Planning for Europe? Here is our selection for the best places to visit in Europe in December. Mind you, this post includes both the warm places to visit in Europe in December, and the cold ones.
So there you are. You have all the best selections.
Why to visit Europe in December?
Perhaps no other continent is as charming and welcoming to any tourist as that of Europe. From the beautiful Alps, breathtaking land-forms, powerful waves, expansive seas, and breathtaking buildings, the continent has all that a visitor may want to enjoy.
By the way, if you are seeking for the best Christmas markets in Europe, read this post.
This is why it makes sense to get to know where exactly a stay in Europe might be worthwhile.
We are here to do just that. We do realize the tremendous potential that this wonderful continent has to offer.
That is why we have carried out extensive research and are glad to lay bare the results of those findings here below.
To give you a better picture of these resources, we have decided to split them into two broad categories. These are the best winter venues and the best ordinary venues respectively.
The Best Warm Places to Visit in Europe in December
Winters in Europe can be very terrible but not in all places. Areas that have low temperatures in December are Scandinavia, northern Germany, Greenland, and Iceland, to mention but a few.
All is not lost though. It is still possible for you to enjoy your time on the continent in winter.
This is because the continent has numerous spots and regions that experience slightly warmer and subtropical climates at such times.
They are mainly located in the southern portions of Europe.
These include the Mediterranean islands, the Atlantic islands, North African enclaves, and some parts of continental Europe.
In the proceeding first portion of the article, we are going to dwell mainly on these places. We are going to demonstrate to you both their availability and suitability.
The Canary Islands are a group of islands that are found in Southern Spain. They are located in the Atlantic Ocean and are around 100 kilometers from mainland Spain. These islands are warm year round.
They are also comparatively warmer to the rest of Europe in winter. They do record a low of 13°C in winter and therefore make them a perfect destination at such times.
These islands combine sandy clean beaches, fairly warm winter weather, gentle oceans, and clear blue skies.
If you have no other reasons to pay them a visit, you want to visit them for the reasons stated. It is also dotted with numerous restaurants and eateries. You will never have a shortage of food or drinks for your taking.
It is, in fact, an archipelago of four islands that are all under the domain of Portugal. The islands record the lowest temperatures of only 12°C in winter. This makes them warm enough for a visit at such times.
Madeira is endowed with innumerable places of interest. These include cliffs, rugged mountains, gentle seas, and clean sandy beaches.
You can never lack an opportunity to explore or quench your tourism passion. Given its secluded, safe, and low population, it is great for bonding and matters of privacy.
What’s more? The island has a farmer’s market. At the market, you will find all kinds of fruits, vegetables, greens, and local produce. This is yet another incentive to spend a bit of your time at the place.
Crete is the fifth largest Mediterranean island, and by far the most tourism-rich in the whole of Europe.
The chain of the island belongs to Greece and has a pretty high population indeed. Its main strength lies in the fact that it experiences low temperatures in the terribly cold winter months.
It actually records a low of 15°C at such times. By the virtue of this, the island chain is great for tourism.
Some of the great places of interest on the island are the Heraklion archaeological site, Spinalonga islet, Elafonisi lagoon and monastery, and the Knossos palace ruins.
Its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea also makes it great for a couple of water sports and activities. These include snorkeling, deep sea diving, swimming, sunbathing, and pure relaxation.
In most cases, Cyprus is known for civil unrests and political strife.
This is mainly between the Greek and the Turkish speaking inhabitants. What many do not seem to realize though is the fact that the island is also resourced rich.
This independent nation indeed has plenty of goodies to offer to any passionate tourist.
Topping the list of these goodies is the warm winter weather. Indeed, the island records a low of only 12°C. This means it is devoid of snow or extremely cold temperatures that are characteristic of continental Europe.
While at the island, you should expect to enjoy the Petra tou Romiou legendary rock, Nissi Beach, the Akamas nature beach, and the Cape Greco cliff and forest.
