by Victor Sesma
Victor Sesma is an Alicantinian living in London. He is a Software Engineer who likes writing about the city he was born.
Your Guide to Alicante [By an Alicantinian]
Alicante excels as a beautiful destination for its picturesque landscape, the sea and the good weather all year around.
Autumns and winters in Alicante are mild and sunny. September to November are the months when it rains the most in Alicante. The rain is usually concentrated in just a few hours of heavy showers and it doesn’t stay cloudy for a lot of time, allowing the sun to shine most of the days. From November, the weather is more stable and dry. In the city of Alicante, it never snows.
The beach is used by many people up until the end of September or the beginning of October as the water is still hot and the sun can warm up still a lot. The coldest month is February with an average min temperature of 8.1°C but the sun shines an average of 8.8h a day in the sky. Alicante in autumn and winter is warm, sunny and energetic.
The coldest month in Alicante is January, with a minimum average of 6°C (or 42.8°F) but a maximum average of 17°C (or 62.6°F) in the morning.
February is the second coldest month with a celsius degree average warmer than January: 7°C (or 44.6°F) of minimum and 18°C (or 64.4°F) maximum temperatures.
The weather in Alicante in October is still warm. The maximum average is 25°C (or 77°F) and the minimum of 15°C (or 59°F).
In November and December, average temperatures go down a bit to get us to the coldest month of the year (January as we have seen). The average minimums are 10°C (or 50°F) and 7°C (or 44.6°F). But the maximum temperatures are still comfortable: 21°C (or 69.8°F) and 18°C (or 64.4°F).
Alicante is a seaside city with more than 10 beaches reachable by walk or public transport.
In winter, Alicante beaches are still usable and it is possible to go for a swim if you are a bit brave.
During the morning, maximum temperatures can get hot, with more than 25°C (or 77°F) on the thermometers and it will be usually sunny. The sea is at 22°C (or 71.6°F) on average during December. That’s still fine for a swim.
Ironically, December, the month with shorter days -about 9.5h of the sun over the horizon- is the month with fewer cloudy days, having 26 days of sunshine per month.
January and February have 25 and 23 days of sunshine -remember February is only 28 or 29 days long- but the month with more cloudy days on average in October. With just 22 days of complete sunshine, it is also the month with the most rain in Alicante on average.
We say in the sunshine days section that the most cloudy day is October, with an average of 9 cloudy days. This makes October the wettest month in Alicante, with an average of 4.5 days of rain as per Aemet.
November is still wet by Alicantinian standards with an average of 4.2 days. December averages 3.8 days of rain, January 3.6 and February is the dryest month of the Atum-Winter, with an average of just 3.0 days of rain.
Only June, July and August in the summer are dryers than February on average in Alicante.
The Mediterranean coast is known for its torrential flash floods and Alicante (also its province) is an area that gets especially affected by this phenomenon.
The flash flood is known as Gota Fria, which translates to Gold Drop. The press is lately using more and more the technical term DANA –Depresión Aislada en Niveles Altos– which translates to Isolated Upper-Level Depression.
An incomplete explanation of this phenomenon is a small accumulation of cold air travelling the Atlantic to Europe diverts its course from the main accumulation. When it finds hot air from the Mediterranean sea -in September the water is still very hot so it warms up the air plus adds a lot of humidity- heavy rains are sometimes formed. There is more on the Wikipedia page for Cold Drops. Alicante is especially affected by Gotas Frias or DANAs but is a general characteristic of Mediterranean weather.
Some years, Alicante gets heavy -but manageable- rain for a few days. Or maybe nothing. But other years, Alicante gets torrential rain that can be dangerous for a couple of days or so.
One of the most remembered Gotas Frias happened in 1997 (in Spanish), having one of the records of rain in the city. After that event, a lot of money has been invested to prepare the city for heavy rains. Now Alicante can tolerate many litres of water per hour safely for the inhabitants.
Another characteristic of this type of rain is how difficult it is to predict where it is going to hit. Heavy rain is formed fast and locally and a city can be hit hard while another city, just 10km away, might not see a drop of rain.
Weather services in Spain are very good at predicting the areas where Gota Fria can happen and when are the most dangerous hours. They rise climate alerts that can be yellow or red. Green is the colour for no alerts.
The press is also very good at informing of these meteorological events so it won’t be unnoticed even by tourists. If you want to check weather alerts in Spain go to the official Amet page at this link.
Please, always follow the official advice on heavy weather events as it can get very dangerous.
Even though October is the cloudiest month in Alicante, September is the wettest month in the city with an average of 56mm in September vs 47mm in October.
September is the month with most DANAs or Gotas Frias in Alicante on average so October is usually calmer and the eventual rain is lighter.
So you should not think that much about the rain, Cold Drops or DANAs when planning to travel to Alicante. Even if you are unlucky and get some rainy days, there are usually no more than 2 or 3 days in a row being cloudy or rainy. It is not a guarantee but the most common weather behaviour.
In Alicante city it never snows, it has exactly 0 days of snow per year. The coldest month on average is January, with a minimum average of 6°C (or 42.8°F). The minimum temperature ever registered in Alicante was -4.6°C on the 12th of February 1956 as per Aemet. It is probably not going to happen again.
Some days it can get to freezing temperatures at night. The average is of 0.4 days in January so it is extremely uncommon -not impossible- to be at negative temperatures in Alicante city, not even common at night.
The traditional Mediterranian architecture is designed to dissipate heat very efficiently. To achieve so, houses usually generate a lot of shadow with elements such as awnings and shutters that are found in virtually any house in Spain and, especially, in the Mediterranean.
As we have seen, it doesn’t get very cold in Alicante, with the coldest average of more than 6 degrees Celsius and a maximum of 17 in the morning. Traditionally, houses are not very well isolated for the winter. Also, old flats won’t usually have central heating or radiators.
People in many European countries are used to setting the heating to be very warm at home, maybe even at +20°C at home.
In Alicante, people are -oftentimes- not used to heating the house at all, or maybe just using small electric heaters for the rooms needing heat.
There is also the concept of summer and winter pyjamas. People usually sleep with long sleeves and think pyjamas not be cold at night.
New buildings are better isolated and might count on heat via AC machines or radiators. If this is important for you, always check with the owners about the heating system before renting or buying a house in Alicante.
The sea temperature is very hot until October. It averages 17°C. The sun will usually shine in the sky and warm up the air up to 25°C on average.
If you are a bit brave you can enjoy swimming on Alicante beaches in autumn but the winter is when the waters get colder with a minimum of 14°C in February.
Alicante has mild winters but not all the cold months are the same.
If you want a detailed explanation of how is the weather in a particular month plus some clues on what is better to enjoy with that weather click on their respective detailed article: