Sunday, September 22
Map of lowest (coldest) temperatures recorded in every European country

Lowest temperatures – list of records for every European country

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Since, at the moment, Europe is preparing for probably the strongest cold outbreak this winter (February 2018). Weather models are consistently predicting lows reaching -30 °C or even lower in some parts of the continent. With strong winds in some parts, the wind chill index will make the cold even more unpleasant. While some all-time coldest temperature records will probably stay intact, it is an excellent opportunity to visualize historically lowest temperature records for every European country.

Map of lowest (coldest) temperatures recorded in every European country. Lowest temperature records

Map of lowest (coldest) temperatures recorded in every European country

Lowest temperature records in Europe

The winner is, of course, Russia, at least its European part, with -58.1 °C. Other "-50 °C or lower"  members are Norway, Sweden, and Finland.

Atlantic ocean makes for milder cold records

While Iceland is even further north, its Atlantic ocean-driven climate leaves the record at -37.9 °C. Therefore ranking it lower than other countries on the same or similar geographic latitudes. Similar effects are the reasons why Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, the UK, Ireland, and Portugal have, as a result, relatively high minimum recorded temperatures.

Alpine region

France, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland are pretty cold – all below -40 °C, with Italy dropping down to -49.6 °C. The reason? Temperatures are fairly low due to Alps, of course. Spain holds a record of -32 °C degrees measured in the Pyrenees mountain range.

Central Europe

Central and eastern European countries, together with Baltics, are typically around -40 °C degrees. Open plains of northern European come with little to no mountains As such, they are readily available for cold outbreaks from Russia. Also, maritime influences are negligible, and continental climate characteristics dominate the area.

Slovenia and Croatia have very similar lowest temperature records. Slovenia comes at -34.5 °C, while Croatia is just 1/10th of a degree colder, with -34.6 °C measured in Gračac, on January 13th, 2003.

Close-up: Balkan countries + Greece

Balkan countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, Albania and Bulgaria) look towards the Bosnia and Herzegovina and its temperature record of -42.5 °C, measured on mountain Igman near Sarajevo. Serbia comes second with -39.5 °C.

Map of lowest (coldest) temperatures recorded in Balkan countries. Lowest temperature records in Balkan countries.

Map of lowest (coldest) temperatures recorded in Balkan countries

The Balkans is also the only region with an additional map created for better legibility. Due to a fairly large number of countries on a small and limited geographic space  – data visualization is especially challenging.

Further down to the south, Greece recorded -27.8 °C. The island nation of Cyprus recorded -16 °C as its lowest temperature ever recorded. Location? Mount Olympus. How fitting!

Malta, the misfit

The only European country with lowest recorded temperature above 0 °C is Malta with mild +1.4 °C degrees. That's almost 60 degrees (59.5 °C) difference between the Russian and Maltese records.

The complete list of lowest temperatures and countries

CountryTemperature
Russia (European part)-58.1 °C
Sweden-52.6 °C
Finland-51.5 °C
Norway-51.4 °C
Italy-49.6 °C
Austria-47.1 °C
Germany-45.9 °C
Estonia-43.5 °C
Latvia-43.2 °C
Lithuania-42.9 °C
Bosnia and Herzegovina-42.5 °C
Belarus-42.2 °C
Ukraine-41.9 °C
Switzerland-41.8 °C
France-41.2 °C
Poland-41.0 °C
Slovakia-41.0 °C
Serbia-39.5 °C
Romania-38.5 °C
Bulgaria-38.3 °C
Iceland-37.9 °C
Moldova-35.5 °C
Hungary-35.0 °C
Croatia-34.6 °C
Slovenia-34.5 °C
Montenegro-32.0 °C
Spain-32.0 °C
North Macedonia-31.5 °C
Denmark-31.2 °C
Belgium-30.1 °C
Greece-27.8 °C
The Netherlands-27.4 °C
UK (Scotland)-27.2 °C
Ireland-19.1 °C
Portugal-16.0 °C
Cyprus-16.0 °C
Malta+1.4 °C
Czechia-42.2 °C
Ukraine-41.9 °C

The lowest temperature records of smaller European countries (Andorra, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Holy See, Monaco) are not shown since they are fairly small in geographic terms. While the best effort was made to check the data and temperature values, there might be some errors. Therefore, in case you notice an error, feel free to reach out and let me know in the comments or shout at me on Twitter – I am happy to update the maps.

