Spain has always been a popular spring and summer getaway in Europe thanks to its warm weather, cool seas and vibrant cities. However, a great time to visit Spain is in winter as there are smaller crowds and the weather is still pleasant.
The temperature in winter in Spain varies depending on where in the country you stay. However, it typically falls between 5 and 14°C. These cooler temperatures, teamed with fewer people, makes winter perfect for sightseeing around busy cities. As there are fewer people visiting Spain in winter, the cost of a mini-break or week away here is far cheaper than in the summer months.
Winter in Spain is also alive with local and nationwide festivals. Outside of the cities, Spain is renowned for its ski resorts. While the resorts aren’t as big as those in the Alps, the Spanish resorts are exciting and a welcome winter escape. So here are 20 must-visit locations in Spain in winter for your next getaway.
- Spain in Winter
Spain in Winter
20 Places To Visit During Winter In Spain
Much of Spain’s winter sun comes from its south coast, and the region of Andalucía boasts the warmest winter days.
Malaga is the perfect city for those looking to soak up some rays, as it averages between 18-20°C between November and February.
As the city is coastal, there is still a cooling breeze, but it is undoubtedly more temperate than other cities and regions in Spain.
Despite its warmer climate, Malaga gets into the festive spirit of winter.
Lights illuminate the streets, Christmas markets fill the city centre, and regular concerts are held in the squares.
Cartagena is the perfect winter escape for anyone looking to see more of Spain away from the bustle of larger cities.
This port city in Murcia sits on the Mediterranean coast and was once the most important naval port in Spain.
Regardless of the time of year, visiting Cartagena offers a genuinely immersive Spanish experience.
Head down Cartagena’s colourful streets, take in the markets or watch the Three Kings Parade lead down to the docks.
Paying a visit to Spain’s capital city of Madrid during winter is a truly magical experience.
The capital city has a wealth of festive-themed activities, markets and lights covering the shops and streets.
The most famous festival held in winter in Madrid is the Three Kings Day Parade, which runs through the city’s streets.
There are also street food vendors and stalls dotted around the city to continue the festivities.
Temperatures in Madrid in winter vary from mild 12°C (53.6°F) to more bitter temperatures around 0°C (32°F).
Madrid also often gets snow, making this beautiful capital even more attractive as a winter destination.
For a colourful seaside escape, head to Barcelona.
This proud Catalan city has temperatures of around 8 to 15°C (46 to 59°F) during the winter months, making it pleasant for sightseeing.
Rain is also not common in this area during winter, so you can expect cool but bright days by the coast.
Barcelona hosts several festive activities in December and January. However, the city is worth visiting throughout the whole of winter.
Crowds are smaller, and if visiting on the weekend, you are more likely to catch a football match at the famous Camp Nou stadium.
Adding to the city’s colourful charm is the number of buildings designed by Antoni Gaudi.
Gaudi’s use of broken and colourful tile arranged in mosaics on Casa Batllo and Parc Guell are not to be missed.
Valencia is a must-visit city for those wanting a Christmas feel to their winter escape to Spain.
Christmas markets fill the squares, and lights cover every building and every street every year.
Be sure to stop by a stall selling turron and roscon de Reyes (kings’ cake) before enjoying a cool glass of horchata in one of the oldest cafes in the city.
Outside the cathedral, a life-size nativity scene is displayed, and inside, the warmth of the candles adds to the festive vibe.
Valencia is also host to one of Spain’s most impressive Three Kings parades. Held on January 5th of each year, the parade runs through the city.
While temperatures are cooler here, with days averaging 10 to 15°C (50 to 59°F), a light coat is more than enough for a busy day of exploring.
Like most major cities in Spain, Valencia sees fewer tourists in the winter months, making access to attractions such as the City of Arts and Sciences much easier and more enjoyable.
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Seville is the capital of Andalusia, a region in the south of Spain.
