Thinking of spending the winter in Spain? Or visiting Spain for a couple of weeks and getting away from the rubbish winter weather wherever you live? Here are 7 of the warmest places in mainland Spain to enjoy some winter sunshine!
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I'm from southern England. Our winters are cold, grey and full of drizzle. Escaping them is my focus for most of the year and the thought of some winter sunshine in Spain (or any of these other amazing European cities to visit in winter) is the only thing which keeps me going!!
Why choose Spain for winter sunshine?
Spain is great. It's easy to get to from the UK, there are LOADS of places to explore and enjoy the culture and… it's warm pretty much all year. Sure, there are places in Europe which are warmer during winter, like Greece or Turkey, but they are a lot further away and not as easy to get to for a short break.
Of course, if you're touring Europe in a motorhome for the winter, you have more choice, but Spain is perfect for a quick getaway (although plenty of people take their motorhomes and explore Spain and then go motorhoming in Portugal for the winter.)
Still, whether you're motorhoming in Spain or just flying in for a well-earned winter sunshine break, here are some amazing places to spend winter – locations that are also some of the warmest places in Europe during winter.
Planning to take your motorhome to Europe?
Want to experience winter in Europe? Why not hire a motorhome and try motorhome skiing/ ski camping in the Alps?
Warmest places in Mainland Spain in winter – Malaga
Maggie- The World was Here First
Known for being one of the warmest places in mainland Spain in winter, Malaga is easily one of the best places to spend winter in Spain. This beautiful city is known for being a tourist hotspot and, in the winter months, is incredibly popular due to its wonderful weather.
Things to do in Malaga in winter
There are lots of great things to do in winter, even if you only have a weekend in Malaga. Though it may be a bit chilly to be lounging on the beach, you can still fill your days visiting the beautiful Moorish Alcazaba, one of the most famous landmarks in Spain, admiring the unfinished Málaga Cathedral, or learning about local wine at the Museo del Vino.
As the birthplace of one of Spain’s most famous artists, it is also worth heading to the Picasso museum. And being one of the largest cities in Andalucía, no visit to Málaga in winter would be complete without sampling it’s incredible and delicious tapas restaurants, which are open all year, even during winter in Malaga.
Caminito del Ray in Winter
You can also walk Caminito del Ray in the winter. This incredible path is open all year (closed every Monday) and only closes December 24th, 25th and 31st and Jan 1st.
All in all, if you’re looking for the perfect place to spend winter in Spain, then Málaga is an excellent choice for you!
Talking of hiking, if you're packing to hike all or part of the Camino de Santiago during winter, remember that the weather can be very changeable and bring suitable clothing for all eventualities.
Winter in Spain- how warm does it get in Malaga in December?
With high temperatures rarely dipping below 17° even in the coldest months of December and January and abundant sunshine throughout, it is one of the best places to spend winter in Spain.
Warmest places in Mainland Spain in winter – Barcelona
One of the best places to visit in winter in Europe is Barcelona. In this amazing city on the Northeast coast of Spain, the sun shines all year round, and even in winter it rarely rains.
In winter in Barcelona, there are fewer tourists in the Catalan capital, so prices are much cheaper and waiting times are shorter. You can wander the streets and enjoy the atmosphere of the city without fighting through tourists. There are also many fantastic places to stay in Barcelona, most of which are open all year.
Things to do in Barcelona in winter
Even if the beach is not suitable for swimming in winter, there are still plenty of things to do in Barcelona in winter. You can still go for a walk on the beach without it being overcrowded by tourists like it is in the summer.
An attraction that you shouldn‘t miss in any season is the famous Sagrada Familia. The impressive basilica, designed by the building designer Gaudí, is still unfinished but already one of the most important buildings in Europe. At Christmas time you will find a small Christmas market in the park next to it, where Christmas trees and Catalan handicrafts are offered for sale.
In the centre, next to the Barcelona Cathedral you will find another small market that is another one of the fun things to do in Barcelona in winter. But you also shouldn’t miss the rest of the Barrio Gótico, which surrounds the cathedral during your visit to Barcelona. Here you will find many wonderful narrow streets with cute shops and cafes.
Make sure to sit outside on a terrace while enjoying the extremely delicious Catalan wine from the region around Barcelona.
All in all, Barcelona is a friendly, welcoming and open-minded city with lots of fun things to do if you're looking to spend winter in Spain.
Is Barcelona really one of the warmest place in Spain in winter?
During the winter months, the temperatures are usually still between 8 and 18 °C on average, so you can spend a lot of time outside and enjoy the sun.