You will also get to enjoy some great local cuisines not to mention sunbathing and swimming.
Malta is a tiny island that is located right at the heart of the Mediterranean Sea. This tiny and oft-overlooked island is an embodiment of the history of entire Europe.
This is because it fell to the domain and rulership of many past powers like the Romans, the Knights of Saints of John, the Moors, the British, and the French.
With a winter low of only 16°C, there is perhaps no other better place to spend a winter holiday than Malta.
The island of Malta indeed has numerous resources for you to explore. These include the Megalithic temples of Malta, Saint John’s Cathedral, Azure window cliff, and the iconic Comino lagoon.
Its wealth of history shall do you good if you are a scholar of or passionate about European history.
Located right in the middle of the Atlantic, the Azores is an archipelago that is under the domain of Portugal. Unlike most other far-flung islands, it is famed for green landscapes.
These also include excellent pastures and fishing villages. It does experience winter lows of only 16°C, making it warm enough for a winter visit.
If you opt to visit the island, you may visit a couple of interesting places.
These include the Fumas Lake, Algar do Carvao, Mount Pico, and Gruta des Torres. These are landforms that have breathtaking appearances.
You may also choose to sunbathe, dive in the Atlantic Ocean, take a boat ride, or even snorkel. And if you love food, worry not.
You have the numerous restaurants and eateries that dot the island for your taking. They serve some great local and international cuisines.
Lampedusa is the extreme southern point of the European Union.
It is an Italian territory. With an extremely low permanent population and excellent landscapes, the island is indeed great for tourism.
Its suitability for a winter visit is occasioned by its comparatively high temperature of around 15°C. This makes it warm enough for an escape of the harsh European temperatures.
Among the host of resources you should look up to at the island are the Rabbit beach, Cala Pulcino beath, Rabbit Island, and the Cala Croce.
These features allow you to view turtles, swim, dive, snorkel and sunbathe.
If you like boat riding, you have the gentle sea waves to take advantage of. Indeed, the portion of the sea that surrounds the island is gentle enough to guarantee safe and fulfilling rides.
Just like Lampedusa, the island of Sicily is also Italian territory. It is by far the largest of the Mediterranean islands and is filthy rich in history.
With a low of only 12°C in the winter months, the island chain is also great to visit and spend some time in during the harsh winter months.
If you choose to spend some of your time at the island, be sure to enjoy great historical marvels and resources.
Some of these are the Doric-style Greek temples, Byzantine mosaics, and the Cappella Palatina. These are silent reminders of Italy’s Christian past as well as its role in the Roman Empire era.
Other great and vital resources you stand to enjoy are the Taormina volcanic beach, the famed Catania fish market, Palermo royal tombs, and the Syracuse Theater.
Famously christened the “French Riviera” the Côte d’Azur is basically the Mediterranean coast of the south of France.
This area is also warm in the winter. Its lowest average temperature is 13°C and it occurs in January. For this reason, the coast is a great spot you might want to visit in the winter.
The area is home to numerous resorts, restaurants, and other great tourist attractions.
While at your visit to the area, you may wish to make a stopover at the Promenade de Anglais, Porquerolles, Promenade de la Croisette, and the Lerins islands.
And if you like nightlife, the Côte d’Azur also cates for you. Indeed, the area has many clubs, operas, and concert halls.
These host numerous live shows and also attract artists both from within and without.
Unlike most other destinations we have explored, Monte Carlo is not an island, neither is it detached from continental Europe.
Instead, it is a coastal destination that is part of the principality of Monaco. It borders the Mediterranean Sea to the north and records only 12°C low in winter.
Monte Carlo and the nation of Monaco as a whole is famed for gambling.
With regards to this, you will be sure to find numerous casinos and gambling dens while in the city. If gambling is not your favorite, worry not. The city is indeed home to several attractions that are equally enjoyable.
