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?
A man cools off at a water fountain during a heatwave in Córdoba in August 2021. (Photo by JORGE GUERRERO / AFP)

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 30C, or 7C to 8C 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 36.5C throughout the month of August.
  2. Seville makes it an Andalusian top two, averaging 35.5C in August. 
  3. Badajoz, also in the south-west of Spain but in the region of Extremadura, averages 34.5C 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 34.2C 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 34.2C 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 – 22C. 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 15C during December.
  3. Valencia – The eastern city’s positioning on the Mediterranean means it also averages 15C throughout December.
  4. Mallorca – It may not always be beach weather during winter in the Balearics but 14C 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 47.3C in July 2017.
    2. Mengíbar. The small town in Jaén province topped out at 47.1C in August 2011.
    3. Badajoz. A quirk of history, and heat, is that Badajoz maxed out at 47C in both June 1864 and August 1964, almost exactly 100 years later!
    4. Seville. The Andalusian capital also registered 47C in 1946.
    5. El Hierro. The small Canary Island also reached 47C 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 51C and 50C 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.

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CONFIRMED: Spain had the hottest month of October on record

October 2022 was the hottest month of October in Spain since records started in 1961, the government said Monday after experts warned that unusually warm temperatures pointed to accelerating climate change.

CONFIRMED: Spain had the hottest month of October on record

The average temperature for the month was 18 degrees Celsius (64.4 Fahrenheit) — 3.6 degrees Celsius higher than the average temperature recorded in October between 1981 and 2020, the ministry for ecological transition said Monday.

Up until now the warmest October recorded in Spain was that of 2020 when the average temperature was 0.6 degrees above the average, and 2017 when its was 0.3 degrees above normal level, the statement added.

The unusually warm October follows a summer in Spain and much of Europe marked by repeated heatwaves which fuelled wildfires and worsened drought conditions.

The mild October kept outdoor terraces full across much of Spain while beaches were more crowded than usual for this month.

October 2022 was also especially dry in Spain, with 68 percent less rain that the normal level for the month, the ministry said.

This has been the fourth driest year in Spain since records started being kept.

Between January and October the country received an average of 355 litres of rainfall per square metre, 26 percent less than the normal level, the statement said.

Rubén del Campo, the spokesman for Spain’s meteorological service Aemet, told AFP at the end of October that the unusually warm temperatures were a sign of the “notable acceleration” in climate change over the past decade.