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Weather in Spain in January: A Guide to Spain’s Regions

Weather in Spain in January: A Guide to Spain’s Regions

The weather in Spain in January of course depends on where in the country you plan to visit.

If you’re considering a winter trip to Spain in January, you’re in for a treat! Spain offers a diverse climate that varies from region to region, making it a fantastic destination year-round.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore what the weather is like in different parts of Spain during January, ensuring that you know exactly what to expect all around this beautiful country.

Whether you’re planning a city break, beach holiday, or outdoor adventure, this guide has got you covered.

A Quick Overview of January in Spain

Before delving into specific regions, let’s get a general sense of what you can expect throughout Spain in January. It’s important to note that Spain experiences a predominantly Mediterranean climate, characterized by mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. However, as we explore different regions, you’ll see significant variations:

  • Average Temperature: In January, Spain sees cooler temperatures, with the inland regions often colder than the coastal areas. Average daytime temperatures range from 8°C to 16°C (46°F to 61°F).
  • Precipitation: January is relatively wet in Spain, especially along the northern and western coasts. You can expect some rainfall, with the average monthly precipitation ranging from 30 mm to 80 mm.
  • Snow: Snow is not uncommon in some interior regions, particularly in Northern Spain and the Pyrenees.
  • Sea Temperature: If you’re interested in swimming in the Mediterranean Sea or the Atlantic Ocean, be prepared for chillier water temperatures. The sea temperature typically ranges from 13°C to 16°C (55°F to 61°F). Perfect for cold water swimmers!

Now, let’s take a closer look at specific regions in Spain and their weather during January.

snow on mountains in the background in the pyrenees mountains in Spain in January

If you love snowy mountains, get yourself to the Pyrenees in Northern Spain close to the border with France.

Barcelona: A Mild Winter Wonderland

Barcelona, in Catalonia, is known for its mild winters, making it an excellent destination for a January getaway. The city enjoys a Mediterranean climate with cool and wet winters, but rarely does it become bitterly cold.

The sweltering heat and humidity of summer is a thing of the past and you will be able to walk for hours around the narrow gothic alleyways without even breaking a sweat.

You might encounter grey skies which lend an extra air of mystery to this medieval city. But blue skies are still plentiful and you shouldn’t count out a walk through the city’s many parks or a paella next to the beach.

  • Average Temperature: Barcelona experiences average daytime temperatures of around 14°C (57°F) in January.
  • Precipitation: Rainfall is moderate, with an average of 40 mm during the month.
  • Snow: While it’s rare to see snow in Barcelona, the surrounding mountain areas like Montseny or Montserrat, usually great day trips from Barcelona, might have a dusting of snow.
  • Sea Temperature: The sea is a bit chilly, with temperatures ranging from 13°C to 15°C (55°F to 59°F).
  • Activities: January is an excellent time to explore the city’s cultural and architectural things to do in Barcelona, including the Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, and Gothic Quarter. You can also enjoy local cuisine in the city’s countless restaurants.
guggenheim museum in bilbao across the river.

Visit the many museums in Bilbao in winter, including the most famous of all, the Guggenheim.

Northern Spain: A Diverse Climate

Northern Spain, including regions like Galicia, Asturias, and the Basque Country, experiences a varied climate in January. This area is known for its lush green landscapes and stunning coastal scenery.

The highlands around this region see many grey and rainy days throughout the year so showers in January are nothing new. But this all adds to the cozy atmosphere that dominates here. Spend your day strolling around the many wonderful museums in Bilbao and sipping on some deep red wines and you will quickly forget about the moody weather.

  • Average Temperature: Expect cooler temperatures here, with averages between 8°C and 14°C (46°F to 57°F).
  • Precipitation: Northern Spain sees relatively high precipitation in January, ranging from 70 mm to 140 mm, making it one of the wetter regions.
  • Snow: Inland areas and mountainous regions, such as the Picos de Europa, may experience snowfall.
  • Sea Temperature: The sea is quite cold, with temperatures around 11°C to 13°C (52°F to 55°F).
  • Activities: Explore the charming cities, lush landscapes, and coastal villages. Northern Spain is known for its unique culinary traditions, so indulge in local dishes like Basque pintxos or Galician seafood.
mediterranean sea with the beach and mountains to the left are perfect time to visit Spain in January.