Seville is one of Spain’s warmest places year-round, so it is no surprise that their high temperatures in winter average is 17°C (63°F).
Despite the warmer temperatures, Christmas and Three Kings Day are still the centre point of winter. So be sure to catch the Christmas parade that runs through the city’s centre. The Reales Carteros or Royal Postmen organise this parade.
If visiting in December, head to a Christmas concert performed by the Royal Orchestra of Seville.
One of Spain’s warmer winter destinations is Granada.
This Andalusian city is in the south of Spain and benefits from warmer winds coming up from Africa.
Highs reach around 13°C (55°F) in December, while temperatures drop to 3°C (37°F) in February.
The city is filled with unique and exciting places to visit on cooler days. Head to the Alhambra complex of the cave houses of Sacromonte to be immersed in culture.
Or, if more physical activities take your fancy, head to a flamenco class.
Granada is near the Sierra Nevada Mountains and is easily combined with a skiing holiday.
8- Sierra Nevada
For those craving a winter getaway with added snow, look no further than the ski resorts of Sierra Nevada.
This magnificent mountain range comes into its own during the winter months as the snow spreads further down the mountainsides.
The highest peaks in Spain are in the mountain range.
For the highest skiing experience, a ski lift can take you almost to the summit of Pico de Veleta at 3398m (11,148ft).
From here you can see the highest peak in Spain, Mulhacen.
The village of Sierra Nevada is breathtaking in winter thanks to the generous covering of snow, cosy restaurants serving traditional Spanish food and tapas, and of course, unrivalled views.
Another of southern Spain’s sunny winter offerings is Marbella.
Average temperatures between November and February are around 17 to 23°C (63 to 73°F).
The city remains much the same as in the summer months, with many Europeans heading to its coast for warm winter escapes.
While in Marbella, take in some of its excellent hiking routes through the surrounding hills and mountains.
To escape the crowds heading to the beaches and bars, visit Casco Antiguo or the Old Town.
Casco Antiguo is made up of tiny narrow streets forming a labyrinth of delightful local shops, tapas bars and restaurants.
All of the buildings here also reflect the Moorish heritage of the area.
With 300 sunny days on offer, this southern Spanish city is the perfect winter escape.
Temperatures here reach lows of 10°C (50°F) and highs of 17°C (63°F).
Cadiz is filled with history and is believed to be the oldest attested historical town in Europe, dating from the 8th century BC.
The town is a charming and eclectic mix of old architecture combined with a young spirit.
When in Cadiz, regardless of the time of year, be sure to try the seafood on offer.
The fish market opens early for restaurants to get their catch of the day and then later into the morning for the public.
Tapas bars and restaurants around the fish market serve fresh fish in local dishes.
Alicante sits on the Mediterranean coast and is a must-visit Spanish winter destination.
The city has more than 3000 hours of sun every year, and thanks to its southern coastal location, Alicante averages 18°C year-round.
The south of Spain tends not to hold Christmas markets or parades for Three Kings Day and quieter streets make for the perfect Spanish winter escape.
The city is filled with beautiful cathedrals and churches adorned with carvings and exquisite stained glass windows.
Alicante’s coastal location also means the beach is fully accessible and enjoyable, even in winter.
12- Baqueira Berat
Another of Spain’s skiing retreats is Baqueira Berat, often referred to as Spain’s premier ski resort.
As well as being far cheaper than a winter ski retreat to the Alps, Baqueira Berat also has the added bonus of incredible Spanish cuisine.
This location sees many locals from Barcelona and Madrid flock to its slopes.
The royal family of Spain even have their own chalet within the resort.
Most of the people visiting Baqueira Berat are Spanish. However, those working in the hotels and restaurants will speak English.
The resort primarily caters to skiers, with dedicated smaller areas for snowboarding.
13- San Sebastian
Located in the north of Spain and close to the French border, San Sebastian is one of Spain’s most beautiful destinations.
