Marbella in December: 7 top reasons to visit in 2023

Panoramic aerial view of Casablanca and Puente Romano beach Marbella, Famous destination with luxury proprieties and restaurants. View of wood bridge Puente Romano and mountain La Concha.

Marbella in December? It’s a fantastic idea! 

While most people associate this southern city in Spain with fancy beach clubs and scorching summer temperatures, there is so much more to Marbella.

In December, the holiday spirit encapsulates the city the city entirely – but you can still enjoy the winter sun and get some Vitamin D!

The mild temperatures of Costa del Sol allures millions of visitors every winter – especially in December when the festive season is in full swing!

So, why should you plan a trip to Marbella in December? Let’s take a look!

This blog post may contain affiliate links. 

Reasons to visit Marbella in December

The best reasons to visit Marbella in December, as opposed to the summer months, are the beautiful weather – it’s mild but never too hot – Christmas celebrations and the chance to see Marbella Old Town and other coastal towns along the Costa del Sol. Here’s why you should be booking a trip to Marbella this December. 

Great destination for winter sun

Beach of Puerto Banus with the mountains of Sierra Blanca at background, Marbella, Costa del Sol, Malaga province, Spain

Marbella is one of the best destinations for winter sun in Europe and December is a lovely month to
enjoy it

Whether you go sightseeing, drink cold beers in the sun, or head out on one of many Marbella boat trips, you’ll love the mild weather of Marbella in December. 

While there are rainy days in December too (the rainiest month is November, just before) there is always a higher chance of sun in Andalucia than most other places in Europe. 

After all, the Costa del Sol sees over 320 days of sun each year!

And temperatures can easily reach 20°C making it possible to lounge on the beach and maybe even take a little dip in the sea (but be prepared, the water is cold!).

Cooler weather is possible in Marbella in winter, but like Malaga, it barely ever dips too low and snow is unheard of.

(It does snow in Andalucia though – the Sierra Nevada is one of Spain’s snowiest destinations and ski resorts!).

If you’re from a cooler country, you’ll find it nice and toasty! 

Christmas celebrations

Of course, December is the most festive time of the year, and Marbella is no exception.

Glittering palm trees at night remind you that you’re in Spain, but they don’t dampen the festive cheer! 

The region has many Christmas stalls and markets, the best one being located in Puerto Banús with a little ice-skating rink. 

Shops and restaurants are decorated with extra lights, Christmas decorations, and pretty nativity

The soft lights make the crisp December evenings feel a little warmer as the Holiday spirit
flows through the streets and into every open venue.

Fabulous Christmas shopping destination

Marbella, Spain - December 21 2014: View of Puerto Banús, a luxury marina and shopping complex located in the area of Nueva Andalucía, to the southwest of the city.

Marbella’s upscale shopping reputation makes the city a lovely place to buy some Christmas presents.

In fact, browsing Gucci and Louis Vuitton stores in Puerto Banus is one of the best things to do in

There are other shopping opportunities too – stroll through the old town to step inside unique boutique shops, look for handmade goods, or get into the Spanish Christmas sweets.

Outside the city, you’ll also find the Cañada Shopping Mall where you can find anything from the best hiking gifts for men to elegant jewellery.

There are a few small Christmas markets around the city where you can find anything
from pieces for nativity scenes to Christmas decorations, and unique handmade items.

Not Christmas shopping? Head here for the festive food – you can enjoy sweets and Christmas treats while strolling around soaking in the atmosphere. 

The perfect hiking season

Marbella is flanked by magnificent mountains and going hiking is a great activity in December – when
temperatures are cool enough to explore!

That said, don’t underestimate the sun in December.

It can still be hot – you’re in Southern Spain after all – so make sure you know what to wear when hiking in hot weather before heading out. 

At the same time, it can easily get chilly if clouds cover up the sky and the wind come by. So check the weather forecast and always bring a light windbreaker in your day pack just in case.

The most famous hike in Marbella is La Concha, the iconic mountain you see as the city’s backdrop
in many photos.

This isn’t an easy hike – only attempt it if you have hiking experience and appropriate footwear. It could also be difficult for anyone with vertigo. 

However, if you do go, you’ll be rewarded with the most beautiful views of the coast. 

On a clear day, you can even see across to Africa!

The hike starts at Refugio de Juanar where there is plenty of parking.

Weekends are popular hiking days among the locals so arrive early to secure a parking spot! 

Refugio de Juanar is also the starting point of two other wonderful hikes: the two-hour route of Cruz de Juanar which is incredible at sunrise, and the Rute del Pozuelo which is a lovely two-hour round hike amidst the mountains of Sierra Blanca.

You can take a day trip to Malaga to see the Christmas lights

The bustling city of Malaga is a short train, bus or road trip from Marbella and the city holds the most spectacular Christmas light show in the region.

Every day from the beginning of December you can witness how the season’s Christmas light decorations in Calle Larios dance along to your favourite Christmas tunes!

This is one of the most popular events in Costa del Sol before Christmas, so it is always crowded with locals and tourists alike and the vibe is hard to beat.

You’ll see people dancing, singing, and watching in awe!

