Are you thinking about visiting Granada in December?
Granada is like my second home – I live in Costa del Sol and travel to Granada at least a few times per year. Each time I visit I discover new beautiful places, which I’m always sharing in these pages.
If you’re thinking about visiting Granada in December, you probably have a lot of questions.
What’s the weather like? What should I wear?
Is it very busy in December?
Is Granada worth visiting in December?
You will find answers to these and many other questions in this article, written by a local from Southern Spain!
Is Granada Worth Visiting in December?
Yes, it is!
December offers a variety of unique experiences and events that you won’t be able to witness at other times of the year.
If you’re lucky, you might even capture the snowy peaks of Sierra Nevada behind Alhambra!
17 Reasons to Visit Granada in December
Why is December a good month to see Granada?
Here are a few reasons to consider and get you excited about your trip.
1. Granada Christmas Lights
Christmas lights are always a big thing on Costa del Sol, and you shouldn’t miss the spectacle if you’re visiting Granada either.
The lights are usually switched on the last weekend in November, this year it will fall on the 2nd of December 2023, and will remain switched on until January 6th.
There are over 2 million LED lights illuminating Granada’s main streets like Puerta Real, Gran Via, Reyes Católicos and Calle Mesones, and will be switched on every day from 6.30 pm.
2. See The Tallest Christmas Tree in Spain
Did you know Granada has the tallest Christmas tree in Spain?
You can check it out at the Nevada shopping center, and it is 57 meters tall! (source)
3. Granada Christmas Markets
Christmas markets in Granada start from the 1st of December and remain open until the 6th of January.
The biggest and most popular ones can be found at Plaza Bib Rambla (close to the Cathedral), and Puerta Real de España (close to Calle Reyes Católicos).
The first one is more of a traditional market where you can buy decorations for your home, Christmas tree, and even nativity scene figurines. The second one is offering local traditional food and sweets, toys, and crafts.
For more shopping options not just for Christmas, check out this Piccavey article – Molly is a local expert on Granada.
4. Festive Spanish Food
Christmas is Spain means one thing – food and plenty of it!
When visiting Granada in December, don’t leave without trying some of the traditional festive sweets:
Mantecados and Polvorones are crumbly, shortbread-like cookies and a staple in Andalusian confectionery. They are made with lard (manteca), flour, sugar, and often flavored with cinnamon or almonds, they melt in the mouth and are a perfect accompaniment to a cup of hot chocolate or coffee.
Another staple of a Christmas table is Turrón – a nougat made of honey, sugar, and egg white, mixed with toasted almonds or other nuts. This confection has its roots in Moorish Spain and has evolved over centuries. In Granada, you’ll find a variety of Turrón, from the traditional hard Jijona style to the softer Alicante type, each offering a delightful blend of flavors and textures.
Finally, the “Roscón de Reyes,” traditionally eaten on the Day of the Epiphany, is a sweet, circular bread adorned with candied fruits, symbolizing the crowns of the Three Wise Men. It often contains a small surprise inside, and finding it is considered good luck.
5. Ice Rink in Granada
If you want a bit of winter fun, you don’t have to go too far from the city center.
In Plaza Bib Rambla they build an ice rink on the main square, so in addition to shopping at the Christmas markets or having a meal in the nearby restaurants, you can dust of your ice skates and join the crowds.
6. Skiing in Sierra Nevada
Fancy a bit of fun in the snow? Head to Sierra Nevada skiing resort to enjoy the snow-covered slopes.
Sierra Nevada is only about an hour drive from the city, and its normally covered in snow from as early as late October.
7. Nativity Scenes in Granada
Nativity Scenes are a big part of Christmas in Granada and Southern Spain. You will find them in all sizes all around the city.
To see them all you can take the Routa de Belen (tour of the Nativity Scenes) which includes 24 Nativity Scenes. You can see them for example at Plaza Nueva (Nativity Scene of the San Juan de Dios Museum), at the town hall, and more in the Realejo area and San Juan de Dios area.
This website has a map with all the locations of the scenes marked up.
8. Churros and Chocolate
Churros and chocolate are a classic treat, and they taste even better on a cold December morning!
9. Christmas Shopping in Granada
If you fancy a bit of retail therapy, in Granada you can find hundreds of different shops under one roof in the Nevada shopping center, just 10 minute drive (or taxi ride) from the center of the city.
10. Warm up in a Traditional Hammam
Escape the chill outside and book yourself a traditional Hammam experience.