Enjoy Spain in January, including quiet beaches and fun cold swimming (although not THAT cold!).

Malaga and the Costa del Sol: A Winter Retreat

The Costa del Sol, including popular destinations like Malaga, Marbella, and Torremolinos, is a sunny haven even in the winter months. In fact, this is one of the warmest places in Spain in winter. This is a haven for Brits and Europeans trying to escape their own fierce winters and get a little vitamin D fix – it isn’t called the Sunshine Coast for nothing!

Although temperatures are quite lounge-on-the-beach-all-day high, you will embrace the warmth nonetheless.

  • Average Temperature: Malaga enjoys mild winters with temperatures averaging around 16°C (61°F) in January.
  • Precipitation: The region experiences very little rain during this time, with an average of around 30 mm.
  • Snow: Snowfall is extremely rare along the Costa del Sol.
  • Sea Temperature: While it’s not ideal for swimming, the sea temperature hovers around 16°C (61°F).
  • Activities: Enjoy the picturesque Malaga beaches, explore historic sites like the Alcazaba or the Malaga Cathedral, and savor delicious Andalusian cuisine in local tapas bars. This is a wonderful time of year to go hiking in this part of Spain or walk the Caminito del Rey. All are easy day trips from Malaga.
woman standing under a bell tower with a scarf around her neck and blue skies behind her.

A light coat and scarf are enough even on a cloudy day in beautiful Valencia in winter. I climbed up to the top of the bell tower and worked up enough of a sweat to feel nice and warm!

Valencia: Pleasant Winters

Valencia, on the eastern coast of Spain, offers a pleasant climate in January, making it a great choice for a winter holiday.

The city’s location along the Mediterranean ensures relatively mild temperatures and an inviting atmosphere. While the rest of Europe shivers in the winter chill, Valencia remains comfortable and inviting.

  • Average Temperature: Expect daytime temperatures around 15°C (59°F) in Valencia.
  • Precipitation: Valencia sees light to moderate rainfall, with an average of 20 mm.
  • Snow: Snowfall is extremely rare in Valencia.
  • Sea Temperature: The Mediterranean Sea is a bit chilly, with temperatures ranging from 13°C to 15°C (55°F to 59°F).
  • Activities: There are so many great things to do in Valencia. Explore the futuristic architecture of the City of Arts and Sciences, stroll through the historic old town, and savor a taste of the city’s culinary specialty, paella, at one of the best paella restaurants in Valencia. There are great beaches and tons of great day trips from Valencia worth checking out as well. January is perfect for hiking in Buñol or wine tasting in Requena!
ancient ruins in the distance on the top of a hill

January is a great time to go hiking around the mountains near Valencia and explore the ancient ruins which are usually BOILING HOT in summer.

Madrid: Cold but Charming

The Spanish capital, Madrid, experiences a continental climate with cold winters, contrasting with the milder coastal regions of the country. While January can be chilly in the heart of Spain, the city’s enchanting atmosphere, cultural richness, and vibrant street life more than compensate for the cooler temperatures.

  • Average Temperature: Madrid’s average daytime temperatures range from 4°C to 11°C (39°F to 52°F).
  • Precipitation: The city is relatively dry, with an average of 20 mm of precipitation.
  • Snow: Snowfall is not uncommon in Madrid, creating a picturesque winter scene. The city’s iconic landmarks, such as the Royal Palace and Puerta del Sol, look even more enchanting under a layer of snow.
  • Activities: Madrid boasts a wealth of cultural attractions, including world-class museums like the Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza. You can visit the Royal Palace, take a leisurely stroll through the Retiro Park, and warm up with a cup of traditional Spanish hot chocolate at one of the city’s charming cafés. Madrid’s vibrant street life and bustling tapas bars make it an exciting place to explore, even in winter.
January in Spain in the plaza mayor in Madrid.

Blue skies are common in Madrid in January. It’s cold but crisp and beautiful for exploring.

Alicante: Mild Winter on the Costa Blanca

Alicante, located on the Costa Blanca in southeastern Spain, is a fantastic destination for those seeking a mild and sunny winter getaway. This region is known for its beautiful Mediterranean climate and stunning coastline, and it’s a place where you can escape the cold and gray of winter in many other parts of Europe.

