Last updated: February 14, 2024

Written by travel expert: James

Dive into Europe’s warmest December destinations, where sunny skies and mild temperatures create the perfect winter escape from the UK’s chill.


Exchanging snowflakes for sunshine might seem like a far-fetched dream when planning your European getaway in December.

But let me assure you, it’s as real as the warmth of a midsummer night’s dream.

Don’t let the cold air diminish your enthusiasm for exploration; Europe still has plenty to offer during this dreary time of year.

Trade your winter jackets for beach shorts, pack up, and get ready. We’re going on an enticing journey in December through Europe’s most sizzling destinations for warm weather.

Can’t wait to turn down the chill? Let’s dive right into some of the continent’s most heated attractions.

In December, several destinations in Europe offer pleasant or even warm temperatures. Some popular warm places include Malaga, Spain; Sicily, Italy; Madeira, Portugal; Cyprus; Tenerife and Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, Spain; and Malta. These locations provide a delightful combination of sunshine, historical sites, scenic beauty, and mild winter climates to enjoy during your European getaway.

where is hot in Europe in december

Europe’s Warmest Destinations in December

When it comes to seeking warm weather in Europe during December, several destinations stand out on top. These destinations provide a welcome respite from the cold and offer pleasant temperatures to enjoy outdoor activities and soak up the sun. Let’s explore some of the warmest places on the continent during this time of year.

Spain’s Sunlit Retreats

Spain boasts many sunlit retreats that guarantee warmth and sunshine even in December. From vibrant Andalusian cities to picturesque islands, there are numerous options for a winter escape.

Our top recommendation – Malaga

Malaga, Spain, takes the crown as one of the warmest destinations in Europe during December. Known for its mild winters and approximately 320 days of sunshine each year, Malaga offers a delightful escape from colder regions. Visitors can explore historical sites like the Alcazaba Fortress and Roman Theatre or bask in the beautiful beaches that line its coastline.

  • Despite being winter season, Malaga, Spain, records an impressive approximately 320 days of sunshine each year and enjoys pleasant temperatures averaging around 17 degrees Celsius (63 degrees Fahrenheit) in December.

Andalucia – Seville, Malaga, and Cordoba

Andalucia, located at the southernmost tip of Spain, is renowned for its delightful climate year-round. Seville, Malaga, and Cordoba offer pleasant temperatures during December, making them ideal for exploring their rich history, wandering through charming streets, and indulging in delicious local cuisine.

Canary Islands – Tenerife and Lanzarote

The Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago off the coast of Africa, are known for their year-round warm climate. Tenerife and Lanzarote, two of the Canary Islands, offer beautiful beaches, volcanic landscapes, and various outdoor activities under the sunny December skies.

Whether you experience Andalucia’s vibrant energy or the Canary Islands’s tranquil beauty, Spain’s sunlit retreats provide a perfect backdrop for a warm and memorable December getaway.

  • According to current climate data, the Canary Islands maintain an average temperature of 20-22 degrees Celsius (68-72 degrees Fahrenheit) in December, making it one of the warmest places in Europe during this month.

Italy’s Inviting Isles

Italy, known for its rich culture and stunning landscapes, offers a range of inviting isles to explore during December.

Our top recommendation – Sicily

Sicily, Italy, is another inviting destination for those seeking warm weather in December. The island boasts a mild winter climate, making it an excellent choice for those seeking warm weather in Europe. Sicily enchants visitors with ancient Greek relics in Agrigento and the beautiful blend of Arab, Norman, and Baroque architecture in Palermo.

Imagine strolling through narrow alleys lined with colourful buildings, savouring traditional dishes while feeling a gentle breeze caress your face. 

Imagine strolling through the charming streets of Palermo, admiring the unique blend of Arab, Norman, and Baroque architecture. Or explore ancient Greek relics in Agrigento and feel connected to history as you stand amidst the captivating temples. Sicily captures the essence of Italian beauty and warmth even during winter.

