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Where is hot in December in Europe

Princesa Yaiza, LanzaroteFamily-friendly poolsPool with a viewSpacious houses

Mike Gerrard By Mike Gerrard

If you want some hot winter sun in Europe in December you can expect to fly that bit further. You’ll also want to plan in advance as air fares start to go up the closer you get to Christmas, although if you actually want to celebrate Christmas abroad you might find some special packages on offer. Do take something warm for the chilly evenings, and you should also pack a raincoat and umbrella, hopefully as a good luck charm.


 

1. Lanzarote

Average highs in December: 22ºC
Average daily sunshine: 6 hours
Flying time from UK: 4 hours

With only four rainy days and a sea temperature of 20 degrees, Lanzarote, like Tenerife, makes for the perfect winter sun destination. Forget the old nickname of Lanzagrotty, as the island is arguably the most sophisticated of the Canary Islands, and isn’t over-run with holidaymakers in December. It’s cool enough to enjoy hiking in the Timanfaya National Park but warm enough to appreciate renting a villa with its own private pool.

2. La Palma

Average highs in December: 22ºC
Average daily sunshine: 5 hours
Flying time from UK: 4 hours

Not all the Canary Islands have the same climate, and La Palma has a little less sunshine and a little more rain (eight days on average) than Lanzarote. The extra rainfall does make it greener than its neighbours and there are as many banana plantations as there are beaches. There are also hundreds of miles of walking trails, and winter is an ideal time to enjoy them. Hiring a car is also recommended, and there are direct flights with easyJet from London and with TUI from London and Manchester.

3. Cyprus

Average highs in December: 19ºC
Average daily sunshine: 5 hours
Flying time from UK: 4 hours 30 minutes

December is a good time of year to visit Cyprus, with low rainfall and temperatures that can get into the low 20s. It will appeal to hikers, though there are plenty of other holiday experiences to be had there, and the island is big enough to make a fly-drive a good option. You could also opt for Turkish-speaking North Cyprus, with the port of Kyrenia being one of our favourite spots.

4. Algarve

Average highs in December: 17ºC
Average daily sunshine: 5 hours
Flying time from UK: 3 hours

Although December is the wettest month for the Algarve with 12 days of rain on average, it’s still a lot hotter than the UK and you’re also sure to get plenty of sunshine. Because it’s a less busy time of year you should find cheaper prices, making longer stays more affordable, though accommodation ranges from budget hotels for singles to luxury villas. We particularly like this collection of boutique hideaways.

5. Crete

Average highs in December: 17ºC
Average daily sunshine: 3 hours
Flying time from UK: 3 hours 45 minutes

Crete has similar temperatures to the Algarve in December but has less rain. It tends to be cloudy rather than rainy, so don’t be fooled by that low figure for hours of sunshine. It’s a good time of year to rent a car and explore the biggest of the Greek islands, perhaps stay in one of its eco-retreats, traditional accommodation or boutique hotels. And the dramatic south coast is as far south as you can go and still be in Europe!

6. Morocco

Average highs in December: 20ºC
Average daily sunshine: 7 hours
Flying time from UK: 3 hours 20 mins

We know, we’re cheating here, but airlines treat Marrakech as a short-haul destination and the flying time to Morocco is similar to southern Europe. The main difference in the weather is that temperatures can fall as low as 8 degrees because of the desert climate, so pack warm. Marrakech is the most popular destination, with its exotic souks, great food and some chic riads to stay in. If you want beaches go further south to the Agadir coastline where it’s a little warmer and dryer. Also on the coast is Essaouira, and for culture check out Fes, which is less touristy than Marrakech.

Last updated: 12 January 2018

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