An overview of the weather in Spain, including information on Spanish weather by season, region, and major city. Also learn about the author's favorite times and places to be in Spain.
The not-to-be missed season of open-air terrazas and music festivals
While Spain is certainly famous for its warm sunshine, Spain enjoys a surprising amount of climate diversity. From the cool hills of Asturias to the sunny beaches of Andalucía, Spain’s weather is best measured according to three types:
Summer June to September are Spain’s hottest months – the not-to-be missed season of open-air terrazas and music festivals. Northern Spain’s summer weather generally ranges from warm to pleasantly cool. The south and center of the country, however, are regularly hit by high temperatures and heat waves. As such, August is the perfect opportunity to hit the beach, lie low in front of a fan, or leave the country for a while. Winter January is the coldest time of the year in Spain, and December to February or March are the coldest months, perfect for skiing in the mountains. Spanish winters are generally cold and dry, but milder than in neighboring European countries. Spring and Fall Spain in the spring and fall is generally temperate and ranges from warm to cool, though at times summer and winter can encroach upon the other seasons, turning four seasons into what may sometimes feel like two. Yet spring and fall are my favorite times to be in Spain. In the fall I love to see the striking yellow and orange hues as the leaves change color and feel the crispness of the autumn air in the small towns and on the hiking trails in the sierras surrounding Madrid. In the spring Spain is warm and pleasant with lots of blue skies and early flowers. When I’m not admiring the tulips in Madrid, I find spring to be the perfect time to visit southern Spain.
Northern Spain The weather is temperate in northern Spain, often changing little during summer and winter, and rain is common year round. The autonomous region of Galicia in Spain’s northwest and the areas along Spain’s northern coast beside the Bay of Biscay receive the most rain and are the wettest areas in Spain. In the fall and winter Galicia can receive up to twice as much rain as the national monthly averages, which can mean up to 148 mm of rain in one month.
Flooding is rare.
Southern Spain Southern Spain, principally Andalucía, is characterized by hot summers and mild winters that range from cool to cold. Central Spain Central Spain is typified by hot summers and cold winters. It doesn’t rain very often in this region, but when it does, it rains heavily, though flooding is rare. Eastern Spain Eastern Spain generally sees rain in spring and fall and stays dry during the summer and winter. This region is warmer and milder than central Spain.
Barcelona Barcelona enjoys warm summers (perfect for hitting Barcelona’s seven beaches) and mild winters, with intermittent rain throughout the spring, winter, and fall. It’s hottest in Barcelona in July and August (with maximum averages of 28ºC or 82ºF) and coldest in January and February (with minimum averages of 6ºC or 42ºF).
Bilbao Bilbao enjoys a mild, temperate climate throughout the year, witnessing only a couple days of extreme heat (which can be alleviated at the nearby beach) and snow each year. Bilbao has winter averages of 8ºC or 46ºF and summer averages of 20ºC or 68ºF. The city of Bilbao sees rain primarily during the spring and fall. Personally, I find Bilbao to be a great place to escape the summer heat of other Spanish regions. The weather is pleasantly cool, often T-shirt weather, and the green hills of the Basque Country are within easy reach.
Madrid Whoever said that Madrid is nine months of winter and three months of hell was partly right. Madrid winters can feel mountainously chilly because of the elevation and summers are often scorching hot during the day but quite comfortable at night. Winter has minimum averages of 2ºC or 35ºF, while summer has maximum averages of 29ºC or 84ºF. Accordingly, spring and fall are the most pleasant times to be in Madrid, when the weather is temperate and ranges from cool to warm.
Sevilla Located in sunny southern Spain, Sevilla enjoys very hot summers and mild winters, July being Sevilla’s hottest month (with a maximum average of 36ºC or 97ºF) and January its coldest (with a minimum average of 6ºC or 42ºF). In fact, Sevilla holds one of the highest temperature records in Europe with a high of 47.2 ºC (117 ºF) on August 1, 2003.
Valencia Valencia enjoys a mild, pleasant climate throughout the year, but with fairly intense rains in the fall. January is Valencia’s coldest month (averaging 11.5ºC or 53ºF) and August its hottest month (averaging 25.5ºC or 78ºF). From the sunny south to the cool north, Spain has enough climate diversity to satisfy a variety of preferences.
So what’s yours?
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