No matter where you live, you’ll experience some weather changes, even if they’re subtle. If you live in Europe, you know from your own area and news of other countries that citizens face weather extremes daily.
So whether you’re looking for a place to live or visit, you’ll want to know about the cities with the worst weather in Europe.
What Makes a City Qualify for the Worst Weather in Europe?
When breaking down a city’s weather, there are a few essential things to consider, including:
- Temperature highs and lows
- Precipitation (rain, snow, sleet, hail)
- Natural weather events/disasters
Not every city will have extremes in each category, but what it does have may make it qualify as one of the worst weather cities in Europe.
So let’s take a look at those 20 cities now.
20. Marseille, France
While over 300 days of sunshine may sound like heaven to some, it’s plain hot to others! In recent years, the summer has become more and more uncomfortable. The humidity and hot temperatures have made it difficult for the cool breezes in the area to keep residents and tourists comfortable.
The city is overall dry, which has become a concern because of recent wildfires. The area sees moderate rainfall throughout the year, but not enough to prevent the possibility of fires during the warmer months.
Winter has more precipitation than the rest of the year, but the area rarely sees snow. Furthermore, temperatures are rarely below the freezing point, making Marseille a rare place that’s best to visit during the winter months.
19. Koln-Stammheim, Germany
Germany has a lot going for it and has become a favorite destination for travelers and expats. However, The Guardian reports that extreme weather conditions recently created dangerous and even deadly flooding throughout many areas of the country, with Koln-Stammheim being one of the hardest hit.
The BBC reported that the typical average rainfall of the city is about a couple of inches per year. However, in July of 2021, Koln-Stammheim received more than 6 inches on a single day, causing large-scale flooding across the area. This flooding resulted from extreme weather events, making this an area that has seen increasingly bad weather in recent years.
18. Athens, Greece
Dry weather can make living in Athens challenging and uncomfortable. The city sees around 14 inches of rain per year. While a warm, dry environment might sound nice, you may want to reconsider. When an area is this dry, it can lead to many problems.
When Athens does have rain, the risk of floods and water damage is higher than in other locations. If a significant storm rolls through, the ground is too dry to let it absorb quickly. According to Greek City Times, this can lead to the flooding of basements, roadways, tunnels, creeks, rivers, and more.
17. Carna, Ireland
Green and wet is what you get in Carna. According to Weather and Climate, the rainy season for this city comes from September through to January. October has the most precipitation, while April has the least amount.
While Ireland boasts rolling green hills, excessive rain can harm physical and mental health. Respiratory issues can be aggravated by highly damp conditions, and a lack of natural sunlight can negatively impact mental health.
16. La Teste-de-Buch, France
Dry conditions and extreme heat have been the catalyst to a hard-hitting wildfire season in France, with La Teste-de-Buch being hit pretty hard.
The area is dry, and winds have played a key role in how the fires moved throughout the region. Rfi.fi reported that it covered almost 80 square miles during last year’s event. So be careful before planning any trips or vacations to cities like La Teste-de-Buch that have experienced problems like this or are currently struggling with extreme weather.
15. Venice, Italy
Venice is a city one might not think has enough bad weather to make this list, but times are changing. Lack of rain and low tide contributes to the current drought, according to The Guardian.
The famous canals throughout the city have been empty, leaving boats and gondolas at a standstill. Many gondola owners made their income from rowing tourists to and from throughout the city and are now stranded.
Even when much-needed moisture does come, it’s likely to cause localized flooding as the earth is too dry to absorb it. While it may not happen often, a severe drought in a city that thrives off of its tourism can make it a pretty awful place to be.
14. Tallinn, Estonia
The high temperatures don’t get too high in Tallinn, but the low temperatures do get low, according to Extreme Weather Watch. The lowest recorded temperature here was -26 degrees on December 31, 1978.
The city has an estimated 120 days of rainfall throughout the year. Approximately 24 inches of rain falls annually. The lack of sunshine can impact a person’s well-being without frequent exposure, so Tallinn might not be a great place to spend significant time.
If you’re not a fan of snow, you won’t like that the city sees around 55 days of fluffy flakes from October through May. However, snowfall appears to be on the decline, according to WeatherSpark, possibly making this a city with moderate weather someday.
13. Leeds, United Kingdom
If you’ve ever felt dampness and chills in your bones, that’s how it often feels in Leeds throughout the year. While their summer months are comfortable, coming in at around 70 degrees in late June through early August, the rest of the year is wet and cold.
You won’t find too much time in what is considered the city’s dry season, as it lasts from early February through the end of May, according to WeatherSpark. The wet season begins around May 30 and goes all the way through to next February. While rain is to be expected throughout the year, October through November tends to have the most overall rainfall.
Leeds has variable winds throughout each season, and it can contribute to adding a little extra chill. With heavy cloud cover and a damp atmosphere, even a gentle breeze can chill residents and visitors alike.
12. Cardiff, Wales
Rain can be beautiful and make your surroundings pop with tons of greenery, but excessive rain can bring on some sad or depressed emotions. If this is the case for you, avoid Cardiff. According to Express.co.uk, this city boasts almost 12 ½ days of monthly rain, resulting in nearly 4 inches every 30 days.
11. Nottingham, England
When the Nottingham Post shares that its home city has been named among the ten worst places to live, there might be something to it. Bad weather was one of the many reasons it earned its spot, and many who’ve spent time in the city might agree.
According to Weather Atlas, Nottingham has mild but short summer months before the weather turns gray, cold, and windy for the winter. Temperatures range from an average low of 36 degrees to a high of 70 degrees.