Spain in Winter Destinations- Nerja
Paulina, Paulina on the Road
Nerja, in beautiful Andalusia, is often known for being one of the best day trips from Malaga. However, this charming city in Costa del Sol holds so much more for its visitors. Especially if you're planning to enjoy winter in Spain.
As with many other parts of coastal Spain, you'll find less tourists and more room to enjoy the ambience of the city.
Spain in Winter- how warm is Nerja in December?
The climate in Nerja during winter is a dream. Even though it might be too cold for a swim in the Mediterranean, you can still count on 10-15°C and loads of sunshine. Walking the streets, you may even be wearing only a t-shirt!
Things to do in Nerja in winter
The highlight of every trip to Nerja is a visit to the Caves of Nerja. They are some of the biggest caves you can find in Europe. You can basically compare them to an underground cathedral.
Next stop in Nerja is the “Balcony of Europe”. From here you have a beautiful view of the Spanish coast.
From here it's only a stone's throw to the countless bars and restaurants serving delicious tapas. You can choose to sit inside or out and spend some time people-watching in the sunshine.
Warmest places in Mainland Spain in winter – Seville
Roxy, The Coastal Campaign
While winter sets on much of the rest of Europe, Seville in southern Spain is enjoying very pleasant weather and plenty of sunshine. The city’s obscenely hot summers, often reaching above 40°C, also mean that winter in Seville is a more desirable time to get outside and explore.
Things to do in Seville in December
December is a great time to visit as the crowds of tourists have dispersed but the city remains relatively warm and lively. Many of the streets in Seville are lined with orange trees which you can expect to come into season in late December, adding to the city’s winter appeal.
This enchanting city has much to offer from delicious local cuisine, impressive architecture, and lots of culture and history. Be sure to attend a free flamenco show at La Carboneria, a popular local bar.
If you are a food lover, traditional-style tapas are available in many restaurants throughout the city, but two favourites amongst locals and tourists alike are Taberna Aguilas and Bar Alfalfa.Be sure to enjoy some traditional Spanish food- including Berenjenas Rellenas (stuffed eggplants)- delicious!
From modern structures to Moorish palaces, there are many things to do in Seville in December. Because this vibrant city has a wide range of attractions worth visiting. Seville’s Cathedral, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, sits in the centre of the city. Head up the tower of Giralda to admire the city’s views.
Next to the Cathedral is the Real Alcazar of Seville, a gorgeous palace with an impressive garden.
For a more contemporary landmark, the Metropol Parasol, or Las Setas is a wooden mushroom structure offering brilliant views and shaded spots. Lastly, Plaza de España is a beautiful square with extraordinary tile art and a picturesque canal.
Spain in Winter- how warm is Seville in December?
With an average winter temperature of 12°C, and about 5-6 hours of sunshine a day in winter, the weather in Seville in December is perfect, making it an ideal holiday destination.
Don’t be surprised to find patrons happily eating outdoors, people wearing only light sweaters and temperatures reaching almost 20°C.
Warmest places in Mainland Spain in winter – Andalusia
Dhara, It's not about the miles
Winter is a wonderful time to visit Andalusia, Spain's gorgeous southern province. The region is known to have pretty much the mildest winters in all of Europe.
How warm is Andalusia in winter?
Since Andalusia is a region, you'll see variations in climate, of course. There are two mountain ranges that run through Andalusia: the Sierra Morena in the north, and the Betic Cordillera (which contains the Sierra Nevada) in the south.
You'll experience an alpine climate in the high mountains, with plenty of snow and cold temperatures. But if you love skiing, you will love visiting the Sierra Nevada during your winter in Spain!
During winter in Seville, you'll likely experience balmy daytime temperatures: 16-18c (60-70 F), but cooler nights. There's lots of sunshine too!
All over Andalusia, you'll find people wearing tees and short sleeves in February and March, and just light cover-ups in the evenings.
Things to do in Andalusia in Winter
In the plain between the two mountain ranges, you'll find Seville, Andalusia's capital and a very popular tourist destination with lots of things to do in winter.
If you spend winter in Seville, you'll be able to visit the many Christmas markets and take part in the New Year's Eve celebrations. You can enjoy warm tapas dishes, like soups and stews, because they are perfect for cooler evenings.
Córdoba, another popular Andalusian destination, is also located in the plain, but further inland. Nights can get colder here, but daytime temperatures should be pretty close to those in Seville, so you should be able to wander the streets of the Jewish Quarter, and take in the sights such as the world-renowned Mezquita without crowds.
