Six in ten working Flemings get outside for less than 15 minutes a day in the winter. Those statistics then include postal workers, construction workers and foresters, who brave the weather anyway. Without those outside people, the number rises to eight out of ten. In fact, up to ten percent of us don’t even breathe outdoors at all on workdays.
What do you want, in Flanders the weather is more often not than not to write home about. Rather, it lends itself to wrapping yourself in a fleece blanket and crawling behind a wood stove. If you get to see the sun at all in January or February, never for very long. What a difference from the south of Spain, where the sun always shines. In these seaside towns, no one is short of vitamin D.
The Mediterranean climate in Orihuela-Costa means 300 to 320 sunny days a year. It is especially hot between April and October, with virtually no precipitation. Its location between mountains and the warm sea makes for warm, dry summers and mild winters. The average monthly temperature in August is 26°C with regular outliers above 30°C. January has an average of 11°C and the temperature regularly approaches 20°C.
Orihuela-Costa is best known for its wide sandy beaches, some twenty kilometers in all. Beaches such as Playa Flamenca, Cabo Roig, La Zenia, Campoamor and Mil Palmeras have also been awarded a blue flag, the label that indicates their quality.
In winter, the beaches lend themselves to long walks. And no, you don’t need a fur coat for that. Some locals even celebrate New Year’s with a barbecue on the beach. The beaches do get crowded in the summer, when the water has a temperature of 25°C and the area turns into a pleasant roasting oven. And if it really gets too hot, you can still cool off in the air-conditioned La Zenia Boulevard, a world-class shopping center.
We previously wrote about Orihuela-Costa and why it’s such a delight to live there.
The unofficial capital of the Costa Blanca enjoys a Mediterranean climate with hot sunny summers and pleasantly mild winters. Ideal weather for getting a tan on the beaches, wandering through the alleys looking for a tapas bar or a restaurant, or strolling along the promenade. Or, if you don’t mind turning into a sweaty buffalo, climb the 160-meter-high Monte Benancantil to Santa Bárbara Castle. Water sports enthusiasts are also in for a treat. Alicante is more authentic and Spanish than many other resorts on the Costa Blanca.
Some periods, such as autumn, are relatively wet. Emphasis on relative, because the average rainfall in Alicante is 285 millimeters per year, three times less than in Belgium. And also less than in other seaside towns on the Costa Blanca, such as Benidorm and Denia. The rain is concentrated in a few periods, especially around September and October. In the summer, hardly a drop falls. This is a very dry and arid part of the coast.
The sun shines about 2500 hours a year, or 300 days. Summers are especially balmy, with clear skies and ten to eleven hours of sunshine a day. But sunbathers also enjoy it to the fullest in the other seasons. Even in January and February, they can still get an average of six hours of vitamin D a day.
The average monthly temperature is 26°C in August and 12°C in January. But even in the coldest months – December, January, February – the mercury regularly rises to 17°C and sometimes even above 20°C. There are no really cold days and it last snowed here in 1926. Who remembers that? Even in winter, a summer jacket usually suffices.
Spring is mild and sunny, with the first really warm days already arriving in late April. In summer, temperatures above 30°C are no exception, even 35°C during heat waves. Not for nothing is Alicante known as one of the hottest cities in Europe. Sweltering hot, but fortunately a breeze regularly cools Alicante. Autumn begins warm, but becomes milder as weather fronts over the Atlantic increase in frequency.
Like Orihuela-Costa, Torrevieja not only has a pleasant climate. The region is also one of the healthiest places in the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Thanks to the two salt lakes nearby, rich in materials and therefore healing for rheumatic patients. Ideal for winter visitors who want to give their bodies a major overhaul.
We risk repeating ourselves, but Torrevieja has a Mediterranean climate with hot, sunny summers and mild winters. Due to the microclimate of the Costa Blanca – with its orientation to the southeast, shielded from the cooling influence of the Atlantic Ocean – a microclimate applies in Torrevieja. As a result, even in January you can enjoy a pleasant winter sun and temperatures that sometimes go above 20°C.
