Want to escape the cold weather in Europe in December without leaving the continent? Here are the warmest places in Europe in December to choose from!
Summer is long gone and with the cold weather approaching, you are starting to long for a well-deserved winter holiday.
Sure, most people will say “ski trip”, but what about those who want to escape the cold and are looking for a warmer, sunnier destination?
If you are missing the warm feeling of sunshine on your skin and you feel the need for some temperate climate, then this guide is for you!
The truth is, you don’t need to take off to some tropical faraway destination to take a break from the cold.
Even in Europe, there are still plenty of options that will satisfy your need for a blue and cloudless sky, without the need for an exhausting and expensive intercontinental flight.
So if you’re looking for the warmest places in Europe in December to escape the cold, this post will give you the best and hottest places in Europe in December for your winter holiday in the sun!
But before we dive in, let’s look at the general weather in Europe in December.
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Europe weather in December
While some people instantly assume that the temperatures are the same across Europe in December, this is definitely not true.
The weather of Europe in December is very much varied with countries in Scandinavia experiencing brutal snowy winters with temperatures dropping to below zero sometimes while some countries especially those on the Mediterranean experience some sun and temperatures can go as high as 18°C (64°F).
So it really depends on the country itself. There are some countries in Europe you can visit to experience a snowy winter but there are some you can visit and enjoy some sun.
So in this article, I will be focusing on some of the warmest places in Europe in December. Read on and you might just find your perfect winter sun destination.
warmest places in Europe in December
In no particular order, here are the 23 warm places in Europe in December!
1. Madeira, Portugal
When it comes to choosing a warm place in Europe in December, the island of Madeira is worth taking into consideration. The island is blessed with pristine blue seawaters, beautiful sand beaches, and green cliffs.
The climate is temperate all year long, creating the illusion of a never-ending spring. Even in December, temperatures vary between 20°C (68°F) and 15°C (59°F) at its lowest.
Seawater temperature during wintertime is approximately 20°C (68°F), offering the rare opportunity for a December swim for the more daring.
Madeira is also the perfect choice for those who love a more adventurous vacation since there is plenty of opportunity for hiking and trekking in the region.
For a hike to remember, take a walk through the levadas footpaths (the local mountain trails) and enjoy some of the most incredible views in the world, surrounded by uncontaminated wilderness.
The best part is that you don’t need to worry about your hiking expertise too much. There are plenty of incredibly beautiful paths of all kinds of levels of difficulty, and fortunately, the weather conditions on the island are year-round perfect for excursions.
If you are a foodie, then you’ll want to have a taste of the typical Mediterranean cuisine that Madeira has to offer.
On the island, you will have no problem finding fresh, earthy ingredients. Among the most loved local dishes, you may want to try the Tuna in molho de vilão sauce or the typical Espetada steak, accompanied by Bolo do caco bread.
2. Cordoba, Spain
The picturesque city of Cordoba is located in Andalusia, in southern Spain. If you love a city with plenty of art and history to offer, then you may want to book a ticket to Cordoba this winter.
The city was once the capital of the Muslim empire in Spain, and its unique architecture is characterized by a mix of Roman, Neoclassical, Gothic-Renaissance influences, as well as examples of Arab-Islamic art that will blow you away.
The climate in Cordoba, and the Andalusia region in general, is good all year round. In December, the average temperature is 10.5°C (51°F), with the highest registered being 15°C (59°F) and the lowest at 6°C (43°F).
If you love food that’s spicy and rich in flavor, then you’ll love the typical meals that Cordoba has to offer.
Between typical breakfast sweets, tasty tapas, and elaborate dishes like the Flamenquín (jamón serrano wrapped in pork and eggs), you will find yourself missing the Andalusian cuisine once you go back home.
For those who love to cook, or just want to dive into another culture, try taking a cooking class! Let local experts guide you and learn how to prepare local Andalusian dishes on your own.
Also, many cooking classes include a shopping session at the most famous local farmer’s market, the Mercado La Corredera.
3. Costa Tropical, Spain
For those who are craving a break from the office and want to hit the beach, spending your winter holiday in Costa Tropical will be a great choice.
Costa Tropical is located in Andalucia, in particular in the Granada province, and is blessed with both splendid beaches and stunning scenery.
Even during wintertime, the weather in the Granada area is pleasant with mostly sunny days and a daily temperature that can vary from 18°C (64°F) to 11°C (52°F).
