When is the best time of year to visit Spain?
The best time of year to visit Spain is in the spring and early summer (April-June) and fall (September-October) for abundant activities, good weather, and fewer tourists. Due to its size, Spain has a varied climate, but for the most part, you can expect Mediterranean temperatures, with hot, sunny summers (and peak tourism!) and colder, rainy winters. The best time to travel really depends on what kind of vacation you're planning, but whatever month you choose, Spain's sassy spirit is alive all year round.
When is the best time to visit for beaches?
July and August in Spain are hot, hot, hot! With summer temperatures lingering around 93°F (34°C), locals start heading to the coast for cool breezes and pristine beaches, and with over 5,000 miles of coastline, Spain has become one of Europe's best beach destinations. Whether you're hitting the southern shores of Valencia or Málaga, the glitzy playas of Barcelona, or taking a trip out to the Canary Islands, Palma or Ibiza, you should expect some pretty major crowds, expensive accommodation and long waits for dinner. Don't let this deter your beach holiday, though! If sipping sangria on a Spanish beach is on your bucket list this summer, we suggest rolling with the chaos, enjoying the vibrant culture, and booking everything well in advance.
When is the best time to visit to avoid crowds?
Summertime in Spain can get very, very busy, especially in the south and in coastal cities like Barcelona. If you'd prefer a quieter vacation, visiting during the 'low season' (November to February) is an excellent time for fewer crowds at the major hot spots. The temperatures can get chilly, beach resorts will be closed and you'll have to confirm in advance that popular sites and activities will be open, but there is nothing quite like sharing the streets with mostly locals to fully immerse yourself in Spanish culture.
When is the best time to visit Barcelona?
Barcelona is one of Europe's most iconic cities, boasting famous landmarks like La Sagrada Familia, Park Güell and Las Ramblas as well as glamourous beaches like La Barceloneta and an incredible food scene. That being said, the city can get extremely crowded in peak season, from of late June to August. The best time to visit Barcelona to combine sightseeing and beaches while scoring great weather and avoiding crowds is during the shoulder season: April-June and September-October. Temperatures range from 60-80°F (15-27°C), ideal for sightseeing away from the scorching months.
Barcelona has arguably one of the best soccer teams in the world, so if you're a sports fan, a trip to the city is incomplete without catching an FC Barcelona match. Matches take place at the Camp Nou stadium from early August to mid-May, with the majority happening on the weekends. If you'd like to combine sightseeing with a soccer match, September and May are great months to do so.
When is the best time to visit Madrid?
Spain's capital city is sizzling in many ways (and the summer heat is just one of them). Known for beautiful boulevards, expansive parks and enormous open squares, not to mention copious outdoor cafes and rooftop bars, Madrid is best enjoyed outdoors. Shoulder season months (May and September) are ideal for a visit; you'll have long days for strolling and sightseeing, tourist numbers aren't at their peak and temperatures will be warm but pleasant.
Summertime in Madrid can be uncomfortable, with temperatures reaching a stiflingly humid 98°F (37°C), and in August, locals escape the heat by heading to the coast, so many businesses may be shut down. The upside of visiting Madrid in the summer is that the city is quieter. Just make sure your accommodation has air conditioning! Winters can be cold with temperatures ranging from 39-54ºF (4-12°C), so bundle up if you plan on spending time exploring outside.
Best for: winter sun seekers, snow lovers and quiet city streets
Thanks to Spain's varied climate, visitors in January have their pick of the litter when it comes to activities. Snow lovers can head to The Sierra Nevada mountain range for skiing and snowboarding at over 20 resorts. The mountains are just 30 minutes outside of the historic city of Granada, and while the weather can get quite cold (lows of 30ºF and highs topping out at 50ºF), with proper clothing and footwear, you'll be able to explore the iconic Moorish architecture in nearly empty streets. If temperatures drop too low, a trip to the Turkish Baths at Hammam Al Ándalus or some fireside tapas will surely warm you right up.
If you're more of a winter sun seeker, the Canary Islands are close enough to the equator to remain warm all winter. While daily temperatures in the summer can reach upwards of 83°F (28°C), January sits at a pleasant 65°F (18°C), perfect for recharging your batteries after a busy holiday season. Think sun and relaxation without the crowds and sweating.
Best for: low season rates, crowd-free coastlines and Carnival cheer
February is considered the low season in Spain, as cold, wet weather sets descends on many of the northern regions, like Galicia and Basque Country. Along the southern coast, temperatures will be mild (low 60s°F), and you'll be able to score some major deals on accommodation as opposed to the high rates that are common in the peak summer months. The popular Costa del Sol region will be quiet and crowd-free, but with the sunshine and pleasant temps, it'll feel nothing like winter.
