Planning a trip to the land of tapas? Make sure you know the best time to visit Spain based on tourist trends, weather, and the fun happenings of this crazy cool country.
The short answer? Visiting during the spring or fall is best as you’ll have mild weather, less crowds, and plenty of activities to keep you occupied, but keep on reading to decide for yourself!
- 1 When’s the Best Time to Visit Spain?
- 2 What You Should Know When Planning a Trip to Spain
- 3 A Month-by-Month Guide to Visiting Spain
- 3.1 January – Ideal for Winter Activities
- 3.2 February – Party during Carnival in Spain!
- 3.3 March – Experience Unique Spanish Festivals
- 3.4 April – Prime Time for Adventure Activities
- 3.5 May – Perfect Weather and the Start of Bullfighting Season
- 3.6 June – Spain Heats Up!
- 3.7 July – Peak Season Arrives
- 3.8 August – Time to Hit the Beach!
- 3.9 September – Summer (and Peak Season) Winds Down
- 3.10 October – Best Time to Visit Andalusia
- 3.11 November – Enjoy the Off-Season with Less Crowds
- 3.12 December – Celebrate the Holiday Season Spanish-style!
When’s the Best Time to Visit Spain?
The best time to visit Spain is during the spring months of March to May or during the autumn between September and November.
During these times, you’ll have pleasant weather, way less crowds, decent prices, and plenty to do! Plus, since these times are the off-season, accommodation will typically be cheaper, you’ll have a much easier time getting a dinner reservation, and you won’t have to spend half of your day waiting in line for the next attraction.
Spring is an especially good time to visit as it’s often warm enough to hit the beach, and there are tons of festivals and events going on that shouldn’t be missed!
However, no matter when you visit Spain, you won’t be disappointed. Year round, there’s delicious food, unbelievable museums, and a culture that’s well worth immersing yourself in. Just note that during off-season between November and March, you may find that businesses and restaurants have shortened hours.
What You Should Know When Planning a Trip to Spain
Besides spring and fall, there’s a little more you should know when it comes to planning a trip to Spain. Keep this information in mind, and you won’t have to deal with any unpleasant surprises along the way.
When is Peak Season in Spain?
When it comes to tourism, peak season in Spain is during the sun-kissed summer months. You can expect hoards of people throughout the country during July and August, all eager to drink some sangria and hit the beach.
During the summer, you’ll find that prices are much higher than any other time of the year, especially when it comes to flights and accommodation. To combat this, plan your trip early and book everything far in advance. It still won’t be cheap, but it should be less expensive than planning a last-minute trip during the busiest months of the year.
That said, just because it’s peak season doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find some peace and quiet while you travel through Spain. Tons of locals leave the country during the summer to escape the Spanish heat (and tourists), or head to the coastal beaches to cool off.
You may find yourself pleasantly surprised when you have an entire side street to yourself on the hunt for the best tapas.
What’s the Weather Like in Spain?
The weather in Spain is generally pretty mild all-year long, besides the summer when it gets hot, hot, hot.
In the winter, you can expect the temperatures to be around 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the country, but they will steadily rise as you move into spring and summer months.
During the summer, a typical day is around 90 degrees, so be sure to pack plenty of sunhats! If you’re looking to escape the heat in the heart of summer, head to northern Spain where temperatures are closer to 70 and 80 degrees. Otherwise, the beach it is!
The beach is understandably quite crazy in the summer, as everyone is scrambling to cool off in the pristine Spanish waters. This is why it’s actually best to avoid hitting the beach between July and August, and going during the spring instead!
Beaches during May and June are much more quiet than during peak season, and you can still enjoy warm weather. You can also hit the beaches on the other end of peak season between the end of August until October. The weather may be cooling off, but it’s still balmy enough to take a dip!
If you’re looking for warm weather year-round, you can generally find it along the coast. The Gran Canary Islands are also an ideal pick for a beach getaway, sunbathing, and ocean swimming any time of year!
Festivals and Popular Events in Spain
Spain is well-known for hosting some of the most unique, exciting festivals and events every single year. It’s not uncommon to plan a trip around one of these festivals so that you can get in on the action!
