Where are the coldest places in Spain?

Yes, we know that Spain is typically seen as a warm country, but it can in fact be bitterly cold, sometimes recording temperatures of well below −20°C. Historically, January is the month that registers the lowest temperatures in Spain, but where are the coldest places?

coldest places in Spain, Pyrenees
Aragon is one of the coldest places in Spain. Photo: Mertxe Grañena / Pixabay

Spain is a country of dramatic contrasts in its summer and winter temperatures. In August it can reach well above 40°C in some regions, but in January in many areas, below freezing temperatures are often recorded. 

Vega de Liordes, Castilla y León

On January 7th last year, the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet) confirmed that Spain recorded its coldest temperature ever since records began. This was a freezing cold −35.8 °C. This was registered in Vega de Liordes, located within the Picos de Europa National Park in the province of León, and is well below the coldest temperature ever recorded in the UK, which was −27.2 °C in Scotland in 1995. 

This was not the first time the region of Castilla y León recorded record-breaking low temperatures. In the city of Burgos, temperatures of -22°C and -21°C were registered in 1975 and 1885 respectively.

Pallars Sobirà, Lleida, Catalonia

One day earlier on January 6th last year, Spain recorded its second coldest temperature ever. The bitterly cold temperature of −34.1°C was registered in Pallars Sobirà, located in Catalonia’s Lleida province in the Pyrenees. The same area recorded another of Spain’s coldest temperatures in February of 1956. This was a temperature of −26°C.

Catalonia’s province of Lleida often features on the lists of Spain’s coldest places. The province’s Lake Estangento recorded some of the country’s lowest temperatures of −32°C in February 1956, −26°C in 1954 and −24°C in 1954.

These coldest temperatures ever recorded in Spain coincided with storm ‘Filomena’, which brought the “heaviest snowfall in years” across much of the country, including the capital of Madrid. 

READ ALSO – IN PICS: Spectacular images of snow-covered Spain from the air

It’s not surprising that this province is home to several ski resorts, including one of Spain’s best – Baqueira/Beret. 

READ ALSO: What are the Covid rules for skiing in Spain this winter?

Calamocha, Teruel, Aragón

The town of Calamocha, located in Aragón’s Teruel province, regularly records some of the coldest temperatures in the country. In December 1963, the town recorded a temperature of −30°C, and again experienced record-breaking freezing temperatures in December 1963, January 1971, and January 1974 of −27° C, −24.5°C, and −24.4°C respectively.

In fact, the province of Teruel as a whole, is one of the coldest provinces in Spain, often featuring in the list of places that have recorded the coldest temperatures in Spain. The town of Monreal del Campo twice recorded temperatures of −28° C in December 1963 and January 1971.

While Teruel city itself recorded three of Spain’s coldest temperatures of  −22°C in January 1945, −21.5°C in January 1952 and −21°C in January 1971.

READ ALSO: Why are Spanish homes so cold? 

Molina de Aragon, Castilla-La Mancha

Located in the province of Guadalajara, the municipality of Molina de Aragon features three times on Spain’s list of the 15 coldest temperatures ever recorded in the country. In January 1952, it recorded a temperature of −28.2°C, in December 1963 it reached −28°C and in January 1947 it registered −26.7°C.

Sabiñánigo, Huesca, Aragón

It’s not just Aragón’s Teruel province that regularly records some of Spain’s coldest temperatures. The province of Huesca often does too. The municipality of Sabiñánigo recorded a bitterly cold −25 °C in January 1954 a decidedly chilly −24.8 °C again in February 1954. 

Huesca too is home to one of the country’s largest and best ski resorts − Formigal. 

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Where are the hottest places in Spain?

Summer has arrived early in Spain this year. But where are the places where it's likely to be scorching every single year? And what’s the highest temperature ever recorded in Spain?

Where are the hottest places in Spain?

Anyone in Spain at the moment will tell you the same: ¡hace calor! (it’s hot!)

Summer seems to have arrived early this year, whether it be Seville already sweltering in the mid-30’s, Madrid approaching 30, or 7 to 8 °C temperature increases across the rest of the country, May is getting some serious heat.

It’s no surprise that it gets hot in Spain, but where are the cities that are always boiling during the summer? 

Highest average summer temperatures

  1. Córdoba takes the top spot for highest maximum average temperature in Spain, averaging a staggering 36.5°C throughout the month of August.
  2. Seville makes it an Andalusian top two, averaging 35.5°C in August. 
  3. Badajoz, also in the south-west of Spain but in the region of Extremadura, averages 34.5°C during August.
  4. Murcia. Spaniards may jokingly say Murcia doesn’t exist but it certainly does and it’s hot – with a maximum average temperature of 34.2°C throughout the month of August. 
  5. Granada fills out the top 5 and makes it three Andalusian cities in the top 5. Granada, like Murcia, enjoys maximum average temperatures of 34.2°C in August.

It can also get boiling hot in other cities in Spain’s interior such as Madrid, Zaragoza, Toledo or Ciudad Real, but they don’t make the top five ranking.

Spain’s hottest cities are in areas where the mercury is likely to be just as high during the summer months, such as the Baetic Depression of the Guadalquivir river (Seville), the Tajo Valley (Badajoz), the Vega del Segura alluvial plain (Murcia) and the Ebro Valley (Zaragoza).

Some towns with a reputation for being extremely hot during the summer are Montoro (Córdoba), Morón de la Frontera (Seville), Molina de Segura (Murcia) and Écija also near Córdoba, which is referred to as the ‘frying pan’ of Spain.

Map showing the average high temperatures during the summer months in Spain from 1981 to 2010. Source: AEMET

Highest average winter temperatures in Spain

Summer doesn’t last forever in Spain but there are many parts of the country that stay warm throughout the winter:

  1. Gran Canaria – 22°C. Together with the other Canary Islands, Gran Canaria stays mild and breezy during the winter months thanks to its geographic position and the ever-present trade winds.
  2. Seville – The Andalusian capital can get a bit cold at times in winter but it averages 15°C during December.
  3. Valencia – The eastern city’s positioning on the Mediterranean means it also averages 15°C throughout December.
  4. Mallorca – It may not always be beach weather during winter in the Balearics but 14°C on average in December is very tolerable.

Hottest temperatures ever recorded

Spain not only has incredibly high average temperatures year round, but the height of summer reaches some scorching highs. We’ve taken a look at the highest single temperatures ever recorded in Spain:

    1. Montoro. The single highest temperature ever recorded in Spain was in the small town of Montoro in the north-east of Córdoba province. The town of 9000 reached a staggering 47.3 °C in July 2017.
    2. Mengíbar. The small town in Jaén province topped out at 47.1 °C in August 2011.
    3. Badajoz. A quirk of history, and heat, is that Badajoz maxed out at 47 °C in both June 1864 and August 1964, almost exactly 100 years later!
    4. Seville. The Andalusian capital also registered 47 °C in 1946.
    5. El Hierro. The small Canary Island also reached 47 °C in August 1996.

A couple take a photo of a street thermometer reading 48 degrees Celsius during a heatwave in Cordoba on August 2021. These street thermometers aren’t always accurate as they’re baking in the sun. (Photo by JORGE GUERRERO / AFP)

Unofficial records 

The maximum temperatures above are the official list, but Spain has also had some rumoured, or unconfirmed scorchers that weren’t made reliably. In July 1876 and August 1881, for example, temperatures of 51 °C and 50 °C were both reported in Seville but were measured in poor technical conditions so aren’t considered reliable results. But anyone who has spent time in Seville or Andalusia during the summer won’t have any trouble believing it.