A guide to the climate and seasons in Spain | Expatica
Home Moving to Spain About Spain The climate and seasons in Spain
Last update on December 31, 2020

One of the reasons that Spain is such an attractive choice for expats and tourists is definitely the pleasant weather throughout the year. Here’s a guide to the climate and seasons in Spain.

I recently visited the States for a late summer holiday. Upon my return, the weather cooled off slightly here in Madrid — from the early-September temperature of around 33 degrees to around 27.

Still warm and sunny!  But in Spanish weather terms, we’ve suddenly gone from Jamaica to Siberia.

As I walked through the airport last week, I saw the first signs: closed-toed shoes, jackets, scarves, proclamations of “hace fresquito, ¿eh?

When I turned onto my street, I saw it – the true sign that autumn and/or the apocalypse is nigh: a woman wearing a fur coat.

In mid-September. In Madrid.

I have learned over the years that Spanish clothing is not dictated by the temperature, but by the calendar. If there is an unseasonably hot day in March? Doesn’t matter. Keep that coat buttoned. It’s a fluke. It’s not spring yet.

There’s even the Spanish saying: “Hasta el cuarenta de mayo no te quites el sayo.” (Loosely translated as “Don’t take your heavy coat off until the 40th of May.”)

This little refrain refers to the unpredictability of Spain’s weather, which just goes to show that it’s all relative. Right now the Brits and Americans are saying: “What unpredictability? It’s hot and sunny from April through October! It’s one of the reasons we live here!”

Just last March, a friend and I saw the by-the-calendar clothing phenomenon in action along Plaza Santa Ana, where a few tables were set out in the early spring sunshine. It was the epitome of stereotypes: four Englishmen were at a table, wearing t-shirts and flip-flops, sipping their cold beers. Seated next to them? Three elderly Spanish women, each in a fluffy fur coat as well as thick tights, sipping a café con leche.

In some Spanish apartment buildings, the heating has one main unit rather than in each individual flat. And often the Powers That Be do not turn on the heat until 1 November as a matter of principle. It doesn’t matter if the end of October is suddenly frigid; throw an extra duvet on the bed and wait it out.

As much as I giggle at fur coats in the blazing sun, I learned on my recent holiday in the States that I’m becoming one of them.