December is typically the second-coldest month of the year in Andalucia although there is little to choose between December, January and February. Temperatures reach an average of 16°C (61°F) during the daytime over most of the region, while falling to a minimum of 7°C (44°F) overnight. It generally tends to be milder near the Mediterranean coastline than it is inland. Sea temperatures in December tend to be quite cold, around 17°C (62°F)
Rainfall averages about 70-80mm per December over most of the region, with an average of 8 days with rain. Some Decembers can be quite wet, particularly when low pressure systems track further south than usual, but most Decembers also have quite lengthy dry spells, particularly near the Mediterranean coastline and in low-lying parts of the east of the region.
Snow is very rare near sea level but is common in the Sierra Nevada mountain range where skiing holidays are often possible.
Sunshine is more than twice as abundant as it is in the British Isles at this time of year, with a mean of 5 hours per day of bright sunshine. The length of day more or less stays consistent.
Overall, weather in December is characterised by chilly, windswept days with the occasional rainstorm. Averages shift only slightly over the month, from December 1 highs of 14°C (57°F) and lows of 3°C (37°F), to December 31 highs of 13°C (55°F) and lows of 1°C (33°F).
Where to Stay
Hotel Amadeus is situated in the Santa Cruz district of Seville, in an old mansion that dates back to the 18th century. The theme here is music--different musical instruments, including a grand piano, are available for guests. Double rooms and junior suites are available, as well as a suite with jacuzzi and the spacious penthouse. All rooms are equipped with free wifi, laptops, bathroom, satellite TV, safe, minibar, CD player, telephone, classical music CDs and more. The hotel also offers continental breakfast, terrace with panoramic views, welcoming glass of Andalusian wine or tea, library, and laundry service.
Finca Cortesin is a luxury option in Casares with spacious rooms and views of the Mediterranean. White columns and arches lend a tastefully archaic flavour to the grounds, as an old monastery or a country manor. Each of its 67 suites are discreetly fashionable, some with a small pool on the terrace. Onsite there are a few interesting restaurants you can sample--from the Japanese Kabuki Raw to the traditional Spanish dishes at El Jardin de Lutz.
Hit the Beach
Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park
December in Andalucia tends to be wind-swept and cloudy, not exactly prime swimming conditions. You can still enjoy walking along the many beaches, however, or taking part in daredevil windsurfing. Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park is the region's largest marine reserve, home to several breathtaking beaches. Here you'll find Playa de los Muertos, Las Negras, Playa el Playazo, Playa de Monsul and Genoveses.
Eating & Drinking Out
Milano Experience in Fuengirola serves succulent fare in a fine dining atmosphere. Try the gnocchi with gorgonzola and nuts, stuffed pasta with asparagus and walnut sauce, rice with prawns in saffron and curry and ox carpaccio with rocket and parmesan.
Restaurant El Lobo
Restaurant El Lobo is a cute, inexpensive experience in Tarifa. Run by a Belgian, dining is served a la BBQ, in which the patrons grill their own meats at their table. Portable grills are provided where you can cook sausages, pinchitos, and cheese to your taste.
Vera de la Frontera is a pueblo blanco known for its unconventional foodie atmosphere. Garimba Sur is a great place for tapas--here you'll find homemade risotto, black cuttlefish rice and tasty vermouth.
Another tapas bar--Trafalgar, is where you can feast on pickled red tuna and roasted oxtail.
Casa Varo is a popular restaurant-bar with succulent dishes like fried artichokes, retinto beef, monkfish brochettes and Andalucian wine.
Things to Do
Andalucia is traditionally a primarily Christian region and Christmas is widely celebrated with numerous meals and festivals. The Verdiales is a popular music festival situated outside the city of Malaga, on the 28th December, which includes flamenco and folk dances and the performers wear inimitable costumes. The Fiesta Mayor de Verdiales is the main event of the festival, features song and dance competitions. This festival is ideal for those interested in a Christmas break around the Malaga region on the Costa del Sol.
For those interested in a countryside break in the Malaga area, the Axarqua region has plenty of stunning mountainous scenery and largely unspoilt villages, in spite of attracting increasing amounts of tourism in recent years.