Costa Tropical is a destination for those who love spending their time at the beach, but this doesn’t mean just laying in the sun and taking the occasional bath. Water sports are a big thing in Costa Tropical!
If you are feeling adventurous, try taking a kayak tour in the Acantilados de Cerro Gordo-Maro Natural Park or rent a small boat without the need for a license and go snorkeling in Maro and Cañuelo.
4. Sardinia, Italy
The Italian island of Sardinia is a real-life paradise, and up until a few years ago, it was still not a super touristy destination.
However, due to the increasingly good reputation of its pristine seaside, beaches, and wild vegetation, the best time of the year to visit the island is Autumn or Winter.
The weather on the island is usually great all year round with registered warm temperatures even during the colder months, varying between 15°C (60°F ) and 13°C (55°F).
You can find beautiful seashores on all the perimeter of the island, and for this reason, it is recommended to take a tour of the entire region to fully enjoy everything that Sardinia has to offer.
Among the most famous beaches include the Arenas Biancas, the white beach of Golfo Aranci, Cala Brandinchi, Cala Mariolu, and Cala Goloritzè.
For a great picture, ask the locals to point you in the direction of the best “panorama”, the Italian term for “view”.
Yet, Sardina is not only famous for its nature but also for its art and history especially if you are passionate about exploring ancient locations and discovering pre-historical artifacts.
Make sure to pay a visit to the Osini Heels to have a guided tour of the Nuraghi, the unique ancient architecture from the Bronze Age.
5. Crete, Greece
Blue sea, picture-perfect beaches, ancient temples, and a plate of souvlaki. Of course, I am talking about the iconic Greek-island holiday.
Even in December, with temperatures going from 17°C ( 63°F) to 14°C (57°F), the stunning island of Crete can be your perfect winter sun destination in Europe.
Whether you’re in Crete to drink wine at sunset or you are looking for more cultural activities, on the island, it is virtually impossible to get bored.
Once you feel you’ve spent enough time at the beach, the island still offers a lot since it was once the cradle of ancient Greek civilization!
Take an archeological guided tour of the fabled Knossos Palace, where the hero Theseus faced the minotaur in the labyrinth built by Daedalus.
Visit Heraklion, the main city on the island, or pay a visit to the Ideon Cave, the alleged birthplace of Zeus, father to all gods, for a truly mythological holiday.
6. Tenerife, Spain
“You look so beautiful in this light
Your silhouette over me
The way it brings out the blue in your eyes
Is the Tenerife Sea”
It doesn’t take an Ed Sheeran song to know that Tenerife is one of the most beautiful warm places in Europe in December.
Home to a sunny sky and warm weather, Tenerife is blessed with a never-ending spring-like temperature that, even in December, can vary between 20 – 23°C (68 -73 °F). In fact, it can easily pass as the warmest place in Europe in December.
For a perfect day on a greek white sand beach, you will get plenty of choices in Tenerife. Some of the most loved by the tourists are El Medano Beach, Playa de las Teresitas, Playa Torviscas, and Playa Torviscas.
However, if you are looking for a more secluded location away from the masses, then you may want to hit la Playa del Bollullo, located not far from Puerto de la Cruz.
For the foodies reading this guide, Tenerife has a lot to offer when it comes to fresh vegetables, fruit, and Pescado, or fish.
Try the typical churros de pescado (croquettes of fish), the Garbanzos soup or the Gofio escaldado (fish, garlic and red onions).
7. Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain
Located in the Canary Islands in Spain, Fuerteventura is your typical subtropical island, with a twist!
The island may be located just 120 km (around 74 miles) from the African coastline, however, it is still a European destination, with all the advantages that this brings.
For a European hot-and-sunny winter destination, Fuerteventura is as good as it gets, with weather being consistently good even in December and temperatures oscillating between 22°C(72°F) and 17°C ( 62°F).
For a breathtaking view of the Ocean and unspoiled dune beach, visit the Parque Natural de Corralejo.
Among the most loved beaches on the Fuerteventura coastline, you won’t want to miss out on the Sotavento Beach or the postcard-like Playa de Cofete.
However, what makes Fuerteventura unique is its volcanic nature. Pay a visit to the Piscinas Naturales Aguas Verdes and enjoy the truly rare lava formations meeting the pristine emerald water.
8. Limassol, Cyprus
When visiting the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, you must take a couple of days to stop in Limassol. TripAdvisor chose Limassol as the 3rd up-and-coming destination in the world, and not without a reason.
