Spain, together with Portugal, forms a large peninsula south of the Pyrenees, with the Atlantic Ocean on its western and northern side and the Mediterranean Sea to its south and east. The large size of the peninsula and the different climatic influences of the Atlantic and Mediterranean result in a variety of weather conditions in Spain. While most of the country is hot and sunny in summer, there are great differences of temperature in winter. Coastal areas are mild, but the interior is often cold and snowy.
Here is a detailed description of the climate in Spain’s different regions:
Northwest Spain experiences the rainiest and cloudiest weather in Spain. This part of the country is most influenced by depressions traveling in from the Atlantic, particularly in autumn and winter. Although summers are cooler, cloudier, and wetter than elsewhere in the country there is still a considerable amount of warm, sunny weather. Daily hours of sunshine average from three in winter to seven or eight in summer. Rainfall Decreases from west to east in the Pyrenees but is quite high on the seaward slopes of the Cantabrian and in the extreme northwest (Galicia).
The old saying, “Africa begins at the Pyrenees,” has some truth in it if it is taken to refer to the heat and dry weather of Central Spain during summer. Summers are generally hot, particularly in the Guadalquivir valley, where some of the highest temperatures in Europe are recorded. Dust and hot winds are the most unpleasant features of the summer. Rainfall is generally low during summer although winter snowfall may be quite heavy. Sunshine is quite high throughout the year, ranging from an average of five hours a day in winter to as much as twelve hours in midsummer.
This area includes the internationally famous tourist resorts – the Costa Brava in the north and the Costa del Sol in the south. Sunshine amounts are high: from six hours a day in winter to twelve in midsummer. Winters are mild and warm, while summers are hot and at times humid. In the south conditions can occasionally become rather unpleasant when a hot, dry wind (the leveche) blows from North Africa.
The Canaries form an archipelago of seven main islands, situated some 100 km off the coast of North Africa. Weather conditions in this part of Spain are quite pleasant, with mild winters and temperatures rarely rising very high during summers. The warmest days in summer occur when hot, dry air from the Sahara desert reaches the islands. The northern shores of the islands, being more exposed to the predominant northeast trade winds, are rather wetter than the sheltered southern coasts. Daily sunshine hours range from an average of six in winter to as many as eleven in the summer months.