Spain is typically divided into three climate zones with the southern and eastern coasts characterised by a Mediterranean climate, while the vast inland areas of the central plateau experience a continental climate with the north and northwest regions classified as an oceanic climate.
Spain, along with Portugal, forms the massive Iberian peninsula with the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the Mediterranean to the south and east. The varying influences of these two bodies of water results in a variety of climates across Spain.
The coastal Mediterranean region to the south and east is home to many of Spain's most popular tourist destinations encompassing the Costa Brava in the north, the Costa del Sol in the south and the Balearic Islands off the eastern coast.
Following the coastline you see many of Spain's most famous destinations from Marbella and Malaga in the south, to Benidorm, Alicante and Valencia to the south east leading up to Salou and Barcelona in the east.
In Mediterranean Spain, winters are mild and much warmer than inlands areas with Barcelona for example seeing average highs of 23°C in October, making this region a good area for tourists seeking winter sunshine.
The appeal of Spain for winter sun is also owes to its generous amounts of sunshine throughout the winter months seeing up to 6 hours per day throughout November, December and January.
Winter in this area of Spain is relatively dry, though there is a distinct difference between northern and southern coasts with drier regions in the south seeing a peak of around 31 mm (Benidorm) of rainfall in November, while northern regions see up to 43 mm (Barcelona).
The autumn months of September and October tend to be the wettest months of the year, the resort of Salou as an example sees 88 mm rainfall.
The months of July and August are the warmest time to visit Spain with temperatures peaking at 30 °C in destinations like Salou.
Summers also tend to be rather humid but the heat is made more bearable by the levante winds which are relatively mild often bringing welcome relief from the heat.
Rain amounts are relatively minimal in the summer though do vary quite drastically between destinations, Benidorm in the south receiving just 5 mm rainfall in August, while Barcelona to the north of the region sees 38 mm.
This is a general trend in areas north of Valencia where coastal areas are prone to occasional heavy thunder downpours in the summer months.
The interior of the Iberian peninsula experience a continental climate characterised by extremely hot and dry summers but much colder winters than the Mediterranean regions.
The summer months are very hot with temperatures regularly in excess of 35 °C. Madrid for example sees an average daily maximum of 33.5 °C during July. Temperatures tend to be even higher further south where places in the Guadalquivir valley record some of the hottest temperatures in Europe (e.g. Seville recording 47 °C on 6 August 1946).
Rainfall is generally low across the region throughout the winter months though some short and heavy showers can be experienced in spring and early summer.
In contrast to the hot summers, winter can see extremely cold temperatures with lows of -15 °C not uncommon. Often these low temperatures are accompanied by heavy rainfall which accounts for the some of the winter precipitation.
Year round this region is generally quite dry, but late autumn and winter is the wettest time of year with the monthly averages increasing.
Known in Spain as España Verde, the so called Green Spain experiences a wet and temperate oceanic climate in stark contrast to the rest of the country.
Despite being cooler and wetter than the rest of Spain, the region still experiences warm and sunny weather in the summer months.
Bilbao for example sees average highs of 26 °C in August and it is common for sunshine hours to average 7 or 8 in the summer months.
Winters are strongly influenced by depressions travelling across the Atlantic providing a similar climate to the UK, albeit warmer year round. It is the rainiest and cloudiest part of Spain.
With approximately 47 million citizens, the Spanish mainland is located in south-western Europe and is neighboured by Andorra, France and Portugal. Visitors to the country are greeted with one of the most pleasant climates on the whole of the continent, along with a rich and diverse culture.
Derived from the Latin Hispania, it's believed that several rival settlements called the country home before being unified under Roman rule. In later years the Spanish Empire became a powerful sea-faring force after Christopher Columbus discovered the New World in their name; it was the expansion of trade routes to bring in such exotic goods as tobacco and potatoes which led to Spain's economic strength on the world stage during the 16th century.
Spain occupies over half a million square kilometres of the Iberian Peninsula in the southwest of mainland Europe; its only other neighbour on that landmass is Portugal, which takes up a narrow strip south-west of its borders. From Sevilla in the south to Barcelona in the northeast of the country, each of Spain's major cities is a cultural attraction in itself - and each are well-connected by one of the most organised road systems in Europe.
In terms of historical sites, only China and Italy have more UNESCO-approved World Heritage Sites than Spain in the entire world; these include The Royal Palace of Aranjuez in central Spain; the Ancient City of Tarraco in the Catalonia region found to the north-east, and the awe-inspiring paintings which were discovered in the Cave of Altamira on the northern coast.
Aside from these historical finds, Spain's cultural identity is celebrated worldwide; with sparkling nightlife and, depending which part of the country you're in, a very agreeable climate for sight-seeing and relaxing holidays from the Costa Del Sol to the annual Running of the Bulls festival. Temperatures throughout the Spanish summer are high and hot, while the country invites many a traveller to its plethora of holiday resorts and beaches.The predominant sport in Spain is football; its national side are the current World and European champions, while their two biggest clubs are renowned worldwide for their success in league and cup competitions; as a result Barcelona and Real Madrid have developed a fierce rivalry over the years.
Last updated: 18 April 2016