Known for its reliably sunny summer weather, wonderful beaches, and lively events, Spain, is a top destination for vacationers. From the best festivals to the ideal climate and knowing when to book ahead, here's a month-by-month guide to what's happening in Spain.

June to August is the best time for music festivals

During Spain's high season, accommodations book out and prices increase by up to 50%. However, parts of inland Spain will be experiencing a low season with few tourists during this period. Expect warm, dry and sunny weather, with humidity in coastal areas.

A near-empty beach at the edge of a town
Traveling in shoulder season will mean fewer people on the beach © Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock

Enjoy fewer crowds from March to May and September and October 

Shoulder season is a good time to travel to Spain. The weather is mild and clear, and there are fewer crowds. However, local festivals can send prices soaring. You will run into fewer fellow walkers on the hiking trails, but the weather can be unpredictable.

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November to February is best for mild coastal temperatures

The low season brings cold weather to central Spain and rain in the north and northwest. Temperatures in Andalucía and the Mediterranean coast are mild. Many hotels are closed in beach areas, and elsewhere along the coast, prices plummet. This is high season in ski resorts.

January

In January, ski resorts in the Pyrenees and the Sierra Nevada are in full swing. Snow in Catalonia is usually better in the second half of January. January 6 is the highlight of a Spanish kid's calendar. The evening before, three local politicians dress up as the three wise men and lead a sweet-distributing frenzy (Cabalgata de Reyes) through most towns. School holidays run until around January 8.

Key events: El Día de los Reyes Magos (Three Kings' Day).

A band of men and women dressed only in red and black at a Carnaval parade
Parades mark Carnaval in February © Oscar Garriga Estrada / Shutterstock

February

This is often the coldest month, with temperatures close to freezing, especially in the north and inland regions. Riotously fun, Carnaval ends on the Tuesday 47 days before Easter Sunday and involves fancy-dress parades and festivities. It's the wildest in CádizSitgesBadajoz and Ciudad Rodrigo, where accommodation will be at a premium. Other curious celebrations are held at Vilanova i la Geltrú and Solsona. February 12 is the time to catch fire runs and human castles in Barcelona at the Festes de Santa Eulàlia. 

Key events: Carnaval, Fiesta Medieval and Las Bodas de Isabel de Segura, ARCOmadrid contemporary art fair, Festes de Santa Eulàlia, Extremadura Birdwatching Fair.

A huge figurative sculpture with several large faces at the center. It's made up of different colored geometric shapes.
Valencia welcomes Las Fallas festival in March © Helena G.H / Shutterstock

March

With the arrival of spring, Spain shakes off its winter blues (such as they are), the weather starts to warm up ever so slightly, and Spaniards start dreaming of a summer by the beach. Festivals are also picking up, with one of Spain's most important flamenco festivals taking place in Jerez. Valencia is the principal stage of the extraordinary festival of Las Fallas, which consists of several days of all-night dancing and drinking, first-class fireworks and processions from March 15 to 19.

Key events: Festival de Jerez, Las Fallas de San José

Two horses wearing red flowers on their bridles pull along a carriage carrying people in formal dress
Easter is a huge celebration in Seville and many other Spanish cities © LucVi / Shutterstock

April

Spain has a real spring in its step, with wildflowers in full bloom, the start of the dive season in Catalonia (which runs to early November), and school holidays. Easter entails parades of pasos (holy figures), hooded penitents and huge crowds. It's extravagantly celebrated in Seville, as well as MálagaÁvilaCuencaLorca and Zamora. April requires some advance planning (book ahead), but it's a great time to be here.

Key events: Semana Santa (Holy Week), Dansa de la Mort (Dance of Death), Los Empalaos, Moros y Cristianos (Moors & Christians), Feria de Abril (April Fair), Romería de la VirgenMercat de Ram

May

A glorious time to be in Spain, May sees the countryside carpeted with spring wildflowers, and the weather can feel like summer is just around the corner. The Ibiza clubbing scene kicks off with an official opening in May, and things keep going long and loud until October or November. There's a rare chance to see an otherwise-hidden side of Córdoba when beautiful private courtyards are opened to the public.

Key events: Feria del Caballo (Horse Fair), Fiesta de los Patios de CórdobaEs FiróTitirimundi International Puppet FestivalFiesta de San Isidro.

