The best climate to live in is a hot semi-arid climate, Mediterranean hot or warm summer climate, and humid subtropical climate.
I was born in Poland. The country is cold and cloudy for the large part of the year. As a person who loves spending time outside, I’ve always longed to be able to enjoy great weather year round.
Due to Seasonal Affective Disorder, I suffered a lot during the coldest, darkest months. This eventually led me to exploring the best climate to live in for me, where I would feel healthy and happy regardless of the time of year.
I’ve explored over 30 countries and lived in 4. Wherever I go, I always study the local climate, interested in finding the most comfortable conditions for year round living.
You can say I’m a good weather freak. I like to know how many sunny days a place gets in a year. I want to know if air conditioning is a must or if it can be avoided. I’m curious about researching places with similar weather. I like to know if there’s a rainy season and if so, when it starts and how much it rains.
While many people travel to taste local cuisine, I like to travel to taste local weather and find the best weather in the world.
In this article I’ll explore what it means that a place has a great climate. You’ll learn about most suitable for humans climate types. I’ll also provide destinations around the world that have great year round weather.
But before we get to the topic of the greatest climate in the world to live in, there’s one caveat I need to address…
My Idea of a Perfect Climate Is Not Your Idea of a Perfect Climate
Because everyone has different preferences, this article can’t be 100% objective.
I don’t like living in a place with four distinct seasons. I hate cold weather with a passion and am a blue skies and t-shirt weather addict. I prefer consistent ideal weather, with little variation. I define that by plenty of sunshine with only occasional rainy days and stable summer temperatures every month.
Sunny weather is the best weather for me. For someone else, a temperate climate with more varied weather patterns may be better. For yet someone else, perfect weather isn’t about temperatures as much as it is about low humidity.
The great thing about our planet is that we have a wide selection of climates to choose from. Whatever you prefer, there’s a place in the world where you can find it.
In this article I’ll approach the topic from the perspective of the best climates biologically for a human being. But my biases may still be noticeable.
What Kind of Weather Is Best for Human Body?
Humans maintain a body temperature of about 98.6 °F (37 °C).
High ambient temperature is uncomfortable because our body has to work harder to dissipate heat. It does so through mechanisms such as increased heart rate and sweating.
Cold ambient temperature is uncomfortable because our body has to work harder to keep us warm. It does so through mechanisms such as reduced blood circulation to extremities and shivering.
Neither being too hot nor being too cold is comfortable so the best climate for humans can’t be too extreme. Even for the fans of hot weather, 104 °F (40 °C) is too much. And even those who like snow won’t be comfortable in -4 °F (-20 °C).
The Best Ambient Temperature
According to one scientific paper I found, the best ambient temperature for a naked, resting human is around 81 °F (27 °C). The comfortable range is between 73-88 °F (23-31 °C). For a person wearing light clothes, this range is between 63-77 °F (17-25 °C).
Women generally feel colder than men so these ranges may need to be a little higher for them.
This assumes indoor conditions so:
- You aren’t standing in the sun.
- There’s no wind.
- There are no extreme levels of humidity (which increases the feels like temperature).
The most suitable climate for humans features year round temperatures that make it easy to maintain core temperature without much work. That range is roughly anywhere between 63-88 °F (17-31 °C).
Of course, we can always wear more clothes to stay warm. But in this article we’re looking for the most comfortable climate. That includes not having to spend 15 minutes putting on 5 layers of clothes just to get outside.
What About Nighttime Temperatures?
We’ve discussed the best ambient temperature overall. But the temperature goes down at night. How does this fit into our search for the best climate to live in?
Some people like chilly nights as that helps them sleep better. Others freeze during such nights and prefer warmer ones that the former would find suffocating.
In my opinion, a place with a good climate shouldn’t have nighttime temperatures in any single month of the year lower than about 44-50 °F (7-10 °C).
For most comfort, I’d only go with places that have nighttime temperatures of at least 59 °F (15 °C) every month of the year. In such destinations, even at night or in the early morning you wouldn’t need more than a sweater or a light jacket. You also wouldn’t need heating.
Other Factors That Influence What Makes a Climate Pleasant
After temperature, there are a few more factors that influence the comfort of a given place’s weather.
After temperature, humidity is one of the most defining factors of whether a person feels comfortable or not.
There are people who thrive in humid environments. They aren’t bothered that their skin is clammy, that everything is slightly damp, and that clothes take forever to dry (if they dry at all without a dryer).
