Weather Averages for Algarve in December
Averages for Algarve in December
On average, December is the wettest month of the year in the Algarve during November in most years, with an average of 114mm of rain per December at the capital, Faro. However, the rain is often heavier and shorter-lived than is the norm in northern parts of Europe, and on average measurable rain falls on 11 days out of a possible 31. There is considerable variation from one December to another- Decembers with southerly tracking low pressure systems can be very wet, but Decembers with lows taking a northerly track often feature only infrequent rainfall.
High rainfall over a short period of time can occasionally trigger flooding problems, e.g. in December 2010 there were floods on Christmas Day.
Decembers are usually much sunnier than over central and northern parts of Europe, with an average of 167 hours of bright sunshine at Faro, which is a mean of between five and six hours per day. Temperatures are generally mild, with an average maximum of 17°C and an average minimum of 10°C. Frosts are generally absent near the Mediterranean coastline although they occasionally crop up in the hillier northern parts of the region.
The mean sea temperature falls to around 15°C during December which means that it is not a good time of year to go swimming in the nearby stretch of the Mediterranean Sea.
Things to do
Given the relatively unreliable weather in December, it is quite a good time of year to check out the region’s landmarks, rather than lazing on the beach. The Fortress of Sagres at Sagres on the coast of the Algarve is impressively mainly for its views over the nearby bay and ocean, and features an exhibition centre and centre for visitors. There is not a lot left of the fortress itself, though what remains is quite impressive.
The Cerro da Villa ruins are located in Villamoura, and date as far back as the 1st century. Again the ruins are quite limited, but the premises also contain a museum which boasts some Roman mosaics in the adjacent outdoor area.
Another good place to visit is the village of Alferce at Monchique. It has numerous medieval-style buildings, and Roman remains, and contains good views over the nearby mountains. These attractions give some insights into the sort of settlements that the Romans developed in the Algarve region.
The Algarve has some good wineries and shops to try out. The Quinto do Francees Estate Family located at Odelouca River Valley, Sitio da Dobra, Silves offers and showcases a large range of wines, it has 8.5 hectares of wineyards and also an in-house wine shop. There are guided 15-20 minute tours showing the range of facilities that are on offer. The winery is open from 0900-1200 and 1400-1730 on Mondays to Fridays although it is closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
Another good option is Quinta dos Vales at Sitio dos Vales, Estombar. This site offers some sculpture gardens to explore, and displays of farm animals, and many of the exhibits are free. They also offer golf and tennis and massage packages, among other attractions, and guided tours of the facilities, plus a farm shop and a web shop (where wines can be purchased online).
Dates for the diary
There are two significant events and festivals in the Algarve region during December. The Loue Mountain Fair is devoted to helping the public learn more about the culture and diversity of the parishes of Serra do Caldeirao. There are fairs held displaying a range of products, particularly food and handicrafts, showing off the traditions associated with the upland parts of the Algarve.
At Christmas, the Albufeira Christmas Athletics Grand Prix features a 9km run and a 3km “Father Christmas” walk, and at the end of the month there are traditional New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Where to eat & drink
There are many good restaurants available in the Algarve, catering for almost all tastes. High quality local cuisine is served at the Oiliveira Dourada restaurant at Sitio de Conseguinte, Vilamoura, which is a pleasant and relaxing family-run restaurant. For those after a relatively light snack, high quality snacks are served at the Il Cappuccino café at R. Quinta da Correira, Albufeira, alongside a selection of main courses.
The Tunes Bar at Praca Miguel Bombarda 32, Albufeira, serves a variety of traditional pub food including cooked English breakfasts, and broadcasts sporting events. For those after a lively nightlife scene, Roskos at Rua Candido dos Reis N0 79, Lagos is well-established for its frequent musical entertainment, including funk, rhythm & blues and soul music.
Hit the beach
December is not one of the best times of year to head for the beaches at the Algarve, but nonetheless the beaches still have some attractions. The island of Ilha de Culatra, just off the coast from Olhao, contains a wide range of facilities including villages, a mini market, and fishing outlets, making it a good resort for many tastes.
On the mainland, the beach at Praia la Luz is close to a good range of restaurants and even a couple of supermarkets.
Where to stay
Accommodation options in the Algarve are numerous and there are many good hotels to choose from. Those on a romantic Christmas break can consider the Quinta Jacintina Hotel, at Quinta Jacintina, Almancil, which is a boutique hotel and offers wedding planners and golf packages, among other attractions, so it is particularly good for couples preparing to tie the knot early the following year.
The Riu Palace Algarve at Olhos d'Agua, Albufeira, offers good 4-star accommodation and is close to the nearby beach and has good dining options. A less expensive option is the Herdade da Corte hotel at Santa Catarina Da Fonte Do Bispo, Tavira, which contains a lounge bar, a swimming pool and a relaxed atmosphere.