Most of the popular events in Spain happen during the spring and summer, such as La Tomatina, Feria de Malaga, and Las Fallas De Valencia. But you can also find a bunch in the off-season like the Grape Harvest in Rioja and Carnival!
Regardless of which festival is on your bucket list, it’s best to plan far in advance as it’s likely going to draw in crowds from around the world. Book your hotel and flights early, and have tickets if needed! You don’t want to miss out.
A Month-by-Month Guide to Visiting Spain
To help you decide when is the best time to visit Spain, here’s a breakdown of what goes on in the country month by month.
Besides the weather, you’ll be able to choose when to go based on activities available and famous festivals that will round out your holiday.
January – Ideal for Winter Activities
Average Temperature: 45 – 60°F
Highlights: Not many tourists | Cheap accommodation | Winter activities
Festivals: Three Kings Day | San Sebastian Festival
This is definitely during the height of Spain’s off season. The weather is chilly, but on the upside, there aren’t a ton of tourists so you can sightsee without constantly bumping into others. If that’s not enough, hotels and accommodation are typically less expensive in January because there isn’t much demand.
If you’re a winter sports lover, January is a perfect time to head out to the Sierra Nevada mountains for some skiing, snowboarding, or fireside tapas. There’s also plenty of snowshoeing and snowmobiling in the Pyrenees and Picos de Europa for different mountain views.
If you prefer to enjoy the mountains from a distance, there’s still plenty to do like warming up with a hearty cooking class or taking advantage of the post-Christmas shopping deals!
Finally, you can find a couple of festivals in January like Three Kings Day on the 6th which is accompanied by celebrations around the Balearic Islands, and the San Sebastian Festival which is famous for residents taking to the streets with their Tamborrada drumming!
February – Party during Carnival in Spain!
Average Temperature: 50 – 62°F
Highlights: Carnival | Flamenco
Festivals: Carnival | Festival de Jerez
February is still pretty quiet in Spain with decently cold temperatures, especially in Madrid and other northern cities like Bilbao and Galicia. It’s also rainy pretty much all of the time, which is why most people opt to hit the south of Spain when planning a trip in February.
That being said, February is famed for being the month of Carnival, which celebrates the beginning of Lent. There are tons of events throughout Spain, with big parties in places like Cadiz and the Canary Islands.
Put on a flouncy dress and your dancing shoes because Carnival means sangria and dancing!
Speaking of dancing, the Festival de Jerez is also in February and it’s one of the most well-known flamenco festivals in Spain. It’s a great way to experience Spanish culture while watching shows and listening to the stomp of heels. Flamenco fanatics — February is for you!
March – Experience Unique Spanish Festivals
Average Temperature: 60 – 70°F
Highlights: Beginning of spring | Not too crowded yet | Good time for hiking
Festivals: Las Fallas | Sant Medir | Semana Santa
The weather in Spain in March can be unpredictable, so you never really know if you need your swim trunks or fleece. But then again, the start of spring is always unpredictable!
March officially marks the beginning of spring which is one of the most beautiful times to visit Spain. Trees start to bud and blossom, there are flowers abound, and of course some rain to round things out.
March is an awesome time to visit Spain as it’s right before it starts getting busy. Intimately enjoy museums before the tour groups roll in, and hit the hiking trails before it gets blisteringly hot.
Not to mention, there are some unbelievable festivals during this time of year.
A trip to Valencia during this month is a must as the week-long Las Fallas Festival is one of the most notable things to see in Spain. You’ll get to see a huge parade of giant figurines before they’re set on fire. It’s unique, totally Spanish, and an event that can’t be missed.
Other festivals during March include the Sant Medir festival in Barcelona, where horse-drawn carriages filled with Spaniards throw treats to the people in the Garcia neighborhood. There’s also Semana Santa, the most Holy Week of the year. It’s a massive religious celebration throughout Spain during Easter, and can last for more than a week!
April – Prime Time for Adventure Activities
Average Temperature: 65 – 75°F
Highlights: Warm, comfortable weather | Not too crowded | Adventure activities
Festivals: Feria de Abril | Festimad | Feria del Queso
Another month of unpredictable weather, but certainly the warmest of the year so far.
