Best Time to Visit Spain
Best Time to Visit Spain: The best time to visit Spain is from May through September. This is when the beaches are ideal for swimming and the weather is warm for enjoying all sorts of other activities too. Arriving during the early or later part of that time frame can mean fewer crowds and temperatures that aren’t sizzling hot. Otherwise, expect to battle the crowds, the heat, and pay the highest prices for airfare and accommodation.
Best Time for Good Weather: If you don’t want to endure searing heat or battle the cold, plan to visit Spain from either mid-April to mid-May or during the month of October. The former brings pleasant temperatures hovering in the upper teens and low 20s with relatively little rain, while the latter averages 22°C in the afternoon and tends to be fairly dry, especially during the first half of the month.
Best Time for Sightseeing: If you hope to experience the sights without countless tourists in the way, avoid the summer months and holiday periods, particularly Christmas and Easter. Temperatures will be comfortable while crowds are thinner typically during the first half of March, May and around mid-September through October. When visiting popular attractions, try to go early in the morning to avoid long lines.
Best Time for Beaches: Those who want a beach-focused holiday in Spain will want to go when the weather is warm, and the sea temperature makes for good swimming too, which is typically anytime between May and early to mid-October. During the peak of summer, the beaches will be jam-packed. So, if you hope to enjoy them in a more tranquil state, plan your visit in May or mid-September through early October.
Best Time for Festivals: While there are many festivals throughout the year in Spain, you’ll have the most to choose from if you go anytime from late spring to early fall. Primavera Sound, one of the largest alternative music/indie festivals in the world, is hosted in Barcelona in late May. June brings lots of great pride events throughout the country, while July hosts the Running of the Bulls. September is the best time to come for wine harvest festivals.
High Season: (May through August) High season coincides with the warmest weather of the year, with the peak of the season July and August. If you visit now expect big crowds, long lines and busy beaches, along with the highest airfare and room rates of the year. Of course, this is also the time the beaches are best for swimming, there will be countless lively festivals and wonderfully long days with the sun not going down until around 9:30 p.m.
Shoulder Season: (mid-March through April and mid-September through October) The shoulder season, early to mid-spring and early fall, can be a great time to visit Spain with temperatures typically pleasant, attractions open and fewer crowds. You might be able to find some discounted accommodation rates and airfare too.
Low Season: (November through mid-March): Late fall and winter are low season in Spain. In most places it won’t get colder than frosty mornings, although there’s likely to be snow in the mountains and at the ski resorts. If you can bundle up a bit and prepare for frequently drizzle, you can enjoy the sights crowd-free – just don’t plan on lounging on the beaches. Instead, wander the winding streets at a slow, easy pace enjoying the more peaceful atmosphere. This is a great time for travelers on a budget, with room rates and airfare typically at their lowest of the year.
Spain Weather by Month
Spain Weather in January: Don’t expect beach weather if you visit Spain in January. While temperatures vary depending on the destination, it will be chilly, with snow in the mountains while lower elevations experience average high temperatures that range from 11°C to 16°C. Madrid can be anything from surprisingly mild to bitterly cold, though it gets an average of just 40mm of precipitation over nine days this month. Southern and coastal regions tend to be warmer, with the north experiencing the coldest and wettest weather. Packing clothing that can be layered is always a good idea here. When the sun comes out it’s likely to feel warmer so you may want some warmer weather clothing along the items to keep you comfortable in the cold. (Average Max Temperature: 12°C. Average Precipitation: 40mm.)
Spain Weather in February: Temperatures warm slightly in February, though they can vary greatly depending on where you are. In general, expect some pleasant sunny days along with grey days and the possibility of rainfall if you visit now. Throughout the country daytime highs range from 12°C to 17°C, while lows in some areas are just above freezing. There should be plenty of snow at the resorts for skiing, while southern Spain, including Andalusia and Seville enjoys relatively mild weather that can make it a wonderful time to enjoy the sights, though still too chilly for sunbathing. (Average Max Temperature: 13°C. Average Precipitation: 41mm.)
Spain Weather in March: With March ushering in spring, temperatures really begin to warm now, especially in the south which experiences average temperatures in the mid to upper teens, and on some days the mercury can even reach the low 20s. Rain is minimal now with just 30mm on average over 8 days in Madrid. The north tends to get more rain than the south, so if you plan to visit Galicia or Basque country, you may want to bring a rain jacket or an umbrella. Otherwise, pack a mix of clothing for both warmer and cooler days, including sunglasses as the sun is likely to be out much of the time. (Average Max Temperature: 17°C. Average Precipitation: 30mm.)