A crowd of people wear white clothes that are stained red by red wine. Many are laughing as wine is poured over them
Wine is thrown around at Batalla del Vino, which takes place on June 29 in Haro © Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock

June

By June, the north is shaking off its winter chill, and the Camino de Santiago's trails are becoming crowded. In the south, it's warming up as the coastal resorts ready themselves for the summer onslaught. Midsummer bonfires, fireworks and roaming giants feature on the eve of the Fiesta de San Juan (June 24; Dia de Sant Joan), notably along the Mediterranean coast, particularly in Barcelona and in Ciutadella, Menorca, where you can see splendid equestrian skills in parades. The more unusual events include Castrillo de Murcia's baby-jumping festival and Batalla del Vino on June 29, when participants squirt wine everywhere.

Key events: Romería del RocíoSónarBatalla del VinoPrimavera Sound, Pride Barcelona.

July

Temperatures in Andalucía and much of the interior can be fiercely hot, but July is a great time to be at the beach and is one of the best months for hiking in the Pyrenees. Alongside many other events at the week-long San Fermín festival in Pamplona is the controversial Running of the Bulls. Beware that serious injuries are common, and animal welfare groups condemn the event as cruel. Spain's national saint, St James, is celebrated in Santiago de Compostela on July 25.

Key events: Festival de la Guitarra de CórdobaFiesta de San FermínFestival Ortigueira, Día de la Virgen del Carmen, Fiestas del Apóstol SantiagoFestival Internacional de BenicàssimSemana Grande, Madrid Pride.

A woman lies on the ground covered in tomato juice. She's wearing swim goggles and is smiling at the camera
Goggles and a change of clothes are recommended at La Tomatina © Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock

August

Spaniards from all over the country join Europeans in converging on the coastal resorts of the Mediterranean. Although the weather can be unpredictable, Spain's northwestern Atlantic coast offers a more nuanced summer experience. The Descenso Internacional del Sella takes place in Asturias on the first weekend in August when tens of thousands of people go mad for a canoeing competition between Arriondas and Ribadesella. Festivals celebrating everything, from tomatoes and octopuses to live music and classic theater, are in full flow across the country.

Key events: Festival Internacional de Teatro ClásicoFestes de la PatronaFesta do AlbariñoFiesta de la Sidra Natural, Festa do Pulpo de O CarballiñoFesta Major de GràciaLa TomatinaCipotegato.

A huge tightly packed crowd shot from above. A tower of people standing on each other's shoulders is the focal point
See human "castles" in all their glory at Festival de Santa Tecla in Tarragona, September © David Ortega Baglietto / Shutterstock

September

This is the month when Spain returns to work after a seemingly endless summer. Numerous festivals take advantage of the fact that the weather generally remains warm until late September at least. Seville and Málaga alternate hosting the most prestigious flamenco festival of them all, the Bienal de Flamenco; another big party kicks off in Barcelona; and it's time to harvest the grapes in La Rioja.

Key events: Bienal de Flamenco, Fiesta de la Virgen de GuadalupeLa Rioja's Grape HarvestFestes de la Mercè, San Sebastián Film FestivalCarthagineses y RomanosFestival de Santa TeclaFestival Asalto.

October

Fall can be a lovely time to be in Spain, with generally mild temperatures throughout the country, although the winter chill can start to bite in the central and northern parts of the country.

Key events: Fiestas del PilarFiesta de Santa TeresaSitges International Film Festival.

Skiers on a snowy mountaintop with a chairlift station in the background
November marks the start of the ski season, which runs to February © Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock

November

A quiet time on the festival calendar, November is cool throughout the country. Depending on the year, the ski season usually begins in this month in the Pyrenees and the Sierra Nevada. On Catalonia's Costa Daurada, waterbirds arrive en masse to one of Spain's most important wetlands, the Delta de l'Ebre, where the mighty Río Ebro meets the Mediterranean. Flamingos are a highlight, and while many arrive in October, it's in November that the spectacle is assured.

Key events: La Matanza.

December

The weather turns cold, but Navidad (Christmas) is on its way. There are Christmas markets turrón (nougat), a long weekend at the beginning of the month and a festive period that lasts until early January. The main Christmas family get-together is on the night of December 24 (Noche Buena) with much feasting. Although Spanish families now celebrate Christmas Day (when Papa Noel brings presents) and Three Kings on January 6, the latter was traditionally the main present-giving occasion.

Key events: Navidad, Noche Vieja.

Introducing Spain

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