, it has possibly the largest number of UNESCO sites (8 in total). Palermo is also home to over 250 ancient churches. Don’t miss the Palermo Cathedral which originated in 1185 and has strong Moorish influences.
The best thing to do in Palermo is to visit one of the many beautiful beaches including Mondello, Ustico, or Capo Gallo. Many of them will have some of the clearest waters you will ever imagine. Day trippers may opt to even visit Cefalu which is an hour away from Palermo City.
If you enjoy hiking, you could climb Mount Pellegrino which has incredible views of Palermo and the sea. Palermo is also quite lively and has good nightlife if that is your scene.
There are many foods to try that are traditional and the best place is to head to some of the street markets to get a tasting of them. There are at least 5 street markets in Palermo – Capo or Ballarò that are worth a stop. Be sure to try this amazing food market and tasting tour! Sfincione for example is a rectangular pizza that resembles focaccia bread. In addition, the cannoli was invented here and the best place to try it is at Cannolissimo.
☀️ Temperature in December: High: 61°F / 16°C, Low: 54°F / 12°C
🌧️ Rainfall days in December: 17 days
📍 How to get there: You can fly to Palermo Airport and take the Autolinee Prestia e Comandè bus to the city center. It takes about 1 hour.
🏨 Top Hotel Pick: Stay at B&B Hotel Palermo Quattro Canti for the central historical location next to the piazza of Quattro Canti.
11. Ibiza, Spain
Explored by Carley Rojas Avila of Home to Havana
For a quick getaway to warmer climates in December, head to Ibiza to enjoy the perfectly blue ocean, historic villages, and stunning coastline, with just a fraction of the visitors you’ll find during the high season. There are plenty of things to do in Ibiza for travelers on every budget – Ibiza has so much more to offer than just the buzzing party scene that makes it a summer hotspot.
With just a tiny fraction of the visitors in summer, exploring Ibiza’s major destinations is much more enjoyable. You can walk the streets of the charming and historic Dalt Vila, normally crowded with tourists, and feel as though you’ve reached back in time for several decades.
Another highlight of Ibiza in December is simply walking the beautiful beaches. Ibiza’s busiest beaches, like Platja d’en Bossa, normally bustling and with DJs playing all day, now feel deserted, and visitors can appreciate their natural beauty. Cala Comte, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Balearic Islands, is even more stunning without the crowds. Es Vedra is also a magical place to watch the sunset and is the third most magnetic point in the world!
For an unforgettable experience, book your trip during the Festa del Vi Pagès. This December celebration of local wines is an event not to be missed if you’re a wine lover, and a great way to connect with locals, taste local food and drink, and connect with in-the-know travelers who appreciate the bounty of the island.
☀️ Temperature in December: High: 61°F / 16°C, Low: 50F / 10°C
🌧️ Rainfall days in December: 11 days
📍 How to get there: The closest airport is Ibiza Airport; another option is to fly into Palma de Mallorca and take the ferry to Ibiza. Alternatively, you can reach Ibiza via ferry from the Spanish mainland from Denia, Valencia, and Barcelona ports.
🏨 Top Hotel Pick: Barceló Portinatx, located just steps from the beach with stunning views of the pool and ocean from every room.
12. Lisbon, Portugal
Explored by Jackie of Jou Jou Travels
Lisbon, Portugal is one of the warmer destinations you can visit in December with a high of 60°F / 15°C making it the perfect winter escape. It is the capital of Portugal and offers much history being one of the oldest cities in the world. You will be surrounded by beautiful pastel-colored buildings, tiled pathways, and stunning architecture.
For the best things to do in Lisbon, be sure to stop by the Alfama neighborhood. It is one of Lisbon’s oldest areas full of shops and cafes as well as colorful buildings. Be sure to take the famous no. 28 tram through Alfama and all the way up to the 11th-century São Jorge Castle.
The city is full of hills meaning you can find some of the most insane viewpoints in many places. Some favorite spots include Miradouro das Portas do Sol which has views over Alfama, Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara, and Miradouro Da Graca both situated near a stunning castle.
