The lowest recorded temperature in Valladolid was −18.8 °C or −1.8 °F and the hottest 40.2 °C or 104.36 °F on 19 July 1995.

There is no direct evidence for the origin of the modern name of Valladolid.

One widely held etymological theory suggests that the modern name Valladolid derives from the Celtiberian language expression Vallis Tolitum, meaning "valley of waters", referring to the confluence of rivers in the area.

The Catholic Monarchs, Isabel I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, married in Valladolid in 1469 and established it as the capital of the Kingdom of Castile and later of united Spain.

Christopher Columbus died in Valladolid in 1506, while authors Francisco de Quevedo and Miguel de Cervantes lived and worked in the city.

During the time of Muslim rule in Spain the Christian kings moved the population of this region north into more easily defended areas, and deliberately created a no man's land as a buffer zone against further Moorish conquests.

The area was captured from the Moors in the 10th century, and Valladolid was a village until King Alfonso VI of León and Castile donated it to Count Pedro Ansúrez in 1072.

Valladolid's climate is influenced by the distance from the sea and its higher altitude.

Temperature ranges can be extreme and Valladolid is drier than Spain’s northern coastal regions, although there is year-round precipitation.

In texts from the middle ages the town is called Vallisoletum, meaning "sunny valley", and a person from the town was a Vallisoletano.

The city is also popularly called Pucela, a nickname whose origin is not clear, but may refer to knights in the service of Joan of Arc, known as La Pucelle.

At an elevation of 735 metres or 2,411 feet, the city of Valladolid experiences a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Csa) with influences of a cold semi-arid climate (BSk).