Fuente International Living (2010)
The World's Best Climates
Where is the best climate in the world?
We here at International Living often get asked this question. This is, of course a matter of preference. Some people like to have a sharp, cold winter followed by a long, warm summer. Others want to eliminate the cold altogether and have sun year-round. And others prefer a more temperate climate…not too hot, not too cold, just somewhere in between.
Each year, we compile a list of the best places in the world to retire. We rate countries according to categories like cost of living, infrastructure and climate.
In this report, we’re going to share with you the top 10 countries according to climate. The list is varied and diverse (you may be surprised when we tell you what country came out on top in this category…I know I was!)…some of these places will appeal to you, others may not.
Malta is anchored almost in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, 60 miles from the Italian island of Sicily, which is linked to Malta by regular 90-minute ferry service. There is a modern airport at Luqa (on Malta) with flights to numerous other European countries. Rome is but one hour away by plane.
Fair weather, averaging 5.2 hours of sunshine a day—even in December.
Right into November, daytime temperatures often nudge 70° F.
Spring comes early, around late February. Frost and snow are mostly unknown. There is winter rainfall, but it tends to come in heavy bursts for short periods. And, while the islands boast few sandy beaches, there are compensations: Summertime brings a round of colorful village festivals complete with fireworks.
Diving and sailing are excellent. You can play golf, go horseback riding, and attend trotting races. The second-oldest theater in Europe is the Manoel Theatre, in the capital of Malta, Valletta. In the cooler months, October through May, you can see opera, theater, music, and ballet there.
Ecuador lies directly on the equator, so the entire country enjoys 12 hours of direct equatorial sunlight, 365 days a year. However, since Ecuador also has three distinct geographical areas—the Sierras (mountains), the Oriente (eastern rainforests), and the Costa (Pacific coastal plains)—climate depends largely on where you are in relation to the mountains.
For example, Ecuador’s capital, Quito, lies in the Central Valley between the Andean Mountain’s eastern and western ridges. The equator line lies just 20 miles north of town, yet at an altitude of 9,350 feet, Quito’s climate is spring-like year around— mid-70s° F during the day and an agreeable 50° F or 55° F at night, so you can build a fire for ambiance…but you rarely need it for warmth.
The air is dry, and you won’t badgered by mosquitoes. The sun makes the difference—you can stroll out on a glorious Quito afternoon in shorts and a T-shirt, but take your wool sweater in case the clouds roll in—the equatorial sun is intense, even when it’s obscured by cloud cover, and you realize how high in the Andes you really are!
On the coast, the weather is warmer, of course, but not as hot and humid as a Florida beach during the summer.
Mexico’s climate varies depending on altitude, winds, and the Pacific Ocean currents. The coastal region experiences a tropical climate, especially along the Yucatan Peninsula and the lower areas of southern Mexico, while areas with an elevation higher than 900 meters experience a temperate climate.
The average rainfall is 40 inches. During summer and autumn, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific and Caribbean coasts are subject to hurricanes. Some parts of the Baja and northern Mexico receive hardly any rain at all—any time of year.
Because of Colombia’s close proximity to the Equator, its climate is generally tropical and isothermal (without any real change of seasons). Temperatures vary little throughout the year and the only real variable climatic element is the amount of rainfall.
Temperatures range from very hot at sea level to relatively cold at higher elevations but vary little with the season.
Generally, the climate is wet and tropical. Summer is the principal rainy season although there is no specific dry season. The eastern Caribbean and Pacific coastal lowlands experience an equatorial climate with high temperatures and high humidity all year round, with rainfall averaging 40 inches (1,000mm) a year. In the mountainous parts conditions are cooler and can be changeable depending on prevailing winds, altitude and topography.
The capital Bogotá, lies 8,660 feet (2,640 metres) above sea level and has an average of 223 days of precipitation. The city’s average temperature is 57° F (14° C). The average annual temperature here is 59° F (15°C).
Australia’s climate varies widely, but by far the largest part of Australia is desert or semi-arid—40% of the landmass is covered by sand dunes. Only the south-east and south-west corners have a temperate climate and moderately fertile soil. The northern part of the country has a tropical climate: part is tropical rainforests, part grasslands, and part desert.
Australia is temperate, most of the country receiving more than 3,000 hours of sunshine a year. In summer (December to March) the average temperature is 84° F (29° C). The hottest region is the northern two-thirds of the continent, which experiences humid and wet conditions in summer.
