"I need Spain" is the slogan of the National Tourism Office of Spain, and we totally agree with this statement! First of all, we need the beautiful sandy beaches of Spain's best resort, the Canary Islands. Secondly, travelers need the most delicious ham in the world and heavenly sangria. Thirdly, visitors need the whirlwind frills and the passionate shrieks of the flamenco cantaores that Spain has given to the world. Let's add all kinds of pleasant little things, such as: inexpensive and, at the same time, quite serious "skiing", a diverse nightlife, and the opportunity to buy things from the catwalk at outlet prices. There are more reasons why we need traveling to Spain! But let's start by finding out when the best time to visit this country is.
Weather in Spain
The north of the country (from Galicia to Catalonia) has mild, wet winters and moderately warm summers. The southeast coast (Andalusia and Extremadura) has, understandably, a Mediterranean climate, with very mild, short winters and dry, hot summers. Precipitation is scarce, falling mainly in autumn and winter. The summer in coastal Spain is usually around +25 -+32. The bathing season lasts from June to October. Finally, the country's central plateau has a distinctly continental climate, with a significant difference (sometimes up to 15) between day and night temperatures. Weather at summer is hot and dry, weather at winter is dry and cold. As for the Canary archipelago, the climate there is warm, mild and very stable. The average annual temperature is +20 with no extreme heat, even in the summer, and the water is warm all year round.
Weather in Spain is great for traveling all year round!
January in Spain
The first month of the year in Spain is fairly quiet. It's the best time for those travelers who don't like crowds and can easily tolerate cool weather. Temperatures in high mountain ranges such as the Pyrenees and the Sierra Nevada can fall below freezing. However, this cold weather brings a lot of snow to these mountain ranges, whereby in January, the ski season is in full swing. So unless you're traveling to the Canary Islands, you'll definitely need some warm winter gear.
January also marks some holidays, including Reyes-Magos (Day of the Three Kings) on January 6, the equivalent of Christmas in Spain. The day before the holiday, a parade is held in which hundreds of people ride through the streets on large floats decorated in a Christmas theme and led by three wise men (often three members of the local council who have had the honor). As they do so, they scatter various sweets into the crowd. January is also the best time to travel because of cheap airfares and low prices during the sales after Christmas, which are called "las rebajas".
February in Spain
Even though weather at February is the coldest time in Spain, travelers will still find plenty of reasons to visit the country during this time, especially if you like festivals. The city of Cadiz in Andalusia hosts an exciting two-week carnival with costume parades that attract thousands of fun-loving travelers from all over the country. The only more popular event is the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Carnival, held annually in the city of Las Palmas with a colorful theme that changes every year.
But that's not all of the loud and colorful festivities. The Museum of Modern Art in Madrid hosts one of Europe's largest contemporary art festivals, while the western region of Extremadura attracts many birdwatchers to see the arrival of many different species in the national park "Monfrague". The high mountain town of Teruel in Aragón also hosts a medieval festival — but don't forget to bring warm clothes while visiting it, as temperatures here can drop lower than anywhere else in Spain during this cold season.
March in Spain
As spring arrives, the weather gets warmer by the day until summer, when temperatures reach their peak. In central and southern Spain, travelers can probably walk around in a T-shirt in the afternoon if there's no wind or clouds outside. But if you're going anywhere north of Madrid, you will need a sweater. Don't forget to bring rain gear, as it can rain hard and unpredictable all over Spain at this time.
March is also the month of two of Spain's most famous cultural events. Andalusia hosts the Jerez Festival in the city of Jerez of the same name, where the country's most talented flamenco performers come to the birthplace of Spain's most famous musical genre. But the main event should be the Fallas festival in Valencia — an amazing festival of ruthless drinking and dancing, phenomenal (and very loud) fireworks, live music, and satire. It ends with the mass burning of giant papier-mâché effigies (called "ninots" by the locals) right in the streets, a sight you won't want to miss.
April in Spain
In April, weather is becoming warmer, some coasts are already sunbathing. Wildflowers are in full bloom, so this is also an ideal time to visit parks and countryside areas such as Valle del Herte in northern Extremadura. But keep in mind that rain may start any time, so be sure to bring a raincoat. Many travelers come to see the festive candlelight processions in honor of Semana Santa taking place in the cities of Andalusia and Castile-León. The processions are led by so-called "fraternities," dressed in colorful hooded costumes. They each carry two compositions with statues from church to church to city cathedral and back. Later in the month is Seville's April Fair, where locals put on their best flamenco costumes, ride through the streets on horseback and dance until late into the night. Food-travelers may visit festivals like the Mercat de Ram in the Catalan town of Vic and Feria del Queso (you've never seen so much cheese) in Trujillo in the Extremadura region.