The culinary scene in Lisbon is top-notch and there are many fun food tours you can take like this one. Don’t miss Portuguese specialties like pastel de nata which is a custard tart. You can try it all over town but one suggestion would be Manteigaria. Bifana is another must-try food featuring a sliced pork sandwich.
In December, you will be able to go to the Lisbon Christmas Market and you’ll also find the city decorated with Christmas lights.
☀️ Temperature in December: High: 60°F / 15°C, Low: 49F / 9°C
🌧️ Rainfall days in December: 14 days
📍 How to get there: Lisbon Airport is the closest airport. From there, you can take the metro to downtown Lisbon and arrive in 20 minutes.
🏨 Top Hotel Pick: The Vintage Hotel & Spa is a beautiful hotel located in the heart of Lisbon with stunning views on the rooftop bar.
13. Cagliari, Sardinia
Explored by Claudia Tavani of Strictly Sardinia
Cagliari is the charming capital of the island of Sardinia. Founded in the neolithic era, it only really became a city many centuries later and throughout history, Cagliari has seen many dominations, including that of the Phoenicians, Punics, and later on the Romans – who all left their mark on the island and on the capital.
While like the rest of the Mediterranean Cagliari goes through all seasons, winter here is particularly mild, with only the occasional cold front bringing down the temperatures. Although the number of tourists has significantly increased in the last decade, the city has managed to fully retain its local character. While many would argue that winter is hardly the best time to visit Sardinia, it is the perfect escape from crowds as most of the people you see walking around are locals.
Not many would think of Cagliari as a Christmas Markets destination, yet the city is beautifully decorated with Christmas lights then, and markets are spread in various areas of town. This includes Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and Piazza del Carmine in the historic district of Stampace, as well as the arts and crafts market in the former Tobacco Manufactory in the Villanova district.
Since the city is located on the hills and on the shores of the Mediterranean, photo opportunities abound. For the most beautiful sunset in Cagliari, head to the Bastione Santa Croce in the Castello District. Grab a drink at Libarium Nostrum for an even better experience! It’s only one of the best photo spots in town.
☀️ Temperature in December: High: 59°F / 15 °C, Low: 45°F / 7 °C. These are actually average temperatures! On a good day, daytime temperatures easily go up to 18°C (64.4°F) and even 22°C (71.6°F).
🌧️ Rainfall days in December: 5 days
📍 How to get there: Cagliari has its own airport, Cagliari Elmas (CAG) connected to the rest of Europe via regular and low-cost flights. The best way to get from the airport to the city is by train: it takes just 7 minutes.
🏨 Top Hotel Pick: The best place to stay in Cagliari is the Villa Fanny Hotel. It’s right outside the historic district of Stampace, and you can easily walk to all attractions, restaurants, and bars from there.
14. Valencia, Spain
Explored by Anna Hamilton of Spain Inspired
Valencia is the third biggest city in Spain and is quickly becoming a must-see on people’s European itineraries. Best known as the birthplace of paella, it’s recently been named the best city in the world for expats. When you see its historic Old Town, futuristic City of Arts and Sciences, beautiful beaches, and enormous Turia Gardens, you’ll understand why it earned that title.
In December, Valencia enjoys a mild winter, with average daytime temperatures hovering around a balmy 15°C (59°F). So while folks are buttoned up elsewhere, you could be soaking in some much-needed vitamin D on a Valencian beach. With some paella and local wine, ideally! Plus, it’s low tourist season, which means less crowding at popular sights and lower prices for accommodation.
First things first, you can’t visit Valencia and not try the local paella. Head to La Pepica or Restaurante Levante for an authentic experience. Seafood lovers, these places are calling out your name. And don’t forget to pair it with a glass of local wine or Agua de Valencia – a delicious cocktail made with cava, orange juice, vodka, and gin.
Photographers will be spoilt for choice here. The City of Arts and Sciences is a must for its sleek modern architecture, which is best captured at dawn or dusk. For an amazing view of the city, head to the Torre del Micalet. If you love colors, then look out for the colorful facades in El Cabanyal. They are oh-so Instagrammable!
☀️ Temperature in December: High: 59°F / 15°C Low: 41°F / 5°C
🌧️ Rainfall days in December: 6 days
📍 How to get there: The closest airport is Valencia International Airport. Alternatively, you can get there by train from other cities in Spain, with the two major train stations in Valencia for long-distance trains being Estación Joaquin Sorolla and Estación del Norte.