The Oceanographic Museum, Prince’s Palace of Monaco, and the Opéra de Monte-Carlo are some of the ‘must visit’ places in the area.
Do take some time to visit them as they are rich in culture and history.
The Best Cold Places to Visit in Europe in December
Yes, winter in Europe might get terribly cold.
That does not mean however that the affected areas have no economic or tourism worth.
There indeed are still numerous areas and spots that are equally great to visit. These form the basis of our discussions in the next segment of the article.
We have indeed sampled and are going to offer some explanations as to what exactly makes them great and ‘must visit.’
Most of these locations are located either deep in continental Europe or are in the extreme north. They include those areas that occupy the Scandinavia, Greenland, and Iceland.
They have numerous and endemic wildlife as well as manmade resorts that are worth visiting. These resources compensate for their poor and inhospitable weather. They also bring about a higher value for money.
Lofoten is located in Norway.
Temperatures can even drop to -12°C. Because of this, the area is often chilly. This notwithstanding, the area is still breathtaking to behold. It is home to colorful scenery which mainly comes in the form of White Mountain peaks, calm ambiance, and clear blue waters.
The entire area is crisscrossed by numerous cycling routes and dotted with a couple of fishing villages. It is also home to numerous museums, beaches, and whale-watching sites.
Some of these include the Lofotr Viking Museum, Kvalvika, Sakrisøy, and the Vesterålen. Tour the area if you like fishing, watching whales, feeding dolphins, or merely passing by to sightsee. You will also get to taste several local cuisines from the area’s numerous eateries.
This capital of Denmark is also a terribly cold location in times of winter. Its lowest winter temperature has been ascertained to be around 3°C.
Even though this is too cold, the area is not short of great resources for a would-be visitor. Indeed, the entire city is a museum of its kind. This stems from its role in advancing and shaping Europe’s past and present.
As you move around the city, you will enjoy the Tivoli Gardens amusement park, Nyhavn, The Little Mermaid statue and the Amalienborg queen’s winter residence.
The city also boasts numerous restaurants, nightclubs, dance halls, and theaters which hold some concerts and events from time to time. This is not to mention that it is also home to famous restaurants and eateries.
Home to approximately 1.5 million people, the city of Stockholm is Sweden’s capital. It is also a cold destination during the winter months.
Sometimes, the temperatures can fall to as low as 1°C. The city itself is a conglomeration of around 14 islands that are interconnected with around 50 bridges.
Out and about the entire city is plenty of attractions. These range from historical sites like the Gamla Stan, the Stockholm Royal Palace, the Skansen open-air museum and the Vasa maritime museum.
These are open in the winter for you to pop in and sightsee.
These facilities are heated and appropriately equipped to deal with the harsh temperatures. You, therefore, are guaranteed some comfort notwithstanding the harsh weather.
What’s more? Stockholm’s infrastructure is also super enough to allow for easy transportation out and about the area.
Doubling both as the capital and most populous city in Finland, Helsinki is also a great venue to visit. Winters here can at times get very harsh. So far, the coldest winters do record around -2°C.
Moreover, the city also experiences some blizzards and winter vortices every now and then. The city is still a great tourist destination notwithstanding these drawbacks. This mainly stems from its possession of numerous facilities that either are great to behold or promote tourism.
As part of your winter itinerary, you may seek to walk on water, travel through the frozen sea to the UNESCO fortress, and even attempt the traditional Finnish ice and sauna. If you find the time, you may also spare some time and shop at the various Helsinki markets.
Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic is yet another terribly cold but very attractive European winter destination.
It does record extremely low temperatures of around 2°C. This is often accompanied by extremely high ice levels and biting cold. The area is nevertheless great for Christmas and other winter activities.
This is the place to be if you are a lover of ice skating and other winter sporting activities. The area has nice skis that are sheltered and effectively guarded against the elements of weather.
It is also home to several markets, nice malls, and other shopping complexes. It does attract fewer visitors and is thus less crowded. This makes it a perfect destination to attend owing to the less congestion.
