Monthly weather forecast and climate

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Flag of Spain

The climate of Spain

Spain is a highly climatically diverse country in Southwestern Europe. A Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa, Csb) is dominant in much of Spain, with warm to hot summers and cold, wet winters. An oceanic climate (Köppen Cfb) with regular winter snowfall is evident in the extreme northern region. A section of the southeast and central areas has a semi-arid climate (Köppen BSh, BSk) predominantly. Many areas in the northeast and mountains above the altitude of 1000 meters display a continental climate (Köppen Dfb). Alpine, sub-arctic, tropical, and desert climate types are also evident in different parts of the country. Spain lies on the Iberian Peninsula and includes a few islands off the African Coast and the Mediterranean Sea. The Atlantic Ocean and Portugal lie to the west of Spain, France and Andorra are in the north, and the Mediterranean Sea lies to the south and east. The location in the temperate latitudes, proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea significantly influence the climate.

Spain has an average elevation of 650 meters above sea level, with the highest point at 3718 meters on Mount Teide. The topography mainly consists of highland plateaus, with many mountain ranges. Narrow coastal plains and lowland valleys and regions occupy a minor part of the other landforms. The Meseta Central is a vast plateau in Spain, with many mountains, rivers, and even glaciers at the apex. The Tagus River, the longest in the Iberian Peninsula, separates a chain of low mountain ranges from the Sistema Central in the north. The Pyrenees and the Basque Mountains lie in the northeast region. The mountains of Sierra Morena, Sistema Iberico, and Cordillera Cantabrica, in the Meseta Central rarely rise above 2300 meters in altitude. The Andalusian Plain is a major lowland region in the southwest. The Balearic Islands lie in the Atlantic Ocean, fifty miles off the east coast of Spain. The Canary Islands are of volcanic origin and lie fifty-five miles off the west coast of Africa.

Summers are hot and dry in the interior plains of Spain, where the daily high temperatures regularly exceed 35°C (95°F). Southeastern Spain, extending into the Ebro Valley, frequently registers temperatures above 40°C (104°F). The Atlantic Ocean influence moderates the summer temperatures in Asturias, Basque Country, and Galicia regions. Winters are mildly cold, with few nights below freezing in the interior and the northern regions. The southern coastal strips have the warmest winters in Europe, with January nights mostly above 7.8°C (46°F). Snowfall is substantial only on the high slopes of the mountains above 3000 meters in the north and south. Spring is dry, with moderate temperatures in the north that turn high by May in the south. Autumn is mild and wet in much of Spain.

The annual rainfall in Spain varies from 1016mm (40") to 1270mm (50") in the north to 381mm (15") to 508mm (20") in the central and southern regions. Autumn is the wettest season on the coast, and the peak of summer is the driest period. Fog and mist commonly occur along the northwest coast. The rainfall is abundant on the northwest coast and averages up to 1016mm (40") annually. The southeastern coast and the eastern Canary Islands have some of the driest places in Europe, with precipitation below 154.9mm (6.1") per year. Snowfall occurs for an average of 26 days from November to April in the Pyrenees. The annual sunshine in Spain ranges from 1800 hours in the north to 2900 hours in the south, with the longest days in June and the shortest in December. The northwestern sea coasts are always fresh and rarely register average temperatures above 21.1°C (70°F).

Seville and Ecija hold the record of the highest temperature of 47.2°C (117°F) in Spain. Lago Estangento in the Pyrenees holds the record for the coldest temperature of -32.2°C (-26°F).

The best time to visit Spain

The best times to visit Spain are during the mild seasons of spring and autumn. May, June, and September are pleasant in the interior of the central and southern regions, with comfortable temperatures compared to the summer. The northern region close to the Atlantic Coast has cold and wet summers. The mountains have a great atmosphere in the summer and are popular vacation destinations. Beach holidays along the Mediterranean Coast are best from June to August when the seawaters are mild. The Pyrenees are popular for ski holidays, although snow occurs only at altitudes above 3000 meters in the winter.

The worst time to visit Spain

The worst time to visit Spain, if any, is during the winter. Significant snowfall occurs in the mountains at altitudes above 2000 meters. Winter begins the ski season in the northern and southern mountains. The average temperatures drop below freezing in the hilly areas at places above 1800 meters. The interior areas of Spain, especially in the north, are prone to cold gusts from the North Pole. The Mediterranean Coast in the south has mild and sunny winters and is a preferred destination when the rest of the country is in the clutches of cold weather. The southern inland areas are scorching during the summer due to the proximity to the Sahara region of Africa.