🏨 Top Hotel Pick: The best place to stay in Valencia is Hotel Marqués House. It’s incredibly well located, being right in the center of the Old Town of the city, and has a great terrace for enjoying views of the city once you’re done with a long day of sightseeing.
15. Nice, France
Explored by Lisa Garrett of Waves and Cobblestones
Shake off your winter doldrums! Escape to Nice, France, and enjoy its mild winter weather. Nice is located in the south of France along the coast of the Mediterranean. It came into popularity as a favored winter resort location of the English aristocracy and is a UNESCO World Heritage site for this historical importance.
Nice’s many beaches make up a gorgeous four-mile stretch against the shimmering azure waters of the Mediterranean. At the easternmost edge of the beaches, look for the #ILoveNice sign. This viewpoint boasts some of the most picture-perfect views.
If you come to Nice, you will likely be strolling the Promenade des Anglais at some point. After all, it’s Nice’s most famous attraction. This pedestrian boardwalk is flanked by beaches to the south, with glittering restaurants, bars, hotels, and casinos on the north side. It’s a great place to enjoy a walk and do some people-watching.
During December, visit the Nice Luna Park Indoor Christmas Park. This is a unique indoor festival with rides, food stalls, and craft markets.
As a coastal city, Nice’s cuisine features a lot of fresh seafood, with moules-frites being a popular dish. Be sure to try socca, a local favorite snack. This giant thin pancake is made of chickpea flour, baked, and then cut into strips. Don’t miss Marché Aux Fleurs, which is Nice’s food and flower market.
☀️ Temperature in December: High: 57°F / 14°C, Low: 43°F / 6°C
🌧️ Rainfall days in December: 9 days
📍 How to get there: The closest airport is the Nice Côte d’Azur Airport. Alternatively, you can get there from the Nice-Ville train station with high-speed train service.
🏨 Top Hotel Pick: The best place to stay is the Hôtel Nice Beau Rivage in Vieux Nice – it’s just a block from the Promenade des Anglais and the beach!
16. Barcelona, Spain
Explored by Claire of Why Visit Barcelona
Barcelona is a special city. Located in the Catalan region of northern Spain, Barcelona has a metropolitan feel and isn’t like other Spanish cities. It is one of the most popular destinations in Europe for good reason and has something for every visitor to enjoy, from incredible architecture and delicious food to fabulous museums, beautiful beaches and so much more.
Visiting Barcelona in December means that the city isn’t as busy as usual, with most tourists preferring to come here in the summer months. However, winter in Barcelona is still relatively warm thanks to the Mediterranean climate and the envious location between the mountains and the sea. In fact, you could be walking along the beach in the morning and skiing in the Pyrenees in the afternoon!
Barcelona gets into the Christmas spirit in December, with Christmas markets appearing all over the city. The Fira de Santa Llúcia in front of the Gothic Cathedral is one of the biggest, selling traditional Catalan Christmas decorations like the caganer (pooping man) for nativity scenes and Caga Tió logs for the kids to hit with sticks until it poops presents.
While it is relatively quiet compared to peak periods, enjoy exploring Barcelona’s top attractions without the usual crowds. Still pre-book tickets when you can though, especially for places like La Sagrada Familia, Camp Nou and the FC Barcelona Museum, and Park Güell.
On sunny days, head up to the Bunkers at El Carmel for the best views of the city, and if you need to warm up in poor weather a cup of thick hot chocolate and churro donuts on Carrer Petrixol will work wonders!
☀️ Temperature in December: High: 57°F / 14°C Low: 41°F / 5°C
🌧️ Rainfall days in December: 5 days
📍 How to get there: The closest airport is Barcelona El Prat Airport which is well connected to the city by train, bus, and metro services as well as taxis. Barcelona Sants is the city’s main train station with services from various locations in Spain and other European cities.
🏨 Top Hotel Pick: The best place to stay in Barcelona is the H10 Madison Hotel, which has lovely views of the Gothic Cathedral from the roof terrace.
Hope you enjoyed reading this post on the warmest places to visit in Europe in December!