Spain Weather in April: April brings even warmer temperatures which may even feel like summer in the southern region of Andalusia. In general, expect warmer, drier weather in the south, and cooler days in the north with a greater possibility of rain. April showers are more likely to occur there, and on average in Madrid there is 50mm of precipitation over 10 days. That means you may need to light waterproof jacket or umbrella along with clothing that can be layered. While it may be possible to enjoy sunbathing on the beaches, the sea will be too chilly for a swim at just 14°C. A holiday in the south means bringing mostly summer attire like short-sleeve shirts, dresses, and shorts, although with some items for cooler evenings, while visits to the north may want to focus on more spring-like clothing such as lighter long-sleeve shirts and long pants. (Average Max Temperature: 19°C. Average Precipitation: 37mm.)
Spain Weather in May: May is one of the best times of the year to visit Spain, with the hot temperatures of summer and the tourist crowds still weeks away. Temperatures do rise quite a bit now, with inland areas like Madrid typically seeing daytime highs of around 24°C. Expect plenty of sun in the south which is consistently in the upper 20s now and experiences very little rain. In the north it will be a bit chillier, with daytime highs around 18°C and a slightly greater possibility of rain with average precipitation of 40mm over 11 days now. No matter where you are, you won’t need a heavy coat. In the north, concentrate on a mix of clothing like sweatshirts and sweaters along with some summer attire. In the south it will be all about dresses, shorts and sandals. The sea will probably be too chilly for most to swim at 18°C but the beaches are usually ideal for sunbathing now. (Average Max Temperature: 24°C. Average Precipitation: 40mm.)
Spain Weather in June: Summers in Spain are hot, and June is likely to be warm no matter where you plan to visit in the country. The daytime high in Madrid rises to 29°C this month while the Andalusia region in the south often experiences temperatures in the 30s. Rain is pretty much non-existent in the south with only a slight possibility in the north with just 30mm of precipitation on average. The sea temperature in the south rises enough to make it comfortable for swimming at about 21°C, so be sure to bring your swimsuit to take advantage of the beautiful beaches. This is the time to focus on lightweight clothing, and you’ll also want to bring plenty of sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat. The evenings are likely to be chilly enough to warrant a sweater or light jacket if you plan to go out at night, with overnight low temperatures of just 13°C. (Average Max Temperature: 26°C. Average Precipitation: 11mm.)
Spain Weather in July: July is even hotter than June as the second hottest month of the year, which means if it’s plenty of sunshine you’re after and don’t mind searing heat, it’s a great time to be in Spain. The sea temperature is around 23°C now making it ideal for a refreshing swim. Barcelona, typically experiencing highs in the upper 20s, will be more comfortable than Madrid in the height of summer, where the mercury often reaches the mid-30s or even higher. Cloud-free days throughout the month are pretty much guaranteed extremely unlikely now averaging just 10mm over three days in July. You may have to plan on spending the hottest hours of the day at indoor, air-conditioned sights. Bring your bathing suit, plenty of sunscreen, sunglasses and hat now. (Average Max Temperature: 32°C. Average Precipitation: 10mm.)
Spain Weather in August: August is the hottest month in Spain, and while the average daytime high is just a degree higher at 33°C, in places like Madrid it will feel much hotter due to the intense humidity that can literally take your breath away. If you plan to be here now, be sure to book an air-conditioned room or sleep might be hard to come by. With the sizzling heat, most locals head to the beaches now, which means many restaurants and bars will be shut down in the inland cities. Barcelona will be a bit cooler with the average high temperature at 30°C, though the city often empties out now too with many locals enjoying a holiday at the beach here too. Pack as you would for July if you come now, with lightweight clothing and lots of sun protection. (Average Max Temperature: 33°C. Average Precipitation: 10mm.)
Spain Weather in September: Early September is likely to be very hot too, but things will start to cool down soon. Throughout much of the month it can still be uncomfortably warm in Madrid, with temperatures cooling the later in the month you arrive. The average high dips to 29°C and the beaches will still be ideal for swimming yet many of the tourists have left and locals are back to work. Barcelona is usually a few degrees cooler, but still quite pleasant at the beach. The average precipitation doubles to 20mm over 6 days this month but still not enough to get in the way of your plans. If you come now, pack your summer attire, along with a few items for cooler evenings. (Average Max Temperature: 29°C. Average Precipitation: 20mm.)
