While visiting Spain is always a good idea, there are great reasons to plan out when you visit. Many factors help make a trip to Spain great, but some challenges could present issues for travelers. An unexpected change in climate or a too-crowded location could potentially make a good trip take a turn for the worst.

Also, spending way more money than you expected for a trip to Spain could end the trip sooner than planned. For those wanting to plan a trip around good weather, smaller crowds, and a budget, it’s crucial to know the worst time to visit Spain.

Hi, I’m Timon!

I’ve experienced the heartbeat of Spain firsthand. Over the last five years, I’ve immersed myself in the dynamic cities of Spain, truly living the Spanish way. My insights into this beautiful country are rooted in genuine experience.

The Importance of Weather

Worst time to visit Spain

With all of Spain’s sunny, beautiful pictures, it may be surprising to talk about the country being rainy. However, despite many areas of Spain receiving way more days of sunshine than rain, rain can be a significant factor when planning a trip there.

To be prepared, it is important to know which months have the most rain in Spain and which regions of the country experience them. In general, September through January tend to have the most rain. Oftentimes, the month of April brings additional rain.

The further north you are in the country and closer to the Atlantic coast, the more rain you will receive. It’s important to educate yourself as a traveler to Spain on which areas of Spain are tropical and the overall climate of the regions. 

Knowing whether a region is hot or cold in Spain can help travelers understand what to pack before visiting. In general, summers throughout the country are hot. Daytime temperatures can average around 30°C, especially in southern Spain.

When heading further north, you can expect a more moderate summer. If you plan to visit southern Spain in August, be prepared for extreme heat warnings. Landlocked cities such as Madrid also experience intense heat in August, causing many locals to head to the sea.

If you want to visit Spain during a time to beat the heat, consider the coldest cities in Spain, which can experience snowfall

Peak Seasons to Be Wary Of

View of Cala d'Hort Beach, Ibiza

Undoubtedly, summer is Spain’s peak season and draws the most visitors. During summers, beaches in all coastal areas of Spain can be completely packed.

It may also be much harder to secure a hotel in the summer months due to overcrowding. With children out of school from late June through August, coastal areas of Spain quickly fill up with families looking to spend time at the sea.

Despite being peak season, Barcelona is always worth visiting, yet be mindful of potentially increased prices and crowds. 

Apart from summer, there are other times when Spain can get too crowded or busy. Christmastime in December, for example, can be a peak season to be wary of when planning a trip to Spain.

Madrid and other big cities often have Christmas markets and festivals, drawing crowds from locals and tourists. Prices for both airfare and accommodations in Spain rise dramatically in December around the holidays, forecasting more visitors. 

It is also true that Spain can get too busy due to local events happening. Carnival is a common celebration in February, leading up to the days of Lent. Specifically in Spain, the areas of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Barcelona, and the smaller region of Cadiz become crowded with festival goers.

Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is celebrated throughout Spain whenever the holiday of Easter falls in spring. This event draws religious and non-religious people to see the beautiful decorations and floats. 

Month-by-Month Breakdown: What to Expect

Before planning a trip to Spain, it’s important to know which problems you may face depending on when you choose to visit.

It wouldn’t be ideal to visit Tenerife when it’s raining, as you wouldn’t be able to enjoy some of the world’s best beaches. It also wouldn’t be ideal to select a northern skiing destination in Spain during summer. 

While Spain is always beautiful, choosing where you travel to and when is one of the most important decisions to make. This monthly guide will help show you what Spain is like all year round. 

Cold Months: January and February

Santiago de Compostela, Spain. View of Praza do Obradoiro

While Spain seems like a country that would be mostly hot, there are definitely times and places that are colder in Spain.

The area of Castille y Leon is thought to be the coldest area of Spain in winter. This country area is known for Segovia, Spain’s ancient Roman aqueduct, castle, and cathedral. If you’re a fan of visiting castles in winter, this may be a really great place to choose.

If you are into skiing, you’ll need to look towards the French border in the Pyrenees, with Girona as a gateway to visit. These destinations make for a wonderful winter wonderland that boasts snow and beautiful sites, yet the climate is still more moderate than other European northern countries.

When deciding where in Spain in January to visit, the northern coast will have much cooler temperatures than the Mediterranean south. The Basque Country, for example, has strong cultural celebrations and offers great winter activities with cooler yet tolerable temperatures.

One of the most visited areas in northern Spain is the beautiful San Sebastian, which makes for a great winter escape. When considering Spain in February for travel, consider Ronda or Malaga for your destination. These Southern warmer areas help travelers who don’t prefer cold avoid it, yet they also can find great deals during non-peak season.

