Best European holiday destinations for warm weather in December

December typically brings depressing weather, from wet overcast days to frosty mornings and even the odd sprinkling of snow.

Although for many the tip of the yr brings the joy of the festive interval, a jam-packed social calendar and time spent with household and pals, for others the mix of chilly snaps, darkish evenings and the depth of the vacations makes the ultimate month of the yr a little bit of a slog.

These hoping to duck out of drawn-in nights and shiveringly chilly mornings might contemplate swapping sleet and snow for solar and sand on a visit to Europe. Destinations comparable to Crete and Malta normally bask in hotter temperatures of as much as 20C, which means you possibly can breakfast al fresco by by the pool whereas your neighbours are defrosting their vehicles.

Although the interval straight both facet of Christmas could be costly, earlier dates in the month are extra reasonably priced occasions to journey, properly exterior of peak season and college holidays. That can assist you plan your pre-Christmas European getaway, we’ve compiled a listing of the very best locations to catch the solar on the finish of the yr.

Tenerife, Spain

Tenerife’s weather permits for days spent on the seashore, even in December

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  • Common temperature in December: 18C
  • Common sunshine hours: 6

The most important of Spain’s Canary Islands, Tenerife has lengthy been a preferred holiday spot for Brits, catering to everybody from younger households to party-going teams of pals. The Canaries’ location off the west coast of Morocco offers preferrred year-round weather for many guests, with common highs of round 21C even in December.

There are a number of cities and cities on the island, the biggest of which is Santa Cruz (the capital, discovered close to the northeastern tip of the island). A metropolis of over 200,000 individuals, it’s dwelling to the island’s predominant vacationer points of interest and is centred across the magnificent Plaza de Espana (on the centre of which lies a big, man-made lake). Different choices for a resort keep embody Los Cristianos and Playa de las Americas, each on the southwest coast of the island.

The island additionally has an abundance of pure wonders. The centre piece is the imposing Mount Teide – the very best peak in Spain at 3,715m – and the related Nationwide Park, the place guests can discover volcanic landscapes and hike by means of hills and forest, with sensational views over the island. On the coast, you’ll discover the dramatic cliff faces of Los Gigantes and sandy seashores comparable to Playa del Duque and Playa de las Teresitas.

Limassol, Cyprus

The marina in Limassol metropolis

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  • Common temperature in December: 15C
  • Common sunshine hours: 6

Cyprus is among the warmest nations in Europe in winter, and town of Limassol is a busier, extra cosmopolitan different to the historic websites and sandy seashores of Paphos or the small-town really feel of Larnaca.

The second-largest metropolis on the island, Limassol presents a horny marina, the place stone and white-washed buildings line limestone streets for a very memorable sundown view.

Merchandise of its personal historic historical past embody Limassol Fortress and the two,000-year-old ruins at Amathus, whereas these in search of nature can discover a peaceable oasis on the Municipal Gardens. In order for you seashores, Woman’s Mile, Dasoudi Seaside and Governor’s Seaside are a number of the hottest in the realm and are all appropriate for swimming and water sports activities.

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Madeira, Portugal

Madeira has a number of nice destinations, together with the village of Camara de Lobos

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  • Common temperature in December: 16C
  • Common sunshine hours: 5

Madeira is a rugged, volcanic archipelago positioned in the Atlantic in between mainland Portugal and the aforementioned Canary Islands. This location offers it a pleasing, temperature winter local weather, with common highs of round 20C in December.

The capital, Funchal, is a coastal metropolis composed of winding streets that home lots of of red-roofed, white buildings. Whether or not strolling alongside the mazy streets and the waterfront promenade or taking in the great thing about the Monte Palace Tropical Gardens or Se Cathedral, you’ll discover a vibrant, pleasant metropolis with a lot to see and do.

Away from the hustle and bustle, Madeira is one other island the place nature is king. Its various landscapes embody steep, jagged cliffs, rolling inexperienced hills and pristine golden seashores, all of which offer preferrred alternatives for journey actions comparable to mountain climbing, canyoning, mountain biking and even paragliding. For walkers, the island is dwelling to a community of particular irrigation channels referred to as ‘levadas’; as soon as a solution to transport rainwater from the mountains to the settlements, they now present man-made walks and hikes throughout the forests, mountains and valleys of the island.


The Rock of Gibraltar is the territory’s most well-known landmark

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  • Common temperature in December: 15C
  • Common sunshine hours: 6

This British Abroad Territory on the southern fringe of Spain is a very distinctive mix of British, Spanish and native influences, from the event of llanito and Gibraltarian English to the presence of conventional English pubs and the distinctly European Outdated City.

The Rock is the territory’s most recognisable landmark; a cable automotive journey or hike to the highest is a must-do exercise to take in sweeping views of the Strait, town and the shores of northern Africa. Plus you’ll doubtless see some Barbary macaques, the one wild monkeys in Europe. For extra nature-based adventures, there are an estimated 150 caves to discover throughout the Rock, together with St. Michael’s Cave, a powerful community of caves which are dwelling to dozens of stalactites and stalagmites, and which have beforehand been used as an auditorium and live performance venue.