Torrevieja has 320 days of sunshine per year. Spring is already sunny, but in summer the sun goes all the way into high gear. Summers are balmy, with clear skies from morning to night. Not a cloud in the sky, literally and figuratively. Fortunately, thanks to the breeze from the sea, it never gets too intense. In July the sun shines for almost 350 hours, but even in the winter months you will still see the sun for almost 200 hours.
Who does better than 320 days of sunshine? Estepona, the pearl of the Costa del Sol, at least does its best with 325 days. All year round, the harbor, the old center and the remains of an old castle bathe in a nice sunshine. Not difficult: this is one of the southernmost places in Europe and therefore also one of the sunniest. You can hardly get closer to Africa without effectively taking a ferry across the Strait of Gibraltar. Postpone that trip for now, because there is plenty to explore in Estepona. Who says no to a sun-drenched stroll along the promenade of the popular Playa de la Rada, with its parklands and leafy palm trees?
Again, warm, mild winters and hot, dry summers. The northern side of the Sierra Berjema, a 1450-meter-high mountain, shelters Estepona from land influences. As a result, little rain falls here, about 365 millimeters per year. November is especially wet. That month is in stark contrast to July, the heart of summer, when it never rains and the average temperature is around 24°C, with peaks above 30°C.
The water temperature is lower on the Costa del Sol than on the Costa Blanca, mainly due to the moderating influence of the Atlantic Ocean. Don’t let that be a damper on the revelry, because with 370 hours of sunshine in July and still 160 hours in January, Estepona is one of those Spanish towns where all those addicted to sun, sea and beach feel perfectly at home. The dry warmth, combined with the sea breeze, provides a pleasant wind chill in the summer. And 90 percent of days end with a photogenic sunset. What more could you want?
In the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, the sun shines an average of more than 3,000 hours for 320 days a year. Especially in July, a lot of sunshine falls on this Andalusian gem, its city beaches, its quaint streets and cozy squares, its terraces and tapas bars in the old bustling center. This makes it the sunniest place in all of Spain, even sunnier than the Canary Islands.
At the same time, Malaga is less sweltering in the summer than the baking ovens of the interior, such as Seville and Cordoba. This is because the sea takes more time to absorb the heat, but retains it longer afterwards. The sea is, so to speak, a natural thermostat that keeps temperatures bearable in summer and wonderfully pleasant in winter. Indeed, even in January, the sea does not get cold enough to cool the surrounding area.
No wonder the Spanish weather service declared Malaga the city with the best climate to live in, ahead of Las Palmas (Gran Canaria), Palma de Mallorca, Huelva and Vigo.
Sixty kilometers southwest of Malaga is Marbella, the wintering place for celebrities and the rich. In Puerto Banus, you can see one out-of-print yacht after another, and the rich and famous stumble out of glamorous bars and clubs. Even Vladimir Putin has a place to stay here. Those celebrities come mainly because a T-shirt and shorts are enough for them here in the summer. And a swimsuit of course. In the winter, a sweater and possibly a summer jacket for the evening will suffice. Marbella has 320 sunny days per year.
It is one of the hottest places in Spain, with 2900 hours and 320 days of sunshine per year and an average annual temperature of 19°C. Its proximity to the Sierra Blanca, a mountain range 1,200 meters in height, provides a microclimate. The mountains catch the wind from inland in the summer, so Marbella is better protected from extreme humidity and oppressive heat.
Although air conditioning does remain a human right in July and August, when the high-rise buildings of the downtown area trap the heat. Then it’s time to escape to one of the endless golden beaches, lined by palm-lined boulevards and small beach bars where the cocktails are fresh and the cervezas are always cold.
With 628 millimeters of precipitation per year, which falls mainly between November and March, it rains more often here than at other Spanish coastal resorts. This makes Marbella an oasis compared to the Sahara on the other side of the Mediterranean. In February, the blossoms of the famous Andalusian almond trees are already blooming. Marbella is heaven on earth all year round.
Fancy some sun? And can it be a little more than two weeks in the summer? Below we present a selection of our real estate offerings in sunny Spain. Or start searching right away in our real estate directory.