  • Average Temperature: Alicante’s daytime temperatures average around 16°C (61°F) in January.
  • Precipitation: Precipitation is low, with an average of 20 mm of rain during the month.
  • Snow: Snow is extremely rare in Alicante.
  • Sea Temperature: The sea temperature hovers around 15°C (59°F), making it quite cold for swimming.
  • Activities: There are plenty of great things to do in Alicante to keep you busy throughout the year. Alicante is a destination that offers a pleasant mix of relaxation and exploration. You can soak up the sun on the picturesque Alicante beaches, explore historical sites like Santa Barbara Castle, and dine at seafront restaurants, savoring local dishes like seafood paella. The city’s vibrant cultural scene and delightful cuisine will keep you entertained throughout your stay.
view of the alicante harbor from above where you can climb the santa barbara castle, a fun activity in Spain in January.

The views over Alicante harbor. You can get up into the hills around Santa Barbara Castle without breaking a sweat in January.

Almeria: A Mild Winter Oasis

Almeria, located on the southern coast of Spain, offers a mild winter climate that is both welcoming and comfortable. This lesser-known gem is an excellent choice for travelers seeking a peaceful escape during the winter months.

  • Average Temperature: Almeria boasts daytime temperatures of around 17°C (63°F) in January.
  • Precipitation: The region sees minimal rainfall, with an average of 20 mm during the month.
  • Snow: Snowfall is exceptionally rare in Almeria.
  • Sea Temperature: The Mediterranean Sea is around 15°C (59°F).
  • Activities: Almeria is a place of unique landscapes and opportunities for exploration. You can visit the Tabernas Desert, which is Europe’s only desert, or explore the stunning Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park. Don’t forget to savor local dishes, particularly local seafood dishes. Almeria’s tranquility and natural beauty create a peaceful and memorable winter oasis.
sun setting over the horizon with a bell tower and church in the background.

Cities are great trips to take around Spain in January because even if it it gets cold, you can explore so many indoor activities, too.

Seville: A Winter of Mild Temperatures

Seville, the capital of Andalusia, offers a pleasant winter climate that sets the stage for a delightful January getaway. This city is famous for its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture, and in the winter months, it exudes charm without the summer’s scorching heat.

  • Average Temperature: Seville experiences average daytime temperatures of around 16°C (61°F) in January.
  • Precipitation: Precipitation is low, with an average of 30 mm of rainfall.
  • Snow: Snowfall is exceedingly rare in Seville.
  • Activities: There are so many wonderful things to do in Seville. It is a city that beckons you to explore its stunning architecture, from the Alcazar and Seville Cathedral to the iconic Plaza de España. You can also immerse yourself in the world of flamenco, indulge in delicious Andalusian tapas, take a tour of Seville, and enjoy the city’s vibrant street life. Seville’s cultural richness and pleasant winter weather make it an excellent choice for a memorable holiday.
football ground with blue skies above.

January in Spain is great for futbol fans! There are plenty of games to go to around the country at this time of year. Just be sure to bring enough layers if you are going to see Madrid!

Ibiza: A Mild Winter Escape

Ibiza, known for its vibrant nightlife and stunning beaches, takes on a different charm in January. While it’s not the peak season for beach parties, the island offers a more relaxed and serene atmosphere, making it an appealing destination for a winter escape.

  • Average Temperature: Ibiza experiences mild winters, with daytime temperatures averaging around 14°C (57°F) in January.
  • Precipitation: Rainfall is relatively low, with an average of 30 mm, making it one of the drier regions in Spain during January.
  • Snow: Snow is virtually unheard of in Ibiza. You won’t have to worry about winter weather impacting your plans.
  • Sea Temperature: The Mediterranean Sea remains chilly, with temperatures ranging from 13°C to 15°C (55°F to 59°F).
  • Activities: Ibiza may not be bustling with summer crowds, but it’s an excellent time to explore its natural wonders, including serene coves and hiking trails. The island’s charming villages, such as Dalt Vila, offer a glimpse into its rich history. Plus, with fewer tourists, you can experience a more authentic side of Ibiza and take advantage of the island’s delicious cuisine in local restaurants. Some of the best beach clubs in Ibiza, which are usually hundreds of Euros to enjoy are a fraction of the cost and so much more laid back.
boardwalk with palm trees on one side and the beach on the other side.

January in Spain is great to go running by the beach. The perfect temperature for jogging is around this time of year, especially in southern Spain.