Its northern location bodes for much cooler temperatures, with days averaging 13°C (55°F). However, the beaches are still spectacular to visit in winter despite the cooler weather.
San Sebastian is a must-visit location for any traveller interested in food.
This small city has the highest proportion of Michelin starred restaurants in the world.
But if splashing out on a fancy meal is out of budget, head to a local bar and enjoy the pintxos.
Pintxos are small plates of food, usually provided complimentary with a drink in most bars within the region, making it a great way to try local delicacies on a budget.
Spain’s islands benefit from fewer tourists during the winter months, making Mallorca more laidback in winter.
Mallorca’s temperatures on the island average a comfortable 16°C (61°F).
Head to the capital city of Palma to see streets covered in festive decorations and lights and stick around for its festivals.
The island is small enough to travel across, even during a short break.
Rent a car and drive out to the island’s villages.
Valldemosa is a quaint village with cobbled streets, flower boxes and street parties as winter comes to a close.
Traditionally known as a party island, Ibiza is much more laid back in winter than summer.
Temperatures on the island range from 16 to 20°C (61 to 68°F) in winter, making it pleasant for most activities.
Be sure to head to the old town.
The old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which still has the narrow and winding streets and walls from the 16th century.
With the beaches much quieter during winder, stroll along the sand without tourists and sunbeds in the way.
The Canary Islands are among the best Spanish locations for warmer climes during winter.
Lanzarote is in its off-season during winter, which makes it an incredible place for adventure tourists to explore.
Many fantastic hiking trails across the island are more pleasant to tackle during cooler temperatures, with highs of 20°C (68°F).
As Lanzarote is a small island, it is possible to travel around its entirety by car easily.
This opens up areas away from the touristy coast.
Follow in the footsteps of Cesar Manrique, an artist from Lanzarote, who dedicated his life’s works to creating spectacular locations across the island by visiting Mirador, the Cactus Garden and Jameos del Agua.
Tenerife is the perfect place to visit during winter.
During the summer months, the island is crowded and bustling, but in winter, temperatures remain warm, but the atmosphere is much more relaxed.
Temperatures on the island in winter reach highs of 20°C (68°F) during the day and 15°C (59°F) during the night.
Many of the summer activities offered on the island run throughout the winter.
Head to Los Gigantes to catch a boat out into the ocean for a chance to see dolphins and pilot whales or even go snorkelling with turtles.
The volcano on the island, Mount Teide, has regular tours running up to its summit, where breathtaking views over the rest of the island are impressive.
18- Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria has an incredibly diverse natural landscape, making it a fascinating and magical destination whatever month of the year you choose to visit.
The island sits 840 miles (1351 km) away from mainland Europe and only 62 miles (99 km) from the coast of Africa.
Thanks to this near-tropical location, the island has 320 days of sun a year and an average winter temperature of 22°C (72°F).
Make time to visit the Maspalomas dunes, vast dunes that would not look out of place in a desert.
You can find perfect sunset views over the dunes at Faro de Maspalomas, a 19th-century lighthouse.
Another northern city in Spain offering the perfect winter getaway is Bilbao.
Bilbao is a magical place to visit in winter thanks to its richly decorated shop windows, glistening lights and magical scene competitions between shopkeepers in each area.
As Bilbao is part of the Basque region of Spain, it has its unique traditions.
On December 23rd, Olentzero, a Christmas character from the region, parades down Grand Via towards the Arriaga Theatre.
Later parades fall on January 5th as Spain celebrates Three Kings Day.
Ronda is in Andalucía, which boasts some of the warmest climates in Spain.
The average temperatures between December and February are between 13 and 15°C (55 to 59°F).
These mild temperatures make it an ideal location to participate in outdoor activities offered in the area, such as horse riding and hiking.
Like much of Spain, accommodation in Ronda is much cheaper during the winter than in summer.
Visiting closer to Christmas makes the hillside city even more attractive as the streets are decorated in Christmas lights and sculptures, creating extravagant displays.