The Climate in Spain

Spain is the most climatically diverse country in Europe and in the world's top ten. Generally, on the coast, it enjoys warm weather all year round and, inland, hot summers and cold winters, especially at higher altitude.

Climate Types

The traditional Koppen classification breaks Spain down into 13 climatic regions, but in truth the climate is even more varied than that.

There are generally recognised to be 5 major climate zones:

  1. The coastal areas (excluding the northern Atlantic coast) and a large part of the country inland of these areas enjoy a hot-summer Mediterranean climate. This means hot, sometimes very hot, and dry summers and mild, wet winters.
  2. A warm-summer Mediterranean climate dominates much of northern Spain. This brings warm (but not hot) and dry summers and rain in the colder seasons, but there are a number of clear sunny days even during the wetter months.
  3. The northern coast has an oceanic climate. This typically lacks a dry season, as rainfall is more evenly dispersed throughout the year. Conditions can also be stormy.
  4. A semi-arid climate – with little rainfall leading to scrubby vegetation – is predominant in the south eastern part of the country (the provinces of  Almeria and Alicante and the region of Murcia)
  5. A warm-summer continental climate, with a significant annual variation in temperature (hot summers and cold winters) and rainfall often in the summer months, is found in many areas in north-eastern Spain, in areas starting above 1000-1100 metres above sea level.

However, this probably doesn’t tell us that much! Most of us think more in terms of temperatures and rainfall.

A full report about Spain’s climate, and how it has evolved since 1981, is available from Spain’s Meteorological Agency, the Agencia Estatal de Metereorologicia or AEMET. A few extracts follow. The data is a little old (2010) but still very useful.

Temperatures

The average temperatures (over the period from 1981-2010) in July were:

For December, the figures were:

Rainfall

Similarly, the average figures for rainfall in July were:

For December:

Sunshine

The total average hours of sunshine, again for the years 1981-2010, were:

Weather Forecasts

Detailed weather forecasts and reports for many places in Spain are available from a number of sources, including HolidayWeather.com – which we find the clearest and most comprehensive.

International Comparisons

Countries listed by maximum average summer temperature (°C)

Countries listed by minimum average summer temperature (°C)

Countries listed by maximum average winter temperature (°C)

Countries listed by minimum average winter temperature (°C)

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