On average, it rains on 122 days throughout the year. The city also sees snowfall for almost 10 days. With short, moderately warm summer months and dark, dreary wet, colder seasons, it’s understandable that Nottingham found a place on the list.
10. Reykjavik, Iceland
With a name like Iceland, this country brings its residents some freezing weather. If you thrive working or hiking in cold air, the average daily high in Reykjavik is around 44.6 degrees.
You can enjoy even colder temperatures when the city experiences a cold snap, or you’re out at night. The average low is about 35.4 degrees. According to Current Results, the city receives about 31.4 inches of precipitation annually.
9. Salla, Finland
A winter wonderland is exciting so long as it’s safe to enjoy it! If you visit Salla, you might find it too cold to spend much time doing outdoor activities. The coldest day on record was -58 degrees in 1985.
The record truly is extreme in this location, although the average low temperature of 0 degrees isn’t much better. If you like cool but not too cold, the average high temperature in the summer is 66.6 degrees.
While the snowfall isn’t as extreme as the temperatures, you’ll have plenty if you hope to spend some time on the slopes. According to On the Snow, the city sees an average of about 12 inches annually.
8. Bergen, Sweden
Rain rules in this wet city! In fact, you’re not likely to miss rain if you visit Bergen. The city has rain on an average of 239 days per year!
Forbes.com reports that the city gets the most moisture from September through November. However, the area will always have rain forecasted, so plan ahead when you pack.
7. Ufa, Russia
Russian cities take a lot of “heat” for having some of the worst weather conditions in Europe, and Ufa is no exception. The average low temperature during the winter is 1.4 degrees, and the average high temperature is 74 degrees during the summer.
If the temperatures aren’t cold enough to keep you away, the average days of snowfall are pretty daunting. The city has been known to see 25 or more snowy days per month.
To see how the population in this city makes lemons out of lemonade, you should visit their huge hockey arena. While this city doesn’t typically see many tourists, the weather alone should send you home with some interesting stories.
6. Kautokeino, Norway
This city is the coldest in Norway and is home to the indigenous Sami people. They have the distinction of being the northernmost native people in Europe. The Sami know how to thrive and enjoy their cold and snowy environment while finding joy.
The average low temperature for Kautokeino is around 0 degrees, and Summer highs can reach approximately 64 degrees. No matter what season you’re in town, the Sami always seem to have a festival or event to join. Make sure you wear many warm layers if you join them.
5. Moscow, Russia
When you live in Russia, you have to get all the warmth and sunshine you can during the summer. But, unfortunately, winters in Moscow are long, windy, overcast, and snowy. WeatherSpark says the temperatures can be as low as -7 degrees or 86 degrees, depending on the season.
If youMedia want to head to Moscow, you’ll want to go at the end of June up to mid-August. These are the couple of months when you should be able to enjoy some milder weather. Once the frigid temperatures start to roll in during early September, you may not enjoy the winter weather that’s on its way.
You can expect snow to settle into the city by mid-October and last through mid-April. Some winter seasons see more than 30 inches of snowfall. The wind speeds also increase throughout this time, making the already-cold temps feel even colder.
4. St. Petersburg, Russia
If your city has an average range of temperatures between 14 and 73 degrees, you know you’ll experience weather extremes. The summer lasts only about 3 months, and the colder season runs for just under 9 months.
A warm summer day may reach a high temperature in the low 70s, while the daily high temp during colder months doesn’t typically reach higher than 34 degrees. Residents know they can’t expect much sunshine during this time, so the cold can feel downright bitter.
With an annual snowfall that can be over 20 inches and daylight just under 6 hours in the dead of winter, there are some pretty harsh conditions in St. Petersburg.
3. Helsinki, Finland
While the summers don’t get too hot for most in Helsinki, the winters get pretty cold. In fact, you can expect an average of 130 days to be below freezing during the coldest months, according to Climates to Travel. They also state that, in general, snow covers the ground from December all the way through until April, with around a foot of snowfall annually.
The cold is a factor that can deter almost anyone from spending time in Helsinki. There’s also the issue of sunlight, or lack thereof, during certain times of the year. Starting in December, the sun rises around 9:30am and sets around 2:15pm. That’s not a lot of sunshine.
2. Oymyakon, Russia
Imagine living in a city so cold that you don’t even bother installing a toilet. Instead, outhouses are the lavatory of choice with the frozen pipes problem in this city!
The coldest day recorded was -96.2 degrees back in January of 1924. That’s an extreme number, but not so bad considering the average lowest temperature reaches around -58 degrees. If you time your visit right, you could enjoy the average high temperature of 72.9 degrees during the summer.
1. Yakutsk, Russia
This city can boast that they are the largest in the world that’s been built upon permafrost. (Permafrost is a permanent layer on or under the earth’s surface that is permanently frozen). Winters drag on in this city where the average low temperature is -47 degrees, while Summers are just too short, with an average high of 80 degrees.
One of the most surprising things about Yakutsk is that it is home to more than one million people! This is another city where pipes don’t work when the weather gets extreme. It’s hard to imagine so many people willing to live with exposed gas lines and outhouses.
The Worst Weather Isn’t the Same for Everyone
Are you someone who loves the snow? Or you may crave hot, sticky weather. It doesn’t matter if you like one, both, or neither!
What might make a “worst” list might be someone’s home they love or a favorite place to visit. Read this list with your preferences in mind and if something appeals to you, plan a visit. Maybe just check the weather conditions first.
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Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn