The Best Time To Visit Spain
There is a lot to do and see in Spain all year round; in fact, the diversity of attractions alone has made Spain one of Europe’s leading destinations. The many festival and events, unspoiled beaches and a diverse serving of outdoor activities can leave even the most selective of tourist, with a handful to do.
flickr/Camilo Rueda López
Spain’s weather, despite the variations by regions, is pretty friendly all the months of the year. Based on the various activities, attractions and weather, any time is a great time to visit Spain. Despite all these, if you want to make the most of your tour of Spain and enhance your visitor experience, you need to keenly take note of the regional variations in weather. You may also want to pay attention to your pocket, the festival calendar and the outdoors activity menu as all these help to determine the best time to travel to Spain.
Best Time To Visit Spain (By Regions)
Southern Spain has a delightful combination of awesome beaches and glorious Mediterranean weather. However, the best time to visit this region of Spain is in the spring and fall when comfortable temperatures prevail. The regions remains very heated up with the cities of Seville, Malaga, Córdoba and the tourist melting pot of Costa del Sol experiencing almost unbearable summers. Expect the temperatures here to average 90°F especially between July and August.
The region is however glorious when the heat abates but as winter approaches, rains too become commonplace. The temperatures are cooler as you head further north with the region of Granada especially the Sierra Nevada Mountains experiencing snowfall. It does pay to visit the Southern Spain during the summers because it is warm and some tours only operate around this time. But keep in mind that it gets pretty hot and most local residents prefer clambering to the receptive beaches instead.
The Spanish capital, Madrid as well as the provinces of Castile and Extremadura makes up Central Spain. This region too does become oppressively hot between the months of July and August. Because winters get unfavorably chilly, the best time to visit this region is spring. The weather is glorious this time of the year; and the towns of Toledo and Cuenca among others, lay elaborate celebrations that mark Easter and the Holy Week.
If you want a freer itinerary then winter may be the best time to travel to Spain because the crowds aren’t as thick and hotels are easy to book. The cities usually aren’t deserted this time of the year and the Central region of Spain has better weather as compared to the summers.
Compared to other regions of Spain, the north usually has considerably cooler weather. La Coruña, San Sebastian and other areas bordering the Atlantic Coast have magnificent temperatures in the summer. Galicia in the northwest however does record very unbearable weather around this time with temperatures sometimes getting beyond 90°F.
Visitors who want to engage in outdoor activities in Northern Spain would better do so in the summer. Hikers who want to scale the Pyrenees Mountains for instance, should visit around this time as there is no snowfall and frigid trails do not set in till the beginning of October. The region gets damp and cold during winter so it is best to avoid it all together immediately winter sets in.
The main festival season in Spain falls between the months of February and August which for culture lovers is the best time to travel to Spain. The most popular of these events is the intricate Semana Santa celebration that is usually laid out all over Spain with the showstopper in Seville during the Holy Week. This is a ‘must attend’ event that features massive floats and elaborate, colorfully masked processions that fill the streets from end to end.
Fiesta de San Fermín or running of the bulls is celebrated in Pamplona every July. This sure is one of the most popular Spanish festivals and draws both thrill seekers and on lookers. Thousands of Spaniards and visitors get to don the traditional white shirts and red bandanas which it appears, is the agreed attire for the mad partying that accompanies this festival. The bravest of these party animals then get to participate in a frenzied dash ahead of charging bulls careening down Pamplona’s narrow cobbled streets.
The Festival of Las Fallas held in March in Valencia is equally enchanting. The last night of this festival involves burning of the massive paper maché sculptures that are normally made in the shape of modern cultural icons or traditional figures. The resulting fireworks are normally accompanied by joyous street parties.
The much celebrated world renowned La Tomatina takes place Buñol, a town west of Valencia every August. During this festival, thousands of happy revelers hurl overripe tomato missiles at each other. You might want to carry a change of clothing and goggles just in case. San Sebastian Festival in mid-January as well as the Christmas and New Year festivities also draws in large crowds.
Spain offers the best combination of pleasant weather, limited crowds and bargain accommodation during spring and fall. And while this is the best time to travel to Spain, it is advisable to factor in holidays, festivals and special celebrations that fall within this period as these always affect the rates upwards. Ensure you reserve your accommodation well in advance and be prepared to dig deeper into your pockets if your times of visit coincide with special celebrations or festivals.
Spain has a rich and diverse serving of outdoor activities. The country’s almost 2500 miles of admirable coastline offers tourists wonderful opportunities of sunbathing, surfing, swimming and many other beach related activities. Visitors want to enjoy these, need to plan their travel between June and September because the crowds are much thinner and the weather of the southern coasts and the Mediterranean region is very pleasant. Hikers, mountain biking fanatics and campers on the other hand are better off visit between March and September. Snowboarders and skiers can have their turn in November, just after the first snowstorms hit the Pyrenees and Cantabrian Mountains.