Sardinia

Another enticing option in Italy is the picturesque island of Sardinia. Its crystal-clear waters and golden sandy beaches offer a tranquil escape from the colder weather elsewhere in Europe. Picture yourself basking under the Mediterranean sun while savouring fresh seafood delicacies. Sardinia’s beauty extends beyond its coastline, with rugged mountains and charming villages waiting to be discovered. Enjoy the island’s unique traditions and indulge in its world-renowned hospitality.

Portugal’s Pleasant Regions

Portugal has several pleasant regions that provide warm weather even in December.

Our top recommendation – Madeira

Often referred to as the ‘Island of Eternal Spring’, Madeira, known for its stunning natural scenery and vibrant culture, is a top choice for those seeking a warm European getaway. Imagine wandering through colourful markets filled with local produce and handicrafts or exploring enchanting gardens adorned with blooming flowers. For nature lovers, hiking trails through Madeira’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed Laurisilva forest offer a chance to reconnect with nature and enjoy breathtaking views.

  • Madeira, Portugal, also known as ‘The Island of Eternal Spring,’ has average high temperatures hovering around 18-20 degrees Celsius (64-68 degrees Fahrenheit) in December.

The Algarve – Lagos and Faro

The Algarve region in southern Portugal also offers pleasant temperatures during December, attracting visitors with its beautiful beaches and lively atmosphere. From sunbathing on golden sands to exploring charming coastal towns like Lagos or Faro, there is no shortage of enjoyable experiences. Golf enthusiasts will find a range of world-class courses to tee off on, surrounded by stunning coastal vistas. The Algarve truly offers a touch of paradise for those seeking warmth and relaxation during winter.

Things to Do in December’s Warm European Destinations

When it comes to December travel destinations in Europe, warm destinations like Spain, Greece, Portugal, and Italy offer a plethora of activities that cater to all types of travellers. Whether you’re seeking cultural immersion, outdoor adventures, or simply lounging on picturesque beaches, these destinations have got you covered.

In Spain, vibrant cities such as Barcelona and Madrid beckon visitors with their rich history, architecture, and delectable cuisine. Explore the enchanting Park Güell in Barcelona or indulge in tapas hopping in Madrid. Don’t forget to check out the festive Christmas markets, where you can find unique crafts and tasty treats.

Portugal’s Algarve region boasts beautiful beaches and charming coastal towns. Spend your days relaxing on sandy shores or embark on boat tours along the breathtaking coastline. Visit Lagos, known for its dramatic cliffs and hidden caverns, or wander through the narrow streets of Faro’s historic centre.

Italy’s Sardinia is another gem for warm European destinations in December. Its crystal-clear waters and pristine beaches offer a perfect escape from winter blues. Consider visiting popular spots like Costa Smeralda or take a road trip along the scenic coastal route to discover hidden coves and charming villages.

These warm cities provide an array of exciting activities for every type of traveller looking to make the most of their December getaway.

What activities or attractions are available in the warm regions of Europe during December?

In the warm regions of Europe during December, many activities and attractions await travellers seeking sun-soaked adventures. The Canary Islands offer pristine beaches for swimming and water sports, while Cyprus boasts ancient ruins and picturesque hiking trails. With average temperatures reaching 20°C (68°F) in Malta, visitors can explore historic sites such as St. John’s Co-Cathedral and enjoy outdoor activities like snorkelling. Furthermore, the Algarve region in Portugal offers mild temperatures for golfing enthusiasts, stunning coastal views and delicious seafood cuisine.

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About the author, James

James and the team at Turtle Trip are seasoned travelers with experience in the travel industry. We've worked for major holiday booking sites, and have explored the world on foot for our own travels.

Our goal is to make travel accessible to everyone, by providing you with the most comprehensive and easy-to-digest guides about the destinations you’re traveling to.

We believe that planning a trip should be fun and exciting, not overwhelming, so, whether you’re a first-time traveler or a seasoned adventurer, we’ve got you covered.

We wrote this Turtle Trip guide to give you our best tips all in one place, so thanks for reading and have a great time!


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