December in Valencia is a time of contrasts where the city’s cultural riches blend harmoniously with the magic of the holiday season. Now, you might be wondering how warm is Valencia in December? What should you pack and where should you stay? And the most important question of all, does Valencia have any Christmas markets? Keep on reading as I answer all this and more below.
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Is December a good time to visit Valencia?
December can be a pleasant time to visit Valencia, but whether it’s a “good” time depends on your preferences and the type of experiences you’re looking for.
If you’re coming from up north, you’ll definitely appreciate Valencia’s mild December weather. Temperatures can be reasonably warm, especially during the day. But once the sun sets, the mercury levels drop considerably.
Yet, this doesn’t stop people from going out. In fact, you’ll be surprised to see the cafés, restaurants and tapas bars packed. Also, Valencia’s main shopping streets and commercial centers are brimming with activity.
In Valencia, it’s customary for friends and family to hang out in the weeks before Christmas and share stories over a steaming cup of hot chocolate with churros.
On top of that, everybody seems to be out and about doing their Christmas shopping. So the city center especially can fill a bit crowded in late afternoon and early evening.
On the contrary, since December is not the peak tourist season in Valencia, you’ll encounter fewer crowds at popular attractions and museums.
Another compelling reason to visit Valencia in December is to soak in the festive atmosphere and experience the city’s unique Christmas traditions.
Valencia organizes several Christmas markets throughout the city, but that’s not even the most exciting part.
In my opinion, all the elaborate nativity scenes, delicious holiday sweets and contagious Christmas cheer far outweigh the decorations and twinkling lights.
One thing to take into consideration is that December has some of the shortest days of the year. While this means fewer daylight hours for sightseeing, Valencia’s wonderfully warm street lighting make it even more magical after nightfall.
Now, if you’re hoping for a beach vacation in Valencia in December, this may not be ideal month for that. The water is too cold to go swimming and beach activities are limited.
Nevertheless, there are so many other delightful things to do in Valencia in December, that you likely won’t miss the beach.
But if you’re determined to spend some time by the sea, you could opt to have brunch at a charming café along Playa de Patacona or devour a paella in a restaurant with views at the Malvarrosa Beach.
Weather in Valencia in December
December weather in Valencia is generally mild, with plenty of clear blue skies throughout the month. But you should be prepared for cooler temperatures and a variety of weather conditions as well.
Maximum temperatures during the day are typically around 17°C (62°F). This basically means that you can enjoy sightseeing and a variety of outdoor activities without worrying about being cold.
Occasionally, temperatures can reach a whopping 25ºC (77ºC) and even more in the sun. Such days feel like a celebration and the perfect excuse to take your time and enjoy a cup of coffee or glass of wine on a terrace.
Minimum temperatures during the night on the other hand, can drop to 6ºC (43°F) and even lower, so it’s advisable to pack some warm layers for the evenings.
Humidity generally remain at comfortable levels. But the occasional breezy to windy days can create a wind chill effect, making the perceived temperatures feel considerably colder than the recorded temperature readings indicate.
The winds are usually intensify the closer you are to the sea. So I don’t normally recommend booking your accommodation in the maritime neighborhoods if you’re visiting Valencia in winter.
Instead, I suggest you look into one of the more central areas, such as Ruzafa or the Old Town. See my top picks for the best areas to stay in Valencia.
December is not a particularly rainy month, and historically, it experiences only 3 or 4 rainy days. For the rest of the month, you can expect mostly clear skies. Cloudy days are not out of the question either.
What’s on in Valencia in December
Valencia in December offers a plethora of Christmassy activities. Besides these, the city also organizes a few other noteworthy events.
First Sunday of December – December 3rd, 2023
The Valencia Marathon is a massive event, drawing more than 50,000 participants, including both runners and spectators. It is widely regarded as the premier marathon in Spain. It winds its way through various neighborhoods, spanning from the City of Arts and Sciences to the city center. Even if you’re not participating as a runner, soaking in the positive vibes and supporting the runners from the sidelines can be tons of fun. As a sidenote, public transportation in Valencia experiences significant disruptions during the marathon hours.
New Year’s Eve
If you’re ringing in the new year in Valencia, you cannot miss the street party in front of the City Hall. Many locals come together here to eat 12 grapes at midnight for good luck in the upcoming year, raise their glasses with cava (the local sparkling wine), and enjoy a brief fireworks display. Following midnight, there’s an energetic DJ concert that goes on for 2 to 3 hours, and the streets come alive with dancing well into the early hours.
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December bank holidays in Valencia
There are three public holidays in Valencia in December – December 6th (Día de la Constitución, marks the anniversary of the Spanish Constitution of 1978), December 8th (Inmaculada Concepción, a religious holiday) and December 25th (Christmas Day).
December 25th is an important holiday in Valencia, and it’s almost impossible to find anything opened, from attractions to shops. Some museums and shops also have limited operating hours on December 24th and 31st. Many businesses, supermarkets, markets and shop are closed on December 6th and 8th as well.
What to wear in Valencia in December
When visiting Valencia during the month of December, it’s easy to assume that just because the sun is shining you can pack a few light items of clothing and call it a day. But the reality is quite different.
Yes, pack your sunglasses (you’ll need them even in December!) and a couple of light sweaters and long-sleeve shirts. But don’t stop here.
Staying comfortable in Valencia in December is all about mastering the art of wearing layers. This will allow you to adjust your clothing as the temperature changes throughout the day.
So start with light sweaters and long-sleeve shirts as your foundation of your wardrobe. Then add a nice warm jacket, a coat, or a parka.
Temperatures can be quite nice around midday, especially in the sun. But once you get in the shade, you’ll notice a big difference and you’ll find yourself reaching for that extra layer more often than not.
For the lower body, pack long trousers or jeans. But there’s no need to go overboard with thermal clothing, as Valencia doesn’t experience extremely cold temperatures.
As for the shoes, I recommend comfortable footwear so you can explore the city on foot. Both sneakers and ankle boots are great. Loafers are also an option, especially on warmer days.
Occasionally you might notice Valencians wearing tall boots. These are more a fashion choice than a necessity.
Two clothing items that are often overlooked when packing for Valencia in December are a nice warm scarf and gloves.
Nearly everybody wears a scarf in Valencia this time of the year. Gloves on the other hand are not always needed, but it’s best to have them than to miss them. I always carry a pair of gloves with me, just in case.
Since Valencia can experience occasional rainfall in December, it’s also a good idea to pack a compact umbrella.
Last but not least, I advise you pack some warm PJs and a pair of slippers, especially if staying in an apartment rental without central heating.
Now, if you’re staying in one of the more luxurious hotels in Valencia, that’s likely unnecessary and slippers might be provided.
But if your accommodation has tile flooring, as most places in Valencia have, believe me, you’ll be happy you brought your slippers along with you.