Then there are people who can thrive only in arid climates. The thought of spending summer months in, say, Florida, fills them with horror. They want to breathe easily and not be drenched in sweat all the time.
I used to prefer dry environments until I realized that humidity is primarily a big concern if you’re landlocked. Living by the Pacific Ocean, Caribbean Sea, or any other large body of water that cools the climate and provides a breeze is way more comfortable than living in an urban jungle.
But humidity in a big city is the worst. I once spent a few days in the capital city of Thailand, Bangkok. Despite being a huge fan of hot weather, the humidity was too much already in the morning, let alone later during the day. To this day, I remember how uncomfortable I felt and how much I wanted to teleport to a cooler, drier climate.
As is the case with temperatures, there’s a sweet spot. A couple of hours of rain every few days may be a pleasant change if otherwise you get daily sunshine. Rainfall every single day, as is the case in the tropics, may quickly get old.
Since I tend to prefer greener environments, I accept that they come with more precipitation. If you prefer dry, rugged environments, then you may prefer living in a city that gets very little rainy days such as Las Vegas.
Amount of Sunshine
Oh, the glorious sun. I love sunshine and lots of it. So naturally, for me, only the sunniest places in the world can be described as having a great climate.
Biologically, we need sun so our bodies can synthesize vitamin D. We also need bright light for our eyes and general mental health.
My own minimum is 2,500-3,000 sunshine hours a year. But not everyone likes so much sun. There’s a sweet spot range which I’d place at around 2,000-2,500 hours a year.
The sunniest places in the world get around 3,000-4,000 hours a year. Meanwhile, the least sunny ones get about 1,000-2,000 hours. 2,000-2,500 hours is roughly in the middle.
Just to give you a better idea, here are some cities around the world and the amount of yearly sunshine hours they get:
- Yuma, Arizona (considered one the sunniest places in the world) – 4,015
- Las Vegas, Nevada – 3,825
- Dubai, United Arab Emirates – 3,509
- Los Angeles, California – 3,254
- Perth, Australia – 3,230
- Cape Town, South Africa – 3,094
- Faro, Portugal – 3,036
- Bangkok, Thailand – 2,624
- Chicago, Illinois – 2,508
- Sydney, Australia – 2,468
- Seattle, Washington – 2,170
- Auckland, New Zealand – 2,003
- Vancouver, Canada – 1,938
- Tokyo, Japan – 1,877
- Panama City, Panama – 1,744
- Paris, France – 1,662
- London, United Kingdom – 1,633
- Berlin, Germany – 1,626
- Dublin, Ireland – 1,453
- Bogotá, Colombia – 1,328
- Bergen, Norway – 1,187
- Tórshavn, Faroe Islands (one of the cloudiest places in the world) – 868
The places that don’t get sufficient sunlight are usually, but not always, cold. The exception are tropical rainforest climates with intense precipitation year round. Otherwise, the places that fit my temperature requirements usually get enough sun.
You may think that wind isn’t such an important factor. But visit a place that gets regular strong winds and you’ll change your mind.
I spent a couple of weeks on the islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. Both are known for windy weather (particularly Fuerteventura). It didn’t take long for me to be exhausted of the constant strong blows.
You can’t sit on a sandy beach (sand blowing everywhere). You can’t comfortably participate in many activities (wind makes them way harder). You feel like you’re constantly assaulted.
Light breeze and even moderate wind can be helpful in the tropics. But if it’s colder, it may turn an otherwise warm place into a chilly one.
This is only applicable to destinations with access to recreational bodies of water like an ocean, sea, lake, etc.
The warm waters of the Caribbean Sea offer a much nicer experience than the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean in Portugal or the Pacific Ocean in Northern California.
Of course, cool water temperatures may be great for dealing with sweltering summer highs. But overall, most people would rather be able to take a long, comfortable dip than freeze for two minutes and get out.
My personal minimum for comfortable swimming is 73 °F (23 °C) though people who get cold easily should aim for at least 77 °F (25 °C).
Only the tropical destinations would fit this filter year round. Other climates would have slightly cooler (subtropics) or much colder water (more temperate zones) for at least a couple of months a year.
Exploring the Most Suitable Year Round Climate for Humans
The most common way to classify climates is the Köppen classification. It divides climates into five different groups, each with its own letter:
- A – tropical.
- B – arid.