Spain Weather in October: October can be a great month to visit Spain, with plenty of sunny, warm days and little rain, especially during the first half. Temperatures are pleasant, typically around the low 20s, averaging 21°C in Madrid – expect it to be a bit warmer in the south and cooler in the north. If you come later in October, you may want to bring a light rain jacket or umbrella as the odds of precipitation increase, with overall an average of 40mm over 10 days. The nights are getting much cooler with the low temperature down to 9°C, so you’ll want to pack of mix of clothing, focused on mild days and chilly nights. (Average Max Temperature: 22°C. Average Precipitation: 40mm.)
Spain Weather in November: There is a drastic change in the air now with daytime highs dipping significantly to around 15°C in Madrid. It will be a couple of degrees warmer in the southern region of Andalusia, but it’s no longer a good time for swimming at the beach. In Basque country and regions in the north, the weather can be unpredictable but generally cold and rainy. It is possible to experience some sunny, warm days along the coast in places like San Sebastian. In the northwest, in Galicia, rain is probable, but it won’t be too chilly. If you plan to come now, bring a mix of clothing for mildly warm and cool weather, tossing in a rain jacket just in case. (Average Max Temperature: 17°C. Average Precipitation: 34mm.)
Spain Weather in December: A December holiday in Spain won’t be spent on the beaches, but there won’t be a white Christmas either – even in the coldest cities there’s usually not much more than frost. The only snow will be found at the ski resorts. The average daytime high in Madrid is just 11°C, with Barcelona slightly warmer. The Andalusia region will have the mildest weather but the maximum it gets there is 16°C or 17°C on a warm afternoon. While there’s still not a lot of rain, with 50mm over 10 days of precipitation on average, you may want to bring a rain jacket, focusing on clothing for chilly weather for visits to the north, and lighter clothing that can be layered for the south.
(Average Max Temperature: 12°C. Average Precipitation: 50mm.)
Spain Events and Festivals
Spain in January
New Year’s Day – January 1 is a national holiday across Spain which means many sights and attractions, restaurants and bars will be closed, along with the majority of shops. There are almost always some eateries open, however. While there may be some special events planned, it’s primarily a day to recover and rest from the New Year’s Eve festivities.
Three King’s Day – January 6 is Three King’s Day, a national holiday and a time when you can look forward to elaborate parades that include the arrival of the three “kings” by boat. After they’re welcomed, they’ll parade around city streets on colorful floats, throwing candy and gifts to children. Traditionally this is also when Christmas presents are exchanged.
Festival of San Anton – This celebration honors San Anton, the Patron Saint and protector of animals over the weekend closest to January 17 every year. This long-running festival that began in the 17th-century includes traditional bonfires, street processions and fireworks in many cities and towns across Spain, including Malaga, Granada and Nerja.
Jarramplas – One of the great food fights in Spain, this unique festival, also referred to as the Crazy Turnip Throwing Festival, is held in the village of Piornal in San Sebastian on January 19 and 20 every year as it has for centuries now. A man dresses in a devil costume with colorful ribbons and a horned mask running down the streets playing a drum while people throw turnips at him.
Spain in February
Santa Agueda Women’s Festival – Held on the Sunday closest to February 5 every year, this event which includes the town’s women singing and dancing, commemorates the battle of Segovia in which the Moors ultimately conquered the area in the early 13th century. During the battle, women entertained them while they were battling to take over the fortress.
Carnival – Carnival takes place before Lent, usually in February although it can sometimes fall in late January, March or early April. In 2020, it’s from February 15 to 25. There will be festivities in many cities across Spain, with the Cadiz Carnival considered one of the best. There will be groups of costumed troubadours flooding the streets, singing and playing instruments, with songs often poking fun at politicians. A massive paper-mache sardine will be noisily mourned as it makes its way through the streets to its final resting place. Gastronomic fiestas are enjoyed during the pre-carnival period like the Ostionada, an oyster party.
Festival of Santa Eulalia – Barcelona’s biggest festival for kids, is hosted annual for four days around Santa Eulalia’s Day, February 12. There will be concerts, parades, puppets, workshops, human castles and more.
Spain in March
Festival de Sant Medir de Gracia –Barcelona’s Vila de Gracia area hosts this week-long which features a long procession of riders on pack animas who gather at the Plaza Ruis I Taulet. They ride to the Arrabassada for a picnic. Upon return, the riders toss sweets out into the crowd and the whole thing culminates with fireworks.
Saint Joseph’s Day/Father’s Day – Saint Joseph’s Day is a national holiday in most regions of Spain, observed as part of the Roman Catholic calendar ever year on March 19. It also doubles as Father’s Day here. While it’s dedicated to remembering Saint Joseph by holding a staff blossoming with lilies or pictures of Joseph holding carpenter tools, it also a tradition for children to cook their father’s breakfast and/or give them a small gift.