In conclusion, keep in mind that only official or confirmed records are used. There have been many locally measured lower temperatures from those shown on the map. However, only a common WMO (World Meteorological Organization) standard was used for making this visualization, therefore only the data conforming to WMO standards is shown.

17 comments

    • Dobrica 23 February, 2018 at 19:59

      The Balkans, or the Balkan Peninsula, is a geographic area in southeastern Europe. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch from the Serbian-Bulgarian border to the Black Sea.

      The Balkan Peninsula is bordered by the Adriatic Sea on the northwest, the Ionian Sea on the southwest, the Aegean Sea in the south and southeast, and the Black Sea on the east and northeast.

  1. Nezapamćene hladnoće – Ovo nije šala: U Splitu će biti -6, Mostaru -13, u Zagrebu će biti -19, a u Glini čak -20 stupnjeva! | HIP.ba - Hercegovački info portal 22 February, 2018 at 22:00 Reply

    […] Vibor Cipan, zagrebački IT-jevac, suosnivač tvrtke UX Passion, objavio je infografike s najnižim zabilježenim temperaturama u pojedinim europskim zemljama. Najniža temperatura, nimalo iznenađujuće, zabilježena je u Rusiji, -58,1 stupanj. Daleko nisu ni skandinavske zemlje. S druge strane, najtoplije je na samom zapadu Europe. U Hrvatskoj je najniža temperatura, -34,6 stupnjeva, zabilježena u Gračacu 13. siječnja 2003. godine, navodi Cipan. […]

  2. William Fluent 27 October, 2018 at 23:09 Reply

    Actually, the lowest temperature of Greece is -35,3°C (January 2012) in Mainalos mountains (south Greece) even in summer some places there reached -4°C at night

  3. Robin Tremmel 4 February, 2019 at 22:26 Reply

    Finland has -57c in the winter of 1999 in the Sami village of Vuotso.As this was a small Sami village-it was not included at the time in the weather statistics for Finland.There was at least 1 other place in Lapland with a temperature colder than -51.5c.Around -52c in the tiny hamlet of Vantauskoski.

  4. Michael Stevens 13 February, 2019 at 01:39 Reply

    These temperatures records are worthless without dates recorded. if anyone has a link to a site that provides that for all European countries I'd appreciate it. I've done a little research of that for all the States in the USA. Kinda revealing. There's been no new record high for any of the fifty States since 1995. There has been 6 record lows set since the last record high was set in 95. 26 of the 50 states record high temperatures occurred in the 1930s. 40 of the 50 States record highs were set before i was born in 1961. source: https://www.infoplease.com/science-health/weather/record-highest-temperatures-state

  5. TommyAst 13 March, 2019 at 14:42 Reply

    Hallo

    It is reallly good work.

    It is quite difficlut to find right values, because many sources has different values and station sets. What is data source of this extremes ?

    I use these twoo good sources:
    http://www.geoclimat.org/p/records-nationaux-de-temperatures.html
    http://www.mherrera.org/temp.htm

    It seems to be two types of extremes. First – older data from very hard winters in the past. Winters many years ago were much harder, but there was not so many stations in this time. Hardest winter in 20th century was 1929, and very hard winter in west and central Europe was 1956 too, but much milder that 1929.

    Second source is from recent not so hard winters, but there are many stations running nowdays. Some stations are it frost hollows, specific places with extreme minimum temperatures, shallow valleys in mountains. These places can record colder temperature in mild winter than few stations during hard winters many years ago.

    It seems to be that in map – countries in central Europe has minimum from recent mild winters, but from frost hollows. There were no stations in frost hollows in 1929 or 1956 or data are not aviable. Otherwise all countries with Alps has records bellow -50.

    For example north Italy with high mountains, there are stations in many frost hollows:
    -49,6°C Doline de Busa di Fradusta (2607 m) 10.02.2013
    -48,7°C Doline de Busa Riviera (2634 m) 27.02.2018
    -48.3°C Doline de Busa di Fradusta (2607 m) 27.12.2010
    -47.0°C Doline de Busa di Manna (2546 m) 18.12.2009
    -45.8°C Doline de Busa di Manna (2546 m) 17.12.2009
    -45.5°C Sponde Alte (2393 m) 18.12.2009
    -43.8°C Doline de Busa di Manna (2546 m) 09.01.2009
    -43.6°C Doline de Busa di Manna (2546 m) 16.12.2009

    It seems to be that Italy has record for 21st Century and for Europe without Russa, except unofficial record from north Norway – Finmark 17.02.2011 Garggoluoppal -49.9 °C.

