Spain is a beautiful country known for its sunny beaches and stunning architecture. While the country is undoubtedly known for its warm climate, it’s important to note that the weather can be pretty diverse in certain parts of the country.
It does snow in many parts of Spain in the wintertime. While most of Spain is too warm for snow to stay on the ground for very long, some areas, such as the Pyrenees mountains, can remain on the ground for months at a time.
In this article, I will share the places in Spain where it snows, along with how often and when.
I will also discuss whether you’re likely to see snow when visiting Spain at Christmas and provide tips for traveling to Spain in the winter.
Does It Snow in Spain?
The snowiest regions, such as the Pyrenees Mountains or the Sierra Nevada range, are typically found at higher elevations. Areas closer to sea level may also see some occasional snowfall. Areas along the Mediterranean coast also occasionally get snow flurries.
Notably, when it does snow in Spain (especially at these higher elevations), the flakes are often large and fluffy, making for great skiing and snowboarding conditions. Northern Spain can see up to 28-35 inches (71-89 cm) of snow annually, while central and southern Spain will only see an average of 7-15 inches (18-38 cm).
Southern parts of Spain rarely experience any snowfall, even during the winter months. In Madrid, there’s an average of six days of snowfall each year, while in Seville, the average is even less – only two days per year. The warm Mediterranean climate keeps temperatures mild and snowfall rare even at higher altitudes.
Does It Snow in Madrid?
It does snow in Madrid, yet this is a rare occurrence. This is because the city’s average winter temperatures are just above freezing, so any snow that falls will usually melt quickly.
However, there have been some exceptions. In January 2019, Madrid experienced a rare snowstorm that left the city blanketed in white for several days. Though this is not typical, the best chance to see snow in the capital city is in January and February, when temperatures drop the lowest.
What Months Does It Snow in Spain?
The months it snows in Spain are December, January, and February. Even though it is possible to see some snow during other months, these are typically considered the country’s snowy season.
The Pyrenees Mountain range, which separates Spain from France, usually sees snow as early as October and as late as March. In January, it is common to see heavy snowfall in the mountain ranges. Come February, places such as Madrid are starting to warm up. However, the northern region of Spain will still see freezing temperatures.
Does It Snow in Spain at Christmas?
It does snow in Spain at Christmas, though it occurs less frequently during this time. This is because temperatures are typically milder. However, it’s possible to get some snowfall in the mountain regions of northern Spain.
If you’re set on a white Christmas, there are places you can go that are almost guaranteed to have snow at the end of December. The most popular locations are:
- Pyrenees Mountain Range
- Sierra Nevada Mountain Range
Traveling to Spain in Winter
Even though Spain isn’t known to be a popular winter vacation spot, there’s still plenty for you to do. In the winter, you can see some of the most famous museums in Europe without the crowds and heat that come along with peak season.
If you’re heading to the mountainous regions, you’ll be able to enjoy some beautiful snowy scenery at the local ski slopes. You can also take advantage of cheaper lodging during the winter months, so if you’re traveling on a budget, this is an ideal time to plan your trip.
You’ll want to do a few things when traveling in the winter versus the summer. Here are a few things you should do before your trip:
- Check the weather forecast. No matter where you travel in Spain in the winter, it can be cold and rainy, so make sure you pack appropriately. If you’re planning to go hiking or camping, bring warm clothing, including a rain jacket and proper footwear.
- Book transportation and accommodations in advance. Though things will likely be less busy in the winter than in the summer, things can still book up quickly, so it’s best to make your arrangements several weeks or months in advance. You should also plan alternate routes if your main roads become unavailable due to inclement weather conditions or unexpected accidents.
- Purchase travel insurance. This can help cover medical costs if you get sick or have an emergency while traveling. This also will help protect any lost luggage or canceled flights.
- Plan a variety of indoor and outdoor activities. A backup plan for outdoor days is a good idea, so you’re not stuck inside your hotel if the weather turns bad. Consider visiting museums or shopping at local markets.
- Check with your regional airports. Winter travel can bring unplanned closures or delays, so it’s a good idea to get to the airport early to ensure you make your flight. You can also make your pre-boarding process as easy as possible by purchasing pre-check and printing your boarding pass ahead of time. If you cannot print your pass before arriving at the airport, check out this article that will help you with printing at the airport.
While Spain is known for its idyllic coastlines dotted with beaches, rocky inlets, and lovely fishing villages, if you find yourself in Spain in the winter, you’ll still have a great time. Madrid and other coastal regions rarely see snowflakes, yet there are plenty of mountainous areas where you can ski or snowboard in the Spanish snow.
If you’re looking for a white Christmas, head to the Pyrenees or Sierra Nevada mountain ranges for the best chance of having snow at this time of year.