The Canary Islands: Year-Round Paradise

The Canary Islands, including Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, and Fuerteventura, are known for their pleasant year-round climate, making them an ideal choice for a winter getaway. These islands offer a variety of landscapes, from lush greenery to volcanic landscapes, providing a diverse range of experiences.

  • Average Temperature: The Canary Islands boast mild winters, with daytime temperatures ranging from 17°C to 22°C (63°F to 72°F) in January.
  • Precipitation: The islands typically receive low rainfall, with an average of around 20 mm.
  • Snow: Snow is virtually non-existent in the Canary Islands.
  • Sea Temperature: The sea remains relatively warm, with temperatures ranging from 18°C to 21°C (64°F to 70°F).
  • Activities: The Canary Islands offer a diverse range of activities, including exploring the dramatic landscapes of Teide National Park in Tenerife, relaxing on the golden beaches of Gran Canaria, or indulging in water sports on the coasts of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. The islands are also known for their unique flora and fauna, making them a haven for nature enthusiasts. Plus, vibrant festivals and events often take place, providing a glimpse into the islands’ rich culture and traditions.

What Else is Happening in Spain in January?

Beyond the weather, Spain offers a variety of events and traditions during January, ensuring a culturally rich and diverse experience for visitors. Here’s a closer look at some of the highlights:

Three Kings’ Day (Dia de los Reyes Magos)

January 6th marks a significant holiday in Spain, Dia de los Reyes Magos, or Three Kings’ Day. This celebration is an extension of Christmas celebrations and sort of marks the end of the Christmas period. Children usually receive presents from the three kings.

Festivities often include parades, with the Kings arriving in towns and cities to greet excited crowds. It’s a wonderful time to witness the magic and joy of Spanish traditions.

historical ruins with a large gate at the entrance.

There are so many wonderful Roman and Moorish ruins around Spain to explore and January is a fun time of year to do that with fewer tourists and far less oppressive heat than the popular summer months.

Winter Festivals

Various cities across Spain host vibrant winter festivals during January, adding a unique and festive atmosphere. One such event is the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands.

This carnival is renowned for its elaborate costumes, lively music, and exuberant parades. Additionally, the Fiestas de San Sebastian in the Basque Country feature processions, musical performances, and the iconic Tamborrada drumming festival bringing communities together in celebration.

Skiing in the Pyrenees

If you’re a winter sports enthusiast, Spain offers excellent skiing opportunities in the Pyrenees during January. Destinations like Baqueira-Beret, Sierra Nevada, and Formigal are popular among skiers and snowboarders. The Pyrenees’ snowy slopes provide the perfect backdrop for outdoor adventure and alpine thrills.

Olive Harvest

In the Andalusian region, January is the prime season for olive harvesting. This time of year, olive groves come alive with activity as local farmers and communities participate in the ancient tradition of collecting olives.

You might even have the chance to join in the process, of experiencing the time-honored art of olive picking. Additionally, olive mills open their doors to visitors, offering insights into the production of olive oil, a fundamental element of Spanish cuisine.

Citrus Fruits

January marks the peak season for delicious Spanish citrus fruits. Oranges, lemons, and tangerines are in abundance and are at their juiciest and most flavorful.

Whether you enjoy them fresh, as part of a refreshing juice, or as a complement to local dishes, sampling these seasonal fruits is a delightful way to savor the tastes of Spain in January. Many cities host citrus festivals and markets to celebrate the harvest.

plaza in valencia with a bell tower in the distance.

There is never a bad time to visit Spain (unless you hate the heat, then summer is the worst time). But January is a great time to visit to do some cool-weather exploring without hoards of tourists.

Should You Visit Spain in January?

January in Spain is an ideal time to visit the country for lots of reasons. Whether you are looking for a sunny escape from winter in Northern Europe or you want to enjoy some of the usually busy destinations without the hoards of tourists, it’s a great month of the year to visit.

January is a unique time to explore Spain’s diverse regions. From the mild and sunny Costa del Sol to the cool, vibrant city of Madrid, there’s something for every traveler.

Keep in mind that while the weather varies, you can enjoy cultural events and seasonal specialties throughout the country.

So, whether you’re looking for a beach escape, a city adventure, or a chance to experience Spanish traditions, Spain in January has much to offer. Plan your trip accordingly, and you’ll be sure to have a memorable winter getaway.