Andalusia, map

Index


Introduction


In Andalusia, the southernmost region of Spain, there are different types of climate: the Mediterranean climate of the coast, which becomes particularly cool and windy in the southern tip (where the east wind reigns supreme), and particularly arid in the east; the Mediterranean climate, though with very hot summers, in the valley of the Guadalquivir; the semi-continental climate in low-mountain areas; and finally, the alpine climate on high mountains.
The region is crossed by two mountain ranges, the Sierra Morena to the north and the Betic Cordillera (which includes the Sierra Nevada) to the south; between the two, we find the Betic Depression, crossed by the river Guadalquivir and characterized by very hot summers, where there are cities such as Seville and Córdoba. Some mountain areas are particularly green, and are home to parks, such as the Parque Natural de los Alcornocales (within which we find El Bosque de la Niebla, where the east wind creates a fog that deposits water droplets on the trees, thus creating a particularly humid environment) and the Parque Natural Sierra de Grazalema, both in the south-west, or the Parque Natural de las Sierras de Cazorla in the northeast, or the Parque Nacional de Sierra Nevada, located in the south. In this area, we find the highest peaks of all continental Spain, starting from mount Mulhacen, 3,478 meters (11,411 feet) high.
Let us now talk about the climate of the major cities.
Andalusia, main cities

Atlantic coast


On the Atlantic coast (called Costa de la Luz), the climate is Mediterranean, with very mild winters and warm, sunny summers.

Cadiz

In Cadiz, the average temperature ranges from 12.5 °C (54.5 °F) in January to 24.5 °C (76 °F) in July and August. Here are the average temperatures.
Cadiz - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)101112131619212220171311
Max (°C)161718192225282826232017
Min (°F)505254556166707268635552
Max (°F)616364667277828279736863

In a typical year, 550 millimeters (21.5 inches) of rain fall, of which more than 80 mm (3.2 in) fall per month from December to February. In summer, as generally happens in Mediterranean climates, there is little or no rain. Here is the average precipitation.
Cadiz - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)85604050301003205590105547
Prec.(in)3,32,41,621,20,400,10,82,23,54,121,5
Days1086852013681168

The amount of sunshine in Cadiz is great in summer, when clear skies prevail, it is good in spring, especially from mid-April onwards, and it is still decent in autumn and winter, when there is a moderate amount of cloudy days, during periods of bad weather, but there are also sunny periods. Here are the average sunshine hours per day.
Cadiz - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours6778101111118765

Inland plain



Moving away from the coast, in the valley of the Guadalquivir (or Betic Depression), the summer is much hotter, while the winter is a bit colder, especially at night.

Jerez de la Frontera

Already in Jerez de la Frontera, about 30 kilometers (18 miles) north-east of Cadiz, the climate is slightly colder in winter, especially at night, when light frosts can occasionally occur, while it is warmer in summer, especially during the day, when there are many hot days, with highs about 35/36 °C (95/97 °F); the highest records are about 40/42 °C (104/108 °F). Rainfall amounts to about 590 mm (23 in) per year, with a winter maximum and a summer minimum, as usual.
Here are the average temperatures.
Jerez de la Frontera - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)578912151818171397
Max (°C)161820222529333330252017
Min (°F)414546485459646463554845
Max (°F)616468727784919186776863

Northwest of Jerez de la Frontera lies the Doñana National Park, rich in biodiversity, which is home to vast sand dunes near the coast.

Seville

Continuing to the north-east, in Seville, 70 km (45 miles) away from the coast, the summer is even hotter, in fact, highs in July and August are normally about 36 °C (97 °F): in summer, this area is the hottest in Europe, and the temperature can sometimes reach 45 °C (113 °F). Rainfall amounts to 560 mm (22 in) per year, still with a Mediterranean pattern.
Here are the average temperatures.
Seville - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)56911131720201814107
Max (°C)151720242732363632262016
Min (°F)414348525563686864575045
Max (°F)596368758190979790796861

Córdoba

Continuing to the east, in Córdoba, the temperatures are similar to those of Seville, but owing to the longer distance from the sea, it can sometimes be a little colder in winter, while in summer, it can be slightly hotter.

South coast of Spain

Mediterranean coast


The Mediterranean coast has a cooler and more humid climate in the western part, while in summer, it becomes progressively more arid and hot as you proceed towards the east.
Precipitation along the Mediterranean coast varies significantly, becoming progressively scarcer towards the east, although the pattern is the same, with a maximum in the cold half of the year, especially between November and January, and a minimum in summer, when it almost never rains.
In fact, rainfall amounts to 835 millimeters (33 inches) per year in Algeciras, where it can sometimes be abundant from November to March, while it drops to 585 mm (23 in) in Marbella, to 525 mm (20.5 in) in Malaga, and to 450 mm (17.5 in) in Nerja. The easternmost part is definitely arid, almost desert, in fact, precipitation in Almería amounts to just 200 mm (8 in) per year.
The coast overlooking the Mediterranean Sea can be divided according to the province and to the name that have been given to the different parts for tourism purposes:
- The westernmost part, in the province of Cadiz, overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar, is also the southernmost, but despite this, it's the coolest in summer. This happens both because of the influence of the ocean and because of the prevalence of the east wind ("levante"). The coolest area corresponds precisely to the southern tip of Spain, at the point that separates the Atlantic Ocean from the Mediterranean Sea (see Tarifa). In this strait, you can spot dolphins and whales. A little further to the north-east, there's the Bay of Gibraltar: in the western part, we find the city of Algeciras, in the eastern one, we find La Linea de la Concepcion, and just to the south we find Gibraltar, which belongs to Great Britain, and has a cool and humid microclimate.

