From March till May conditions steadily improve with increasing temperatures and clearer skies. It is as warm and sunny as an English summer. The average high temperature climbs to 20°C early on, up to 21°C in April and 24°C in May. Night times remain cold, only getting up to an average low of 11°C in May. The sea does not get quite warm enough for goosebumpless swimming but the sun comes out for around 7 hours a day, jumping to 9 in May. Cold winds and stubborn fog can spoil the odd day but generally conditions are more than favourable.
This is a great time to visit if you don’t plan to spend all of your time on the beach. It’s still warm, there aren’t as many tourists and you can benefit from off-peak prices. Remember, Malaga is a big city, the sixth largest in the country, so it doesn’t turn into a ghost town out of peak season.
The mountains behind Malaga rise up to heights of over 2000m as you move inland towards the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Since these mountains lie to the north of Malaga they protect it somewhat from the cooler northern winds. This, combined with the warm seas that surround Malaga, means that winter temperatures don’t drop anywhere near as low as they do inland. Conversely, the sea breezes bring welcome refreshment during hot summer days, keeping coastal regions cooler.
Like anywhere else, weather can vary from year to year and heat waves or cold snaps can occur. Some years will be dry, others might be particularly hot. 2004 and 2005, for example, both saw very dry winters while 2006 was the wettest for many years. January 2006 also saw a freak cold period; temperatures plummeted, snow settled in the hills behind Malaga and a few snowflakes were even seen on the beach.
While late spring and summer are by far the most popular times to visit the city, Malaga has much to offer year round, irrespective of the weather. While it is a bustling, modern city, Malaga’s history is everywhere on show in its architecture. Beautiful examples of Baroque, Classical, Roman and Moorish architecture can be found as you wander the streets. Malaga is also the birthplace of Picasso and the Museo Picasso is home to many of the artist’s early works.
Summer in Malaga runs from June until September. The average high temperature stays in the high 20s for the entire season, climbing to an average high of 28°C in June, and peaking at an average of 31°C in July and August. This period can see temperatures reach into the 30s in the middle of the day, although low humidity and sea breezes offer respite. Stifling temperatures sometimes occur when the sirocco wind blows up from Africa. This wind originates in the Sahara and carries the desert’s extreme heat and aridity across the Mediterranean. It can also carry sand filling the sky with a haze and dropping dust on many of Europe’s Mediterranean resorts.
11 hours of sunshine per day can be expected from June till August but September is sometimes overcast and only sees 8. Any fog that develops during the summer usually disappears by late morning, but it can last for a few days at a time. This is also caused by hot air travelling across from Africa. It picks up moisture from the Mediterranean and as it cools the moisture condenses into fog. Luckily, if you find yourself stuck in the fog you can always travel slightly inland where the sun is guaranteed.
Rain is almost non-existent in July, August and June, but rises to an average of 20mm of rainfall in September. This shows that while it may ‘rain’ in June, it is often nothing more than a light sprinkling while a few heavy thunderstorms are more characteristic of September.