Although Spain can be visited all year round, on this text we are going to talk about the best time to go to Spain.
Climate conditions change greatly throughout the year, and they also change from one region of Spain to another. Spain is not a large country when compared to the US or Australia. But you will be surprised to know how conditions can change from one part of the country to another.
On this text we want to help you with your choice with tips and information: each period of the year offers opportunities and drawbacks for a road trip. And we want to be sincere with you: the fact that Spain is open all year round doesn’t mean the 12 months of the year are equally suited for a road trip.
SEASONS AT A GLANCE
Seasons are clearly defined in most of Spain, even more so in the regions of the interior of the country. The Canary Islands are a completely different matter, and we’ll deal with them later.
Spain in winter
Winter in Spain, between December and March, is the coldest period of the year. It is not unusual for temperatures to drop below 0ºC (32º F). The highest mountains are covered with snow, and it is the period of the year when ski resorts open their doors to the public.
When a cold wave hits the country, there might be road closures due to the presence of ice and snow on the surface. These road closures are not restricted to mountain regions, they are common in the interior of the country too.
Another outstanding feature of the winter period is that the number of hours of daylight is quite small, compared to other periods of the year. You can expect sunset at around 6 pm in winter.
While we don’t think winter is a bad period of the year for urban tourism in Spain, it is definitely not top of the list when it comes to planning a road trip.
Winter is a good choice for a road trip in Spain if…
- … you intend to visit a ski resort or a snow destination.
- … avoiding mass tourism is a priority – it is the period of the year with less tourists in Spain, even more so outside the main cities. If you plan on visiting nature destinations, including National Parks, you will have the privilege of doing so on your own.
- … you want to stretch your budget to the maximum. It is low season all throughout Spain. This is particularly the case for cities like Barcelona or Madrid, with the lowest accommodation prices of the year.
- … you want the opportunity to see a Spain completely different from the traditional postcards.
Winter is not a good choice for a road trip in Spain if…
- … you want to make the most of your daytime. As it gets dark at around 6 pm, you won’t be able to cover as much as you would do in other periods of the year.
- … stable and firm weather is your thing.
- … warm weather is your thing. Temperatures inland tend to verge on the freezing point for most of the winter nights.
- … you want to avoid any risks associated with winter driving.
- … you intend to visit the Balearic Islands – it is not the right time of the year for that specific destination.
Spain in spring
Spring in Spain, between April and June, is a period of transition from the harshness of winter to the sun-drenched days of the summer. A cold wave might make the temperatures drop, but the extreme temperatures of winter are gone.
Days grow longer, and in May and June, in particular, the number of hours of daylight is quite spectacular, with the sunset at around 9:30 pm.
Spring is a good choice for a road trip in Spain if…
- … you want to make the most of your daytime. As the season approaches June, daylight hours increase considerably.
- … you are after pleasant weather. Neither too cold nor too hot.
- … you want to avoid the tourist crowds that visit Spain during the summer. Tourism arrivals slowly increase, but it’s still nowhere as crowded as during July and August.
- .. you want to stretch your budget. While the lowest season of the year is gone, prices are still much more friendly than during the height of the summer months.
- … you plan on visiting nature destinations, including National Parks. They look so lovely during the period!
Spring is not a good choice for a road trip in Spain if…
- … you intend to visit the Balearic Islands – it is still too cold to be able to enjoy the beaches.
Spain in summer
Summer in Spain, between July and September, is the hottest period of the year, with dry weather and plenty of sun on the sky.
Days continue to be quite long during the period, allowing for an excellent enjoyment of your time.
Summer is a good choice for a road trip in Spain if…
- … you are after hot and sunny weather.
- … you want to make the most of your daytime.
- … you want to visit the Balearic Islands, it’s the right time of the year if you intend to enjoy the beach.
Summer is not a good choice for a road trip in Spain if…
- … you want to avoid the crowds. It’s high season in Spain, which translates in hundreds of thousands of tourists along the coastline. You will find the most expensive prices of the year too.
- … extreme heat in specific regions of the interior of Spain (Andaluzia comes to mind) might make for a very uncomfortable experience.
Spain in autumn / fall
Autumn in Spain, between October and December, is a period of transition from the sun-drenched days of the summer to the harshness of winter.
Days grow shorter, and in November and December, in particular, the number of hours of daylight hours is quite small, with the sunset at around 5:30 pm.
Autumn is a good choice for a road trip in Spain if…
- … you are after pleasant weather.
- … you want to avoid the tourist crowds that visit Spain during the summer.
- … you want to visit nature destinations. It is a beautiful time of the year in the forests and the mountains of Spain.
Autumn is not a good choice for a road trip in Spain if…
- … you want to make the most of your day. In November and December the number of daylight hours is quite small.
NOT THE BEST TIME TO GO TO SPAIN: HIGH SEASON
We all know that high season means high prices and hordes of tourists. Probably no the best time to go to Spain. Let’s have a look at the main critical periods of the year in Spain, tourism-wise:
- Semana Santa (Easter Week). There is a long list of cities in Spain where the celebration of Easter is a huge thing. Even in cities where such tradition doesn’t exist (like Barcelona or Madrid), many tourists make the most of the long bank holiday.
- July. School is over and July is the first month of holidays for Spaniards – and half of Europe too. You can expect crowds and full prices everywhere.
- August. For decades, Spaniards took their holidays in August. It is still very much the case, and along with July, August is the most expensive period of the year accommodation wise.
- December Bank Holiday. Two important bank holidays, on 6 December and 8 December, end up forming the most important extended bank holiday of the year. Expect high prices and absurd crowds in the main cities.
- “fiestas”. Local festivities are such an important part of Spanish culture! While fascinating to watch, they usually imply crowds and high prices. The fiestas calendar is far too complex to detail here, but it is always a good idea to check accommodation prices in the places you plan to visit to avoid any surprises.
GOING TO THE CANARY ISLANDS?
It is not by chance that the Canary Islands are known as the Islas Afortunadas (Lucky Islands). Due to their latitude, they enjoy a sub-tropical climate where low temperatures are unheard of.
If you are planning a road trip on the Canary Islands, choose whichever month of the year suits your calendar (and budget) best!
THE PERFECT MONTH TO GO TO SPAIN
We opened this text stating that Spain can be visited all year round.
But if you want to know our personal opinion about the best time to go to Spain, there is one fantastic month to tour Spain, the month of June. For several reasons:
- extremely long hours of daylight. In mid-June, you can expect total darkness after 11pm.
- the temperatures are just wonderful, a bit on the warm side, but safe from the summer heat.
- you can enjoy the beach.
- for road trippers, the sight of the fields full of flowers is wonderful.
- while prices tend to go up as the month advances, they are nowhere as expensive as in July or August.
If you can’t make it to Spain in June, consider May, September or October as worthy alternatives.
Travelling to Portugal?
If you’d like to know when is the best time of the year to visit Portugal, have a look at the text The best time to go to Portugal.