TOURISTS have been spotted walking around in T-shirts in Madrid as the year’s end comes with a heat wave.

Blue skies and unseasonably warm temperatures have seen the locals also head out for long walks around Spain’s capital city.

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As the mercury nudged 20ºC in the middle of the day, thousands of families headed for the Retiro park, or strolls up the famous Paseo Castellana.

While the famous fountains of Cibeles and Colon were in full flow, hundreds of youngsters headed out in rowing boats on the Retiro’s lake.

Others meanwhile donned ice skates to circle round the icy rink set up at Colon.

Ice Skating Colon Madrid

It was even warmer meanwhile in the south of Spain, where the resorts of Nerja and Ronda, in Malaga, recorded temperatures of 21 degrees (70f) on Thursday.

Alicante has seen similar temperatures with dozens even heading to the beach to sunbathe.

New Year’s Eve is expected to be even warmer with temperatures predicted to even hit 23 degrees.

The winter heatwave is being caused by subtropical air drifting up from the African subcontinent.

“We will probably be seeing temperatures more consistent with April or early May,” said a spokesperson for Spain’s weather agency AEMET.

While the temperatures are a concern and further evidence of global warming, the weather is seen as a blessing for the health authorities as an outbreak of Omicron is held at bay by high temperatures.

The high temperatures are set to last until the middle of next week at least.

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