Especially if you are traveling in December, the city presents a great alternative option to other more expensive European destinations.
Even during the coldest months, the city’s weather is consistently fortunate, with the average day temperature being 18°C (64°F) and never going under 9°C(48°F).
For what concerns precipitations, you may expect around 9 out of 31 days of rain in December.
If you consider yourself a history enthusiast, Limassol offers some pretty good Indiana Jones opportunities, such as the UNESCO archeological park of Kourion, Limassol’s Castle, the Kolossi Castle, or the Sanctuary of Apollo.
The city also offers a rich Archaeological Museum for those who really can’t get enough of ancient Greek and Roman history and artifacts.
9. Nice, France
Without leaving central Europe, you can still spend your winter holiday escaping the cold weather.
I am talking about the south of France, and in particular, Nice, whose winter temperature swings between 12°C (54°F) and 6°C (44°F).
With the greatest pride of the city being a huge wine and exquisite world-famous french cuisine haven, Nice is the perfect destination for food lovers.
Even while taking a stroll on the spectacular Promenade des Anglais, or through the picturesque narrow streets of the Vieille Ville (the Old City), you can still enjoy some of the most incredible street food.
Try the Socca, the emblematic street food of Nice, or a typical chickpea pancake that goes hand in hand with a glass of white wine.
With all that, Nice is not one of the most beautiful cities in France but also one of the warmer places in Europe in December.
Related post: 28 Best things that make France famous
10. Barcelona, Spain
For a winter sun getaway in Europe in December, Barcelona is definitely a good choice and a personal favorite.
With the weather being agreeable and pleasant all year round, visiting the capital of Catalonia in December has the great advantage of avoiding the huge crowd of tourists that flood the city during spring and summertime.
The city has plenty to offer from a naturalistic, architectural, artistic, and cultural point of view.
But most of all, the city itself is pure Art. From visiting the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, taking a stroll through the Gothic Quarter, to paying a visit to the stunning Parco Guell, Barcelona has it all.
Moreover, the city also offers plenty of great partying opportunities, and that’s what makes it the perfect warm place in Europe in December for younger people.
And for an incredible view of the entire city, ride the Telefèric de Montjuïc!
11. Cagliari, Italy
Southern Italy is by definition the home of a never-ending summer. In Autumn, when the rest of Europe is busy baking pumpkins and drinking hot tea, people in the Italian island of Sardinia are still going for a swim in the Mediterranean sea.
Maybe you’ll want to avoid taking a swim in December, but you will still be able to have a great time at the beach in Cagliari, where the winters are mild and temperatures are mostly steady around 15°C (60°F) and never lower than 9°C(48°F) in December.
Cagliari has also a lot to offer in terms of art and architecture. Among the most famous attractions, you should definitely visit the Elephant tower, the San Pancrazio tower, and the Cathedral of Santa Maria.
When visiting the upper part of town, once you’ve arrived at the famous Saint Remy Bastion, ask the locals for the “ascensore”, the Italian word for “elevator”, and enjoy an amazing view of the city from the Umberto I terrace.
12. Seville, Spain
For a warm holiday in Europe in December away from snow and chilling temperatures, book your ticket now to Seville!
The capital of Andalusia is truly a southern European gem, and even in December, you will be able to visit the city without worrying too much about the cold. In fact, the temperature is pretty stable around 17°C (63°F) and 8 °C (47°F).
Seville is widely known for its monumental architecture that mixes European and Arabic influences.
However, what makes the city unique is its main park, the Parque de María Luisa, which cuts in half the city center and follows the path of the Guadalquivir river.
If you are a bird-watching enthusiast, this park will be a great opportunity to observe a great variety of different species, coexisting in this peculiar habitat within the city.
The capital of Andalusia is also a real European capital of fun and nightlife. So, if you are traveling with a younger crowd, you will be blown away by the incredible open-air discotheques and clubs.
13. Valletta, Malta
When traveling to Valletta, feel free to leave home your scarf and beret (maybe not but you get the point)!
The weather on the island of Malta is super hot in the summer and warm and pleasant in the winter.
The average temperature in December is 15°C (60°F), which makes it the ideal location for those that want to spend their winter holiday in short sleeve t-shirts and tennis shoes.
The city is rich in history, culture, and monumental architecture, with a distinctive style that you won’t easily forget.