This capital of Germany can also be terribly cold at sometimes. It does record temperatures that are as low as 3°C in the winter.
Berlin, is by far the most significant of all the European cities. This is mainly by virtue of its role in shaping the 20th century and more so, the first and second world wars.
Perhaps no other destination is as great to visit in the winter as is Berlin. Your visit to the city can open doors for you to carry out several activities.
These including shopping at the various markets, bathing at the spa, watching midnight films in the various theaters, ice skating, and of course, lots of drinking and partying.
Owing to the high number of tourists who choose to spend their time in the city, you will enjoy the company of many others from around the world.
Of all the destinations we under this review, it is the Swiss Alps that record the lowest temperatures in winter. Its average lowest temperature is around -3°C.
This is basically a chain of mountains and peaks that straddle the German-Switzerland border. It is breathtaking and picturesque in appearance. It is mainly typified by white glaciers.
There are four main attractions in the Swiss Alps for you to try out. These are the Alps, the Glacier Express, Lake Thun, and Mount Pilatus.
The Alps region gives you the opportunity to ski. You ought to be careful though because the area is prone to avalanches.
Enjoy some rides on the Glacier Express train. Walk atop Lake Thun which is often frozen on top. Lastly, take some rides to the top of Mount Pilatus.
With lows of around 3°C, Munich is often a terribly cold European winter destination. This Bavarian capital is located in southern Germany.
It is rich in both history and culture. It is also home to numerous architectural marvels. The city also offers great tourism opportunities in the winter that are unrivaled by any other.
Your visit to the city in the winter will let you curl in the open air, stroll through the various Christmas markets, saunter out and about the city in the Christmas tram and relax in the indoor pool or the sauna.
Winter is a cold season, calls for enough food and water. You may also pop in the many restaurants that dot the city for some hot coffee, tea and of course main course meals.
Voted severally as Europe’s most livable city, Vienna is a ‘must visit’ at least once in a lifetime. The city lies along the famed Danube River and is easily accessible by various means and ways.
It does have some harsh winters, recording some low of around 4°C. Other than being the home of the famous Ludwig van Beethoven, the city also boasts several other attractions.
In the winter, you might visit the city to ski, ice skate, attend numerous concerts and other live performances.
Being home to numerous cafes and coffee shops, you should also expect to get into these eateries and satisfy your stomach.
And because cold is never a comfortable feeling, you will want to get into the spa to relax and warm up.
Lastly, you want to try the tiny nation of Iceland. This Nordic country lies to the northeast of continental Europe right at the Atlantic Ocean.
Its proximity to the North Pole means terribly low temperatures in the winters. This sometimes gets to around -30°C.
Being cold year round, the nation is indeed endowed with numerous cold-related attractions. Some of these are hot geysers, glaciers, sheltered lagoons, and ski resorts.
Indeed, you may wish to visit the city to ice skate, watch whales, feed dolphins, fish for fun at the local fishing villages, and bathe in the various hot springs that dot the nation.
If you are a lover of indoors, you have the numerous concerts, balls, theaters, and restaurants for your taking.
They offer several facilities and activities all of which are geared for your enjoyment.
- Click for suggested hotels in Reykjavik Iceland
- Check the available organized tours in Reykjavik Iceland
Conclusion on Best Warm and Cold Places to Visit in Europe in December
As you may well have noted already, Europe has no shortage of attractions in the winter. Regardless of your preferred climatic taste, you may be sure to find at least one destination that suits your unique preference.
You, therefore, have no excuse at all not to spare a bit of your time on the continent for the sole purpose of tourism.
If I were the one visiting, I would choose the Swiss Alps owing to the natural beauty and awesome facilities.
But since I am not, I leave it up to you to make up your mind. Only ensure that you pay a visit to one of these destinations soonest possible.
Remember to spread the news as far wide as you possibly can, also.
All the best in your next visit!