Covering large parts of Europe, Norway spruce (Picea abies L Karst.) plays an important role in the adaptation strategy of forest services to future climate change. Although dendroecology can provide valuable information on the past relationships between tree growth and climate, most previous studies were biased towards species-specific distribution limits, where old individuals grow slowly under extreme conditions. In the present study, we investigated the growth variability and climate sensitivity of 2851 Norway spruce trees along longitudinal (E 12-26°), latitudinal (N 45-51°), and elevation (118-1591 m a.s.l.) gradients in central-eastern Europe. We reveal that summer weather significantly affects the radial growth of spruce trees, but the effects strongly vary along biogeographical gradients. Extreme summer heatwaves in 2000 and 2003 reduced the growth rates by 10-35%, most pronounced in the southern Carpathians. In contrast to the population in the Czech Republic, climate warming induced a synchronous decline in the growth rates across biogeographical gradients in the Carpathian arc. By demonstrating the increased vulnerability of Norway spruce under warmer climate conditions, we recommended that the forest services and conservation managers replace or admix monocultures of this species with more drought-resilient mixtures including fir, beech and other broadleaved species.