In April, people in Andalusia start heading to the beach and restaurant terraces slowly fill up with eager diners ready for a taste of spring on the patio. Despite the weather being good, the wave of summer tourists still hasn’t hit yet, so this is a great time to visit before things get too crowded!
Enjoy sightseeing and sitting outside enjoying a coffee in the city square, or hit the hiking trails to see spring budding in Spanish nature.
April is a prime time for adventure activities like mountain biking, rock climbing, quad tours and helicopter flights as the weather is ideal for being outside.
The warm weather also brings fun festivals, like the Feria de Abril, a spring fair in Seville that showcases Spanish culture and has endless entertainment. There’s also a huge music festival in Madrid called Festimad during which you get a different concert every night!
Last but not least, if you’re a cheese lover, Spain in April should certainly be on your bucket list as there’s the Feria del Queso in Trujillo, which is a three-day cheese festival.
No, you’re not dreaming… April is definitely one of the best months to visit Spain!
May – Perfect Weather and the Start of Bullfighting Season
Average Temperature: 70 – 80°F
Highlights: Beautiful weather | Warm beaches | Hiking | Bullfighting season
Festivals: Bullfighting | Madrid Open
One of the most beautiful months to visit Spain, the weather in May is simply superb. You’ll have warm and clear, sunny days with cooler evenings, perfect for city strolls of walks along the beach.
This is the month when the beaches start to fill up in the south, but the rest of the country experiences divine weather as well. Head down to enjoy a last bit of peace before the crowds of summer tourists roll in!
This is one of the last times you’ll be able to enjoy hiking without absolutely dripping in sweat, so be sure to head to the trails if you’re visiting in May! You can also comfortably enjoy activities like paragliding, a hot air balloon tour or even some water sports without the stress of getting too cold.
What the month of May is probably best known for is the beginning of bullfighting season. If bullfighting isn’t your thing (not blaming you there), you can hit the Madrid Open, which is Spain’s largest tennis tournament, and also held annually in May.
May is also the month of the Cordoba Patios Festival, which is celebrated with events, parades, flower “wars”, and patio contests for residents to show off the finest of spring on their doorsteps!
June – Spain Heats Up!
Average Temperature: 77 – 90°F
Highlights: Warm weather | Kite-surfing | Terrace coffees and dining
Festivals: Water and Ham Festival | Photo Espana
June is when you start to get guaranteed good weather in Spain.
Gone are the days of carrying a raincoat around, because you can typically expect warm, sunny days, every day throughout Spain. While not officially peak season, this is when the tourists begin to roll in, and it’s immediately noticeable at attractions like museums, cathedrals, and even the beach.
It’s also quite apparent in the price of flight tickets, hotel prices, and even the amount being charged around town. Prices tend to skyrocket as businesses prepare for peak season, so you better get your reservation nice and early.
Just make sure that whatever you book has air conditioning!
Some events you can keep your eyes out for if you’re visiting in June are the Water and Ham Festival in Granada which is your chance to participate in a good old Spanish water fight; and Photo Espana in Madrid, an international photo exhibition that’s the largest in the country.
If you’re looking for a little bit of active fun, June is also the best time to head to Tarifa for some kite-surfing. The wind is stellar and the waters aren’t too crowded yet, so it’s the perfect time to learn!
July – Peak Season Arrives
Average Temperature: 80 – 100°F
Highlights: Beach! | Full hours of operation | Lots of festivals and events
Festivals: San Fermin | Sanlucar de Barrameda | Benicassim Festival
Hello, Peak Season! This is without a doubt the busiest time of year in Spain as the entire country is packed north to south with tapas-eating tourists.
It’s also the hottest time of the year, so most locals in the inland cities make their way to the coast for some sea breezes and ocean views. You can visit Spain in July, but you should expect huge crowds everywhere, extremely expensive hotels and flights (book way in advance!), and long waits when it comes to dinner time.