Mid-late February, things kick up with the arrival of Carnival, the festival celebrating the last day of indulgence before Lent begins. There are dozens of events across Spain, with parties happening in major cities like Madrid and Barcelona. For the most authentic Carnival experience, consider visiting Cádiz, Tenerife or Sitges for the country's most colorful, spectacular celebrations. Sitges is one of Spain's most LGBTQIA+ friendly cities, and their Carnival celebration doubles as a Pride event, featuring drag shows and a Rua de la Disbauxa, or debauchery parade.
Best for: spring awakenings, quiet cities and museums to yourself
March is a wonderful time to visit Spain and visitors will catch the sweet spot between the slow wake-up from winter and the frenzied arrival of the busy season. The days are mild and sunny, making for some pleasant sightseeing opportunities; temps in Barcelona average around 60°F (16°C), while Seville trends a little higher at 67°F (19°C) and Madrid a little lower at 57°F (14°C). The clocks spring forward this month, leaving more time to wander through historical cities, see sprawling parks filled with cherry blossoms, and eat tapas al fresco with just a light jacket.
March is also a great month to enjoy museums and attractions more intimately, as crowds are typically low during this period. Traditionally busy sites like Granada's Alhambra will be delightfully slow, so treat yourself to a few hours of wandering and snapping photos distraction-free.
Best for: festivals, fiestas and ferias
Richly vibrant culture is on full display in April as the country comes alive with several of Spain's most dynamic festivals of the year. Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is a particularly epic festival that takes place in the week leading up to Easter Sunday. Each region in Spain observes Semana Santa differently, and the celebration is a significant part of the festival calendar in Spain, with events taking place in all major cities. Semana Santa is technically a Christian festival, with displays of traditional religious icons and main events organized by religious fraternities called Cofradías, but you don't have to be religious to appreciate the fervent displays of impressive floats and parades that often feature flamenco dancing and drummers.
Two weeks after Semana Santa, The Seville Fair (Feria de Abril) begins, bringing upward of 5 million visitors to the Andalusian city. The fair is a weeklong extravaganza of dancing, drinking and socializing, with society parades, bullfights and parties that last 'til the wee hours of the morning. Women can be seen in brightly colored traditional flamenco dresses, which can be especially exciting if visiting with the kiddos.
Best for: walking, trekking and pilgrimaging on the Camino de Santiago
Spring is a beautiful time to be in Spain, with mellow temperatures and blooming flowers, so it's a perfect time to embark on a walking or trekking trip. While Spain has many excellent regions for walking, perhaps the most famous and well-known walking route in the world exists here: the Camino de Santiago. Due to the Camino's growing popularity, it can get quite crowded in the summer and fall, with thousands making the pilgrimage yearly, so May is a great time to visit the trail for a quieter walking experience. Fewer crowds mean it's easier to book accommodation ahead of the peak season, and temperatures in this region are ideal for both rigorous walking and casual strolling, averaging around 57-60°F (14-16°C).
Best for: amazing weather, seeing the whole country and spending time outdoors
June is arguably the best month to visit Spain for guaranteed good weather, plenty of open attractions and long days to take advantage of the best the country has to offer. Temperatures average between 70 °F (21 °C) and low 80s°F (25 °C) which is ideal weather for enjoying long, leisurely strolls, tapas on terraces and, of course, cold sangria. This is a great time for an all-encompassing Spain trip, as you're likely to have fantastic weather in each region you visit, from the coast to the interior to the northeast. If relaxing at the beach is on the agenda, head south to the Andalusia region before the hordes of summer tourists roll in, but make sure to book accommodation in advance.
Best for: magazine-worthy beach towns, lively nightlife and embracing the chaos
Peak season is here and the beach scene is sizzling. The coastal towns come alive this month, ready to cater to throngs of locals and tourists escaping the hot and stuffy cities where the temperatures can be unbearable. The beaches in the south will be packed to the brim, but if you don't mind crowds, a summer vacation in southern Spain can be truly magical. The Andalusia region is well-known for whitewashed buildings, Blue Flag beaches, all-day sunshine and lively nightlife.
If you're looking for glitz, glamour and people-watching, head to a beach like La Barceloneta in Barcelona or to the island of Ibiza, the party capital of the world. Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, is both a dreamy honeymoon spot and a great family destination while Cádiz offers an old-school fishing village vibe with traditional Andalusian charm. Businesses and accommodations are fully open this month, but booking early is a must as hotels and restaurants tend to fill up quickly. If your heart is set on a mid-summer beach trip, we suggest you pack some patience and flexibility; there may be chaos, but watching it unfold with an icy cold granizado in hand still sounds pretty darn good to us.