Algeciras

Here are the average temperatures of Algeciras.
Algeciras - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)111112131618202120171412
Max (°C)161718192224272826221917
Min (°F)525254556164687068635754
Max (°F)616364667275818279726663

The western part of the coast is also the wettest. Here is the average rainfall in Algeciras.
Algeciras - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)120105105654010032575150130835
Prec.(in)4,74,14,12,61,60,400,1135,95,132,9
Days1210109620048121386

- The central part, called Costa del Sol, corresponds to the coast of the province of Málaga. Here, the temperatures are quite similar to that of the Costa de la Luz, Mediterranean-like: summers are hot but not too much, although there can be some very hot days, with highs around 35 °C (95 °F). For example, here are the average temperatures of Málaga.
Málaga - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)78910131720211814118
Max (°C)171819212427303028242017
Min (°F)454648505563687064575246
Max (°F)636466707581868682756863

- The eastern part of the coast is divided between the province of Granada, where it's called Costa Tropical (or Costa de Granada) and the province of Almería, where it's called Costa de Almería. Here, the temperatures are similar, while proceeding towards the east, the rainfall decreases, and at the same time the temperature of the sea gradually increases (see below).
Here is the average precipitation in Almería: as you can see, it is at semi-desert levels.
Almería - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)242516171251114272830200
Prec.(in)0,910,60,70,50,2000,61,11,11,27,9
Days33332000234325

North of Almería there is a desert, the Tabernas Desert (Desierto de Tabernas), where many western movies were filmed. However, the southeastern coastal area, from Almería to Cabo de Gata, and from San José to Playa de los Muertos, is semi-desert as well: the cape of Gata is probably the driest place in Europe, since it receives only 155 mm (6.1 in) of rain per year. Here, we find the Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park.

Tabernas Desert

Hilly and mountainous areas



As mentioned, in Andalusia, there are several mountain ranges, therefore, there are also cities located at more or less high elevation. The most important one, Granada, is situated at 700 meters (2,300 feet) above sea level, and it's often cold at night in winter, while in summer, the heat is often intense during the day, while nights remain usually cool.

Jaen

In Jaén, located at an altitude a bit lower, 500 meters (1,600 feet) above sea level, winter is mild enough (despite some cold days), while summer is hot (with several scorching days). Precipitation amounts to 500 mm (20 in) per year, with a maximum in December of 80 mm (3.1 in), and a minimum in July of 2 mm (0.08 in). Here are the average temperatures in Jaén.
Jaén - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)5691013182121181496
Max (°C)121418192330343328221613
Min (°F)414348505564707064574843
Max (°F)545764667386939182726155

At higher altitudes, the temperature drops further, but the maximum temperatures in summer are high, about 29/31 °C (84/88 °F), still at about 1,000/1,200 meters (3,300/3,900 feet).

Marbella, Playa Real

Sea temperature


The temperature of the sea along the Atlantic coast (Costa de la Luz) remains cool even in summer, as we can see in the following table.
Costa de la Luz - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)161516161719202121201817
Temp (°F)615961616366687070686463

In the Costa del Sol, the sea is never very warm as well because of the infiltration of Atlantic waters, however, in summer, it is slightly warmer than on the Atlantic coast, as we can see from the sea temperature in Málaga.
Málaga - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)161515161720222322201816
Temp (°F)615959616368727372686461

Continuing to the east, and moving away from the Atlantic, the sea becomes gradually warmer in summer: in Almería, the sea temperature reaches 24 °C (75 °F) in August and 23 °C (73 °F) in September. In the easternmost part, where the coast is facing southeast, the sea is even warmer, so much so that in Mojacar, it reaches 25 °C (77 °F) in August.
Mojacar - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)151515161820232524211816
Temp (°F)595959616468737775706461

Best Time


In order to avoid the summer heat, the best months to visit Andalusia, if the trip includes the plain of the Guadalquivir and cities such as Seville and Córdoba, are April, May and October, although in these months, it can sometimes rain. Those who can stand the heat can choose the summer, a season when the weather is often scorchingly hot, but it's more pleasant in high mountain areas. In winter, you can find several pleasant days in the plains, sunny and spring-like, although it can get cold at night in the interior, and waves of bad weather cannot be excluded.

On the other hand, the best time for a beach holiday is the summer, from June to mid-September. It's better to bring a sweatshirt for cool and windy evenings, especially in June and September, in particular, in the Costa de la Luz and in the province of Cadiz, but for safety even in July and August, especially if you are sensitive to cold.

In winter, you can go skiing in the Sierra Nevada, and maybe you can take a trip to the sea, where you will usually find mild weather (though not warm: we are still in the Mediterranean winter), with several sunny days, and possible but not abundant rain.

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