However, July isn’t all bad…
The country really comes alive to cater to everyone who’s come for a visit. Restaurants and business operate on full hours, there’s always something to do or see, and there are plenty of festivals and events to attend for a huge dose of Spanish culture.
In July, you’ve got San Fermin, aka the running of the bulls, which goes on in Pamplona from the 6th of the month until the 14th. It’s quite a wild sight to witness and is definitely worth attending if you’re in the area.
If you prefer horses, you can watch races on the beach in Sanlucar de Barrameda at this other annual event.
One last unforgettable option for events to hit in July is the Benicassim Festival, a huge four-day music festival held between Valencia and Barcelona. Get tickets in advance because the lineup is always fantastic!
August – Time to Hit the Beach!
Average Temperature: 80 – 100°F
Highlights: Best beach weather | Basque country is best | La Tomatina
Festivals: La Tomatina | Semana Grande
August rounds out the hottest time of the year, with more and more locals hitting the coast. If a beach getaway is what you’re looking for, Spain has some awesome beaches that are just perfect for a seaside holiday.
Places like Seville, Madrid and Granada are significantly less packed than the islands or coast of Spain as it’s too hot and dry to be landlocked. For this reason, you may find restaurants and businesses closed for the summer holiday, only to reopen when the weather cools down a bit.
If you’re looking for great places to visit in August, try Galicia, Basque country, and Asturias, where the weather is still beautiful without being too hot to handle. Take an awesome drive through northern Spain to check out the sights, and don’t forget to eat some pintxos while you’re up there!
However, what really brings people to Spain in August is the one-of-a-kind annual festivals held during this month.
The most famous is probably La Tomatina, which is basically a giant tomato fight among thousands of people. It’s held in Bunol on the last Wednesday in August, so mark your calendars!
Another well-known August festival is Semana Grande in Bilbao and San Sebastian which shows off the finest of the Basque region. You can expect bullfighting extravaganzas, giant puppet dances, and fireworks lighting up the night sky to end every day.
September – Summer (and Peak Season) Winds Down
Average Temperature: 75 – 90°F
Highlights: Less tourists | Grape harvests for wine | Inland cities have finally cooled down
Festivals: San Mateo Festival | Festa de la Merce
The end of peak season, and officially the end of summer, but Spain remains hot pretty much through the end of the month. However, it’s certainly more bearable than July and August, making September a lovely time to visit when the busiest time of the year is winding down.
You can go back to visiting inland places like Madrid and Cordoba, as well as wandering around other central cities without feeling as if you’re going to melt.
One of the best reasons to visit Spain in September is for the wine. This month is harvest season for some of Spain’s finest wines, so it’s a great time to head out to vineyards and taste the latest vintage!
There are plenty of vineyard and wine tours that will take you around a region for tastings, or you can venture out on your own for some sipping and snacking at whichever winery is closest.
Speaking of wine, in the La Rioja region every September, there’s the San Mateo Festival, which is a week of music, dancing, fun and of course, endless amounts of wine to celebrate the local harvest.
What could be more magical than that?! You can even use your feet to crush grapes at this event, one of the most traditional winemaking methods!
If you’re spending your September closer to Barcelona, be sure to head into the city for the Festa de la Merce, one of the largest festivals which celebrates Barcelona’s patron saint. Again, you’ll have a ton of wine here (which will make up for not heading to La Rioja), cultural events, and fireworks.
For even more culture, grab tickets to the San Sebastian Film Fest, also held during September, where you can watch films, catch sights of stars, and enjoy Basque country.
All of this goes to show that September is a simply magical time to visit Spain.
October – Best Time to Visit Andalusia
Average Temperature: 65 – 75°F
Highlights: Way less tourists | Pleasant weather | Good time to visit Andalusia | Surfing in Northern Spain
Festivals: Bienal de Flamenco | Week of Architecture
The weather starts to cool off and the cities begin to empty, so October is the perfect time to visit Spain if you can’t stand the heat or the crowds of summer.
October is the best time to head to inland cities like Madrid and Salamanca as they’re finally cool enough from the summer, but not as cold as they get in the heart of winter.
