Does it snow in Madrid, Spain? Winter weather guide!

people enjoying the streets of snow, in the city of Madrid, covered by the storm philomena, january 05, 2021 in Madrid

Does it snow in Madrid? Can you expect a snowy trip in winter?

The capital city of Spain is much more renowned for its scorching summer temperatures – but you might be surprised to know that snow can happen here!

Madrid’s slight altitude and the fact that it’s inland mean that winter temperatures are chillier, and snow is much more likely than Spanish coastal cities.

But just how likely is snow in Spain’s capital? We’ll delve into what you can expect in this article!

Does it snow in Madrid?

So, you’ve planned a winter trip to Madrid. Now, what’s the weather going to be like? Is there a chance of snow?

Well, the short answer is yes, it can snow in Madrid.

But don’t get your hopes up for a snowy spectacle every year.

Madrid does get cold in winter, especially in January, and every now and then, the city wakes up to a light blanket of snow.

The most memorable in recent years was the snowstorm in 2021!

But that was an outlier, a rarity that had locals and tourists snapping pictures like they’d never seen snow before.

But most winters pass without any major snowfall.

In fact, when I visited Madrid in February a few years ago, the temperatures were quite mild – I needed a coat, but didn’t have to wrap up in a scarf and gloves like I was doing back in the UK.

When does It snow in Madrid?

Madrid, Spain cityscape at Calle de Alcala and Gran Via.

There’s a chance of snow in Madrid throughout the winter, but unlike places further north like Iceland or Norway, there’s a much narrower window.

Here’s exactly when it snows in Madrid:

Does it snow in Madrid in November?

November in Madrid feels much more autumnal.

Sure, it gets cooler (October can feel like summer!) but there’s no chance of snow.

Does It snow in Madrid in December?

December starts to feel a bit more like winter, but the chance of snow is still very slim.

Festive decorations? Sure, and the nights can get chilly, but don’t come expecting a white Christmas!

Does It snow in Madrid in January?

January is the coldest month in Madrid, which means that the likelihood of snow is at its highest, but it’s still unlikely.

But if you’re planning a January trip, do keep an eye on the weather forecast!

Does It snow in Madrid in February?

Snow’s possible in Madrid in February, but it’s less likely than January – and January doesn’t have a huge likelihood of snow to begin with!

It was around 10°C most of the time when I visited Madrid in February – far away from snowy temperatures!

Does It snow in Madrid in March?

No, the likelihood of snow in Madrid in March is very slim, with daytime temperatures typically reaching around 16°C.

Average temperatures in Madrid in winter

Here’s a table that illustrates the average temperatures of Madrid in winter, which should demonstrate just how rare snow is!

MonthHigh TemperatureLow TemperatureRain
November13°C (55°F)6°C (43°F)6 days
December10°C (50°F)4°C (39°F)6 days
January10°C (50°F)3°C (37°F)5 days
February12°C (54°F)4°C (39°F)5 days
March16°C (61°F)6°C (43°F)5 days

As you can see, average low temperatures in Madrid don’t ever drop below freezing – so any cooler weather is an outlier!

Why does it snow in Madrid sometimes?

Madrid at Christmas

All that said, snow is much more likely in Madrid than in coastal cities like Barcelona and Malaga. So why is this?

The reason boils down to a mix of altitude, geographical location, and prevailing weather patterns.

Situated at around 650 meters above sea level, Madrid is one of Europe’s highest capital cities after Andorra.

This altitude plays a role in the city’s colder winter temperatures!

Madrid has what’s known as a semi-arid, cold climate.

Unlike the persistent chill you’d find in Northern European cities, Madrid’s winter is sort of a brief intermission in an otherwise warm and dry year.

So, while it gets cold enough for snow, the conditions aren’t always ideal for sustained snowfall.

Another factor is the lack of moisture-laden winds from the sea.

Madrid is landlocked and situated quite a distance from both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.

Cities closer to these large bodies of water tend to have milder, wetter winters, thanks to the maritime influence. Madrid, however, gets less of this moderating effect.

