For most of the year, Spain is warm in the south and temperate in the north, but gets very hot in July in August - peak tourist season. Spring and autumn are the nicest times to visit, although the Atlantic coast gets heavy rains in October and November. Winters can get very cold in Madrid and the country’s central highlands.
When to fly to Spain
May, June and September are the best months to visit Spain although the country is blessed with sunny weather almost all year round.
In the south, add April and October to the list. At these times you can expect sunshine, but not overbearing heat. An added bonus is that, by avoiding July and August, you will miss the hordes of tourists.
July and August are the height of the tourist season and Spain flights and holidays can be expensive. Early summer and into autumn are also popular. Spain is very popular with families so prices will be higher during school holidays and half-term breaks.
There really isn't a bad time to visit Spain, but the winter months (November to February) can be cold and rainy and the country gets its share of snow too.
Getting around Spain
The official Spain tourist site calls bus travel "comfortable and efficient", and has a handy list of related bus company websites.
The national rail network is called RENFE. There are high-speed and long-distance services. The AVE, for example, runs on the Madrid-Cordoba-Seville route. Madrid to Seville takes two-and-a-half hours.
Renting a car gives you the freedom to see as much of Spain as you like. All the major car rental companies have desks at the major airports. Check your airline website to see if it offers preferential rental rates. Booking in advance can offer great savings.
Spain insider information
- On the Costa Blanca, stop at Torrevieja. The town, popular with ex-pat Europeans, is about 30 kilometres south of Alicante. Torrevieja takes its name from the Old Tower and is famous for the area's salt lakes. The town has a salt museum, lively fish market and working harbour.
- Barcelona - in late winter and early spring the Catalans enjoy calcotades - a different kind of BBQ. Calcots are a kind of spring onion that ripens at this time of year. After grilling, peel off the burnt skin, dip in romesco sauce and eat. Rumour has it that part of the fun is rubbing the black ash into your neighbor's face.
- Fuerteventura – for a day away from the beach chair, the Islote de Lobos Nature Reserve offers the chance to see birds and plants not found anywhere else in the world. The reserve is a short boat trip from Corralejo.
- Majorca – Palma. The Coves del Drac (the Dragon Caves) on the edge of Porto Cristo is one of Majorca’s largest tourist attractions. The caves were discovered in 1896 and have bizarre stalactite formations. After the tour, visitors can return by boat across the lake to the exit.
- A 1950s art colony and 1960s hippie haven, Ibiza is known for its hedonistic resorts, fine beaches, and electric nightlife. The crowd is cosmopolitan — chic, gay, and middle class visitors, mostly from Europe, the US, and Australia. The town and inner island are interesting and have some quiet corners, but most visitors are here for the anything-goes nightlife.
- Valencia may appear modern and industrial, but look again. The heart of the city has renowned museums, art collections, and beaches. Valencia is where paella was created, El Cid fought the Moors, and the wild spring festival Las Fallas is held. The nightlife in summer is a beach party at open-air discos and in winter bar crawling in the historic district.