San Sebastian is situated on the coast in the most northern part of Spain. Very close to the French border, the city lies at the northwest end of the Pyrenees mountain range and owes much of its maritime climate to its neighbouring environment. The weather forecast for San Sebastian is mild and warm all year round, however there is no dry month in San Sebastian. And thanks to its close proximity to the mountains, it does experience very changeable weather which can verge on unpredictable at times.
San Sebastian’s climate isn’t as sought after as other Spanish coastal destinations such as Torrevieja or Malaga. The days are often dull and dreary and rainy periods are just as likely as sunny interludes. Geographically, however, San Sebastian is a beautiful place to visit. And it’s natural beauty more than makes up for the less than perfect weather conditions.
The stunning coastline ensures San Sebastian is home to one of the most popular beach resorts in all of northern Spain La Concha Bay, which is especially well-liked by the Spanish. This is the favoured destination for the wealthiest Spaniards who want to escape the tourism masses in the more well-known parts of Southern Spain. And this ensures a far more exclusive atmosphere for anyone that chooses to visit.
In San Sebastian the weather often takes a back seat as visitors enjoy the picturesque coastline and the incredible sights. The city is sheltered by the beautiful Isla de Santa Clara and is bordered by Mount Urgull on one side and Mount Igeldo on the other.
The region lies in the exquisite Bay de La Concha, which is home to the most beautiful crescent shape beach in the Basque Country. However this bay does also play host to some of the Atlantic Ocean’s roughest weather. This is due to the Spanish continental shelf which extends, in parts, right into the Bay. Consequently, many areas in this part of northern Spain are characterized by shallow waters which can bring rough seas to San Sebastian, but also provide a haven for the many surfers and body boarders that visit the area. At times, large storms can rock the bay, particularly in the winter months.
Like many Spanish destinations, summer is the best time to visit San Sebastian. This peak season is popular with visitors from all over the world, which means beaches, hotels, bars and restaurants will all be very busy. But with the most beautiful weather occurring during the summer months, no one seems to mind.
June, July and August see average temperatures of 18°C to 21°C respectively, before returning to an average of 20°C again in September. The average highs during this period will reach between 22°C and 25°C, which is significantly cooler than the south of Spain. However, in the days, the temperature will generally sit in the late 20’s throughout the region, occasionally rising into the 30’s in the peak of summer to offer plenty of sun.
Humidity levels during the summer months are also relatively low so the heat is rarely uncomfortable. Keep in mind that it can get quite chilly at night, even in summer, with lows of 16°C. So it is best to pack a jacket if you plan to walk the coastal boulevards after the sun has set.
Average levels of rainfall are lower in the summer than in the rest of the year. But regular, heavy showers are still common throughout the peak months. However, the prospect of rain should never put you off visiting the area. There are still an average of twelve hours of sunshine per day for most of the season. And with water temperatures remaining at a very welcoming 21°C throughout July, August and September, even with the rain, San Sebastian is a wonderful place to go.
Autumn does experience a cooling from the peak temperatures of summer, but the climate is still far milder than that experienced when winter comes. Water temperatures are still very welcoming at this time of the year, at 18°C. Which means, even those that are looking for some late summer sun can enjoy the beauty of the beaches in the early part of autumn.
From September to November average daytime temperatures will drop from 20°C to a much cooler 12°C by the time winter starts. November will also see the largest down fall of rain in the year, with up to 165mm of rain expected to fall in one month alone.
Average highs of 20°C and an average of 11 hours of daily sunshine during autumn will ensure plenty of good weather for those that visit the area. And with far less crowds than the peak summer months, there is plenty more space to enjoy it.
Winter in San Sebastian usually occurs from December to February and is a time when temperatures are at their lowest. Average temperatures are expected to be just above 9°C throughout the three months. Although daytime highs are quite mild, around 12°C, and average minimums at night usually reach somewhere between 5°C and 6°C.
Temperatures very rarely fall below 5°C in San Sebastian which means snow is highly unlikely throughout the year. However, the Pyrenees back drop will offer a white landscape for those that like to keep their winters a little more traditional.
Rainfall is high during the winter months and frequent showers can be expected. Though the most rainfall is actually experienced in November in San Sebastian, there is a significant levels of precipitation in each of the winter months – around 130mm per month.
The wind also increases in strength during this season and huge storms can visit the area at this time of the year. Therefore it is always important to check the up to date weather forecast before planning your day.
Due to the less than favourable weather in the winter months, the number of visitors to the area between December and February drops dramatically in the region. This ensures, for those that do not like fighting hordes of tourists, the winter months are a good time to visit. However, please be aware that many of the residents of San Sebastian will also seek warmer weather during the winter months and therefore some of the restaurants and places to stay in San Sebastian could be closed in the lowest season.
As the climate in San Sebastian starts to prepare for summer, temperatures during spring offer a wonderful time to experience this part of the Costa Verde. Though there is still plenty of rainfall, there is also a more mild aspect to the air which draws in visitors, especially from Northern parts of Europe. Daytime temperatures are far milder than in the winter months, offering daytime highs around 17°C throughout most of spring.
From March to May the climate in the area starts to heat up. Average highs climb from 15°C at the start of the season up to 19°C by the time summer is about to start with twelve hours of sunshine per day.
Sadly, sea temperatures in the region are very much affected by the cooler winter months and are therefore only expected to climb above 15°C by the middle of May. However the milder temperatures and incredible landscape offer the perfect opportunity for some very nice walks to take in the views.