Children on their parent’s shoulders, grandparents in wheelchairs, and young couples holding hands
all gather for this festive event in the capital of the Malaga Province.

There is also another light show at the Cathedral.

Malaga is a fantastic December destination so I recommend making a whole day out of it and enjoying the Christmas shopping and sightseeing in Malaga while you’re there!

The best Christmas markets are found at Muelle Uno and across the road from the port.

Editor’s note: Also, don’t miss the Hammam al Andalus baths: they’re a Moorish-themed spa with several heated pools, saunas and steam rooms – ideal if you do have a slightly cooler day.

You can taste Turron

So, let’s talk about Turron.

Every Christmas season, the supermarkets, gift shops, and Christmas markets in Spain fill up with this delightful sweet.

Turron comes in two different types, the hard, nougat resembling the texture of peanut brittle and the soft kind with a silky texture like French nougat.

Then there’s a myriad of different flavors and nuts that are added. 

You can get white Turron, and Turron in different shades of brown.

They are generally made with almonds, honey, and egg yolk, although in recent years more variations have come on the market. 

While you can find it in most supermarkets before Christmas, the gourmet shop Sabor a España has the widest variety! 

Editor’s note: It’s eaten all over Spain before Christmas – I remember seeing it at the festive markets in Barcelona!

The perfect time for strolling through the old town

Marbella, Spain - December 21 2014: View of Plaza Altamirano, a pedestrian zone with bars and restaurants in the heart of the old town. The tower of the historic Greater Church of the Encarnacion is in the background.

Marbella’s old town is one of the most charming in Costa del Sol.

During December, it gets even more enchanting!

The Plaza del Los Naranjos is extra colorful, with the orange trees full of the fruit – although these types of oranges aren’t sweet, they’re rather bitter and only used for making marmalade!

 Colorful pot plants decorate whitewashed houses through narrow cobblestoned alleys.

Boutique shops sell unique items and gift shops are decorated to the brim luring holiday shoppers inside.

There are also many traditional restaurants and lovely cafés where you can enjoy anything from a traditional Andalusian meal or tapas to modern cuisine and health food.

It’s the perfect time of the year to sit on a sunny terrace with a cold sangria to soak in winter sunshine.

In the old town, you can also see the remains of the Moorish city walls, step inside the Chapel of San Juan de Dios, and the more famous Church of the Incarnation.

Don’t miss the 16th-century Town Hall and Calle Carmen, famous for its decorative pot plants.

And factor in some time to just wander around and get lost too! 

Things to consider when visiting Marbella in December

Luxury yachts in the marina of Puerto Banus, Marbella, Spain. Photo taken at 22nd May 2012
  • It can rain and when it rains, it rains a lot! Make sure you plan for inside days as a backup if
    you’re unlucky with the weather. You could spend your time visiting museums, tapas bar hopping or seeing Estepona’s Orchid House.
  • Beach bars that are usually open all summer might be closed, so you won’t get the same
    beachy vibe as other times of the year. However, the festivities make up for it!
  • Layer up because days can be super warm with 20 degrees Celsius while in the evenings,
    temperatures can drop to 10 degrees Celsius. 
  • Sunrise is about 8:30 am in December and sun sets about 6:00 pm – a little earlier than other European countries in the winter months! 

Weather in Marbella in December

In December, Marbella has a mild climate compared to many other European destinations.

The sun often graces the sky, making outdoor activities still enjoyable!

Expect some rainfall—though typically short-lived, these rainy days offer a cosy contrast to the brilliant sunshine. 

When packing, consider layers to accommodate the moderate daytime warmth and the cooler evenings.

Average High17°C (62.6°F)
Average Low9°C (48.2°F)
Days of Rain5 days

Things to do in Marbella in December

Aerial top view of luxury yachts in Puerto Banus marina, Marbella, Spain. High quality photo
  • Warm up with a cup of traditional Spanish hot chocolate at Churrería Ramón.
  • Take advantage of the fewer crowds by walking the cobblestone streets of Old Town Marbella, where history lives in every corner.
  • Experience a unique blend of the traditional and contemporary art scenes at Museo Ralli.
  • Don your light jacket for a relaxing boat tour off the coast, starting from Puerto Banús.
  • Elevate your dining experience by booking a table at Skina, a Michelin-starred restaurant offering creative twists on Andalusian cuisine.
  • Escape the slight chill in the air by diving into the heated pool at Guadalmina Spa & Golf Resort.
  • Engage in some retail therapy with fewer tourists around at La Cañada Shopping Centre.
  • Explore the natural beauty of Sierra de las Nieves National Park, one of the best places in Spain in winter as the cooler temperatures are ideal for hiking.
  • Enjoy a glass of Spanish red wine alongside a roaring fireplace at Bibo, a cozy yet stylish restaurant.

Are you ready for Marbella in December? 

As you can see, there are so many allures to Marbella in the festive season!

It’s the choice destination for sunseekers – those who fancy a beach break to escape the colder weather in the north. 

Or, it’s prime season for hiking, with mild weather and few rain days than elsewhere in the continent. 

It’s also ideal for anyone wanting a Spanish Christmas break! 

Whatever your reason, you’ll love Marbella in December!

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