When I first moved to Spain I lived in the North of Spain, in a small city called León. Now, guess how surprised I was when one morning I woke up and saw the whole city covered in a noticeable layer of snow. So, does it snow in Spain? Yes, it does. But it pretty much depends on where you go! Being in the North, temperatures are generally lower and you might encounter some snow when you visit Spain in winter. In general, I did not know how diverse Spain was when it came to temperature and climate. Sunshine all year round, beach weather, no rain, and no snow either? That’s not true at all.
But that is why I wrote this blog post about snow in Spain. That way, you will not be surprised when you visit Spain in winter and it’s so much colder than you expected. Here, we will talk about whether it snows in Spain’s most significant cities and what the cities are where it usually snows the most.
So, let’s jump into it: Does it snow in Spain? And if so, then where?
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Other blog posts you should check out:
What to wear in Spain in winter: This blog post tells you everything you need to know about what to pack when you are visiting Spain in winter. Make sure to check it out!
Tipping Guide for visiting Spain: Is tipping obligatory? Everything you need to know about Spain’s tipping culture. When and how much do you have to tip in Spain? Find it out here 🙂
Barcelona in winter: Everything you have to know! Visiting Barcelona in winter is a great plan! This blog post tells you everything about the weather, fun activities, and more!
Visiting Mallorca in winter: Escaping the winter in Mallorca is THE way to go! Find out everything about the best places and what to do in winter in Mallorca in this blog post.
Make sure to do a free walking tour in Spain in winter!
Free walking tours are the best way to explore a city you visit for the first time. And I want to invite you to go on a free walking tour when you visit Spain in winter. These tours are great for learning about the history and culture of a place you are visiting. I always try to go on free walking tours the first time I visit the city. Until now, I always had an unforgettable time!
How do free walking tours work? Free walking tours do not come with a set price, so they are free. You will spend one afternoon with your local guide who will show you the city through the eyes of a person that lives there. During the tour, you will learn so much about a city’s best monuments, places to go, food spots and hidden gems. You can ask your local guide for recommendations and things to do after the tour. After the tour, you have the chance to leave your local guide a tip. And how much you want to tip them is really up to you. It usually depends on your budget and how much you liked the tour 🙂
You can find all free walking tours in Spain here.
Let’s start: Does it snow in Spain? FAQ & Important Things to know!
How cold does it get in Spain in winter?
Spain does get surprisingly cold in winter! While areas on the Mediterranean coastline usually have mild winters, as in Valencia, Málaga, and Barcelona. Temperatures of around 20°C (59°F) during the day can be completely normal. You can expect cool winters in areas on the mainland with higher altitudes, as in Madrid, Granada, or Salamanca. There, temperatures drop significantly lower.
Where does it snow in Spain?
Usually, it only snows in Spain once we reach the mountainous areas with higher altitudes. For example, snowfall is common in the Sierra Nevada and the Pyrenees. Apart from that, it snows in areas of the “Castilla y León” region and “Asturias”. The cities in Spain with the most snowfall are Ávila, Burgos, León and Segovia (scroll down)
In what months does it usually snow in Spain?
Snowfall is typical in the higher altitudes of Spain around the months of December – early March. But if you come to Spain during these months, snowfall is not guaranteed and really depends on the area you visit.
Can you go skiing in Spain?
Yes! You can actually go skiing in Spain. The Sierra Nevada is a popular destination for winter sports lovers from all over the world. Another popular destination to go skiing in Spain is the Catalan Pyrenees.
I am visiting Spain in winter. Should I expect snow?
Snow is rather rare in Spain, but some areas in Spain receive more snowfall than others. You can expect snowfall on cold winter days in the regions of “Castilla y León” and “Asturias”. But even if it does snow, the snow usually does not last long.
Does it snow in these Spanish cities? What to expect when visiting these places in winter:
Does it snow in Spain: Barcelona
Barcelona is THE place to go in Spain to experience a captivating blend of culture, architecture, and history. Now, let’s talk about the weather and snowfall in Barcelona. Barcelona is lucky to have very rare encounters of snowfall throughout the year. The city has a Mediterranean climate with a very mild winter and lots of sunshine. Barcelona itself is a beach city and, like all beach cities in Spain, has lovely temperatures throughout the whole year.
Now, when we talk about the surrounding mountainous regions, like the Pyrenees, they do receive heavy snowfall. But only if you go to the higher altitudes of the regions, which most tourists do not do. When it does snow in Barcelona, it usually only lasts for a couple of hours. For travelers seeking a touch of winter magic without the harshness of snowstorms, visiting Barcelona during the winter season might just be a perfect choice. Barcelona is a great destination to visit throughout the year. And if you happen to visit Barcelona in winter, the chances of getting snow are very very low.
But, if you want to check out the ski resorts close to Barcelona, you should look at “Baqueira Beret”, which is a popular ski resort in the Catalan Pyrenees.
I wrote a blog post about things you can do in Barcelona in winter which you can find here.
