The Spanish capital may not be the first city that comes to mind when you think of a traditional winter wonderland vacation.
Still, Madrid in December is actually a great place to enjoy all the festive activities and attractions the city has to offer, but What about snow? Does it snow in Madrid? Let’s find out.
Does It Snow In Madrid?
Although Madrid is not in a particularly snowy part of the world, it does snow there on occasion. Snowfall is most likely to occur in the mountains surrounding the city, but it has been known to fall in the city itself as well.
Madrid receives occasional Snowfall for a few days a year. Normally Madrid receives around 3 to 5 inches of snowfall per year, with February being the snowiest month of the year, receiving around 1.3 inches of snow.
Madrid received its heaviest snowfall of all time in just three days, from January 7 to 10, 2021. The Snow accumulated between 20 to 24 inches within the city, setting a new snowfall record for Madrid.
How Often Does It Snow In Madrid?
Madrid’s weather is significantly impacted by its elevation. The city sits at an average elevation of 650m (2,133 ft), which helps to keep Madrid cooler in the summer months and warmer in the winter months when compared to other parts of Spain at similar latitudes.
That being said, Madrid can still get extremely hot in the summer, with temperatures regularly hitting 40°C (104°F), and it can get quite cold in the winter, with temperatures dipping below freezing.
Precipitation-wise, Madrid is a relatively dry city. It averages only about 560 mm (22 inches) of precipitation per year, most of which falls in the form of rain from October to April.
Snow is relatively rare in Madrid, but it does happen on occasion – typically a few times each winter. When it does snow, it usually only lasts for a day or two before melting away.
When Does it Snow In Madrid?
Madrid experiences very little snowfall annually, with an average of just 8 days of snow a year.
The Spanish capital sees snow more often in the mountains that surround it. However, the city itself is largely sheltered from cold weather by its southerly latitude and proximity to the warm Mediterranean Sea.
The months of December, January, and February have a high chance of precipitation.
The Seasons in Madrid
Seasons in Madrid are opposite of what we have in the Northern hemisphere. Madrid does have four seasons, but they are spring, summer, fall, and winter.
The location of Madrid, Spain, being south of the equator, causes the weather to be opposite of what we are used to. When it is winter here in the United States, it is summer in Madrid.
This means that when many people are planning their winter vacations, they are actually heading to Madrid for some sun and warmer weather.
The temperatures in Madrid can range greatly depending on the season. The average temperature in Madrid during the months of June, July, and August (Madrid’s winter) is about 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
December, January, and February (Madrid’s summer) see average temperatures around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. These are just averages though, and temperatures can range much higher or lower than this at any time of year.
Precipitation also varies throughout the year in Madrid. October through March is when Madrid sees the majority of its rainfall, with an average of about 4 inches per month. April through September is when Madrid experiences the least amount of rainfall, with an average of only 1 inch per month.
Snow is a meteorological event that happens very rarely in Madrid. The most recent dates on which snow with a record amount of all time of 20 inches has fallen in the Madrid region are January 7 to 10, 2021.
However, it is important to note that Madrid is located at an elevation of 650 meters (2,133 feet), which means that it does not snow as often as it does in other parts of Spain or in neighboring countries.
The Climate in Madrid
Madrid experiences a semi-arid climate (Köppen: BSh), with cold winters and hot summers. Due to its high altitude and inland location, Madrid has one of the more extreme seasonal temperature variations in all of Europe.
Temperatures in winter can average below freezing, while summer temperatures can exceed 40 °C (104 °F). Snowfall is infrequent but does occur almost every winter. From 1971 to 2000, Madrid’s mean annual temperature was 13.5 °C (56.3 °F).
The highest recorded temperature was 42.6 °C (108.7 °F) on 24 July 1995, although this reading is disputed since it was taken at Puerto del Pico, a nearby mountain peak where much higher temperatures are common due to the Foehn effect.
The lowest recorded temperature was −9.2 °C (15.4 °F) on 12 January 1985 at Getafe Air Base, a nearby military installation.
Things to Do in Madrid in Winter
Madrid is a beautiful city with a lot to offer, no matter what time of year you visit. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Madrid during the winter, here are a few ideas of things to do to make the most of your trip.
– Visit the Royal Palace: The Palace is open all year round and is especially beautiful in winter when it’s all lit up. Make sure to dress warmly, though, as it can get chilly standing around outside.
– Warm up with some Spanish food: There’s nothing better than Spanish food to warm you up on a cold day. Try dishes like cocido madrileño (a thick stew) or callos a la madrileña (tripe with ham and sausage).
– See the Christmas lights: Madrid’s Christmas lights are some of the best in Europe. They start going up in early December and stay up until early January, so you have plenty of time to enjoy them.
– Go ice skating: If you’re looking for something active to do, why not go ice skating at one of Madrid’s many outdoor rinks? It’s a great way to work up an appetite for all that Spanish food!
Winter activities in Madrid
Although Madrid is not a traditional winter wonderland destination, there are still plenty of things to do in the city during the colder months.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Visit one of Madrid’s many museums, such as the Prado Museum or the Reina Sofia Museum.
- Wander through the Royal Palace of Madrid and marvel at the opulent architecture and furnishings.
- Enjoy views of the city from one of Madrid’s many lookout points, such as the Casa de Campo or the Templo de Debod.
- Go for a leisurely stroll through one of Madrid’s large parks, such as Retiro Park or El Capricho Park.
- Sample some traditional Spanish winter dishes, such as cocido madrileño or callos a la madrileña.
- Warm up with a glass of Vino Tinto or chocolate con churros at one of Madrid’s many cafes.
Madrid winter festivals
During winter, Madrid becomes a city of light thanks to its streets and public spaces being adorned with over 300,000 lights. This year’s festival runs from the end of November until early January.
One of the most popular events during Madrid’s winter festival is the Ice Palace. This year, it will be located in the midst of Retiro Park and will be made entirely out of ice from a nearby lake.
The palace will have a bar where you can enjoy a drink surrounded by ice sculptures, and there will also be ice skating and other winter sports on offer.
If you’re looking for something a little more traditional, then you can head to Puerta del Sol, where the giant Christmas tree is lit up. This is usually accompanied by a nativity scene, which is one of the most iconic images associated with Christmas in Spain.
Madrid’s winter festival is the perfect way to experience the city during the colder months. With plenty of activities on offer, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
In conclusion, does it snow in Madrid? Based on our research, the answer appears to be no. While it is possible for snow to fall in the city on rare occasions, it is not a common occurrence. If you’re hoping to see a white Christmas while you’re in Madrid, you’re better off heading somewhere else!