Tramontana

Photo showing flags blowing in Empuriabrava
Flags flying on a windy day

Tramontana is so common to Empuriabrava and the surrounding region that many towns and villages have at a street named “Tramontana”, it forms a part of many business names and is even the name given to a 300 km/h sports car!

Tramontana (from tramontane meaning “on or coming from the other side of the mountain”) is a dry cool northerly or north-easterly wind over north-eastern Spain, south-eastern France, the Balearic Islands, the western Mediterranean, and Italy and can last anything from one to five days.

Some accounts associate Tramontana with the advance of an anticyclone from the west following a depression over the Mediterranean whilst others suggest it is a katabatic wind like the Mistral.  [A katabatic wind (from the Greek katabatikos meaning “going downhill”), occurs when the air at the top of a mountain is cooled. Cold air is denser than warm air and so the air begins to flow downhill].

 

Photo showing a blue flag on Empuriabrava beach
Clear skies above Empuriabrava beach

Although the winds of Tramontana can be quite strong with wind forces from 6 to 8, there is very rarely any damage and paradoxically, Tramontana is associated with fine weather as any clouds that are around get blown away. The best time to view and photograph the surrounding countryside is during Tramontana as the air is so clear. It is also a great time for wind-surfing.