- C – temperate (this includes subtropics).
- D – continental.
- E – polar.
Then each main group is further divided into precipitation subgroups and temperature subgroups. These specific combinations result in various climate types such as BWh (hot desert), Af (tropical rainforest), or Csa (hot-summer Mediterranean).
In our search for the best climate, right away we can eliminate two of the main groups:
- Continental climates. Even for the warmest subgroup, winter temperatures are way too low for comfort. They’re also generally cloudy.
- The polar and alpine climates. The names themselves explain why: it’s way too cold.
This leaves us with three main groups. Let’s explore them to determine which one would work best for each kind of a person.
There are four types of tropical climates:
- Tropical rainforest (Af). Examples: Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Hilo, Hawaii; Singapore. Rain falls year round and it’s very hot, humid, and wet. This won’t work for you if you don’t tolerate high humidity.
- Tropical monsoon (Am). Examples: Miami, Florida; Cairns, Australia; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. It’s an intermediate climate between wet tropical rainforest and drier tropical savanna. Consider it “rainforest lite.”
- Tropical savanna, dry winter (Aw). Examples: Key West, Florida; Bangkok, Thailand; Veracruz, Mexico. It gets less rain overall or has more pronounced dry seasons than the tropical monsoon climate. As the name implies, it has dry winters.
- Tropical savanna, dry summer (As). Examples: Lanai City, Hawaii; Cali, Colombia; Mombasa, Kenya. As the name implies, here we have dry summers and wet winters.
All these climates have an average temperature of 64 °F (18 °C) or higher every month of the year. The drawback is that these climates are generally very humid. Combined with very high daytime temperatures of up to 93 °F (34 °C) in the hot season, many people may find these climates too extreme.
The higher the humidity is, the more difficult it is for the body to cool itself down with sweat. Even while wearing very light clothes, you may find yourself drenched in sweat all the time.
The high humidity comes with such unpleasantness as many insects, bacteria, viruses, mold, mildew, dust mites, etc. that all love a wet environment.
Tropics have one big advantage for the fans of water sports: usually waters surrounding them are very warm the entire year. This means that you can always comfortably spend hours in the water without having to wear a wetsuit.
The Best Tropical Climate to Live In
If you want to live in the tropics, I recommend looking for a place that gets a consistent breeze as that will alleviate the heat a lot. Even 90 °F (32 °C) can be comfortable as long as there’s some wind to cool you off. The Caribbean region in particular is blessed with such pleasant weather.
I lived for a few months in Barbados which features a tropical savanna dry winter climate. Because of the trade winds, you don’t feel the heat as much as would be the case in a big inland city where it would be deeply uncomfortable.
I find the tropical monsoon and the tropical savanna climates as some of the best climates in the world. I like hot, sunny weather with some precipitation to keep things green, and both of these types provide it.
Consider tropical climates if:
- You want high temperatures year round and never want to feel cold.
- You don’t mind high humidity.
- You want to live by the coast with very warm waters.
- You want to live in a lush environment (tropical rainforest).
- You want to have some seasonality as to precipitation with wet and dry seasons (tropical monsoon and savanna).
There are four types of arid climates:
- Hot desert (Bwh). Examples: Las Vegas, Nevada; Las Palmas, Canary Islands; Doha, Qatar. Hot deserts are among the driest, hottest, and sunniest places in the world. Most destinations that feature this climate don’t fit our list because the weather is unbearably hot in the summer months.
- Cold desert (Bwk). Except for the world’s driest city, Antofagasta in Chile, that has a climate moderated by the ocean, other places that feature this climate have winters that are too cold to be considered for this list.
- Hot semi-arid (BSh). Examples: Odessa, Texas; Alicante, Spain; Monterrey, Mexico. It’s less extreme than hot desert, with more precipitation (though still very little). Some places that feature this climate have chilly nights in the winter so not every place satisfies our filters.
- Cold semi-arid (BSk). This type features chilly winters and so doesn’t fit our list.
Arid climates are a bit of a hate it or love it thing. In theory, arid means sunny and that’s great. But arid also means very dry which isn’t ideal for the skin. Chapped lips, itchy skin, and dry eyes are no fun.
This climate may also have big amplitudes. The difference throughout the day means that you may need to bundle up in the morning only to shed it all by midday and still run too hot.
Low precipitation, particularly in the desert, means rugged, lifeless landscapes. If you like having trees around, arid climates may not work for you.