Away from the Rock, Gibaltrar’s small measurement makes it a manageable, walkable vacation spot. For historical past buffs, Gibraltar’s earlier historic significance is showcased in its Outdated City simply as a lot as it’s in the Moorish Fortress or the Nice Siege Tunnels (dug from 1779 when below siege by the Spanish and French).  Alternatively, you would possibly need to wander its streets, from Irish City to the Windsor Suspension Bridge or the Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque.

Crete, Greece

Chania is among the most picturesque destinations in Crete

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  • Common temperature in December: 14C
  • Common sunshine hours: 5

With common highs of 17C throughout December, Crete is among the warmest locations in Greece in winter.

There are a number of sometimes idyllic Greek cities on the island. Chania is dwelling to Venetian and Ottoman influences, most seen in its charming harbour, whereas the historic capital of Heraklion showcases the island’s wealthy historic heritage; the island is dwelling to a number of ruins of the Minoan civilisation, and notable websites embody the Palace of Knossos and the ruins of Malia.

An island of rocky, tough terrain and a mixture of arid and inexperienced landscapes, Crete additionally incorporates loads of locations for out of doors pursuits, from mountain climbing the Samaria Gorge or the White Mountains to swimming in the Baloo Lagoon or having fun with the pink sands of Elafonisi. 

Gran Canaria, Spain

An aerial view over Las Palmas, the principle metropolis on Gran Canaria

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  • Common temperature in December: 18C
  • Common sunshine hours: 6

One other of the perennially warm Canary Islands (Lanzarote and Fuerteventura haven’t made this listing, however it’s additionally price checking them out), Gran Canaria presents an equally enviable array of potential actions.

Its capital, Las Palmas, is the biggest metropolis in the Canaries and is a extra cosmopolitan different to Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The historic Vegueta district is an efficient start line, whereas fashionable museums embody the Museo Canario (for a glance into the pre-colonial historical past of the islands) and the one-time home of Christopher Columbus, that has now been became a museum. Different fashionable resort cities embody Puerto Rico and Maspalomas, most well-known for the huge expanse of sand dunes that results in its seashores.

Maspalomas isn’t the one pure marvel on the island. Gran Canaria is roofed by mountainous terrain and valleys; the Caldera de los Marteles and the barrancos (ravines) of Guayadeque and Azuaje are preferrred for mountain climbing, whereas the Roque Nublo (a 67-metre tall volcanic rock) is an iconic geographical landmark. There are many seashores price exploring too, together with Las Canteras, Amadores and Gui Gui.

Valletta, Malta

A view of Valletta’s Marsamxett Harbour and Cathedral of Saint Paul

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  • Common temperature in December: 14C
  • Common sunshine hours: 6

The Maltese capital, although small, is a captivating metropolis filled with diversified structure, labyrinthine streets and heritage buildings (with common December highs of 17C to high all of it off).

The complete metropolis is a Unesco World Heritage Web site – designated for its hyperlinks to the Order of St John – and incorporates 320 monuments in an space of simply 0.21 sq. miles, making it one of the concentrated historic areas in the world. A maze of Baroque, Renaissance and neoclassical buildings awaits guests, seen in landmarks comparable to St John’s Co-Cathedral and the Grandmaster’s Palace, although you possibly can go to the Metropolis Gate and Triton Fountain for examples of extra trendy influences.

Valletta additionally boasts fairly squares comparable to Freedom and Triton, dwelling to the gate and fountain; conventional native markets, just like the open-air Sunday Market on the Gate; and different historic websites such because the fortifications and defensive partitions. These are all punctuated by loads of eating places and retailers promoting something from worldwide delicacies to Maltese crafts – the island is well-known for its glass blowing, knitting, weaving and clock-making. The nation’s compact measurement makes Valletta an important base for visiting different destinations too, from Sliema to the small neighbouring isle of Gozo.

Palermo, Italy

A view over the Pretoria Fountain in Palermo

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  • Common temperature in December: 14C
  • Common sunshine hours: 5

The capital of Sicily – the biggest island in the Mediterranean – is much less scorching than different destinations on the listing however is among the the warmest locations in Italy come December. This vibrant metropolis is a hub of exercise, from its road markets, together with the Ballaro and Capo meals markets and the Vucciria bazaar, to the vacationers weaving in and out of landmarks and museums such because the Palatine Chapel, the Norman Palace and the Palazzo Abatellis’ Sicilian Regional Gallery.

Alongside discovering town’s Roman, Arab and Norman historical past, guests may pattern native delicacies and high tier seashores. Sicily is the birthplace of arancini and cannoli, whereas the northern coast close to Palermo has dozens of miles of golden sands and azure waters.

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