This is also a lovely time to pay Andalusia a visit. You can still experience a decent amount of sun with more empty cities than you’ll find in the summer, making for the perfect quiet escape.
For those who can’t stand to be out of the water, make your way to the north of Spain, where October brings some of the best surfing during the year! But you’ll definitely want to pack a wetsuit as it can get chilly out there.
October is also an ideal time to go hiking as you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the fall foliage along the trails.
In terms of events, October is home to the Bienal de Flamenco in Seville, the largest flamenco festival in Spain. Besides being great fun, just keep in mind that it only happens once every two years!
You can also head to Madrid for the Week of Architecture, which is great for any building fanatics looking to experience exhibits or workshops in some of the city’s most famous buildings.
November – Enjoy the Off-Season with Less Crowds
Average Temperature: 55 – 65°F
Highlights: Quiet city wandering | Fun festivals | Virtually no crowds
Festivals: International Sherry Festival | Jazz Festival
Finally, Spain gets some peace and quiet from the summer as the country prepares for the Christmas season. November is relatively quiet and cold, but there’s still plenty to do throughout Spain that makes it a worthy time for a visit.
Take a tour around Andalusia to visit local villages, or head to Ronda, a stunning town made famous by Hemmingway’s description as the “most romantic town in Spain.” November is the best time to spend your time wandering around in the crisp, cool weather before the winter chill really hits.
There’s plenty going on in terms of events in November, like the International Sherry Festival in Jerez (drink responsibly!) and the Jazz Festival in Madrid that draws people in from all across the world.
In terms of Spanish culture, November is a great time to visit for the Fiesta de La Almundena, held in Madrid. During this event, you’ll get to experience Spanish culture from long ago and spot Madrileños in their traditional dress!
No matter where you choose, you’ll be pleasantly surprised on a trip to Spain in November.
December – Celebrate the Holiday Season Spanish-style!
Average Temperature: 45 – 60°F
Highlights: Holiday season & spirit throughout Spain!
Festivals: Christmas Markets | Malaga Light Displays
The weather in December greatly varies, depending on where you are in Spain.
On one hand, you can be skiing through the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains, while on the other hand you can be lying on a Carribean-like beach. The choice is yours!
To close out the year, December is the time for Christmas festivities throughout the country. Think lively spirits, colorful lights, and widespread celebrations wherever you go. Doesn’t get much better than a Spanish holiday season, now does it?
One of the most delightful parts of December in Spain is the vast number of Christmas markets spread throughout the country. These markets are filled with trinkets for sale, delectable bites to eat, and warm drinks galore.
You can find the best (and biggest) ones in Barcelona or Seville but plenty of smaller cities and towns have them as well as the holiday approaches.
You can also find a wild light display in Malaga in December, with bright strings of fairy bulbs lighting the city every evening.
If you’re seeking a sandy Christmas rather than a snowy one, December is the perfect time to head to the islands for a warmer holiday season. However, if you’re staying landlocked, there’s plenty to do to celebrate the holiday and ring in the New Year as well.
The best place to celebrate the new year is to head to Puerto del Sol in Madrid for an experience similar to one you’d have in Times Square on December 31st. There are massive crowds of people, all gathered to party until the clock strikes midnight.
The tradition here is to eat 12 grapes, one for each chime, to welcome the New Year! There’ll be bright lights, music, dancing, and plenty of festivities, so be sure to make this a part of your plan if visiting Spain during this time of year.
For a magical trip to Spain, go in December!
As you can see, each month in Spain brings something different to the table. Whether you’re looking for less crowds, the perfect weather, exciting festivals, or all three, you’ll be able to plan a trip to incorporate it all.
All of this goes to say that the best time to visit Spain is based on personal preference and what you’re looking to get out of your trip.
Spain really is the land of wonders, with endless amounts of surprises in store for those who visit. No matter when you go, you’re sure to fall in love with this magnificent country but just remember… avoid peak season if possible!
Planning a trip to Spain? Check out these articles
- Best Places to Visit in Spain That You Shouldn’t Miss
- What to Eat in Spain: Ultimate Guide to Spanish Food
- Europe Packing List: All You Need for a Summer or Winter Trip
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