Blue skies and golden sands sell hotel space. Places such as the Costa del Sol, Benidorm and Majorca thrive on this reputation. Summer in these parts is full of magnificent skies and sweltering heat; perfect for a relaxing break.
That said, the Iberian climate differs enormously across the peninsula. The country is quite large after all. The mainland extends from the Atlantic on the western side to the Mediterranean on the eastern side. It has all the variations these two waterways offer. Central Castille also has a typical continental climate.
The capital city, Madrid, lies in central Castille. It is extremely hot in summer. Yet, as if someone flicked a switch, the climate changes and cool winds seep through the city. Locals say that the local conditions are nine months of winter and three months of hell.
In the south - Andalusia, Extramadura and Murcia - temperatures are extremely high, The ancient Muslim capital of Cordoba is reputed as being the hottest place in the country. Thermometers routinely register over 40 degrees Celsius in summer. In January and February, it is possible to eat outside during the day.
The northwestern region of Galicia is reputed for wind and rain which it receives from the Atlantic Ocean. It is indeed a very green area, resembling Ireland in some parts. This can be said for many parts of Spain's northern coast. The Basque county is famous for its temperate summers and cold winters. While northern Europeans head south for the sun, many people around the country elect to spend summer holidays in the Basque country or neighboring Navarra for that reason.
In the northeast, Catalonia offers its sophisticated capital, Barcelona and the beach resorts of the Costa Brava. The sunny climate during high season attracts millions of tourists to both. Nevertheless, further inland are the Pyrenees, with their breathtaking villages. In the mountains, of course, temperatures drop significantly, to around 17 degrees in summer. The fresh air is soothing and relaxing.
There is some truth in the stereotype of Spanish weather weather in Spain has variations which the casual observer may not consider, however. This is one of the many surprising regional variations Spain has. Others include different languages and cuisine.
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