Without a doubt, Spain is one of the most exuberant, enjoyable countries to visit in Europe. Spaniards are known for being passionate yet sophisticated, and they always seek to live life to the fullest. In addition, Spain has everything from snowy mountains to sun-drenched beaches to posh cities, which makes renting a car in Spain a great idea. You'll definitely want to make sure you find the best time to visit Spain to make the most of this unforgettable country.
Some people may not realize that Spain is the second largest country in the European Union, and it can be separated into distinct climate zones that have fairly different weather and temperatures throughout the year. In terms of deciding on the best time of year to visit Spain, you can divide the country into three regions: the sunny and warm Mediterranean coast; the dry, hot, semi-arid region of the southeast; and the mild yet rainy northern coast along the Atlantic. Cities in the interior of the country, like the capital tend to be influenced by the closest predominant climate zone, as well as altitude. The varying climates mean you'll always find a good time to go to Spain; Barcelona is one of the best European cities to visit in April, and Madrid is one of the best places to visit in Europe in October.
If you can only travel during a certain time of year, take that into consideration as you make your plans. Of course, the beautiful cities along the southern coast of Spain are wonderful for swimming and sunbathing in the summer, but July and August tend to bring large crowds to the beaches. If you're not a fan of hot weather, consider heading north and renting a car in Bilbao or Santiago de Compostela, which are cooler than the south in the height of summer. Anyone who's very averse to hot weather should definitely avoid cities like Seville, Madrid, and Cordoba; in summer, these cities regularly see temperatures above 90ºF for days or weeks on end.
For travelers who want to try to avoid the crowds, you should try to travel to Spain the shoulder or off season. Spain is an incredibly popular tourist destination for Europeans from colder countries, and August is their prime vacation time. Traffic becomes intense and hotels as harder to find as travelers from France, Germany, and the Netherlands flock to Spain's sunny shores. Traveling in the months before or after the summer rush guarantees fewer crowds, lower prices, and comfortable weather. If you can travel in the winter, the Costa del Sol and Almeria are great places to visit; they're still balmy, but unlike other tourist towns, most businesses remain open because a number of northern Europeans spend their winters there. Winter is also the perfect time to travel for ski enthusiasts because the Pyrenees, in the northeast of Spain, are snow covered from October to June.
A great way to determine the best time of year to go to Spain is to plan your trip around the country's lively festivals. Spanish celebrations are fun, raucous, and sure to please. Some of the best festivals to attend include the running of the bulls in Pamplona, the tomato-crazy Tomatina in Buñol, Las Fallas in Valencia, or spending semana santa in Seville.
With so many different places to travel and such a wide variety of things to do, it seems like any time is the best time to travel to Spain! This is great for tourists because all you need to do is figure out what you'd like to do most, and then design your amazing Spain vacation around those activities. Before you travel, learn all you need to know with advice and tips in our Spain Travel Guide, or find inspiration in our Spain Road Trip Planners.