Spain holiday weather
Spain has three main climate zones with the south and east coasts characterised by a Mediterranean climate, the vast central inland areas of experience a continental climate while the north and northwest regions are oceanic.
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.
Mediterranean Spain - Costa del Sol, Costa Brava, Barcelona
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.
Winter in Mediterranean Spain
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.
Summer in Mediterranean Spain
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.
Central Spain - Madrid, Zaragoza, Valladolid
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.
Summer in Central Spain
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.
Winter in Central Spain
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.
North and Northwest Spain - Bilbao, Santander
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.
Summer in North and Northwest Spain
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.
Winter in North and Northwest Spain
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.