In Granada, I recommend the Hammam Al Andalus which is on Plaza St Ana. Their rituals and treatments are the perfect solution for a rainy day and a great way to finish your trip to Granada in December.
11. Catch a Sunrise at Mirador St Nicolas
Mirador St Nicolas is famous for its sunsets, but in the early morning hours of winter, you get a chance to watch a beautiful sunrise too!
During the sunrise hours, the usually crowded viewpoint is also much less busy, so you get a chance to capture the beauty without hundreds of tourists around.
12. Enjoy Indoor Activities
If the weather turns bad, Granada has plenty of indoor activities to keep you busy.
From intriguing museums, like the Museum of Torture and Inquisition, to world-class museums – like the Science Museum, Granada has plenty to offer for rainy days.
13. Beautiful Autumn Colors
December is the perfect month to capture the changing nature in Granada, and it doesn’t get any better than the golden hues on the trees.
14. Mild Weather
December might be the start of winter, but the weather is actually pretty decent.
Yes, it is very cold in the morning and evenings, and during the night the temperatures hover closer to zero. But during the day, and in the sunshine, it’s pretty mild and enjoyable.
15. Warm up with Flamenco Performance
Sacromonte barrio (district) of Granada is the cradle of Flamenco, and if you book a Flamenco performance here, it’s an experience to remember.
The still do the shows in traditional cave houses of Sacromonte, but if you prefer a more modern venue, then La Alborea is a great option.
16. Enjoy Free Tapas
Granada is one of the few places in Southern Spain that stays true to the tradition of free tapas served with every drink.
Sit down on a square like Plaza St Ana or near the Cathedral, watch the world go by and enjoy your free snack!
17. Enjoy a Beduin Tea at a Teteria
Teterias in Granada are an integral part of the culture and history of the city, and visiting one is certainly an experience to remember. My favourite one is Kasbah teteria, just off Plaza St Ana – I’ve been there probably five times and visit each time I’m in Granada.
Teterias offer a wide selection of different tea blends, but also Morrocan style cuisine and traditional desserts.
The Essentials: What To Do in Granada in December
In addition to the month-specific recommendations already mentioned, here are some of my favourite activities and places you can also enjoy in December.
1. The Alhambra and Generalife Gardens
Alhambra is an absolute must see when visiting Granada.
In December, it will be less busy compared to other months, but you should book your tickets in advance so you’re not dissapointed if you can’t get in.
2. Visit Monasteries
Granada has a handful of beautiful monasteries and churches that offer an escape from bad weather in December.
3. Granada Cathedral
Granada Cathedral and the Royal Chapel are another must see when visiting Granada!
You can book your tickets online in advance, and get discounted access to the other religious sites & monasteries I mentioned earlier.
4. Albaicin & Sacromonte
To me these districts are the most beautiful part of Granada.
You can book a walking tour in Albaicin or Sacromonte with a local expert, and learn about the history and interesting places of these two neighbourhoods. Plus the views of Alhambra from here are pretty spectacular!
What To Wear in Granada in December
As I mentioned earlier, the weather in Granada can go from one extreme to the next.
Mornings and evenings are very cold, with temperatures hovering under 10C, sometimes much lower. You will need to dress really warm as you head out of your hotel.
During the day, especially if its a nice sunny day, it will feel very pleasant in the sun and you might even feel too warm!
My best tip is to dress warm, add some layers, and if it gets warmer during the day you can simply take them off.
Most importantly, nice warm shoes are a must when exploring Granada.
I normally wear basic sneakers nearly all year around, but in Granada my feet are always freezing – it’s much colder there so proper winter shoes are needed!
Where to Stay in Granada in December
If you want to avoid driving or taking taxi each time you go exploring, I recommend considering Albaicin as your base for this trip.
The area of Plaza St Ana offers a variety of differnet accomodation options, ranging from hotels with Alhambra views, small boutique hotels, renovated historic buildings and luxurious apartments.
Frequent Questions About Granada in December
Here are some common questions about visiting Granada in December. If you didn’t find your answers here, feel free to leave a comment at the end of the article!
Is December a good time to visit Granada Spain?
Yes, December is a good time to visit Granada. While it’s not as warm as in the earlier months, December is still pretty good month with not much rain around and the tourist activity is lower compared to other months.
You can still expect the city to be very busy around Christmas and New Year’s time.
How warm is Granada in December?
In December, you can expect temperatures between 3C to 13C, and much lower temperatures at night.
Does Granada have a Christmas market?
Yes, Granada has Christmas market that starts on 1st December 2023 and runs until the 6th of January 2024.