May in Spain
By May, Spain's countryside is covered with vibrant wildflowers, and daytime temperatures begin to rise above 20. It’s the great weather for travelers. Coastal regions like Andalusia and Catalonia are getting their beach season on. It's a best time for swimming in the sea and lying on the sand before summer arrives and the beaches get crowded. Inland locations like Granada and Seville are the best for a warm, sunny spring break.
In May, the holiday season is in full bloom. For example, this is the time to celebrate San Isidro in Madrid, a week of non-stop parades, bullfights, and live music in honor of the patron saint of the Spanish capital. Other events include the Cordoba Courtyard Flower Festival (you will have a rare opportunity to see Cordoba's courtyards strewn with colorful flowers), the Cáceres Festival of World Music, Arts and Dance and the legendary parties on the island of Ibiza, which is rightly considered the clubbing capital of Spain. So bring your camera and, of course, clothes suitable for warm and humid weather.
June in Spain
June is the best time to visit Spain, wherever you travel. Weather is the best for beach rest, temperatures in the central and southern regions will rise, while northern Green Spain will be much warmer, making this region great for outdoor activities such as hiking and mountain biking. The famous Camino de Santiago hiking trail, which runs from the French Pyrenees to the west coast of Spain, becomes a popular route in June. Nevertheless, there are many other routes originating in different places in Spain, passing through stunning landscapes to the end point in Santiago de Compostela.
June is also the best time to visit in Spain because of the various festivals. Toledo and many other cities celebrate the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, while Barcelona hosts two of the biggest rock, pop and dance music festivals of the year, Sonar and Primavera Sound. All of these festivities precede the grand event, St. Juan's Night, on June 23, when seaside towns across Spain are lit up with beach bonfires and fantastic fireworks.
July in Spain
July is undoubtedly the most popular month for most travel destinations in Spain. This time has its pros and cons, depending on visitors needs. For example, with regard to nightlife, there are many lively bars and restaurants open at this time. But you may hardly experience the authentic Spanish atmosphere at the popular tourist resorts on the Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca.
Needless to say, by July, the temperature reaches its maximum and the weather becomes hot, so travelers will definitely need sunscreen. The intense heat will not stop you from having fun at festivals such as the International Festival of Benicàssim, near Valencia, or the Guitar Music Festival in Cordoba, dedicated to different styles of guitar music, from flamenco, rock, blues, and other music styles. And that's not all! Pamplona hosts the world-famous San Fermin (running of the bulls) during the week, while Santiago de Compostela spectacularly celebrates the Dia de Santiago (Feast of Saint James) on July 25.
August in Spain
In August, Spain's beach resorts are full of foreign and local travelers. Even coastal cities like Barcelona, Malaga, and Valencia can be very hot and humid, so many head for the cooler northwestern Atlantic coast of Spain. The temperature range is +20 - +30.
If the cooler weather doesn't tempt you, you might be interested in the delicious cuisine. The region of Galicia is famous for its seafood, such as octopus, which is well represented on all tapas menus. Moreover, this region has the Octopus Festival, held on the second Sunday in August in the small town of Carballino. The city of Cambados has a five-day Festa do Albarinho, dedicated to Galicia's favorite fruity white wine. The neighboring region of Asturias, where cider is very popular, holds a cider festival the entire fourth week of the month. Alternatively, take part in La Tomatina, celebrated every August in Buñol in Valencia, where people throw tomatoes at one another.
September in Spain
September is a welcome respite from the hot summer weather. It means that places like Madrid and Seville are no longer as hot. The coldest days in the north are usually around 17, but on the south coast, the hottest days may still reach above 30, so you'll still need some sunscreen. It’s the best time to visit Spain for thoose who don’t like heat.
This season is the best time to explore Spain. And there are still plenty of festivals to enjoy. Be sure to visit the San Mateo festival, celebrated during the third week of September in the Rioja wine region to celebrate the grape harvest. The city of Logroño, the region's capital, hosts many festivities — you'll even have the opportunity to crush grapes with your feet and, of course, taste a variety of world-class wines. Other events that might catch your eye include the two-week San Sebastian Film Festival, the massive La Merce Festival in Barcelona, and the Biennale Flamenco Festival, the most prestigious flamenco festival, held alternately in Seville and Málaga.
