The Weather in Spain
For most visitors to Spain, the weather is a significant factor in their choice of holiday. You may be a sun worshipper who will be looking for the highest temperatures and the maximum hours of sunshine. Walkers and nature lovers will probably be looking for some nice moderate temperatures and clear blue skies. Even if you're a culture vulture, you don't want to get rained on, do you? That's why we have provided a link from each hotel page to a table that shows the weather statistics for your chosen destination. In each case we have displayed the data for the most appropriate local weather station, but you should always bear in mind that local conditions such as altitude and distance from the sea will affect the figures slightly. From our own experience we know that 300-400m up and a little way inland, the temperature will be about 2° lower than on the coast, summer and winter. For higher altitudes and greater distances inland, summer temperatures tend to be the same as the coast but winter temperatures will be lower.
The long Mediterranean coastline is the most popular with visitors, drawn by the famously warm weather throughout the summer. In summer, there is little to choose between any parts of the coast, or the Balearic Islands, but in winter, the further south the better. The winter sun can be quite strong, so sunny days will feel warm, even when the temperature is only in the teens.
The inland areas away from the moderating effect of the sea have a more extreme climate; hot in summer and cold in winter. As most people travel to the interior of the country to look at the cities and architectural and archaeological sights, it's probably best to visit in spring or autumn. Likewise, those are the best seasons for walking, cycling or bird-watching.
The north of Spain is significantly cooler in summer than the rest of the
country, though not much different in winter. It's certainly much nicer than
Britain and northern Europe, and a beautiful area that deserves to be much
better known. Of course, it's also wetter than the arid south, but without
a bit of rain there would be no "green Spain".
So what does this tell us? Just about anywhere in Spain has
lots of sunshine in the summer, and the inland cities have even more than
the Mediterranean coastal regions. However more than 10 hours per day should
be enough for anyone, so don't worry too much about the fine differences.
Interestingly Galicia has significantly more sunshine than the rest of the
north coast, and even though the Canaries are often considered a winter destination,
they have more sunshine hours in summer, just like everywhere else.
Winter days are shorter, so obviously there are fewer hours of sunshine everywhere in winter. Now the differences seem to be a bit more important as 6 hours sunshine really is significantly better than 5 hours, so we recommend looking carefully at this chart when choosing a winter destination. Unfortunately meteorologists don't seem to have an equivalent of "wind chill factor" to describe the effect of sunshine on the perception of temperature. That's a pity because it really is important. The sun is quite strong even in winter, quite unlike the watery English winter sun, so a sunny day with an air temperature of 13° or 14° will feel like about 20°, a normal English summer day.