Valletta winds in a succession of ancient palaces, fortifications, bastions, gardens, and churches, all marked by the city’s unique baroque style.
If art is your thing, this could be your destination of choice. The whole city is an open-air museum and has been officially recognized as part of UNESCO.
14. Dubrovnik, Croatia
The city of Dubrovnik is characterized by a unique beauty that will stay with you long after you’ve come back home.
The city is an example of southern European historical architecture, faces the mediterranean sea, and is nothing less than spectacular.
The main attraction of the city is its iconic city walls. If you are somewhat of a TV show addict, then you will recognize them as the set of the worldwide popular TV show Game of Thrones.
If you love the show, then you won’t want to miss out on the opportunity of taking a guided GOT tour of the city.
Visit the Old town and at the same time re-live some of the most iconic scenes from the show such as the Slaying of King Robert’s bastards, Jaime’s return to King’s Landing, or the infamous Walk of shame.
15. Malaga, Spain
We are back in one of the warm European countries in December, Spain but this time to recommend you to visit Malaga, one of the gems of the southern part of the country.
With its mild winter and temperatures in December fluctuating between 18°C (64°F) and 9°C (49°F), Malaga is a good pick for those that crave a bit of sunshine.
I recommend visiting Malaga if you are a real art addict. The city was the birthplace and home of the famous painter Picasso and some of its greatest works are showcased in the Picasso Museum, thanks to over 300 artworks being donated by the Picasso family to the city.
Moreover, walking around the city, you will find many opportunities to mingle with the locals and engage in local traditions, stop for tapas with a beer or a glass of wine.
16. Algarve, Portugal
For a cloudless holiday, the southern region of the Algarve in Portugal is a top pick.
The entire region is blessed with year-round good weather as well as pristine, uncontaminated sandy shores and breathtaking cliffs overlooking the ocean.
When traveling during wintertime, you will have the unique opportunity to admire the naturalistic beauty of the region, away from the crowd of tourists that can’t be avoided during the summer.
Among the best beaches in the region, I recommend spending a day at Praia da Marinha in Lagoa, one of the most scenic beaches in the world.
If you are a fan of long sandy shores, and you are looking to party or in general entertainment, then pay a visit to Praia da Rocha in Portimão.
And for the most incredible cliffs and a real-life postcard landscape, go to Praia da Dona Ana in Lagos.
17. Sicily, Italy
Home of great food, incredible sea, and a rich history that dates back to the Greek Empire, Sicily is one of the warm places in Europe in December that everyone should add to their winter bucket list.
The island doesn’t know cold weather and has plenty to offer. Since it is the biggest island on the Mediterranean sea, and traveling by public transport isn’t always the most accessible option, I recommend renting a car and having the full Sicilian experience by checking out of the list each of the most famous locations in the region.
First of all, I recommend visiting the capital of the region, Palermo. Then Syracuse and Agrigento, where you can find one of the greatest ancient Greek archeological sites in the world. And for the perfect beach day, take a ferry to the Egadi Islands.
For the foodies reading this guide, I can guarantee you will find your heaven in Sicily. The perfect day? It starts with the typical breakfast, granita, and brioche.
Then, for lunch, arancini (deep-fried rice balls filled with whatever you like) and an espresso coffee. Finally, a light but unforgettable dinner with freshly fished Mediterranean bluefish.
18. Monte Carlo, Monaco
You can’t say French Riviera without saying, Monte Carlo. Between the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix and the legendary Casino de Monte-Carlo, the city is an absolute symbol of luxury, fun, and entertainment.
For the car enthusiasts, I recommend visiting the impressive Private Collection of Antique Cars of H.S.H. Prince Rainier III.
However, if you are looking for a moment of relaxation away from the hustles and bustles of the city, then take a meditative stroll and a moment to decompress in the beautiful Japanese Gardens.
After a day spent visiting the city, Monte Carlo offers a lot in terms of nightlife, especially if you are in for some luxury partying!
With temperatures pendulating between 14°C (57°F) and 6°C (43°F), Monte Carlo is one of the best places to go in Europe in December.
19. Nicosia, Cyprus
For a winter holiday that’s both exotic and close to home, the island and republic of Cyprus are what you need.
The stunning island is located in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea, just south of Turkey, and its architecture and culture reveal influences from the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot heritage.
The weather, even in December, is consistently good, with spring-like temperatures going from 17°C (63°F) to 10°C (49°F).
