Spain is known for many things.
Tourists are drawn in by the promise of sunny days spent lounging about on white sand beaches or warm breezy afternoons relaxing in a terraced café.
The image most people have of Spain involves a whole lot of great weather.
In fact, lots of people decide to vacation in Spain simply because of the weather.
While it’s true that the climate here is different than the rest of Europe, it isn’t all sunshine and balmy air.
So what’s the weather like in Spain?
It depends on where you are and what season you visit.
Doing all the research yourself can be a daunting task. That’s why we’ve put together this article outlining the basics of the Spain climate.
Read on to discover when and where you should go to get the most out of your vacation.
Weather in Spain: The Different Regions
Spain weather is different in each region of the country. The temperature generally fluctuates between the north, the south, and the mountainous regions.
- Northern Spain Climate: Northern Spain is a temperate region, meaning that the climate is mild. The weather here doesn’t fluctuate wildly with seasons and is usually comfortable. However, be prepared for the rain.
- Southern Spain Climate: The weather in southern and eastern Spain is characterized by its Mediterranean climate. It’s hot during the day and cooler at night, offering tourists the sun-drenched beaches they crave with comfortable evenings.
- Mountainous Climate: Much of Spain is covered by mountains. The coastal mountains here experience a cool oceanic climate, while inland and higher mountains have an Alpine climate. The weather here is much cooler because of the high elevation, and you can expect snow during the winter months.
Weather in Spain: The Spanish Seasons
What’s even more important to understanding weather in Spain than the regions?
The seasons. While not entirely dissimilar to the seasons we have in the States, it pays to familiarize yourself with them before deciding when to go.
Winter in Spain lasts from December to March. Depending on where you are, winter can be pretty mild. In Madrid, the winter temperature rarely falls below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Compared to some winters in the northern United States, that’s like the second coming of summer.
However, other regions are not as kind. Expect snow in the Pyrenees, and cold weather in the coastal cities. In the north, the temperate climate protects against a harsh winter. However, be prepared for cooler weather and rain.
From March through May, spring weather brings gentle showers to the northern region and beach weather to the south.
Spring is when the local flora begins to show its true colors, and the whole country is coming into bloom. The Mediterranean coastline in spring heats up enough to go tanning and sometimes even swimming in the ocean.
From May until the end of August, summer reigns supreme in Spain. Summer weather is characterized by blisteringly hot temperatures along the interior mesa and coastal regions.
The northern part of Spain heats up a bit, but still remains temperate. Spring is certainly one of the best times to visit the northern region, as the weather is warm but not overly so. It’s also a great time for visiting the coast.
Fall lasts from September to November. Many visitors choose to travel during the fall season, which offers mild weather in the south perfect for those who abhor a sweltering summer. In the north, expect rainy days punctuated with periods of clear blue sky.
Insider Tip: Learn how to say the seasons in Spanish before you go:
- Winter: el Invierno
- Spring: la Primavera
- Summer: el Verano
- Fall: el Otoño
Weather in Spain: Choosing the Right Time to Go
Every season is a good season for traveling in Spain. No matter when you choose to go, there are sure to be some highlights.
Summer and spring bring beach adventures. Fall provides the perfect backdrop for exploring the cities, architecture and museums. You can ski in winter, or enjoy the snowy mountain scenery.
When choosing the right time to visit Spain, keep in mind not only the weather but what you want to be doing. If you want a sun-drenched holiday on the sand, choosing summer might not be a bad idea.
However, if you’re more into art and culture, the sizzling summer heat will make you miserable as you hike around the city. Consider visiting in the fall or early spring if you want to take the tour of museums.
Of course, your vacation is your own. There is fun to be had no matter the season.
Knowing the Weather in Spain Before You Go Means a Great Vacation
Visiting Spain is one of the best presents you can give yourself.
But as with any trip overseas, it helps to know what you’re getting into. Understanding the weather beforehand could make or break your vacation.
So go ahead and read up on your city region of choice before booking your tickets. You’ll thank yourself for it later.