October in Spain
Although summer seems to be over, winter is just around the corner, with the colder weather settling in during October. This may be seen in the fact that more and more people in warm coats and long leather boots appear in the streets, and the city squares are covered with yellow-orange leaves. Towards the end of the month, temperatures in most parts of Spain will settle into the average, although you may probably still catch the end of the beach season in Mallorca or one of the other Balearic islands, which are about 10 degrees warmer.
However, if you go to Spain in the fall, you should keep in mind that temperatures can change at any time, whether you're traveling through the beautiful countryside of Andalusia or surfing the big waves on the Atlantic coast (in which case, be sure to bring a wetsuit). If you want to discover something new, visit the beautiful forest of Irati in the province of Navarra on the northeastern border with France, or have fun at the Festival of Our Lady of Pilar in Zaragoza. Spain's National Day is celebrated across the country on October 12.
November in Spain
Spain has cooler weather in November, when winter is about to arrive. It's the best time to visit the country for those who don't like the heat. The deep fall colors and bright blue skies will give you a whole new landscape, which is especially beautiful in the Andalusian countryside. Keep in mind, that it will be much colder in the highlands in the north, and it may even snow towards the end of the month.
After a summer season with many festivals and events, November tends to be a less festive time. Nevertheless, the first day of the month is All Saints' Day, a national holiday commemorating the dead. On this day, locals also prepare delicious seasonal dishes. A few days later, sherry lovers honor their favorite drink as part of International Sherry Week, which takes place in the city of Jerez. And the people of Potes, a small village near Santander, pay homage to their traditional drink at the Orujo festival. You can also visit international jazz festivals in Granada and Madrid, where a whole month of events are held.
December in Spain
Travelers hardly pay attention to the cold weather in December, as numerous Christmas markets open up all over the country, from Bilbao and Barcelona to Madrid and Seville. There you can admire Christmas installations as well as buy traditional handicrafts and homemade products such as turrón and manchego cheese. Christmas itself is celebrated as a national holiday, although the main celebrations take place in January. New Year's Eve is the peak of merriment when Spaniards try to eat 12 grapes (one for each chime) until the clock strikes midnight.
Regionally, there are fewer celebrations than in other months, but Málaga's spectacular Christmas lights have become something of a landmark, especially when they light up along Calle Larios. Just a short distance away, in the town of Torrox, is the Migas Festival, which gathers thousands of people and is dedicated to the typical dish of the region, migas. If you want to spend your winter time on the beach, head to the subtropical Canary Islands, where the temperature is a comfortable +17 - +23 all month round.
Beaches in Spain
Beaches are the wealth of Spain. This country boasts countless beaches of all kinds — sandy, pebbly, rocky, and even volcanic black sand. There are resort beach areas on both the mainland and island parts of Spain. In the country, all the beaches are municipal and free; access to them is not limited. From the east, Spain is washed by the Mediterranean Sea. Many kilometers of coastline include the Catalan resorts of Costa Brava, Costa del Maresme, Costa del Garraf, and Costa Dorada, as well as the Valencian resort region of Costa Blanca.
The southern Spanish coast overlooks the Strait of Gibraltar. Here is Andalusia with its resorts on the Costa del Sol and Costa de la Luz. On the coastline between France and Portugal, washed by the waters of the Bay of Biscay on the Atlantic Ocean, are distinguished three beach areas — Galicia, Costa Verde, and Cantabria. In the Mediterranean Sea, there are beach resorts in the Balearic Islands — Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera. The Canary Islands attract beach lovers all year round. A total of more than 480 beaches all over Spain are marked with the distinctive mark of the European Ecological Association — the Blue Flag.
Skiing in Spain
Spain is not only about the sea and the sun, but also about mountains and snow. The country has places with a variety of conditions for ski holidays. The most famous resorts for skiers are located on the border with France in the Pyrenees. They are divided into the Catalan and Aragonese Pyrenees. Catalan resorts are famous for their spectacular scenery, with mountain rivers and lakes. The most famous are La Molina, Port del Comte, and Bakeret. The latter is famous for being where members of the royal family and the Spanish president ride. The Aragonese part is the highest area of the Pyrenees, the land of national parks with an abundance of thermal springs. These are Astún, Candancha, and Boi Taul.