Flower Time: March to May

Spring is also a great time to visit Spain, with the high season yet to pick up and prices still low. From March to May, travelers can find flowers starting to bloom and terraces filling up again with people dining outside.

When packing and planning for a trip to Spain in spring, visitors may still need a light coat as evenings are still chilly as the seasons change. One trendy area of Spain to visit in spring is the island of Mallorca, with more than four million almond trees blooming.

There are so many things to do in Mallorca, including the springtime. Golfing and biking are common during these warmer months on the Balearic Islands, drawing outdoor enthusiasts. 

Besides the popular time of Semana Santa festivals happening in Spain, Sevilla is also known for its April Fair, a festival that draws crowds of dancers enjoying themselves in the streets.

Famous parks such as Retiro Park in Madrid and Park Güell in Barcelona will be filled again with people enjoying blooming flowers and sunshine. Spring is also a great time to take a train ride to enjoy seeing colors change and flowers bloom from windows.

Hot Months: June to August

While Spain is brimming with visitors during its hot months of June to August, there are also some challenges with visiting Spain in the summer. It has made headlines around Europe and the world that relentless heat scorches Spain, causing even some visitors to leave early or residents to relocate temporarily.

If you are sensitive to heat or it is intolerable to you, consider visiting Spain during other months than June to August.

In addition to the heat, some would say summer is the worst time to visit Spain due to excessive crowds. One way that both locals in Spain and visitors have avoided these crowds is by choosing the countryside in Spain over its oceans. 

If you have plans to visit Madrid in the summer, you may want to consider rescheduling your trip if it falls from June to August. During these months, Madrid becomes empty, with many shops and restaurants closing their doors for months at a time.

I experienced three summers while living in Madrid. During my first visit to the city, which was in a summer month, it felt like a ghost town, so it’s important to plan the best time to visit Madrid carefully.

Another city to consider avoiding in Spain from June to August is Barcelona. Even the beach towns near Barcelona will become overcrowded, so be sure to consider a different time to visit these areas.

Falling Leaves: September to November

An aerial view of a golden sunset over rocky forests and mountains in the Spanish Countryside

Fall is a beautiful time to visit in Spain as the weather shifts from hot back to cool. One of the best things about visiting Spain in the months of September to November is fewer tourists.

Sunlit days and pleasant weather provide the perfect outdoor dining and walking opportunities, with cool temperatures at night. Even beach towns and coastal cities are pleasant to visit in the fall, with fewer visitors, more space to roam, and moderate climates. There really is no bad area to visit in Spain during these fall months!

The islands of Ibiza and Mallorca are good options for the months of September to November in Spain. Travelers can still enjoy the views of the turquoise sea of the Mediterranean, and the sea is still warm enough to enjoy water activities.

Waiting to visit Spain’s islands until fall is much more economical, with hotels and excursions priced much lower than during summer.

Another important festival happens in the fall called El Día de Todos los Santos, or the Day of the Dead in Spain. This celebration focused on religious traditions where people celebrate the dead for several days, ending on All Saints Day when the tributes to deceased family members end. This is definitely an end-of-October into November festivity that you don’t want to miss while in Spain.

Holiday Time: December

Beautiful fireworks under Magic Fountain in Barcelona

Spain is known to be very festive in the month of December! Europe is generally buzzing with Christmas markets and streets lit with lights, and Spain also celebrates well. From food festivals in Costa del Sol to Christmas lights in Seville and Christmas markets in Plaza Mayor in Madrid, visitors to Spain can find something for everyone to feel festive.

Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Madrid and Barcelona can become very crowded.

Visiting Spain in December isn’t entirely festive, though. Temperatures in inland cities like Madrid can drop to as low as 0° Celsius, which might be too chilly for some travelers. Unexpectedly cold weather can cause Spanish cities to shut down completely.

Additionally, mid to late December is the most popular time for travel to Spain, often resulting in frequent air travel delays. Many locals also travel via car in the month of December, clogging streets throughout Spain and causing major traffic delays.

Be sure to consider these factors before planning a trip to Spain in December.

When Spain Can Cost More

Travel suitcases featuring flag of Spain

Cost is one of the most important factors when planning a trip to Spain. Avoiding overpaying and things being too expensive to enjoy is super important when traveling.

Before you excitedly book a trip, consider the costs of hotels, meals, and fun activities at your destination. The prices of these recreational activities may increase during your travel period, so planning and budgeting become important factors when preparing to visit Spain.