Semi-arid climates, in contrast, may still be green. For example, it may be surprising but Honolulu, Hawaii, due to low precipitation features a hot semi-arid climate. The same applies to Port Louis, Mauritius, which is otherwise your stereotypical tropical paradise.
The Best Arid Climate to Live In
Despite the disadvantages, arid climates attract many people who want guaranteed blue skies and like wide open spaces. Living in the desert or a semi-arid environment can be comfortable as long as you don’t live in a place of extremes.
I visited many arid and semi-arid destinations, including:
- Oman, United Arab Emirates, Qatar (all three way too hot most of the year),
- Arizona (cooler in the winter but still unbearably hot in the summer – check out my article on cities with the best weather in Arizona for some options that are milder and my article on the warmest cities in Arizona if you like it super hot),
- southern Spain, the Canary Islands, and Cyprus (all three comfortable year round).
Most of the hot desert regions are too hot in the summer to be comfortable.
For example, Doha, Qatar, reaches 100-108 °F (38-42 °C) between May and September. Phoenix, Arizona is similarly hot between June and September.
Winters in these destinations can be glorious, with daytime temperatures around 68-77 °F (20-25 °C). But it doesn’t change the fact that up to six months a year you can’t survive without air conditioning.
The few exceptions I know of that have a hot desert climate that is comfortable both in the summer and the winter are:
- Fuerteventura and Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, as long as you’re protected from the strong local winds.
- Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands, which some people deem to have the best climate in the world.
- Lima, Peru, due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean that moderates the heat.
In contrast, semi-arid destinations, particularly the subtropical ones, are comfortable the entire year. However, winter nights may get chilly as I explained in my article on the places where it’s warm year round in Europe.
For example, winter daytime temperatures in Alicante, Spain, are about 63 °F (17 °C) but nighttime temperatures can drop to 43 °F (6 °C).
I once spent a few days in late February in Alicante. The temperatures at night dropped to 37 °F (3 °C). I was freezing under a blanket with a cheap electric radiator providing only a little bit of heat.
Out of all the arid subclimates, my favorite one is the hot semi-arid climate with high year round temperatures, found in places such as:
- Honolulu, Hawaii (I’d actually consider it as having the best climate in the world and Hawaii as one of the best states for weather),
- Port Louis, Mauritius,
- Querétaro City, Mexico,
- so-called ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao in the Caribbean.
Consider arid climates if:
- You want blue skies every single day.
- You don’t mind low humidity.
- You like wide, open, rugged spaces.
- You like very hot weather in the summer.
- You like to have big daily differences in temperature.
There are nine types of temperate climates but only a few that fit our requirements:
- Mediterranean hot summer (Csa). Examples: Sacramento, California; Lisbon, Portugal; Adelaide, Australia. This type of climate, featuring dry summers, is considered by many people as the ideal climate.
- Mediterranean warm summer (Csb). Examples: San Francisco, California; Cape Town, South Africa; Porto, Portugal. This type features cooler summers than Csa which may be perfect for those who prefer milder warm months.
- Humid subtropical (Cfa). Examples: Atlanta, Georgia; Brisbane, Australia; Florianópolis, Brazil. The main difference between humid subtropical and Mediterranean is that Cfa is humid consistently throughout the year (no dry summers).
- Subtropical highland (Cfb). Cfb is also the name for a cooler marine west coast climate which I don’t cover here. Examples of the subtropical highland type: Bogotá, Colombia; Cuenca, Ecuador; Curitiba, Brazil. This type is cooler than Cfa: warm but rarely very hot.
- Dry-winter humid subtropical (Cwa). Examples: Hong Kong; Mackay, Australia; Guadalajara, Mexico. It’s monsoon influenced, with dry winters and hot, wet summers (the reverse of the Mediterranean climate).
- Dry-winter subtropical highland (Cwb). Examples: Mexico City, Mexico; Salta, Argentina; Johannesburg, South Africa. It’s found at high altitude in the tropics or subtropics and has warm, rainy summers.
The temperate, warm destinations that don’t get chilly winters and overly hot summers are for an average person the best choice. Because you don’t have extremes, you’re comfortable most of the time.
The most notable drawback of this type of climate is that in some destinations winters may get cold, particularly at night, while summers can still get hot. Countries such as Greece (check out the warmest cities in Greece), Spain (check the warmest cities in Spain), or Italy (check the warmest cities in Italy), may be portrayed as having perfect weather year round but you may still need winter clothes.