    Germany Funtensee 1601 m:
    2000: 25.01.2000 Funtensee -45.8 °C
    2001: 24.12.2001 Funtensee -45.9 °C
    2002: Funtensee -45.8 °C
    There is record 15.02.1929 mFuntensee -52.4 °C, but it is dubious.

    Swtzerland
    Glattalp 1850 m, La Brévine 1048m
    Glattalp (1852 m) 07.02.1991 -52.5 °C
    La Brévine (1048 m) 12.01.1987 -41.8 °C
    And recent record Glattalp 27.02.2018 -37.7 °C

    RUSSIA
    Station network density in Russia is very bad, even with normal stations, especially with frost hollows.

    Record for whole Europe including part of Russia is from very cold Arctic blast around new year eve 1978-1979. It was very warm in Europe and suddelny with new year temperature in central Europe drops from +10 to -20 (or something like this). It was extreme cold air from Arctic in European Russia, Wind and T850 bellow -40, even daily maximum temperature around Ural Bellow -40 or -45. Similar event in European Russia by Ural was in winter 2010.

    Records European Russia geoclimat.org:
    31.12.1978 Ust-Shchugor (Republique des Komis) -58.1 °C
    19.02.2010 Hoseda-Hard -57.0 °C
    ??.01.1973 Ust-Shchugor -56.9 °C
    09.02.1946 Petchora -56.0 °C

    SCANDINAVIA – station density in north Scandinavia is still quite low. And stations in frost hollow are missing a lot, otherwise wse can reach -60 (the same with Ural).

    Norway – the place with record on the map is with wrong position. It was in river walley – Karasjohka (Karasjok) more north and more far from sea. The place close to Narvik is not so cold, it is too close to unfrozen sea.

    Record in Karasjohka – Karasjok was 01.01.1886 Karasjohka -51.4 °C, 31.12.1885 Karasjohka -51.3 °C, again by New year eve. There was arctic blast in January 1999 too, it was almost record low in 1999 – 28.01.1999 Karasjohka -51.2 °C, 0.2 missing to record. But record was during this event in north Finland – 28.01.1999 Kittila-Pokka -51.5 °C. It is official record for Finland. Swalbard and Arctic region was much coldr in past than now. Record from Svalbard is 28.03.1917 Gronfjorden – Green base (island Spicbergen) -49.4 °C.

    Another cold area in Norway is more south – around Roros, Tynset around 62 deg. north, with mountais. There was already -50 in past, recent record is from frost hollow Folldal Fredheim 694 m 28.02.2018 -42.0 °C, 01.03.2018 -41.8 °C. Folldal Fredheim has data not s far to past.

    Norway
    01.01.1886 Karasjohka -51.4 °C
    31.12.1885 Karasjohka -51.3 °C
    28.01.1999 Karasjohka -51.2 °C
    04.02.1881 Karasjohka -50.6 °C
    13.01.1914 Roros -50.3 °C
    27.01.1999 Kautokeino -50.3 °C
    27.01.1999 Karasjohka -50.2 °C
    11.01.1918 Karasjohka -50.0 °C
    02.02.1966 Karasjohka -50.0 °C
    17.02.2011 Garggoluoppal -49.9 °C

    Finland
    28.01.1999 Kittila-Pokka -51.5 °C
    06.01.1985 Salla Naruskajarvi -50.4 °C
    01.02.1966 Inari-Ivalo (presna stanice neznama) -48.6 °C
    28.02.1971 Salla Tuntsa -46.0 °C
    By http://www.mherrera.org/temp.htm, Sodankyla -49.5 °C and February 1862 -51.3 °C

    Sweden
    13.12.1941 Malgovik -53.0 °C
    02.02.1966 Vuoggatjalme -52.6 °C

    http://www.mherrera.org/temp.htm – I have found near Finnish border Karesuando -49 °C or even -54 °C, but it is dubious.

    • Vibor Cipan 2 June, 2019 at 13:03

      Thank you for this! I really appreciate you taking time to reply to this and do your own research! I will review and I might update the map. The sources I used were different – some were from the official state sources (I even called some via phone!). Others were from various free sources available online.

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