The Fallas of Valencia – For five days in mid-March, March 15 through 19 in 2020, for this event brings giant colorful statues and figures to the streets and squares in Valencia. It’s been named an event of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
Spain in April F
Holy Week (Semana Santa) – Holy Week is one of the most important religious times of the year and brings colorful processions and festivities throughout the country. It takes place from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, April 14-21 in 2019. The most spectacular events in Andalusia take place in Seville and Malaga, when the streets are taken over by elaborate parades while religious displays depict biblical scenes. Holy Week in Viveiro, Galicia provides a fascinating religious and cultural experience with a fabulous atmosphere, but no matter where you go you’re sure to find something celebrating Semana Santa
Saint George’s Day – Traditionally celebrated in several regions of Spain on April 23 each year, Saint George’s Day honors this patron saint of the foreason for cities who have the saint as their holy patron, linked to historic events which happened during the Reconquista. The city of Alcoi in Valencia hosts one of the most notable celebrations, as a thanksgiving that comes complete with a parade of thousands of people wearing medieval costumes forming two different “armies” of Christians and Moors, and reenacting the siege that gave the city to the Christians.
Feast of Virgin of Montserrat – Annually on April 27, hundreds leave Barcelona, heading into the mountains to Santa Maria abbey, about a half-hour’s drive from the city. A feast of Our Lady of Montserrat is held there, featuring a mass, while the main square hosts a variety of activities. There will be live music and group dancing featuring traditional Catalan dances, lots of food and drink, and more.
Spain in May
San Isidro Festival – This festival in Madrid takes over the city for the entire month of May, bringing life music concerts to city squares and night parties with dancing after dark.
Trujillo National Spanish Cheese Festival – If you like cheese, you won’t want to miss this festival in Trujillo. Considered one of the world’s largest cheese fairs, it’s held in early May every year, May 5 in 2019. There will be around 300 different types of cheese, with countless local cheesemakers displaying their finest, along with a wide selection of local wines to wash it town.
Cordoba Patios Festival – This two-week long festival in May, May 6 through May 19 in 2019, is a colorful fair in Cordoba that opens up normally closed courtyards to the public as part of a competition for the most beautifully decorated. There will a myriad of flowers in bloom and a wide range of delicious foods.
Jerez Horse Fair – Dating back some 500 years, this fair held at the Gonzalo Hontorio Fairground in Cadiz, is a spectacle not to be missed, featuring horse parades, street parties, and all-night singing and dancing for a week in mid-May, May 11-18 in 2019.
Primavera Sound – Held in Barcelona in late May and early June, (May 30-June 1 in 2019), Primavera Sound is the world’s largest alternative/Indie music festival. There will be concerts at multiple different venues in the Raval neighborhood, with the primary festivities at Parc del Form.
Spain in June
The Noche de San Juan – This festival has ancient pagan origins, but today it’s famous for its all-night parties that take place throughout Spain’s coastal areas, most notably in Andalucia where there on bonfires, music, dancing and fun.
Uva Festival – Held for three days in June (June 8-10, 2019) in a former monastery in Ronda, this festival is dedicated to contemporary culture through the interaction of music, architecture and visual arts.
The Water and Ham Festival – Held in the village of Lanjarón in the Alpujarran mountain region, this festival takes place annualy on June 23 and features a massive water fight at midnight. After the soaking, attendees feast on ham, which is famous in the Alpujarras.
Pride Spain – There are Gay Pride events throughout the country, with two of the biggest in Madrid and Barcelona. PRIDE Barcelona will center around Avenida Maria Cristina on June 29 and 30, featuring music, dance, workshops, sports, live shows and exhibitions. Madrid hosts the largest gay parade in Europe and one of the biggest in the world with six different stages throughout the city, open-air concerts, a parade and much more, from June 28 through July 6 in 2019.
Spain in July
El Grec Spain – One of Barcelona’s most anticipated festivals of the year, El Grec, or The Greek, is a cultural festival of music, dance, theater, flamenco and film that takes place throughout the month of July.
International Jazz Festival at Getsxo – Multiple jazz concerts are hosted throughout the month of July in the Biscayan town of Getxo, bringing jazz enthusiasts from across the globe. The main open areas of the town are transformed into staging areas for hosting competitions and concerts.
Running of the Bulls/San Fermin – For 8 days in Pamplona, July 7-14, 2019, San Fermin, or the Running of the Bulls, is one of Spain’s most famous festivals. Every morning during the event, six bulls chase locals and visitors around the streets leading to the Pamplona bull ring. There will be lots of food and drink, dancing and more.
