Some of the Best Spanish Cities to Visit in Winter
With the arrival of winter, Spain kicks off a period of continual festivities and sweet traditions that light up the atmosphere of its towns and villages. There are certain cities that shine particularly brightly during wintertime, for reasons that go far beyond the magical, festive illuminations that adorn their streets. Pour yourself a hot chocolate and read on to find out more about a selection of these Spanish cities.
Photo: Madrid, Spain
Segovia is an important urban tourist destination owing to its cultural and historical wealth, which becomes all the more appealing, if possible, in winter, as the arrival of snow in the city creates a fantastic Yuletide atmosphere. The streets of this city become the perfect stage for a snowball fight!
As Christmas draws near, the Avenida Acueducto plays host to a handicrafts market, where you can take a stroll as you enjoy marvellous views of the snow-decked Aqueduct. You can also pay a visit to the exhibition of Nativity scenes and celebrate the traditional feast day of Saint Águeda in early February.
Lots of tourists choose to visit Madrid during the winter, especially in December, when the capital’s thoroughfares are enveloped in glowing Christmas decorations and strings of lights, almost like a gigantic Christmas tree. You could take a walk through the Retiro park in the morning, before enjoying a spot of ice skating at the rinks set up in city squares such as the Plaza Callao. And you can always make the cold a little more bearable with a bowl of hot chocolate with churros at one of its famous churrerías. Later on, you might want to spend the afternoon shopping on the Gran Vía, making the most of the sales or the bustling atmosphere that Christmas Eve brings while you wait for night to fall to enjoy the spectacle of the coloured lights.
One of the capital’s most popular Christmas traditions is the market located in the Plaza Mayor square, with stalls selling Christmassy items of all sorts, such as figures for a Nativity scene. Incidentally, if you want to see the largest Nativity scene in the capital, visit the one at the Puerta del Sol square (and remember, this square is the most symbolic place in the whole of Spain to truly celebrate Christmas Eve!)
Photo: Madrid, Spain
In winter, you can enjoy a peaceful trip to Granada, free from the heat and crowds of summer. It’s the ideal time to take a look at the Alhambra at your own pace, roam around the Christmas market and get out of the cold in one of the bars located in its emblematic Moorish quarter known as the Albaicín, the oldest part of the city. Even more so as this is the time of year when they serve Granada’s traditional winter stew: Olla de San Antón!
You can also use your time to admire the sights from the viewpoint at the Mirador de San Nicolás, a picture-postcard landscape that takes in the Alhambra and the Generalife palace in the foreground against the backdrop of a white Sierra Nevada.
What’s more, the regions surrounding the city offer you the chance to experience very different kinds of winters. For example, why not try a morning skiing in the Sierra Nevada before heading off to Motril to enjoy one of its beaches? You might not want to take a dip, but you can still enjoy the winter sun as it sets!
Photo: Granada, Spain
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Is it possible to celebrate winter traditions and festivities without feeling the cold? In the capital of the island of Tenerife you can go ice skating, tour the Christmas markets and even take in the famous procession of the Three Wise Men – without even needing your gloves! That’s because the island enjoys warm weather practically all year round (with a yearly average of 24°C).
At this time of the year, you can attend a Christmas concert, dare to take your first swim of the New Year and have fun at its famous Carnival, featuring a parade where creativity knows no limits and you can sport the costume of your choice, as you won’t need to worry about the cold!