If you’re planning to visit the country of Flamenco dancers, tapas, and bullfights, you might want to know: Does it snow in Spain?
Yes, it snows in Spain! While the climate in Spain can be incredibly hot during summer, and mild in the wintertime—there is plentiful snowfall in certain areas.
Let’s take a closer look at the winter hotspots in Spain, plus weather trends in the country over the last couple of decades to determine when you might want to plan your trip.
Where Is Spain Located?
Situated alongside Portugal, Spain is located on the Iberian Peninsula. It features a coastline along the Atlantic Ocean in the northern portion of the country. The southeastern coast is on the Mediterranean Sea. Along the southwestern side of the peninsula is another shoreline on the Gulf of Cadiz.
To the North of Spain is France. They share the Pyrenees Mountains along the northeastern border. West of the border with France is the Bay of Biscay.
With respect to the equator, Spain is to the North, covering the latitudinal areas of 36 degrees to roughly 43 degrees. Places in this geographical location have extended, hot summers and short, mild winters with defined spring and fall seasons. So they’re not typically countries you’d associate with snowboarding and toboggans.
Where Does It Snow in Spain?
Snow in most of Spain is not common. Because the country covers a wide range of latitudinal degrees, the southern half experiences a different climate than the northern half throughout the year.
Spain is a country where you can find a wide range of weather conditions, from scorching hot in cities like Murcia to low temperatures year round in A Coruña. But that’s also one of the things that attract visitors.
Part of Spain’s climate is subtropical. This climate zone rarely gets snow and any snowfall melts quickly.
However, the northern, elevated plateaus such as the Sierra Nevada and Navarre are alpine and subarctic climates meaning they will get snow most years.
Spanish Pyrenees Mountains
The Spanish Pyrenees Mountains are a hot spot for picturesque snowfall in Spain. The myriad of ski resorts offers visitors the best of Spain from excellent cuisine to top-notch accommodations and all of it with stunning winter wonderland views. Visitors can easily access multiple resorts by car from Barcelona.
There is snow in the mountains from October through March. However, this is an average for the entire mountain range. Some winters will be snowier than others. In most winters, you can find roughly 9-12 inches of white stuff on the slopes.
Snowy Oceanic Zones in Spain
Many of the Oceanic Zones in Spain will see snow during the winter months. Areas in this zone include Cantabria, Asturias, Navarre, Galicia, and Basque County. Because they typically have partially alpine and arctic sub-climates, they are prone to snowy winter months.
Where Is Snow Less Common in Spain?
Some regions in Spain are subtropical climates such as the Southernmost areas. Still, other areas, such as Barcelona, have the urban effect that prevents snowfall. Here are a couple of places in Spain that do not experience much snow, making it a milder winter experience for visitors.
Does It Snow in Barcelona?
The Catalan city of Barcelona is not known for snowy winters although it is often humid. Wintertime visitors do not expect snowfall in Spain when they visit the city. However, pack for cold weather if you plan to visit in the winter.
On April 3, 2022, several people recorded snowfall in Barcelona. As you can see in the tweets, Tibidabo is a common area for snowfalls. This is because it’s a mountain, belonging to the Serra de Collserola. If you want a great view of the city while visiting, this is the place to go. There’s an amusement park as well.
According to the article, snow has fallen in Barcelona a few times during the month of April since 1914. There was a recent event in 2018, but it happened during the month of March.
Moreover, If you want to see snow during your visit, just a short drive from the city are the mountain ranges of Montserrat and Tibidabo.
Does It Snow in Madrid?
Madrid, the capital of Spain, does not always get snow. The winter is cold, averaging about 38 degrees (F) in December, January, and February. The city might get a light snowfall during December or January but it is not a measurable amount and never lasts long.
A report from Climate Score Card details a historical weather event in early January 2021 that dumped roughly 20 inches of snow. Madrid was not only snowy but remained uncharacteristically cold for days afterward.
Popular Ski Areas in Spain
You may not think of Spain immediately when you think of superb European skiing. However, there are plenty of mountains to ski in the country. In addition, you will save significant money over other popular European ski destinations.
We’ve taken the guesswork out of the question: Where does it snow in Spain? Here is a compiled list of places for ski lovers to stake out their next snowy adventure.
Sierra de Gredos
This mountain range is covered in snow for a good portion of the year and averages roughly 26 feet throughout the winter months. It is in the center of the country and takes about four hours by car from Madrid Airport.
Sierra de las Nieves
This is a region in the La Torrecilla range where hikers and skiers alike enjoy the breathtaking views. It is in southern Spain and is less than an hour’s drive from Malaga Airport.
Unarguably the most popular ski area in Spain, Sierra Nevada boasts the highest mountain range in the country. On average, 36 feet of snow falls in the Sierra Nevada during the year. The closest airports are Málaga-Costa de Sol and Almería.
Parque Natural de Somiedo
Featuring picturesque glacial lakes and white-capped ranges, Parque Natural de Somiedo is a great spot for skiers. They have an average of 63 inches of snow every year and it is only 2.5 hours by car from Madrid Airport.
Valle de Aran
One of the more popular ski resort areas in the Pyrenees Mountains, Valle de Aran, has a rough 80 inches of powdery snow in a year. The quaint villages along with unmatched mountain views attract tourists all year round.
Like many of the other popular ski resorts, Valdezcaray is in central Spain. The snowfall amounts to about 98 inches a year and when there is no snow, hikers enjoy the challenging terrain.
It’s a resort aimed at families as well where you can rent ski equipment, take some ski lessons, or rest a bit at the bar.
Not only does Rascafria get snow but it also features hot springs. Tourists flock to this town north of Madrid for relaxing winter vacations.
Comarca del Sobrarbe
With an average of 80 inches of snow every year, Comarca del Sobrarbe attracts quite a bit of tourism. The ski resorts are some of the best in the country and many semi-pro athletes frequent this location.
As you can see, there are plenty of places where you can play in the snowfall in Spain. Just pick your sport and find a snowy destination from the list above.
Times of Year It Snows in Spain
Spain is in the Northern Hemisphere so its winter months include December through March. However, April can see the most snowfall in the shortest time. If you want to be sure of seeing snow in Spain, visit during February, March, or April.
What Else To Do in Spain In Winter
If you want to avoid the snow when you visit Spain in the winter months, plan to visit the beautiful southern coasts or urban areas. Here’s what you can expect to find in other parts of the country during the Winter months.
City Events to Enjoy
Barcelona rarely gets snow and has the best events around the holidays. Madrid is the fashion capital with plenty of shopping to keep you busy for days. Seville is packed with culturally rich experiences and the buildings are some of the oldest in the country.
Resorts for R and R
Sant Carles de la Rapita is a great resort for a little relaxation. The Canary Islands are a wildly popular place for people to seek out a break from reality. Malaga is a warm and welcoming place with well-known white-washed villages. Find the reprieve you seek in any of these places.
Romance can be found sailing the seas of the Mediterranean. If you don’t mind getting your feet moving in Siurana along the steep climbing peaks, you’ll find the most remote place in all of Spain to enjoy your loved one surrounded by incredible mountain views. Marbella is on the sunny coast also known as Costa del Sol. It is a lovely vacation spot with great nightlife and gorgeous beaches.
In Conclusion: Does It Snow in Spain?
Spain is a large country, covering several latitudinal degrees. Many parts of Spain, especially the central and northern regions have several feet of snow every year. The snowfall in Spain occurs from December through April and snow sportsmen enjoy the white-peaked mountain ranges.