Weather in Marbella

There's something about blue skies, sunshine and warm weather which makes the world somehow seem like a better place, so a place like Marbella, with its year-long balmy temperatures is the perfect place to stay.

Known as the playground for the rich and famous, Marbella is many things to many people, offering stunning beaches, family activities and much to see and do. 

The climate means that there's a much greater choice; no need to worry about rain, wind, storms or snow and you can wear your T-shirt all year round. 

Below is a guide to the weather in Marbella and what visitors can expect.

The geography of Marbella 

Lying on the southernmost tip of Spain, Marbella is part of the greater region known as Costa del Sol which lies within the Andalusian autonomous community, in the province of Malaga.

Jutting out into the Mediterranean Sea, Marbella lies between the Straits of Gibraltar and Malaga covering a land mass of 45 square miles. 

The coastline is extensive, stretching out for 27 miles and being sheltered by the coastal mountain range.

spanish map showing weather

The location of Marbella can be seen clearly on this map

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The land in and around Marbella is varied: alongside the coastal sand dunes, there's the Sierra Blanca mountain range, the foothills (known as the Sierra Blanca piedmont), the lower hill terrain and the plains. 

The Sierra Blanca has three peaks in the Marbella region: La Concha, Juanar Cross and Mount Lastonar, the highest reaching a summit of 1270 metres above sea level. 

Although the coastline is very low-lying and sandy, the landscape becomes increasingly hilly approaching the mountains, with gradually steepening elevations. 

Although the whole headland lies within a part of the ocean known as the Andalusian Mediterranean Basin, it's not too far out that the Atlantic flows to meet it. This can provide some strong currents and means that although the waters around the shoreline are warm and tropical, they can become colder further out. 

Being the place that the two oceans meet means that it's one of the most bio diverse regions in the world, with species of marine life found here together that couldn't be seen anywhere else. 

The climate

Marbella is renowned for its sunny climate and its year-round warm weather is certainly one of its major attractions. 

The Sierra Blanca Mountains contribute significantly to this climate, providing shelter from the winds and other cooler weather fronts, and helping Marbella to remain warm, sunny and tropical even in the middle of winter. 

sun shine in marbella

Marbella is well renowned for its sun!

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Along the coastline, a pleasant breeze can often be felt, helping to temper some of the heat during the hottest summer months. This can be dangerously deceptive though as it's often hotter than it feels and it's easy to get sunburnt. Protective sun cream is a must, even if the temperature doesn't feel that warm, or you could end up ruining the rest of your holiday by having to stay covered up. 

In the middle of Marbella, there's the opposite effect, with the many tall buildings retaining heat and pushing the temperature up by a couple of degrees. This can make it feel much hotter so it's best avoided in the middle of the day in peak season. 

The average temperature in Marbella is 19°C / 66°F but it can climb much higher than this during the summer months. There's typically around 320 days of sunshine every year, with less than 50 days of rainy weather or storms. And on those occasions when it is wet, it's rarely cold or chilly so once the rain has stopped, you'll find that the day is still relatively warm. 

Marbella through the seasons

Although the average temperature is 66°F, there's quite a variation across the seasons, even though the weather is still sunny and warm all the way throughout the year. 

Spring

In some countries spring may be a wet and damp affair but in Marbella, it's just as sunny and dry as the rest of the year. 

As spring starts to advance, the weather starts to rapidly hot up, preparing for the balmy summer months ahead. In February and March, the temperatures linger around 17°C / 62°F, but by the end of April, the average has shot up to 22°C / 72°F, certainly warm enough for a comfortable dip in the sea! 

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Spring time poppies in Marbella

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On the hottest spring days in Marbella, a cooling easterly wind can feel very refreshing. 

Without the heat of the summer sun, but with little chance of rain, late spring is a great time to visit Marbella, particularly if you are planning an activity holiday, such as golf. You'll be able to wander around in your T-shirt and shorts (depending on the dress code at the club of course!) but you won't have to endure too much exercise under a scorching sun. 

Bike tours can be very pleasant in the springtime too and you'll enjoy feeling the warm sun on your skin without getting too dehydrated. 

