Where are the rainiest places in Spain?

Is it true that the rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain? Here’s a breakdown of the cities and other locations where it rains the most in Spain. 

rainiest places in spain
It rains a lot in northern Spain but there are other parts in the south of the country where there's plenty of rainfall. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP)

Spain isn’t a country that’s associated with cloudy and rainy weather but anyone who’s travelled around the Iberian nation will know that sunny skies aren’t always guaranteed. 

There are in fact parts of the country where there’s rain for half of the year. 

And no, the line ‘the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain’ – conceived as a way to judge proper English pronunciation during Victorian times – isn’t scientifically accurate.

Weather patterns are changing as the world’s climatologists have made many of us aware of, but if there is a place that’s historically rainy it’s northern Spain. 

A climate guide by Spain’s national weather agency Aemet which looked at weather stats from 1981 to 2010 found that the rainiest city in Spain is the Basque city of San Sebastián, where there is rain on average 141.1 days every year. 

It rains a lot in the classy Basque city of San Sebastián, also known as Donostia. Photo: Raul Cacho Oses/Unsplash

The following six rainiest cities after San Sebastián are all in the coastal windswept region of Galicia in northwestern Spain. 

As you will see in the breakdown below, there is a clear north-south divide in terms of average precipitation in Spain, with the first 27 spots occupied by cities that are north of Madrid.

The rainiest cities in Spain:  

1 San Sebastián – 141.1 days of rain a year

2 Santiago de Compostela – 139.5  days of rain a year

3 Pontevedra – 131.3 days of rain a year

4 A Coruña – 129.6 days of rain a year

5 Vigo – 129.2 days of rain a year

6 Lugo – 126.3 days of rain a year

7 Bilbao – 124.0 days of rain a year

8 Santander – 123.6 days of rain a year

9 Oviedo – 122.3 days of rain a year

10 Vitoria-Gasteiz – 99.3 days of rain a year

11 Ourense – 96.9 days of rain a year

12 Pamplona – 93.5 days of rain a year

13 Burgos – 83.5 days of rain a year

14 Soria – 78.8 days of rain a year

15 Segovia – 78.6 days of rain a year

16 León – 74.9 days of rain a year

17 Guadalajara – 74.1 days of rain a year

18 Cuenca – 71.2 days of rain a year

19 Valladolid – 68.5 days of rain a year

20 Ávila – 66.9 days of rain a year

21 Logroño – 66.6 days of rain a year

22 Girona – 65.8 days of rain a year

23 Cáceres – 64.2 days of rain a year

24 Zamora – 64.2 days of rain a year

25 Salamanca – 63.8 days of rain a year

26 Maó (Menorca) – 63.6 days of rain a year

27 Huesca – 60.7 days of rain a year

28 Madrid – 59.4 days of rain a year

29 Ciudad Real – 59.3 days of rain a year

30 Badajoz – 59.2 days of rain a year

31 Teruel – 57.4 days of rain a year

32 Córdoba – 56.6 days of rain a year

33 Toledo – 53.8 days of rain a year

34 Barcelona – 53.3 days of rain a year

35 Palma (Mallorca) – 53.1 days of rain a year

36 Granada – 52.1 days of rain a year

37 Huelva – 51.5 days of rain a year

38 Zaragoza – 51.1 days of rain a year

39 Cádiz – 50.7 days of rain a year

40 Sevilla – 50.5 days of rain a year

41 Albacete – 50.4 days of rain a year

42 Tarragona – 50.3 days of rain a year

43 Lleida – 46.2 days of rain a year

44 Jaén – 46.0 days of rain a year

45 Castellón – 45.5 days of rain a year

46 Valencia – 43.9 days of rain a year

47 Málaga – 42.3 days of rain a year

48 Alicante – 37.5 days of rain a year

49 Murcia – 36.5 days of rain a year

50 Santa Cruz de Tenerife – 29.7 days of rain a year

51 Almería – 25.4  days of rain a year

This map of Spain by Aemet, which doesn’t include the Canary Islands, shows where the average rainfall in millilitres is highest, again reflecting the stark difference between the country’s northern coastline (mostly in blue due to higher precipitation) and the rest of the country. 

Map showing average annual rainfall in the Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic Islands. Source: Aemet weather agency

But if you look closer, you’ll see that in Spain’s southern tip there’s also an area with a high amount of rainfall. 

This is Cádiz province, more specifically the Sierra de Grazalema, a mountainous range that records around 4,000 mm of rainfall per square metre a year. 

Even though it doesn’t rain that often in Cádiz city, the nearby Sierra de Grazalema is widely regarded as the rainiest place in Spain, making Cádiz the rainiest province in Spain, ahead of other cloud-covered Galician provinces such as Pontevedra and Vigo. 

Dark clouds approaching the village of Zahara de la Sierra in the Grazalema region. Photo: José Luis Rodríguez Martínez/Unsplash

Other mountain ranges (and their closeby villages and towns) such as the Sierra de Gredos in central Spain and the Navarran Pyrenees and Cantabrian Mountains in the north record high levels of rainfall throughout much of the year. 

But if there is a region where rain is common throughout its cities, countryside and most of its territory it has to be Galicia. 

A lot of the time it’s drizzle, but in specific areas of the Rías Baixas or the Barbanza region rainfall amounts to 2,500 litres per square metre per year .

Its climate is oceanic, temperate, humid and very variable throughout the year, and most of the storms that are generated in the Atlantic enter the Iberian Peninsula through Galicia, all of which contributes to the often 150 days of rain a year in the region.

It’s no surprise Gallegos (Galician people) have more than 100 words to describe rain.