When visiting Cyprus, you can’t miss out on its capital, Nicosia. To get a better understanding of the complex and rich history of the island, visit the Cyprus Museum.
There are also other several sites of both spiritual and artistic interest including the caravanserai of Büyük Han which is one of the most ancient buildings on the island.
Another must-see place is the Machairas Monastery, a monumental building overlooking a valley and surrounded by uncontaminated nature, and the UNESCO heritage site of the Panagia Asinou Church.
20. Granada, Spain
The city of Granada, Andalusia, has both incredible natural surroundings and an amazing architectural style that puts together influences from the European and Arabic worlds.
When visiting this lively and colorful city, a must-see is the Arabic quarter of Albaicín.
Then, if you are up for a bit of a walk, you can reach the Mirador San Nicolas, one of the best viewpoints in the city, and admire the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada mountains.
In Albaicin, don’t miss out on the incredible Moorish palace, the former residence of Granada’s last Moorish King.
For a scenic stroll, you can visit the picturesque old Jewish quarter, but if you want to witness Granada’s culture in action, you should visit the Flamenco Barrio, Sacromonte.
21. Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain
It doesn’t matter when you’re visiting the island, Gran Canaria is a perfect destination for backpackers and outdoors lovers that prefer a more adventurous holiday.
Especially if you love hiking, you should consider Gran Canaria as your perfect warm winter destination in Europe.
Avoid the tourists and the highest temperatures and enjoy hiking in the pristine nature and unbelievable landscapes that the Island has to offer.
For a truly unique outdoor experience, try one of the tours to the village of Tejeda and the incredible Roque Nublo.
Whether you are already an experienced surfer or a complete newbie who wants to try, Gran Canaria, with its signature good waves offers an ample choice of beaches where surfing is fun and easy to learn.
Also, if you are passionate about astronomy, there is no place better than Gran Canaria.
The stars can be observed, at high altitudes, particularly well on the island, thanks to an astronomical effect that the inhabitants call “donkey’s belly” or “Panza de Burro”.
For a starry sky to remember forever, visit the Astronomical Observatory of Temisas or the Roque Saucillo Astronomical Center.
22. Côte d’Azur (French Riviera), France
The Côte d’Azur, or French Riviera, has historically always been one of the most loved winter destinations in Europe.
Its mild climate and mostly serene weather, together with the classical beauty and the french-chic factor of the Rivera itself make it impossible not to take this region into consideration when planning your December winter sun vacations in Europe.
Whether you choose to visit one of the main cities, or you prefer to spend your time in the little towns that dot the region, the Côte d’Azur has indubitably a charm that cannot be matched.
Some of the most famous destinations include; Nice, Saint Tropez, and Cannes. Another smaller but picturesque town that’s worth visiting is Antibes.
For an alternative take on the French Riviera, just 10 minutes of sailing from the shore, you’ll be able to visit the paradise-like Porquerolles Island.
23. Mallorca, Spain
The Island of Mallorca, part of Spain’s Balearic Islands, is a holiday destination worth keeping in mind for every season.
Even in wintertime, its combination of beautiful nature, mountains, long shores, and remote bays, together with its distinctive architectural style and lively nightlife, makes Mallorca one of the warm places to visit in December in Europe and a place where everybody can have the best time.
When on the island, you have to visit the main city, the famous Palma de Mallorca, however, don’t miss out on the smaller and quaint towns in the internal part of the island.
Among the most loved destinations on the island, you will love Port de Sóller, and if you are interested in historical European landmarks, then pay a visit to the 14th-century royal fortress Bellver Castle.
If you love art, you may want to visit the town of Deia which is one of the most beautiful towns in Europe, famous for its distinctive colorful houses.
Here, you will have the chance to purchase original art from locals, and bring back home with you a piece of Mallorca, to forever remember the holiday or as a truly unique present for family and friends.
Final Thoughts on the Warmest Places In Europe In December
Thank you for reading this guide! Whether you’re thinking of booking a plane ticket to a Spanish island, planning a backpacking hike through Portugal, or picturing yourself sipping wine on the French Riviera, I truly hope that this guide has helped you choose the perfect warm place in Europe in December for you!
After all, you don’t need to leave Europe to enjoy a memorable winter holiday in the sun. Countries like Spain, Malta, some parts of Italy, Portugal, and France offer amazing temperatures even in December.
Have you been to any of these places? Which one do you consider the hottest place in Europe in December? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
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