For most of the year, Spain is warm in the south and temperate in the north, but it is very hot in July in August. Spring and fall 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
There really is no bad time to visit Spain. It's a four-season destination.
Unsurprisingly, summer is peak season when most people take vacations to Spain. The weather is best, heat wise, and many cultural events take place then.
Spring and fall are great times to visit. The crowds in the standout cities of Barcelona, Seville and Granada have thinned out and the heat of summer has dissipated but temperatures are comfortable.
Getting around Spain
Spain has several international airports. Most travellers to Spain will land at Madrid Airport, but from there it is easy to get around. Iberia Airlines, Air Europa, Spanair and Air Nostrum all offer domestic flights.
Car rental is the best option for independent travel.
In the cities, such as Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia there are metros, bus and tram services. For travelling around Spain by train, RENFE runs most of the railroads. There are good bus services around the country too. Most of the major routes are point to point and operate very frequently.
Spain insider information
- Most travellers taking cheap flights to Spain will arrive in Madrid. The capital city is packed with world-class museums. The Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza and Reina Sofia galleries are minutes from each other. Visit for the sumptuous royal portraits and religious paintings. Sorolla Museum is worth a visit too, it's the the gallery/home of Joaquin Sorolla, the impressionist painter. Side trips from Madrid can take in the ancient cities of Segovia, Toledo and the walled city of Avila.
- In Andalusia, the province in the south, there are three cities that should not be missed - Seville, Cordoba and Granada. If there is time for just one, pick Granada. There is the Alhambra and Generalife, the Moorish citadel and palace, that stands against the Sierra Nevada mountains, but the city has even more to offer. It's a lively student town, there are beautiful old neighbourhoods to explore and dine in. Bib-Rambla has several good restaurants and the Arab bazaar is worth a look and Sacromonte neighbourhood, a Roma district, is noted for its cave houses, dug into the hillside, and its flamenco.
- Visitors to Spain should try to stay in a parador. The state-run paradors (luxury hotels) are in restored palaces and monasteries and there are modern hotels too, built in traditional Spanish style. The Parador of Granada, which is part of the Alhambra Palace, is one of the most popular.
- In the Basque Country, that region in the Pyrenees that spans the border between France and Spain, tapas are not called tapas. Basques call them pintxos. The txikiteo is the Basque word for bar hopping, soaking up the alcohol with small plates of delicious food. The alcohol of choice in this region is txakoli, akin to cava or cider. Pintxos served in this region include txangurro (cooked spider-crab flesh tart) and anchovies and papaya strips on toast.
- In Zaragoza in the North East, the faithful flock to the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar to kiss the back of a column topped with a statue dressed in a woman's robe. According to the story, the Virgin Mary appeared here to encourage St. James (or Santiago in Spanish) in his missionary endeavours. The week-long Festival of the Pillar takes place in October each year.
- Barcelona is a top tourist draw. To slip away from the crowds head to Gracia, where there are a number of quiet squares. Pick up a snack at the Boqueria Market first. This market off La Rambla has 200 or so food stands that sell cheese and bread, fruits and vegetables, olives, wine, fresh seafood, and, naturally, charcuterie.
- Looking for nudist getaways? Check out our listing of popular destinations and book today!