What temperatures can you expect during your Spanish holiday
When you ask most visitors what is the main reason for visiting Spain most will probably say the excellent Spanish weather, for the majority of holiday makers its the long sunny days that tempt us most, the climate in Spain does actually yield some wild and varied temperature changes.
The total annual sunshine hours vary from around 1700 in the north to some 3000 in the south and the canary islands, Bilbao gets around 1,525 hours.
The official lowest recorded temperature in Spain was in Lerida at a cool -32-C in 1956, the highest temperature goes to Ecija in the province of Seville deep in central Andalucia in the south with an incredible 47.C, no wonder why the Spanish refer to this village as the ” Sarten de Andalucia ” The Frying Pan of Andalucia.
It is quite normal for temperatures in Seville and surrounding countryside to reach 40C in the summer, add to that the hot dry Spanish Terral winds that blow through over the countryside and you can understand why the general population of these areas tend to flock to the nearest coastal area at every opportunity.
Thus, while the average temperature of much of the Mediterranean coast is around 15ºC the coldest stretch of coast in the winter is in Guipuzcoa in the north with an average of 8ºC. The warmest area on mainland Spain is Andalucia with an average annual temperature of 16ºC.
The valleys of the Sistema Iberica suffer the highest numbers of frost during the year, with places such as Calamocha and Molina de Aragon getting an average of 120 frosts per year. Similarly, Reinosa in the Cordillera Cantábrica at 950m above sea level has an average of 90 days of frost.
On peaks above 2,500m in the Pyrenees, Picos de Europa, Sistema Central, Ibérico and the Sierra Nevada it snows between 90 and 120 days a year. In these mountain ranges snow is often present from October to June in the highest and shadiest spots, though it only remains all the year round in the glaciers of the Pyrenees.
Runs from the north west of Catalonia in the north to the province of Cadiz on the southern tip of Andalucia. The Mediterranean coast has high sunshine levels, from six hours per day in the winter to 12 hours per day in summer. Winters are mild and much warmer than central Spain, rain in Spain is very rare from June to August although the northern Mediterranean coast may be liable to occasional heavy downpours.
In the south, there can occasionally occur a very hot wind from North Africa ( Sirroco winds ) and the Terral winds which blow across Spain from the north heating up as it travels south, thankfully the sea breezes generally stop temperatures from rising too high which are usually around 10 degrees cooler then inland during the hottest months of July and August.
Central Spain and the Southern Atlantic coast
Central Spain and the southern Atlantic coastline generally has low rainfall though winter snow can be heavy on the mountain ranges. Summers are generally hot, especially in the Guadalquivir valley of Northern Andalucia running out to Seville where some of the highest temperatures are recorded. Sunshine levels average 5 hours per day in winter and 12 hours per day in summer. Central Spain and the Atlantic cost can be notably windy with the winds being cold if coming from snow covered sierras.
North and North West Spain
can be influenced by depressions from the Atlantic, particularly in the autumn and winter, making this the wettest and cloudiest part of Spain. Sunshine levels average 3 hours per day during the winter and 8 hours per day in the summer. Summer temperatures are lower than other parts of Spain although the days are sunny and pleasant. The weather is very much like the UK and other northern EEC countries. You will undoubtedly have long sunny days during the summer in the North of Spain, likewise you could easily find that a depression of the Atlantic brings a few days of rain with the temperature dropping to around 12 C until the weather stabilizes.
The climate in Spain is incredibly diverse and is largely affected by its altitude and the surrounding sea. Spain is one of the most mountainous counties in Europe and has two oceans (the Mediterranean and Atlantic) on both sides of it. There is also a huge difference between the northern and southern climate.
Spanish summers can get very hot, especially inland. The average temperatures are at least 30°C. Coastal areas enjoy cool breezes that bring temperatures down to a more bearable level. During the summer there’s an average 11/12 hours of sunshine per day and it hardly rains at all in the south , hence making it such a popular all year round popular holiday destination for so many visitors to Spain , it is also quite normal not to see rain of any significance for at least 5 months a year.
Autumn along with Spring is a great time to visit Spain; the landscape is invariably greener, even in the south, the sea stays warm having been heated up during the summer months with average air temperatures of around 28 °C. It’s only in late November that temperatures start to fall to around 20 °C. Heading towards the winter, as the hour changes, daily sunshine reduces to an average of 6 hours, again another reason why winter tourism is still as popular as ever with many northern European travelers.
During the winter, southern coastal temperatures hover at about 16 °C. Although sunny and warm during the day, it can feel very cold at night. Inland, it gets seriously colder, especially in mountainous areas around the Pyrenees, Madrid and Granada. However whilst the north of Spain may be experiencing low temperatures off 9C a short two hour flight to the Canary Islands and your back up to a warm and inviting 25C. one reason why these Islands have become Europe’s top winter holiday destination.
Late spring, in anticipation of summer, is a magical time in Spain. As the days get longer and the weather settles down the average daily temperatures hover around 15C inland and about 24 °C on the Southern coastline. There’s an average of 11 hours sun per day and the countryside is in full bloom, the Easter fairs are under way and there is a colourful and exciting vibe in most towns and Villages throughout Spain.
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