International Music and Dance Festival – This festival in Granada hosted in July (2019’s dates still to be announced) features local folklore music and dance among the main historical sites of the city, including the spectacular Alhambra Palace.
Spain in August
Feria de Malaga – One of Spain’s largest festivals takes place over a week in mid-August brining music, dancing, shows, horses, daily processions and fireworks to Malaga. It commemorates the conquest of the city by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1487.
Festa Major del Raval – In the Raval of Barcelona, this annual summer event will be hosted August 15 through August 21 in 2019. It showcases over 40 events, including concerts, traditional Catalan parades, dancing and more.
Festa de Sant Roc – The oldest festival in Barcelona, Festa de Sant Roc, has been taking place annually since 1589. It’s centered around the Placa Nova and takes place over five days in mid-August, featuring parades with the giants and bigheads, dancing and old-fashioned street games that were popular in the 1800s. It concludes with a “correfoc” (fire run) and fireworks.
La Tomatina – This unique event in Bunol is all about a bizarre tradition that brings thousands of people out to throw tomatoes at each other on the last Wednesday of August every year. It marks the end of a week of parties, fairs, street markets and parades.
Spain in September
Pedro Romero Festival – The most important festival in Ronda takes place over the first week of September when the city comes alive with music, dancing, singing, food and plenty of wine.
Rioja Wine Harvest Festival – In the capital of the world-renowned wine region of La Rioja in northern Spain, this festival in Logrono celebrates the first harvest of the season around the third weekend of September and the start of fall. In the heart of the city, you’ll see grapes carried from the local vineyards poured into wine barrels. The grapes are pressed by men wearing traditional clothing in a large wooden tub. There will be live concerts, theater, food tastings and bullfighting.
La Merce Festival – Barcelona’s biggest festival takes place over four days around September 24 to honor its patron saint, Our Lady of Merce (La Merc). There will be music concerts in the plazas, including Placa de Catalunya and Placa Sant Jaume, as well as Catalan dances, a swimming race, running race and parades.
Spain in October
Barcelona Jazz Festival – Jazz concerts will be held throughout Barcelona and the Catalonia region starting around October 5 and running through the end of the month.
Fuengirola Fair – One of the largest fairs on the Costa del Sol, the Feria del Rosario, or Fuengirola Fair, is a week-long festival. October 6-12 in 2019, that includes a bull run, horse parades, street parties, a country BBQ fair, all-night dancing, fireworks and more.
Valencia Day – Annually on October 9 Valencia Day is celebrated with fireworks that take place at midnight the night before followed by a colorful procession that travels to the Metropolitan Church of Cathedral Basilica of Santa Maria. This is also the feast of Dionisio, traditionally the saint patron of lovers, with men giving their love a silk scarf with sweet marizipan inside.
Festival De Otono – This festival runs for around four weeks in October and November in Madrid. There will be over 60 dance, theater and music performances as one of the city’s main performing arts events, designed to showcase the beauty and creativity of the Spanish people.
Spain in November
All Saints’ Day – November 1 is a national holiday. This is day when locals place flowers and other items on graves of loved ones who’ve passed, and also enjoy feasts with traditional foods.
Benidorm Festival – Hosted to honor Benidorm’s patron saints, San Jaime Apostol and Virgen del Sufragio, this event features parades, open-air theater, sporting events and street parties as well as a massive parade with decorated floats followed by a firework display from the main beach area.
Feriarte – This major arts and antiques fair held in Madrid at the Juan Carlos exhibition center is held in mid-November, November 16-24 in 2019.
Spain in December
Constitution Day – December 6 is Constitution Day, a national holiday that marks the signing of the new constitution, an important part of the transition to becoming a constitutional monarchy and democracy. While most businesses are closed, restaurants and shops are generally open.
Christmas Markets – There will be Christmas Markets throughout Spain this month (many open in late December), with Barcelona holding one of the top markets through December 23. The open-air market features handicrafts, Christmas trees and decorations, and many different works of art.
Christmas Day and St. Stephen’s Day – December 25 and 26 are holidays in Spain. It all begins on Christmas Eve, December 24, when many locals attend midnight mass. Christmas Day brings gift-giving and a special lunch. St. Stephen’s Day honors the saint with a feast that often includes Christmas Day leftovers and/or a cannelloni pasta dish.
New Year’s Eve – There will be parties across Spain on December 31st to celebrate the new year. At Puerta del Sol in Madrid, its famous clock tower sets the pace for traditional grape-eating, with one grape eaten at each stroke of midnight. Montjic is the place to be in Barcelona which hosts the Magic Fountain New Year’s Eve countdown, including music, and a fire, water and light show.