You may want to read my article “What Country Is 20 Degrees All Year Round?” for some options for mild weather destinations. I also wrote an article in which I cover whether a Mediterranean climate is the best climate in the world.
The Best Temperate Climate to Live In
There are hardly bad choices when choosing from temperate climates. It all depends on your personal preferences such as how hot you want the summers to be and what kind of winter weather is acceptable.
For example, in Adelaide, Australia (Mediterranean hot summer) average summer highs are up to 86 °F (30 °C) while average winter highs are 61 °F (16 °C).
If you prefer cooler summers, then go with the warm summer type. For example, in Cape Town, South Africa, in the warmest months average daytime highs don’t go over 81 °F (27 °C). Meanwhile, winters, at least for this location, still offer pleasant 64 °F (18 °C).
If you prefer a place that doesn’t have pronounced wet and dry seasons, the humid subtropical climate may be for you. For example, in Brisbane, Australia, there’s rain every month. The city has average daytime highs of 86 °F (30 °C) in the summer and 72 °F (22 °C) in the winter.
Want things to be spring-like all year round? Then subtropical highland is for you. Cuenca, Ecuador, has stable, mild temperatures year round. The average daytime highs are within a narrow range of 68-72 °F (20-22 °C). It’s never much hotter or much colder which for many people is the definition of an ideal climate.
If you want to have dry cooler winters and hot or warm wet summers, consider the dry winter humid subtropical or dry winter subtropical highland climate.
Mackay, Australia, features the hot summer variation. It rains most during the hottest months where the average daytime temperatures reach 88 °F (31 °C). With high humidity, that’s unpleasant for most people, though. Dry winters are much less sticky, with average daily highs of 73 °F (23 °C).
Mexico City is an example of the dry winter subtropical highland type. It has more comfortable average summer highs of 81 °F (27 °C) and still comfortable 72 °F (22 °C) in colder months.
Out of all these temperate climates, my favorite ones are the humid subtropical and the dry-winter humid subtropical. They generally feature high temperatures regardless of the season.
Consider temperate climates if:
- You don’t want it to be too hot or too cold (particularly the Mediterranean and highland types).
- You want to have eternal spring (highland climates).
- You like humidity but not as much as in the tropics (humid subtropical climates).
- You want dry, sunny summers (Mediterranean climate).
- You want more precipitation than in the arid or semi-arid climates.
So In Short, What Is the Best Climate to Live In?
The three most pleasant climates year round for humans are:
- Hot semi-arid climates, particularly those found in the subtropics and tropics that are warm even in the winter. They’re found in southern Europe, Mexico, and Southwestern US. You get warm temperatures throughout the year with little precipitation, meaning a lot of clear days to enjoy outside.
- Mediterranean hot or warm summer climates. They’re found in the Mediterranean Basin in Europe, North Africa, and Asia, coastal California in the United States, the southwest of Australia, the south-western coast of South Africa, and the south and southwestern coasts of Chile. You get wet, colder winters and dry, hot or warm summers with guaranteed sun.
- Humid subtropical climates. They’re found in northeastern Australia, central Argentina, Uruguay, southern Brazil, and southern United States. Unlike with the Mediterranean climate, you get consistent humidity throughout the year. Only the temperatures change according to the season.
Frequently Asked Questions
From the perspective of biology, hot climates (but not extremely hot) are more suitable for our bodies. From the practical standpoint, if you have nice weather all the time, you’re going to spend more time outside. And when you’re more active and get more natural light, you’re healthier.
The temperature range, depending on personal preference, is roughly between 63-88 °F (17-31 °C) with the most optimal for most people around 63-77 °F (17-25 °C).
There’s no single city that has the best climate because we all have different preferences. For me, a person who loves hot, sunny weather, Honolulu, Hawaii is such a city. For someone else, the milder Mediterranean weather of Lisbon, Portugal is perfect. For yet someone else, the eternal spring weather of Cuenca, Ecuador, is paradise.
Most people would agree that the Mediterranean climate is as close to perfect as possible. Countries like Spain, Italy, Greece, and Portugal are usually considered best options.
California has by far the mildest climate in the United States with no other state even coming close. Other states are either too hot in the summer (such as Florida, Arizona, or Texas) or too cold in the winter (such as Oregon, Colorado, or Georgia).
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