Northern and southern Spain differ significantly in their regional cuisines, architecture, language, and weather. The South attracts more tourists for its Mediterranean climate and long, sunny days. The northern Spain weather is cooler and rainier – making for a great road trip experience.
With attractions such as La Rioja, Asturias, and San Sebastian, northern Spain is great for all types of travelers. If you’re adventurous, you can expect to enjoy sports such as hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, and skiing.
Those curious about the history and culture will love the Romanesque architecture, museums, and cider and wine-tasting experiences on offer.
You’ll want to know what the northern Spain weather is like before planning your visit to this region. The guide below will provide you with a month-to-month breakdown of the weather and help you decide when to visit, depending on the activities you plan on doing.
Spain Weather by Month
While Spain’s climate can be broken down into its four seasons, a monthly guide will leave you more informed on the nuances within each season. The below temperatures are averages for the northern region.
It’s important to note that northern Spain’s weather can differ greatly from area to area. Some regions experience much less sunshine and significantly more rain, while others may experience temperatures higher than the averages given below.
Spain Winter Weather
The wintery months of January, February, and March are perfect for snowy sports, with the northern region experiencing the most snow in Spain. You’re going to want to pack your warmest coat as the temperatures drop significantly – especially near mountainous areas.
January, February, & March Weather in Northern Spain
January: The temperatures drop to an icy average minimum of 5°C, and maximum temperatures reach a meager 14°C.
February: Temperatures increase ever so slightly to average around 5°C (min) and 15°C (max).
March: As the mountains defrost for the blooming season, temperatures reach an average minimum of around 7°C, and maximum temperatures average around 16-17°C. You’ll also be treated to slightly longer days – great news for those who’d like to avoid the winter blues.
Spring Weather in Northern Spain
Spring in Spain runs for the months of April, May, and June and is a delightful season no matter where you go in Spain. You’ll get to enjoy mellow temperatures, lush greenery, and fragrant flowers all around. You can expect a few refreshing rainy days as the winter months melt away.
Weather in Northern Spain in April, May & June
April: Early spring temperatures are still relatively low as the Spanish mountains defrost. Average minimum temperatures are around 8°C, while temperatures peak at around 20°C.
May: Average minimum temperatures increase slightly to about 11°C, while average maximum temperatures range between 22-25°C.
June: With the most sunny hours of the season, June warms up slightly to average minimum and maximum temperatures around 14°C and 24°C.
Northern Spain Summer Temperatures
The summer months of July, August, and September are still comparatively chillier than the South. This makes the North an excellent spot for those who prefer their adventures and getaways in mellow weather.
Weather for Northern Spain in July, August, & September
July: The nights are a moderate 16°C (average), while the average maximum temperatures range around 25°C.
August: Ever so slightly warmer than July, August temperatures range between averages of 16°C (min) and 26°C (max).
September: With fall approaching, the days become shorter, and average temperatures drop slightly to minimum temperatures of 14°C and maximum temperatures around 24°C.
Fall Weather in Spain
Northern Spain starts to cool down during the autumn months of October, November, and December. These fall months are still ideal for touring Spain, but the northern region experiences a slight increase in rainy days (hardly enough to put a damper on your holiday spirits).
Weather in Northern Spain in October, November, & December
October: Average minimum temperatures drop to around 11°C, while average maximum temperatures reach up to around 19-23°C.
November: You can expect quite a drop in temperatures with winter around the corner. Minimum temperatures range around 8°C, while maximum temperatures reach a mellow 19°C.
December: You can expect low temperatures of around 6°C, with average maximum temperatures only reaching around 15°C.
Best Time to Visit Northern Spain
The peak season for tourism in Spain is around the summer months (from June to September). Accommodation, flight, and tour packages tend to be pricier during the high season, and restaurants and attractions are especially crowded.
What’s great about northern Spain is that it’s not as large of a tourist destination, so you’re less likely to encounter large crowds and packed restaurants. You can enjoy moderate temperatures in the North from autumn through spring – as long as you bring an umbrella along.
No matter the season you choose to visit, there are countless activities to keep busy throughout the year:
- Visit La Rioja and taste some authentic Spanish vino during the golden fall months when the harvesting activities are at their peak.
- Walk or cycle the Camino de Santiago during the summer or autumn months when rain levels are lower.
- Take a hike up the Pyrenees in Andorra during the summer months, or ski down the icy slopes in winter. The snow is at its best during January and February, and weekdays are less crowded.
- Try fresh seafood at the beautifully colorful town of Ribadesella in Asturias during summer. Or try out the locally produced cider at one of the many Asturian sidrerias (cider houses) and witness (or practice) the traditional way of pouring.
- Visit the spectacular Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao during the autumn or spring months when the weather and the crowds are moderate.
Final Thoughts on the Climate in Northern Spain
While the North of Spain may not be the sunniest, its temperatures are more accommodating, so you can expect to have a good time year-round.
Due to its abundance of rain, you’ll witness scenery like no other. With rolling hills, luscious forests, and plenty of water streams beautifying the region, Northern Spain is sure to be memorable.
If, by now, you’ve concluded during which season you’d like to visit the North of Spain, have a look at this guide to getting your Spain Visa. It may also be helpful to have a look at our seasonal packing guide as you prepare for your trip.