A gridded, geographically extended weather type classification has been developed based on the Jenkinson–Collison (JC) classification system and used to evaluate the representation of weather types over Europe in a suite of climate model simulations. To this aim, a set of models participating in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) is compared with the circulation from two reanalysis products. Furthermore, we examine seasonal changes between simulated frequencies of weather types at present and future climate conditions. The models are in reasonably good agreement with the reanalyses, but some discrepancies occur in cyclonic days being overestimated over North, and underestimated over South Europe, while anticyclonic situations were overestimated over South, and underestimated over North Europe. Low flow conditions were generally underestimated, especially in summer over South Europe, and Westerly conditions were generally overestimated. The projected frequencies of weather types in the late twenty-first century suggest an increase of Anticyclonic days over South Europe in all seasons except summer, while Westerly days increase over North and Central Europe, particularly in winter. We find significant changes in the frequency of Low flow conditions and the Easterly type that become more frequent during the warmer seasons over Southeast and Southwest Europe, respectively. Our results indicate that in winter the Westerly type has significant impacts on positive anomalies of maximum and minimum temperature over most of Europe. Except in winter, the warmer temperatures are linked to Easterlies, Anticyclonic and Low Flow conditions, especially over the Mediterranean area. Furthermore, we show that changes in the frequency of weather types represent a minor contribution of the total change of European temperatures, which would be mainly driven by changes in the temperature anomalies associated with the weather types themselves.