Granada, with its hillside location, has cold nights in the winter. If you venture out for a night tour of the Alhambra, for example, you'll need to bundle up. But even in hilly Granada, daytime highs tend to be in the mid-50 degrees Fahrenheit, and you can get by with a sweater or a light jacket. And there's lots of sun during winter in Granada! You can spend 3 days in Granada and still not see all the highlights!
Spain's famous Costa del Sol has pleasant daytime temperatures. The water is not warm enough to swim, but winter is a fun time to explore the numerous white villages in the region.
All in all, winter in Andalusia is truly magical. With more sunny days and milder temperatures than most other winter in Spain locations, Andalusia definitely makes the list of top winter destinations in Europe!
Warmest places in mainland Spain in Winter – Valencia
Laura, Travelers Universe
Valencia's mild temperatures make it one of the best winter destinations in Europe. With roughly 40 days of precipitation per year (mostly in autumn and spring), winter in Valencia is quite dry and mostly sunny. In fact, you can easily enjoy Christmas at 20ºC (68.0°F) here and most days, temperatures reach 16+ degrees at noon. This makes Barcelona's little sister a great place to visit year-round.
Valencia in December (for Christmas!)
If you visit Valencia in December, you can enjoy all the decorations, traditional European Christmas markets, and a festive atmosphere. Don't forget, Christmas in Spain lasts until the 6th of January when the Three Kings come bearing gifts and a huge parade is organized with the occasion.
This is just perfect if you travel with a young family, as kids will love all the candies being thrown from the floats.
Things to do in Valencia in winter
Once the holidays are over, most shops clear stock and have huge sales. Stores usually get busy for a week or two in January, but you can find items that are so heavily discounted, it makes it worth braving the crowds.
On top of that, winter in Spain considered the low season and even the best places to stay in Valencia can be rented at quite affordable prices.
In terms of attractions, the Old Town is as gorgeous as always. Although terraces might not be as popular when temperatures drop below 20ºC, you can still enjoy a coffee in the sun in the middle of the day.
And of course, you shouldn't miss the City of Arts and Sciences, with its incredible white domes and arches. This is one of the most popular attractions in Valencia, but in winter you might not even have to queue at all!
Warmest places in mainland Spain in Winter – Marbella
Marbella is a town on the Southern coast of Spain known as the Costa del Sol. Marbella is southwest of Malaga and takes about 45 minutes to drive to from Malaga airport. It's famous for attracting glamorous celebrities and has well-known areas like the exclusive resort of Puerto Banus, where you can spot the superyachts and sports cars by day and go to the glitzy bars and clubs by night.
Things to do in Marbella in winter
The beaches are lovely long, stretches of golden sand. All along the coastline here you can walk the beautiful palm tree lined promenade and enjoy the beach views. Some of the smaller Churinguitos (little beach bars) will close during the winter months but the town of Marbella is still very much alive with a wide choice of cafés and restaurants.
It may be too cold to swim for everyone except the most (fool)hardy, but the views and sunsets are still breathtaking in Marbella in winter.
The old town of Marbella has cute, narrow, cobbled streets, perfect for wandering and admiring the pretty balcony flowers displays and traditional Spanish mosaic entrances.
How warm is Marbella in December?
The average temperature for December is 12°c and you can expect a good 6 hours of sunshine.
Winter in Spain- Frequently asked Questions:
Is Winter a Good time to visit Spain?
Absolutely! As you've seen above, there are loads of fantastic destinations in mainland Spain for winter sunshine, as well as the chance to see the most popular tourist spots without many tourists!! The air may be cooler, but the sun still shines a LOT during winter in Spain.
What are the winter months in Spain?
In Europe, winter starts in December and ends in February. However, temperatures cool from November and start to rise again in March. February is often the coldest month, which is why some od the warmest places in Europe in February are so popular!
Does it snow in Spain?
Yep. Spain has mountainous areas and there are places you can go skiing in winter. Andalusia boasts the best of both worlds- skiing near the coast! Normally, you don't get much snow in coastal areas in Spain.
Which part of Spain is warmest in winter?
The further south you go, the warmer it will be! It can be windy, so inland can feel warmer, but if you go up in altitude, it will get cooler then too.
Spain in December; Is December a good month to visit Spain?
Sure! I love Christmas time in Spain. Christmas in Europe is more understated than in the US or UK, but you will still find Christmas markets in Spain and plenty of activities going on throughout December for you to enjoy. And you could spend Christmas on the beach- something on my bucket list!
Have you visited mainland Spain in winter? Where did you go? Where did you enjoy? Share your experiences in the comments below so we can all benefit from your experience at some of the best winter destinations in Europe.