Best for: cooling off up north, food tours, slowing down
August in southern Spain and the cities is too hot to handle, with intense summer sun and temperatures regularly hitting 100°F (38°C). Many locals take their annual leave during this time (either by staying inside with their air-con or heading to the sea), and it's not uncommon to see businesses either closed for the month or operating on significantly reduced hours. Accommodation at the beaches this month is the most expensive of the year and requires very advanced booking.
Instead of heading to the beach like the rest of the country, consider a trip to one of Spain's northern regions like Basque Country, Asturias or Galicia. This part of the country is known for rolling green hills, historic cities and picturesque villages, and some consider the town of San Sebastian to be the food capital of Spain. Daily temperatures linger at a pleasant 76°F (24°C), perfect weather for a food-focused adventure. Leisurely wander through markets, enjoy a pintxos and tapas crawl through town and taste fresh seafood on the coast. Although most of the action this month will be on the coast, all of Spain slows down in August, so do your best to lean into leisure. Long afternoon siestas are not only common but heavily encouraged.
Best for: end-of-summer beach days, multi-country trips
Although technically summer ends in September, days remain sunny and temperatures stay high, making this a great time to visit southern Spain as the locals return to work. Businesses reopen after the break and you'll have to compete with fewer crowds at beaches and restaurants. This is also a great time to add a visit to neighboring Portugal onto your Spanish vacation to enjoy warm weather in Lisbon and the Algarve, or take a trip from Spain to Italy to enjoy a more mellowed-out Mediterranean coast after the busy season.
Best for: sightseeing in Madrid, National Day of Spain festivities
October is the perfect time to visit Spain's capital city of Madrid because the heat of the summer and the crowds are gone. Weather in October is pleasant, ideal for sightseeing and exploring the city's expansive plazas and parks, with temperatures hovering around 60°F (15°C)—mild by autumn standards. You'll be able to enjoy the architecture of the Gran Via and Plaza Mayor without competing with crowds, and lines for museums will be short and manageable.
October 12 is Dia de la Hispanidad, or Spain's National Day, an annual holiday that commemorates Christopher Columbus' discovery of the Americas for Spain on October 12, 1492. Although the holiday is observed throughout the entire country, the largest event is in Madrid. If you're visiting at this time, it's a great opportunity to join in on festivities with the locals as they celebrate their country's history and achievements. You can expect numerous public events like parades, demonstrations and parties, and it's also an "open doors day" in many of the museums and popular attractions where admission is free or significantly discounted.
Best for: quiet vacations and trips to the south
November is a quiet month all around, with cool weather keeping crowds at bay and very few festivals to get locals fired up. If you plan on sightseeing this month, temps average about 57°F (14°C), dropping steadily as the month goes on, so layer up to stay comfortable outdoors. Since November isn't typically a popular month for travelers, you'll get a chance to discover the real Spain outside of the traditional tourist landmarks.
If your idea of a Spanish vacation doesn't involve the cold, consider tacking on a trip to Morocco, where the temperatures will be a little warmer (usually averaging around 68°F) as you head toward the equator. Traveling from Madrid to Morocco will have you enjoying Spanish tapas in Salamanca, relaxing on idyllic beaches in Portugal's Algarve and marveling at medinas and mosques in Marrakech. The summer months are unbearably hot, so November is a great time to visit Morocco to explore the highlights in mild weather with less foot traffic from other travelers.
Best for: celebrating the holidays Spanish style
The weather is cold but spirits are high with the arrival of Navidad and the festive season in December. Throughout the month, Christmas markets pop up across the country, spreading joy as vendors sell trinkets, gifts, dulces and warm drinks. Some of the most famous include Barcelona's Fira de Nadal a la Sagrada Família, a large market set up in the gardens of Gaudi's masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia, and Madrid's Mercado de Navidad de Plaza Mayor that has been popping up since 1860. The town of Málaga boasts an epic lights display all month long and many cities receive a special visit from Papá Noel, making December an especially fun time to visit with little ones.
Plan on ringing in the New Year in Spain? Tradition will have you eating 12 grapes, one for each month of the year, at midnight to encourage good luck. A large celebration happens in Puerta del Sol in Madrid and Ibiza is known for its wild end-of-the-year parties. If you end up celebrating on the islands, the Spanish love to ring in the New Year with a dip in the ocean for a fresh start.
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