The UK is known for very varied weather, with summers quickly switching from scorching to stormy and winters typically being wet and windy in the South and snowy in the North.
Brits are famed for talking about the weather, with our conversations on the subject making most lists of stereotypical British traits – so it’s understandable that we’d take the weather into account when planning an emigration.
The dream for many is to swap Britain’s mizzle for constant sun and blue skies, but what can you really expect from the weather when you move abroad?
Well, that depends where you’re looking. To help you narrow the field we’ve grouped together some popular emigration destinations by weather type.
Going to the other end of the world for the first entry, Australia is well-known for enjoying some of the hottest and driest weather in the world.
The country is regularly baked in summer temperatures of 30°C from December to February, although highs of 40°C are not unheard of.
These are the extremes of Australian weather, but living closer to the coast can help to mitigate the sweltering heat, as can finding a nice spot in the shade. Recent legislation has made it harder for foreign buyers to get a foothold on Australian property, but it remains one of the most popular destinations for UK expats.
Moving to another sun-baked country, Mexico is also a top choice for those seeking thermometer-worrying temperatures. As you near the US border, the landscape becomes increasingly sandy and scrubby, culminating with the arid Chihuahuan Desert.
At the top of the Baja Peninsula on the US border, the town of Mexicali frequently records temperatures around 40°C during the summer. While it is relatively close to the Pacific coast, the town is just a bit too far inland to benefit from cool sea breezes, which explains its place as one of the hottest cities in Mexico.
The US contribution for hot locations is Phoenix, the capital of Arizona State.
Phoenix is one of the largest US cities and local meteorologists often struggle to find new ways to describe the consistently hot weather. It can also be difficult for planes to take off in Phoenix’s scorching heat.
The city can seem a little quiet during the hottest times of the day, when residents retreat indoors to the refuge of air conditioning.
Finishing this list with somewhere closer to home, the Greek capital of Athens is a European option for the heat-seeking expat.
While it is located right on the coast, the ancient city has trouble dissipating heat and can see summertime temperatures of up to 40°C.
If the heat in the capital gets too high, there’s always the option of taking a trip to one of Greece’s countless islands, which see lower temperatures on average thanks to cool sea breezes.
Moving in the polar opposite direction now, we look to some of the coldest places to set up shop.
If you’re a snow fanatic, North America has a range of cities which see high annual snow fall, starting with Rochester and Syracuse at the very top of New York State on the east coast.
Both cities are regular winners of the snowfall-measuring golden snowball award, owing to the ‘lake effect’ from nearby Lake Ontario. This occurs when cold air from Canada travels down and across the lake, gathering moisture that ultimately blankets cities like Rochester and Syracuse on the other side.
Rochester sees an average 253cm (99in) of snow a year, while Syracuse’s levels are typically in the region of 314cm (124in).
Newfoundland is also known for its snow. Located on the edge of Canadian territory, the island is part of Newfoundland and Labrador province and has the city of St. Johns as its capital.
The city averages around 333cm (131in) of snow each year and depending on the conditions, snow can persist until March or even April.
In winter, Newfoundland can be subject to ‘silver thaw’, a phenomenon where rainfall freezes on whatever it touches. This can create fantastic photo opportunities, but also prove troublesome if it occurs over a number of days.
Heading off the Far East now, our two final snowy spots are found in northern Japan.
The first of these, Aomori City, is located right at the northernmost tip of the Japanese mainland.
Widely known as the snowiest place on earth, Aomori’s snowfall comes from a weather effect similar to that seen over Lake Ontario, just on a much larger scale. The city is regularly treated to an average 792cm (312in) of snow each year, thanks to a geographically perfect storm of conditions that see snow repeatedly grace the city streets.
To reach the last snowy city on the list, you have to travel north from Aomori to Sapporo, a city on the west side of the island of Hokkaido.
While it sees less annual snow than Aomori at around 485cm (191in), the city hosts an annual snow festival.
A celebration of all things frozen, this sees artists put together impressive snow sculptures, ranging from smaller set pieces to entire castles. The festival also features mouth-watering street food and a celebration of winter sports.
Humidity might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re looking for a blend of heat and rain, some of these destinations might be worth considering.
Starting off our list of humid locations is Thailand’s capital, Bangkok. Regularly experiencing temperatures of around 28°C during the day, the city can act as a trap for hot air. This results in intense daytime humidity almost all year round.
Heading almost directly south of Bangkok will put you at the next greenhouse location, Kuala Lumpur.
The Malaysian capital is almost exactly on the line of the equator, which results in high temperatures and humidity throughout the year. The average temperature is a stifling 30°C, so on the clothing front, less is definitely more when it comes to keeping cool.
Swinging back to the northwest for the penultimate locations on the list are the Indian towns of Cherrapunji and Mawsynram.
Found in the far northeast of India, the two sites are both known for their record-breaking rainfall. The two settlements often vie for the crown of the most global annual rainfall, but both typically exceed 11,775mm each year by seeing rainfall almost every day.
As a novel way of lessening the sound of rainfall, homes in the area often have grass-lined rooves. There are also fascinating living bridges near to Cherrapunji which are actually redirected tree roots bound together with such strength that they can support human weight.
While not quite up to India’s monsoon-levels of rainfall, the Southland region of New Zealand is a worthy closing entry on this rain-drenched list. The region can average up to 1300mm of rainfall a year, with the largest city, Invercargill, often seeing rain for most of the year.
However, the copious rainfall comes with copious rainbows, and the region’s position so far south also means that the Aurora Australis (or ‘Southern Lights’) can be seen.
To end on a bright note, we head to the places best suited for sun worshippers and the destinations with the highest averages of sunlight across the year.
Starting in the US, the city of San Diego on the west coast has a high annual count of sunny days, usually hitting around 260. Unlike nearby Mexicali across the border, San Diego’s coastal location means that average temperatures are in the range of 21°C, making the city a surfer’s paradise.
For those more terrestrially-inclined, San Diego also has hills to climb and inland locations to explore.
Swinging across to the US east coast, the city of Key West in Florida is another place to catch rays throughout the year. The city is located right at the bottom of the state, as the last of a string of connected islands that form the Florida Keys.
Florida is known as the ‘Sunshine State’ and Key West usually gets around 104 days of full sunshine, stretching to 155 if you count ‘partly sunny’ days.
Despite being on the US east coast, Key West largely avoids the major tropical storms that come rolling in, but there are concerns that rising sea levels could prove problematic in the future.
Meanwhile, located right on the Costa Del Sol, the Spanish city of Malaga is Europe’s top offer for a sunny city. Found on the south coast, just a bit along from the UK territory of Gibraltar, Malaga often gets over 300 days of sun per year.
While summer can see temperatures hit close to 30°C, winters are much more manageable, bringing average lows of 10°C rather than the sub-zero affair of the UK.
The last notable sunny spot to mention is China’s ‘most liveable city’, Kunming.
In a country known for its smog clouds and inhospitable winters, Kunming stands out as an extremely hospitable location, with a high level of air quality.
The city is typically without frost for 240 days a year, while its annual mild weather has earned it the name of ‘City of Eternal Spring’.
There is often little annual average temperature difference, which makes the growing of colourful flowers a popular occupation. During winter, the city can see temperatures of around 15°C, while summer can see city thermometers stay close to 21°C.
Thanks for checking out our look at international weather conditions. Wherever you decide to move, remember that emigrating is an adventure whatever the weather!
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