Finally, when cold fronts do sweep in, they’re often not carrying enough moisture to generate substantial snowfall.

You’ll get the cold, but not always the snow that usually comes with it in other places.

When has it snowed in Madrid?

people enjoying the streets of snow, in the city of Madrid, covered by the storm philomena, january 05, 2021 in Madrid

Madrid’s certainly not renowned for snowy winters, but it does happen!

Take the 2021 snowstorm “Filomena,” for example. This storm was the talk of the town, burying Madrid under a 50-cm blanket of snow.

It was the heaviest snowfall the city had seen in decades and made headlines both locally and internationally.

It also happened in 2009.

Not as intense as Filomena, but it still left a substantial impact.

Schools shut down, traffic froze, and the city turned into a playground for snowball fights and sledging.

Historical records point to notable snowfalls in the 1940s and even earlier too.

How does Madrid react to snow?

Madrid is a city accustomed to sun and relatively mild winters – so when snowflakes make their rare appearance, it provokes quite a bit of excitement!

Here’s what you can expect:

  • Public transport: When a significant snowfall hits, expect some delays and disruptions, particularly with buses and above-ground trains. The metro, however, usually keeps running.
  • Driving: If you’ve rented a car, check local traffic reports and perhaps switch to public transit for the day – the roads will be gritted, but it’ll take some time.
  • Icy pavements: Some of Madrid’s smaller streets might not be cleared as quickly as major roads. So, if you’re walking around, keep an eye out for icy patches.
  • Closures: Depending on how heavy the snowfall is, some schools, offices and businesses might be closed.
  • Snowball fights and snowmen building: With people off school and work, you might find an influx of bundled-up residents at Madrid’s many parks enjoying the weather!

FAQs about snow in Madrid

Madrid winter

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about snow in Madrid:

When did it last snow in Madrid?

The most recent significant snowfall in Madrid was during the storm “Filomena” in January 2021.

The city was blanketed in up to 50 cm of snow, disrupting daily life significantly!

Does it snow in Madrid Spain?

Yes, it does snow in Madrid, although it’s rare.

Most winters pass with little to no snowfall.

When it does happen, it’s usually light and melts quickly.

How often does Madrid get snow?

Snow in Madrid is not an annual occurrence.

On average, the city experiences snowfall every two to three years.

The snow that does fall is often light and short-lived.

Is snow rare in Madrid?

Indeed, snow is rare in Madrid.

The city’s geographical and climatic conditions make significant snowfall uncommon, so it’s noteworthy when it does happen.

Is Madrid colder than Barcelona?

Yes, Madrid generally experiences colder winters than Barcelona.

While both cities have Mediterranean influences, Madrid’s higher altitude and more inland location means colder temperatures, especially at night!

How cold is Madrid at Christmas?

Christmas in Madrid tends to be chilly, with average temperatures ranging from 6 to 12 degrees Celsius.

Evening temperatures often drop below freezing, so bring a good coat if you’re visiting during the holiday season!

What is the coldest it gets in Madrid?

The coldest temperature ever recorded in Madrid was -10.1 degrees Celsius in February 1945.

While such extreme cold is rare, temperatures in winter can frequently drop below freezing, especially at night.

Is Madrid fun in winter?

Absolutely, Madrid boasts a variety of winter activities, from enjoying hearty traditional dishes like cocido madrileño to visiting iconic sights with fewer crowds.

While snowfall is rare, the city has a different charm in the colder months!

Where is the nearest snow to Madrid?

The closest place to find reliable snow near Madrid is the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range, about an hour’s drive from the city. The area has skiing and snowboarding slopes, generally from December through March.

Snow in Madrid: unlikely, but not impossible!

So, while snow in Madrid isn’t likely, you could experience it, especially if you’re visiting in January.

Either way, winters can be quite chilly in the capital.

I’d recommend travelling further south in Spain if you’re looking for warmer destinations.

Seville, Malaga, Valencia, Mallorca and the Canary Islands (such as Tenerife and Lanzarote) all have mild winters, with an almost non-existent chance of snow!

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