Knowing the best airlines to fly to Spain is important, which can help you book the best deal. During the high season, the prices of hotels in Spain, depending on the region, will be the most expensive. It’s important to book a hotel at a low price, especially if planning a visit over the summer months, as soon as you decide to book the trip.

On the other hand, you can find really great hotel deals throughout Spain’s regions in low seasons, so don’t be afraid to bear a little cool weather for a great deal!

Meals and fun activities are more costly in peak season, especially during festivals. If you choose to visit Spain during spring and fall, you can find lower-priced activities to enjoy without the markup.

Regardless of the time of year, Spain’s attractions, such as museums and art galleries, will often open regularly for free to the public. Be sure to research in advance which attractions are free and in what months to help extend your budget.

Smart Travel Tips

You can still travel smartly if you’re set on a certain month to visit Spain. Even if your trip is scheduled for peak season, you can avoid crowded spots throughout Spain by waking early in the morning. Most events don’t happen in Spain until closer to mid-day, so being an early bird will help you save a bunch.

You can save money by purchasing food supplies from the numerous grocery stores in Spain that line the streets versus eating out at every meal. It is common to see both locals and tourists walking with a bread loaf and some meat, taking their inexpensive meal to the park with friends to enjoy.

If you feel confident in braving the heat in August, be prepared with sunscreen lotion and a fan. If you’re a cold weather lover and aim to visit in winter, be equipped with lots of layers and secure accommodations with heating.

Navigating Crowded Destinations

Royal Palace of Madrid building from Plaza de Oriente town square

Just because a popular site in Spain is crowded doesn’t mean it needs to be avoided altogether. Some of the most visited sites are the royal palaces in Spain, which always draw crowds.

To avoid a popular time of visiting the palaces, consider visiting on days other than Wednesday and Saturday. These days, the palaces have an official changing of the guard ceremony, which attracts many visitors. By visiting royal sites when events are not happening, you can enjoy a serene moment enjoying the views without the busy. 

It is also well known throughout Spain that lunch is the biggest meal time of the day, beginning around 1:00 pm. Cafes and restaurants, especially those with outside seating, are typically filled to the brim with visitors.

This midday meal is an experience more than just a meal, with people staying for over an hour in fellowship with others. To avoid a wait, consider para llevar or to-go dining or visit during a less popular time than mid-day when choosing meal times in Spain.

Also, cafes tend to be filled most of the morning with those enjoying coffee, so be sure to secure a seat in a cafe earlier than later in the morning. Not much starts super early in Spain, so be extra prepared and save some time and money by getting there early.

Festivals Worth the Crowds

celebrating noche de San Juan holiday in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife island, Spain

Some festivals in Spain are worth the crowds, so regardless of weather, price, and crowds, say yes to the trip! Outside of the most common festivals in Spain, from San Juan (Saint John’s Day), Christmas, and Semana Santa, the country is always celebrating something special to its locals.

Three other festivals in Spain that are worth facing the crowds are Las Fallas, Feria de Abril, and Semana Grande. Las Fallas is a well-known festival in Valencia held in March to celebrate Saint Joseph.

In Seville, you can visit during April to experience Feria de Abril, a celebration of Andalusian traditions. In Bilbao in the Basque Country in Northern Spain, locals and tourists can enjoy a nine-day festival of Semana Grande held in August, which is great for traditional music.

Another type of popular festival to attend that is worth crowds is visiting local wine festivals in Spain. With Spain as the world’s third largest wine producer, you cannot go wrong by visiting a wine festival in any area of Spain.

One of the most well-known areas to attend a wine festival in Spain is in Cadiz, with the Jerez de la Frontera happening in September. This sherry wine festival is a memorable event not to miss.

Final Thoughts: Avoid the Worst Time to Visit Spain

Tourist waving a Spanish flag

Is there ever really a bad time to visit Spain? While some months may be worse than others, Spain truly is always beautiful in all regions. However, timing your visit to avoid crowds and excessive heat can make a huge difference.

Choosing to take a visit to Madrid in the heat of August would disappoint travelers who didn’t plan accordingly. Travelers searching for warm weather in Spain may be surprised to find very cold temps in the Basque Country in winter. Being prepared for your visit to Spain, regardless of the season, is always important. 

Aside from the weather, bigger crowds can cause a planned trip to make a wrong turn. By planning out your trip by researching in advance each month’s events and festivals and avoiding peak season, you can make an informed choice on when visiting Spain is best for you. Non-peak season prices are much more enjoyable for travelers, and through some research, you can secure an affordable trip to Spain.

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