Further south summer is warm with occasional hot spells and mild nights. Winter (June to August) averages 56° F (13° C) for the country as a whole, with warm days and mild nights in the northern areas, becoming cool and showery in the south (although there are still plenty of sunny days).
The rainfall patterns across Australia are highly seasonal. Compared to the Earth’s other continental landmasses Australia is very dry. More than 80% of the continent has an annual rainfall of less than 600 millimeters; only Antarctica receives less rainfall than Australia.
# 6 Uruguay
Uruguay’s climate is subtropical, partly humid, and subject to occasional rainfall; there are no major climatic variations from one region to another but they do exist between seasons. The lack of mountains allows for the free circulation of different winds.
September to April are the most desirable months with respect to climate. Uruguay is not subject to snow, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, or extreme cold. The moderate climate of the country means that visitors can go there at any time of the year.
Don’t forget to bring light clothing for summer (average temperature in Jan and Feb is 72° F) and mild winter (with an average of 51° F in July and Aug) clothes for the June to September months.
Argentina’s climate ranges from subtropical in the north to humid and steamy in the centre, and cold in the temperate south. The Andes region has erratic rainfall, flash floods in summer, searing heat, snow at higher elevations, and the Zonda—a hot, dry wind.
The lowlands receive sufficient rainfall to support swampy forests and upland savanna, but rainfall decreases from east to west; shallow summer flooding is common in the east. The winter dry season is pronounced, and the summer heat can be brutal. The flat Pampas areas are also vulnerable to flooding. Patagonia is mild year-round in the east and glacial in the south.
“The Short San Juan Summer”: This is an unusual meteorological phenomena that occurs in June, the middle of Argentina’s winter. The inhabitants of Buenos Aires gave it this name because it reaches the area by June 24, date when San Juan el Bautista was born. This weather rarity, that can last between three and seven days, sometimes goes up to 75 ºF (24º C), and that is why it is common to see people lying in the sun at city’s squares in the middle of winter.
#8 South Africa
South Africa’s climate ranges from Mediterranean in the southwestern corner of the country to temperate in the interior plateau, and subtropical in the northeast. A small area in the northwest has a desert climate. Most of the country has warm, sunny days and cool nights. Rainfall generally occurs during summer (November through March), although in the southwest, around Cape Town, rainfall occurs in winter (June to August).
There is very little difference in average temperatures from the south to the north of the country. The average annual temperature in Cape Town is 63º F (17º C), and in Pretoria, 64º F (17.5º C), although these cities are separated by almost ten degrees of latitude.
Maximum temperatures often exceed 90º F (32º C) in the summer, and reach 100º F (38º C) in some areas of the far north. The country’s highest recorded temperatures, close to 118º F (48º C), have occurred in both the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga.
Frost occurs in high altitudes during the winter months. The coldest temperatures have been recorded about 250 kilometers northeast of Cape Town, where the average annual minimum temperature is 21º F (-6.1º C). Record snowfalls (almost fifty centimeters) occurred in July 1994 in mountainous areas bordering Lesotho.
When it comes to the weather, Italy really is a land of contrasts. In general, it has one of the best climates in Europe, but conditions can be quite varied. In winter, the Italian Alps are likely to be cold with crisp blue skies and enough snow to keep skiers satisfied. On the other hand, Milan is often fog-bound and the Po Valley can be quite cold and damp, too. In fact winter fog can be a problem throughout the whole of central and northern Italy.
For the best winter weather, look to the Italian Riviera, the Amalfi Coast, and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. All enjoy a mild winter climate and rainfall isn’t too heavy either.
Obviously the farther south you go during the summertime, the hotter it will get…and the deep south can be very warm indeed. In Apulia, the heel of Italy, even the sea temperature averages 82º F in August.
France has a mostly temperate climate, though there are many regional variations. Average winter temperatures range from 32° F to 46° F and average summer temperatures from 61° F to 75° F.
For the most warmth and sunshine, look to the Midi, the term the French themselves use for the deep south of the country. The Provence and Languedoc regions are characterized by mild winters and blisteringly hot summers.
Along with the north and central regions, Paris has cool and fairly rainy winters, though summers here are usually hot. Winters are a lot colder in the eastern regions of Alsace-Lorraine and in the mountainous regions of the Alps, the Pyrénées, and the Massif Central.
Be aware that the French use the Celsius temperature scale (° C).