While the famous Mediterranean climate exerts its influence over much of the peninsula, the landmass of Spain and Portugal gives it a continental climate, i.e., extremes of temperature, hot summers and cold winters, with short spring and autumn. Western Andalusia and the Algarve are warmed by the Gulf Stream, and in summer south winds from the Sahara can be suffocating. Portugal's west coast and Galicia, though also bathed by the Gulf Stream, face the Atlantic and can be cold and rainy. The Cantabrian regions of Spain (Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country) have a temperate climate with a great deal of rainfall. The Levante (Castellon, Valencia and Alicante) often suffers from tremendous rainstorms, usually in autumn, which can cause a great deal of material damage. In the Pyrenees, too, flash floods can be a hazard. The peninsula as a whole, though, is extremely dry, especially in those long, hot summers which are its main attraction for many tourists.
Fiestas and Traditions
All Spanish towns and cities have their own special celebrations, as well as the national holidays such as Christmas, Easter Week, All Saints Day etc. The way in which the national events are celebrated also varies from place to place. Most festivities are of religious base, mainly Catholic. See our full listing of holidays.
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