READ ALSO: Where are the coldest places in Spain?

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KEY POINTS: What changes in Spain in July 2022?

July sees the start of the summer holidays in Spain and brings with it new crisis handouts, VAT cuts on energy bills, travel chaos and a possible deal on UK driving licences. Join The Local Spain as a member to find out about this and plenty more.

KEY POINTS: What changes in Spain in July 2022?

€200 crisis payment available in July 

As part of their new draft of measures to help those struggling with the rising cost of living, the Spanish government announced they would give a one-off €200 handout to the most vulnerable individuals.

The payment plan is set to be activated this month and you can find out who is eligible and how to apply for it here.

According to Spain’s Tax Minister María Jesús Montero, approximately 2.7 million people in Spain will be able to benefit from the scheme. Individuals can request the €200 payment, as can families, but only one payment per household is allowed.

VAT on electricity bills cut by half 

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez recently announced that the government would apply a further reduction in VAT on electricity bills, which has now been approved by the cabinet. This means that a VAT reduction, from 10 to five percent, will be applied to electricity bills from July onwards.  

Find out how much you could save on your electricity bill with the new VAT discount here

Travel chaos continues

In the lead-up to the summer holidays, there has been travel chaos across Europe, including in Spain, due to flight cancellations, staff shortages and strikes. Unfortunately, the travel misery is only set to continue into July as several Spain-based cabin crew, including those from easyJet, Ryanair and Lufthansa have announced strikes.

EasyJet staff are scheduled to go on a nine-day strike on July 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 15th, 16th, 17th, 29th, 30th and 31st. Meanwhile, the Ryanair strike, which started on June 24th will continue on July 1st and 2nd. Over 54 flights have already been cancelled by the low-cost airline and more than 300 have been delayed.

German carrier Lufthansa and its budget airline brand, Eurowings are also planning to cancel more than 3,000 flights this summer due to both staff shortages and strikes. This is expected to affect flights from the hubs of Frankfurt and Munich to Spain, among others. 

Could there finally be a deal on UK driving licences?

The British Ambassador to Spain Hugh Elliott recently shared his latest update on the driving licence negotiations between the UK and Spain, indicating a possible agreement to have affected drivers back on the road by the end of July 2022.

“The UK and Spain are now in agreement on the core issues that have been problematic and we’re now very close to finalising the actual text of the agreement,” he explained.

This will be a great relief for many British residents in Spain who were unable to exchange their licence for a Spanish one and haven’t been allowed on the roads since May 1st 2022.

Scorching weather returns to Spain in July

After a brief respite from the mid-June heatwaves, the hot weather is set to return in July. According to the weather site Meteored, the first week of July will see storms and unpredictable weather in the north of the country, while temperatures could reach over 40°C in the south of the country around Córdoba and Seville.

The middle of the month from July 11th to 17th is set to see temperatures rise again. It’s likely that much of Extremadura and Andalusia will experience temperatures around 40°C, while it could also reach 38°C in Bilbao and Madrid.

The last two weeks of July will get even hotter with Meteored predicting the hottest temperatures of the whole year. Temperatures are expected to be above normal in all regions apart from along the Cantabrian coast and in the Canary Islands.

Summer sales go into full throttle

July 1st sees the official start of the summer sales throughout much of Spain, although many stores have started even earlier. With rising costs due to inflation, this is the time of year to benefit from some of the biggest discounts.

Amazon has two days scheduled for its sales from July 12th-13th, while H&M and all the retail stores belonging to Spanish clothing giant Inditex (Zara, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Pull & Bear and Stradivarius) are also due to have their sales this month.

After the start of the sales, you’ll see signs for “segundas rebajas” (second sales), then “terceras rebajas” and finally “remate final” (final push), where discounts progressively go from 30 percent to 40, then 50 and finally down to an incredible 70 percent price reduction. 

Imserso holiday scheme for pensioners kicks off 

Imserso is a social scheme offering holidays to the elderly, which aim to offer subsidised trips to pensioners. Applications for the vacation scheme this year are open from June 27th to July 19th and usually run during the low season from October. Find out how to apply here.

Depending on the dates you go and the type of accommodation you stay in, you will usually have to pay between €115 and €405 for the trip.

Vehicles in Spain need to have Intelligent Speed Assistance

New cars sold in Spain and across the EU must have automatic Intelligent Speed Assistance technology from July 6th as part of the General Safety Regulation.

All newly launched models will need to have Intelligent Speed Assistance systems installed as standard. The idea is to limit speeds and warn drivers to slow down if they’re over the legal speed limit.

Festivals in Spain in July

July sees a whole host of festivals and celebrations across the country. Most famous are the San Fermín Running of the Bulls, held in Pamplona from July 6th – 14th and the Fiestas de Santiago Apóstol, held in the Galician city on July 25th.

Other festivities taking place in July include Bilbao’s BBK music festival from the 7th to the 9th and the Moors and Christians parades in Villajoyosa from the 23rd to 24th, commemorating the battle of 1538.

Pride celebrations are also set to return in July. Madrid’s LGBTIQ+ festival will take place from July 1st to 10th throughout many areas of the city but concentrated around Chueca.

New law to improve rights of domestic workers

A new law could be approved this month to improve the rights of domestic workers so that they have the same rights as other workers, such as the right to unemployment benefits and proper wages.

A third of the 536,100 domestics (mostly women) who work in Spain are not signed up to Spain’s social security system, according to the country’s Labour Force Survey. Two out of every three have earnings around the minimum wage bracket.

Early last year the Spanish government sent out letters to Spanish households who employ workers to warn them of their obligations.