Does it snow in Spain: Madrid
Madrid is the bustling heart of Spain, the glorious capital and largest city of the country. Madrid has a continental Mediterranean climate, which makes its winter much cooler than the coastal regions. On the other side, summers are extremely hot as well. Winters in Madrid are usually much cooler than in other cities like Barcelona and Valencia. Make sure to bring your winter clothes when you visit Madrid in winter. While snowfall is rare, Madrid has a higher altitude and therefore is more likely to receive snowfall during the winter season. But even if it snows in Madrid, the snow only stays for a maximum of a couple of days. In order for the snow in Madrid to stay, the city receives way too much sunshine.
Even if it snows, snow usually does not stay for a long time in Madrid. But instead of snow, you might have to deal with rain when you visit Madrid in winter.
In 2021, Madrid happened to be caught by a once-in-a-century snowstorm called “Filomena”. Check out the photos below of the winter wonderland in Madrid
I wrote a blog post with things you can do in Madrid in winter, which you can find here.
Does it snow in Spain: Valencia
Valencia has a Mediterranean climate, very similar to Barcelona, which makes snow in the city very unlikely. If it actually does snow in Valencia, it will be all over the national news.
Due to its coastal location, Valencia enjoys moderate and mild temperatures in winter. January and February are usually the coldest months, but again, usually come without snow. But, if you happen to go to the surrounding mountainous areas, like the Sierra de Mariola, you might experience some snowfall during the winter months. But that only applies if you go to the areas with a higher altitude.
Valencia, with its Mediterranean climate, is blessed with mild winters, making snow a rare sight in the city. This means, that if it actually ends up snowing in Valencia, everyone would be talking about it!
I personally think that winter is a great time to visit Valencia. The temperatures are mild and you will see a lot of sun in the city. And if you want to escape the cold winter in your country, you can perfectly do that in Valencia!
Does it snow in Spain: Alicante
“Does it snow in Spain?”, Let’s answer this question when we look at Alicante. Alicante is located along the southeastern coast of Spain and has a typical Mediterranean climate. This means loads of sunshine and incredibly mild winters. You will probably never see any snow in the city center or beach in Alicante. However, Alicante is also close to mountainous regions, such as Sierra de Mariola. And if you happen to go there, you might get to see beautiful mountain peaks full of snow.
In Alicante city however, snowfall will not be a problem during your Alicante trip. While Alicante is a very quite town in winter, it’s a nice destination to visit and enjoy the sunshine during the winter months.
Does it snow in Spain: Málaga
Moving further to the South of Spain to the city of Málaga, snowfall is an infrequent occurrence. Blessed with a mild Mediterranean climate, the city rarely experiences snow within its coastal boundaries. However, the nearby mountainous regions, such as the Sierra de las Nieves and Sierra de Grazalema, are known to receive occasional dustings of snow during the winter season. This presents a wonderful opportunity for adventurous travelers to indulge in a scenic drive to witness the enchanting contrast of snowy peaks against the azure Mediterranean coastline. While Malaga may not be synonymous with winter wonderlands, its inviting atmosphere and rich cultural offerings make it an alluring destination throughout the year, receiving visitors with its warm hospitality and sunny delights.
Long story short, does it snow in Málaga? If you are visiting only the city, then it certainly does not.
Does it snow in the Canary Islands?
Are you visiting the Canary Islands in winter and wondering if snow is common there? Known for their pleasant year-round weather, the islands are indeed blessed with mild winters, making snow a rarity in most areas. While snowfall is not common on the lower altitudes and beach regions, the highest peaks of the islands, such as Mount Teide on Tenerife occasionally witness dustings of snow during the winter months. Keep in mind that Mount Teide is the highest mountain in Spain!
But if you are wondering about snow in the Canary Islands, if you stay in the beach areas temperatures usually don’t drop below 15 degrees, which makes snowfall pretty much impossible
Does it snow in the Balearic Islands?
Let’s move on to one of my favorite islands in Spain: The idyllic Balearic Islands. Characterized by a Mediterranean climate, the islands boast mild and pleasant winters, making significant snowfall a rarity in their coastal areas. During the coldest months, which typically fall between December and February, the average temperatures in the Balearic Islands range from 10°C to 15°C. That makes snowfall incredibly unlikely. However, the highest peaks of Mallorca, Menorca, and Ibiza might witness occasional dustings of snow. Mount Puig Major, the highest point in Mallorca, and Monte Toro in Menorca occasionally get snowfall at the highest altitudes.
The Balearic Islands offer a diverse experience that delights visitors year-round, while snow in the Balearic Islands is very unlikely. In my opinion, you should visit the Balearic islands in winter. I wrote a blog post about visiting Mallorca in winter which you can find here.
Does it snow in the South of Spain?
The South of Spain is a very popular holiday destination with very popular holiday destinations, such as Sevilla, Granada, or Córdoba. While snowfall is relatively rare in the coastal areas of the South of Spain, the interior, especially the mountainous regions of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, occasionally receives some snowfall. You should know that the Sierra Nevada is a popular ski destination for Spaniards! The perfect area in Spain to visit if you are a fan of winter sports with many ski resorts you can choose from.
Between December and February, the average temperatures in the South of Spain range from 10°C to 15°C (50°F to 59°F). But good news! The South of Spain also receives a lot of sunshine during the winter months.