Weather hazards

Spain is prone to natural weather hazards in the form of wildfires, floods, droughts, earthquakes, and tornadoes, among many others. The northern Iberian Peninsula, particularly the areas of Galicia, Catalonia, and Basque Country, experience a high frequency of earthquakes, volcanic activity, floods, and wildfires. The southern region, including Andalusia, faces an additional threat of tornadoes in addition to earthquakes and fires. Volcanic and seismic risks are high in the third hazard zone that lies in the Canary Islands. Teide, La Palma, and Lanzarote in the Canary Islands are active volcanoes that have an explosive history of eruptions close to human populations. The southeastern region, in particular, faces water shortages during the long and dry summer. Saltwater intrusion is a problem in large areas near the Mediterranean.

Weather in January

January is usually the coldest month of the year in Spain, with less sunshine and chilly weather. Temperatures in the northern and central regions are cold, with occasional freezing nights. Madrid, the capital in the central region, has average temperatures in the chilly range of 2.8°C (37°F) to 9.4°C (48.9°F). The Atlantic Coast registers 101.6mm (4") to 203.2mm (8") of rainfall, and the skies are partly cloudy with just 3 hours of daily sunshine. Weather in January »

Weather in February

February is a cold winter month in northern Spain where the average low temperatures remain in the 1.7°C (35.1°F) to 7.2°C (45°F) range. The daily sunshine is less than 4 hours in the north, with significant rainfall in the northwest. Weather in February »

Weather in March

March transitions into the spring season in Spain as the conditions mellow across the country. The Balearic Islands are popular but windy tourist destinations due to the gusts that blow from southern France. The precipitation gradually decreases along the Atlantic Coast as the rainy season recedes from its peak. The average temperatures in Alicante, in Costa Blanca, are in the mild range of 8.9°C (48°F) to 18.9°C (66°F), as the daily sunshine increases significantly. Weather in March »

Weather in April

April is a great time to visit Spain, with the spring season at its peak. The fresh aroma of wildflowers on the trails refreshes the senses, and the sweet smell of soil makes the mornings beautiful. Streams are full of water, and rivers flow in full splendor, as the land is under the blanket of lush greenery. Weather in April »

Weather in May

May is sunny and beautiful in Spain, with the precipitation usually below 76.2mm (3") in much of the country. The southern regions receive light showers at the most and see a significant rise in temperatures. The average temperatures in Bilbao and Logrono in the northeast are in the lovely 10°C (50°F) to 21.1°C (70°F) range. Weather in May »

Weather in June

June is the beginning of the warm to the hot summer season in Spain, with mostly clear skies. Summer is the driest season and the sunniest time in Spain. The country comes alive, and streets are bustling with locals and tourists, and the time of festivities. Barcelona is the perfect place to visit in June, with temperatures in the comfortable zone of 17.2°C (63°F) to 25°C (77°F). Weather in June »

Weather in July

July is the sunniest and driest month in Spain, with an incredible 12 hours of daily sunshine in the southern part of the country. Seville, Murcia, and Granada register scorching heat, with average daily high temperatures in the 33.3°C (91.9°F) to 35.6°C (96.1°F) range. The daylight extends to more than 16 hours, and the long evenings offer plenty of activities in comfortable settings. Weather in July »

Weather in August

August is usually hot and dry in Spain with abundant sunshine. The average high temperatures in Valencia in the east are in the hot range of 21.7°C (71.1°F) to 29.4°C (84.9°F). Toledo, in the central region, heats up to 33.3°C (91.9°F), with the humidity below 40%. Scattered showers fall in some parts of the country, but the south remains bone dry. Weather in August »

Weather in September

September gradually transitions into the comfortable autumn season in Spain, with a drop in temperatures. The average temperatures in Santander in the northwest are in the beautiful zone of 13.9°C (57°F) to 22.8°C (73°F). Weather in September »

Weather in October

October is mild in the autumn season of Spain, as partly cloudy skies dominate the conditions. The northeast sees comfortable conditions, with average temperatures in Saragossa in the 10.6°C (51.1°F) to 20.6°C (69.1°F) zone. A rise in precipitation adds to the thrill of outdoor excursions. Weather in October »

Weather in November

November is the wettest month of the year in Spain, with 76.2mm (3") to 228.6mm (9") of rainfall across the country. The northern regions are rainier than the south, which receives abundant sunshine. The Balearic Islands are tourist hotspots, with average temperatures in Ibiza, Menorca, and Palma in the lovely 12.2°C (54°F) to 19.4°C (66.9°F). Weather in November »

Weather in December

December is the beginning of the cold winter in Spain as the mercury column goes south. The daily sunshine reduces considerably, especially in the northern regions, where it lasts for less than 4 hours. The Sierra Nevada in the south occasionally has more extensive snow deposits than the Pyrenees in the north, due to higher altitudes. Weather in December »