The Best Time to Visit Spain

The second largest country in Europe, Spain has incredibly diverse landscapes. From golden beaches along the coast to dramatic mountain ranges. It’s also home to world-class art and museums, incredible historic sites, medieval hilltop villages and cosmopolitan cities. In order to determine the best time to visit Spain, it really depends on the destinations you plan to visit and what you’d like to do.

In many areas of Spain, the Mediterranean climate makes spring and fall the best times to visit, with mild weather for enjoying the sights. Although those who want to ski its famous slopes will want to come during the winter. This overview will provide a more in-depth look to help you decide when to go for the best possible experience.

Seville, Spain
Granada, Spain

Spring: March through May

Spring is an ideal time to visit Spain – in most places the weather will be quite pleasant, although mountainous destinations in the north may be a bit chilly. This is the best time to visit cities inland like Seville, Cordoba, Madrid and Grenada, with things warming up but not becoming unbearably hot. In the capital city, the average daytime temperatures now tend to hover in the upper 60s to low 70s Fahrenheit. At Alhambra Palace, a must-visit, you’ll be able to miss the thickest tourist crowds while enjoying the sights. The beaches are likely to be warm enough to relax on although the water may be a bit too cool for swimming.

Multiple events can be enjoyed during the springtime too like the Cordoba Patios Festival which runs for two weeks in mid-May,  with normally closed courtyards opening to the public as part of a competition for the most beautifully decorated. There will be all sorts of colorful flowers in bloom and a wide range of delicious eats. Of course, this season brings Holy Week, one of the most important religious times of the year. There will be processions and festivities throughout Spain with some of the most spectacular events in Andalusia held in Seville and Malaga, when the streets will be taken over by elaborate parades and religious displays depict biblical scenes.

San Sebastian, Spain
Toledo, Spain

Summer: June through August

Summer in Spain is very warm and crowded. In southern destinations, including cities like Cordoba, Malaga and Seville, it can become unbearably hot. Even in the capital city, the mercury often rises to 99 degrees or above, and in Barcelona it will be humid but not as hot. This is the best time to visit northern locations, including San Sebastian on the Atlantic coast, and enjoy hikes in the mountains like the spectacular Pico de Europa. This is the time the beaches will be at their best for swimming, although most stretches will be jam-packed. It’s the busiest time of the year, which means you’ll need to book your accommodation while in advance, and plan for tourist crowds.

There are a number of exciting festivals and events that take place in summer that might make it worth bumping elbows with others, like the city-wide food fight, Tomatina, which takes place annually in August in Valencia’s town of Bunol. The most popular of all, the Running of the Bulls, is held in Pamplona every year in July. Every morning throughout the eight days of the event, six bulls chase locals and visitors around the streets leading to the Pamplona bull ring. It includes lots of food and drink, dancing and more.

Barcelona, Spain
Cordoba, Spain

Autumn: September through November

Autumn is one of the best times to visit Spain, with the summer heat dissipating and the crowds beginning to diminish. You might even find some bargains, with airfare often lower and accommodation rates discounted following the peak of the tourist season. The weather is likely to be mild and pleasant in many areas, particularly in central and southern Spain, although it will be cooler in the north. The later in the season you come, the more those temperatures will drop. In Madrid, averages range from a high of 89 degrees during September to mid-60s in October and the mid-50s in November. The Pyrenees Mountains are likely to start seeing snow by the later part of the season.

If you visit the world-renowned La Rioja wine region in northern Spain, you can enjoy the Rioja Wine Festival which celebrates the season’s first harvest around the third weekend of September, with grapes pressed by men wearing traditional clothing in a large wooden tub, food tastings, bullfighting and more.

Winter: December through mid-March

Winter is the low season, with even the beaches in the south of Spain too chilly for sunbathing. Central Spain is typically the warmest with Madrid seeing high temperatures in the mid-50s to low 60s. It’s the time to come for skiing, with lots of snowfall in the north, particularly in the Pyrenees. There will be Christmas Markets throughout the country in December, with Barcelona offering one of the best.