Weather in Spain in December
Sunny beaches are a thing of the past, but Spain comes into its own in December (in the central plain and northern Pyrenees anyway) as a ski destination. As temperatures plummet this Catholic country prepares for Christmas in fine style, with markets, festivals and all manner of events. A white Christmas in Spain? The Sierra Nevada mountains should do it, and the Pyrenees, or perhaps even Galicia which boasts a ski resort or two. There are also a few ski resorts not too far from Madrid!
Climate in Spain in December
“Bitterly cold” to “mild” are the range of terms which are applied to Spanish weather in December, but generally the temperatures have gone into free fall across the country, with the central inland areas faring the worst. In Madrid, the maximum average temperature is 11°C and the minimum 2°C. Down south on the Mediterranean coast expect at most 17°C, and very chilly nights.- not bad in the great scheme of European weather, and you are still in for around three hours of sunshine per day. The December cold weather in Spain comes accompanied by rain, especially in the north, Madrid and Barcelona.
What’s on in Spain in December
Christmas in Spain is a deeply religious occasion, the country’s towns and villages putting on markets, switching on illuminations and selling Christmas trees throughout December. Christmas week itself is a time for church ceremony and feasting, and the traditional festivities continue up to New Year. In fact, January 5th – when the three kings arrive with gifts for children – is the most important celebratory day for Spanish Christians, although December 25th is a public holiday. The most eagerly awaited event in Spain in December is the Christmas Lottery, known as El Gordo, which offers the biggest prize pool of any lottery in the world. Drawn on 22nd December the lottery becomes quite a social occasion in the cities and towns, with a couple of million Euros at stake.
What to pack
Your packing list for Spain in December will depend largely on where you are headed. If you’re hoping for some sun and sand along the southern coast, trousers and t-shirts will be fine, with a jacket or wrap to keep out the evening chill. In the interior it is colder, so you will need a woolly jumper and overcoat. Up north wrap up warm in thermal underwear, ski suits and boots if you plan on taking on the snow.