However, the Sierra Nevada, Europe’s southernmost ski resort, offers a winter wonderland for snow enthusiasts. Looking for a place to go skiing in Spain? Make sure to check out the Sierra Nevada. The South of Spain promises a diverse and captivating winter experience for all wanderers seeking to discover Spain’s hidden gems. The perfect place in Spain to visit in winter!
Does it snow in the North of Spain?
When it comes to snowfall in Spain, it’s important to have a look at the North of the Spanish mainland. Unlike the warmer southern regions, the North experiences a more varied climate, offering occasional snowfall in certain areas. Between December and February, the average temperatures in the North of Spain range from 5°C to 10°C (41°F to 50°F), creating the perfect conditions for snow in higher altitudes. The mountainous regions of the Pyrenees and the Picos de Europa, as well as areas in Galicia and Asturias, are known to be covered in snow during the winter months, offering breathtaking winter landscapes for visitors to admire. From exploring snow-capped peaks to enjoying the warmth of cozy villages, the North of Spain offers a unique winter experience that delights those seeking to embrace the wonders of Spain’s diverse climates.
The cities and towns in Spain with the most snow
As mentioned before, when it comes to snow in Spain, you should definitely have a look at the regions of the North of Spain. Especially the areas with a higher altitude are known to receive snowfall during the colder months. In the following, you can read about five cities in Spain that are known for snowfall:
Let’s have a look at the cities in Spain that might receive some occasional snowfall. Here, we start with Ávila, in the “Castilla y León” region of Spain. Avila is one of the cities in Spain with the highest altitudes. This area of Spain experiences surprisingly cold temperatures in winter. During the winter months, Avila does receive some snowfall every now and then. And it really turns the city into this beautiful winter wonderland. So “Does it snow in Spain?”. Well, it does! At least in Avila.
An area around Ávila that is known to receive heavy snowfall is the Sierra de Gredos mountain range, with an altitude of almost 2.600m(8.500ft)!
If you visit Avila in winter, make sure to check the temperatures and pack accordingly. Avila is a really cold city and you would get surprised to see how cold it gets!
Let’s continue with one of the snowiest cities in the North of Spain. Burgos is known to be another city in Spain with occasional snowfall. Keep in mind, that Burgos is a city located in the higher altitudes in Spain. That makes snowfall much more frequent than in other areas of the country.
Between December and February Burgos might receive some snowfall, even though it usually lasts only a couple of days. But if you visit Burgos in winter, come prepared and pack your winter clothes accordingly. You might get to experience the Spanish winter wonderland in Burgos.
I lived for one year in León during my Erasmus exchange. So when you ask me “Does it snow in Spain” I can only answer “In León, it sometimes does!”. Can you imagine how surprised I was when one day I woke up and saw the streets covered in a thin layer of snow? And the temperatures! León gets surprisingly cold in winter, which I honestly was not prepared for.
I definitely think that León in winter is so worth visiting. The city has an incredible tapas culture, and a gorgeous Cathedral and is a frequent destination for everyone doing the Camino de Santiago. Put it on your Spain winter bucket list!
Soria is another city situated in the Castile and León region of Spain, which experiences a continental climate with pretty cold winters. Chilly temperatures in winter are not a surprise in Soria. During the colder months, temperatures drop below 0 and you might get to experience snowfall. But even when it snows in Soria, the snow only stays for a couple of days and is really not something permanent.
If you happen to visit Soria in winter, make sure to bring your coat, winter shoes and scarves. The temperatures really drop in winter in that area!
Now let’s move on to the last snowy city in Spain: Segovia. Segovia is known for its cold winters and possible snowfall. Especially between December and February temperatures usually drop below 0. Make sure to bring your winter jacket when you visit Segovia during the cold months.
While Segovia won’t be your typical winter wonderland, occasional snowfall is possible and has happened in the past. Plus, I think it gives the city a special touch when you can visit the Alcazar of Segovia covered in snow. It looks just like a winter fairytale!
Spain’s mountainous areas with lots of snow
Sierra Nevada, Spain’s winter wonderland
The famous Sierra Nevada is a mountain range in the South of Spain in Andalusia. It is a popular tourist destination as it is Europe’s southernmost ski resort. The highest mountains reach out to almost 3.500m which is perfect for all kinds of winter sports. So yes, it does snow in Spain at these altitudes!
The Sierra Nevada is located only one hour away from Granada, so a perfect destination if you are planning to go to the Spanish South. The Sierra Nevada has a ski season of at least five months. The best time to visit would be from November to April.
The Pyrenees, the destination for winter sports fans
The Pyrenees mountain range separates the Iberian peninsula from the rest of Europe. It’s the mountain range you can see at the border of the North of Spain and France. There are several mountain peaks with an altitude of around 3.400m making this area perfect for many hiking trails and ski resorts.
The Pyrenees are easily reachable from Barcelona if you go by car. In fact, many people like to go to Andorra for one day, which is a sovereign state on the Pyrenees. When it comes to snow, you can expect snowfall during half the year, from autumn to the end of spring. This area is perfect for nature lovers who want to spend time in the colder regions of Spain with lots of snow.