Summer

The hottest season in Marbella, visitors are almost guaranteed blue skies and beautiful sunshine every day. 

Marbella is best known for its consistently pleasant temperatures rather than becoming unbearably hot, so even though it's much warmer in the summer, the heat won't ever become blisteringly hot. 

Having said that, it's a good idea to avoid the middle of the day if you are planning on physical exertion, with hikes and golf, for example, far more enjoyable earlier in the morning. 

It's a great season to simply kick back and relax on the beach, or by the pool, taking a refreshing swim from time to time. Because the evenings are so warm, al fresco meals are the order of the day, and tend to be later than you may eat back home. 

Even after the sun has set for the day, you're unlikely to need long sleeves or a jacket as the temperatures will remain comfortably warm. 

In Marbella, the summer season is long and relatively even, falling from the middle of May until the end of September. The average temperature is 26°C / 79°F but during August it can climb as high as 30°C / 86°F.

Autumn

As the summer slowly starts to fade away, stronger winds can pick up across the bay, cooling the air and taking the heat out of the sun. Despite this, autumn in Marbella is still a sunny and warm affair with average temperatures reaching 23°C / 73°F. To put that in perspective, that would be regarded as a warm day in the UK summer months!

san pedro in autumn

An Autumn walk in San Pedro de Alcántara

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The ocean waters will still remain calm and warm enough for a swim and the daylight will still remain long into the evening. However, at night you may notice more of a dip in the temperature, and cardigans or a light jacket may be needed if you plan on eating outside. 

By the beginning of November, a distinct change will be felt. 

Winter

Winter in Marbella officially lasts from December through to February, with January being the coldest month of all. This is a relative term however as in practice the temperature rarely drops below 15°C / 59°F. The average temperature for winter is slightly higher at 17°C / 63°F.

The Sierra Blanca peaks help to provide protection from the worst of the weather and as such, Marbella enjoys its own micro climate with consistently mild and warm sunshine, even in the depths of winter. You may well be comfortable in just a T-shirt but at worst; you'll need a light jacket, and no more. 

Relatively little rain is typically recorded during winter, and the weather is normally dry and warm with only occasional rain. There's relatively few overcast days either; Marbella is a sunny place to visit more or less all year round!

Wildlife in Spain

The warm and consistent climate means that it's a paradise for wildlife in Marbella. The whole of Andalucía is popular for birdwatchers and the very short distance between the Marbella coastline and Africa, makes it an easy migratory passage for birds of all sizes.

A raptor can cross the 12km in just 20 minutes, whilst hi-speed birds from the swallow family can manage it even faster!

Spring and autumn are the best times for bird watching in Marbella, as this is when the majority of the migrant birds will be seen in the greatest numbers. Everything from large storks to tiny wrens can be found in the Andalusian countryside so grab your binoculars and see what you can find!

Mosquitoes can present a problem in Andalucía, and Marbella too, but the extent to which you will be affected depends on exactly where you are staying. They aren't usually a major problem, although they are normally worse in the autumn, but take the usual precautions to protect yourself in case you're one of the unlucky few that mosquitos naturally gravitate towards. 

One caution on wildlife: there are some snakes and spiders which can give a nasty bite so take care particularly if you're walking in the mountains or woods. Avoid putting your hand into holes or crevices which you can't see and if you get bitten, medical advice is highly recommended, even if you seem fine. 

Finally, a rather strange warning but an important one, particularly for those with families. Caterpillars aren't the benign creatures that you may be used to and it's highly advisable to steer clear. Pine Caterpillars can be found in many places and can present a danger to animals and potentially humans too.

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Pine caterpillars on the march

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Their hairs are poisonous and a major irritant, causing lots of pain and inflammation. These creatures are often seen walking in a procession and are considered to be such a pest that if they're seen crossing a golf course, play is immediately suspended as they are considered such a hazard to try and clear away!

Image Credits: Marie Cutting, Jennifer Galloro, Lucinda Norreys, Marbella Family Fun and Kees van der Graaf