The Best Cities to Visit in Spain During the Spring and Summer Months
know Spring is quickly coming to a close, especially here in Southern California, but I wanted to do a post on which cities I thought were best to visit in Spain during the Spring and which cities would be better to visit during the Summer. Two factors that many overlook when planning a trip abroad are: travel patterns and temperature. I know it is easy to become overwhelmed with excitement over traveling so we often think “It won’t matter what the weather is like or how many other tourists are there, I’ll just be happy to be abroad!” While mind over matter can definitely play a roll in a person’s experience abroad, traveling at certain times to certain cities can dramatically change your experience.
First, I always recommend visiting the cities that become incredibly hot during Summer months, in the Spring. Being in a city like Madrid or Rome or Granada where the heat can become stifling in the Summer can ruin your experience. One thing to note is that as hot as it can become in some of these cities, MANY shops and restaurants DO NOT use air conditioning. I had several disappointing moments during my time in Madrid when I was dying of heat, drenched in sweat and ran into a cafe hoping for a brief reprieve only to find myself in a poorly ventilated room with a tiny fan swirling the hot air around.
Second, Summer months are PRIME travel months for countless people worldwide. There will never be more people in destination cities than in the Summertime. I had several family members come to visit and we planned all their trips in April. Lines for museums were incredibly short, crowds on the streets were perfectly manageable. When you aren’t running into people every 5 seconds and fighting to keep your spot in line for the next tour you are free to actually enjoy your trip. Stress DOES NOT need to be a part of traveling.
Cities in Spain to Visit During Spring:
- Semi-low tourist season
- Perfect weather (still a cool breeze during the day but the sun is shining)
- Can tour La Alhambra without walls of people on every side of you
- First, La Alhambra is pretty much an all outside tour, so to be standing around in the blazing heat of summer can potentially ruin the incredible experience this tour should be
- On top of the heat, in the summer there are herds of people everywhere so not only are you walking around for 3 hours in the heat, you’re trying to avoid bumping into the other 1000+ sweaty, disgruntled tourists and fight for a prized spot in the shade
- The orange trees are in bloom with beautiful orange fruit hanging all over the place
- All the flowers are in bloom so you can expect to find the gardens at La Alhambra bursting with color, vines and flower pots decorating the walls of the streets and homes
- Semi-low tourist season
- Can easily find tickets, wait times for entry lines, tours, restaurants etc are much shorter, and the streets aren’t crowded
- Beautiful weather
- Cool and sunny, maybe a spot of rain here or there but otherwise perfect travel weather.
- Madrid has some incredible gardens
- Palace gardens, Royal Botanical Gardens, Parque Retiro, all of which are bursting with plants and flowers in the Spring
- If you’re spending a few days in Madrid, then popping over for a
half-day or even full day-trip in Toledo is a wonderful idea in the Spring
- Toledo is, if it’s possible, even hotter than Madrid and I had the unfortunate experience of visiting in the dead of summer.
- My train back to Madrid didn’t leave for another 6 hours, I was wandering the streets like a lost kitten searching for a drop of coolness to revive me.
- Somehow, I found my way to the Cathedral in Toledo and walking through the doors the coolness of the huge building washed over me.
- I wouldn’t have normally looked at every single piece in the huge Cathedral’s of Spain, but I took as much time as I possibly could just to avoid having to walk through the fiery heat outside.
Cities in Spain to Visit During Summer:
- Beautiful beaches
- I absolutely loved wandering the beaches that were covered with lounge chairs, beach restaurants right on the sand, bars serving martinis to customers lounging lazily on a sofa 10 steps from the water
- Very eclectic city during the summer
- I didn’t see many Americans, but apparently this is a popular summer destination for many other Europeans. I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet so many other foreigners other than Americans!
- Gorgeous beach walk that runs for almost 10 miles along the coast
- Can ride bikes with the family, go for a run in the morning, take a casual night stroll past all the beach bars, restaurants and cafes
2. SAN SEBASTIAN
- Also beautiful beaches
- The food alone is reason enough to travel here
- Absolutely incredible with Spanish and Basque influences. Even the locals in Madrid would tell me how much they loved the food in San Sebastian
- Beautiful hikes up the surrounding peaks with incredible views of the ocean
- France is just a taxi ride away so you can pop over the border for the day if you feel like a new experience!
NOTE* I’m so sad to say that as I was going through my old pictures I couldn’t find any from my trip to San Sebastian! These were some of my favorite photos ? I really try to avoid using anyone’s photos other than my own, but in this case I really wanted to give you at least a piece of how beautiful this city is. Full credit is given to the origination of these photos in the caption!
Spain has an amazing list of beautiful beach cities, Valencia, Barcelona, Girona, and of course Ibiza and Mallorca. I listed Marbella and San Sebastian because I have personally visited them during the Summer months and they tend to be frequently overshadowed by the larger coastal cities. Although they may not be in the spotlight when it comes to big tourist destinations, they are without a doubt cities worth visiting. And honestly, the fact that they don’t receive as much tourist attention is what make visiting them so enjoyable!
If you are set on traveling during the summer, at least choose a city with a beach or lake. I promise, you are going to be so glad you have a large body of cold water you can run into. Yes, there will be tons of people, but no matter where you go during summer months this will be true as well, so may as well choose a place that has tons of people AND an escape from the heat.
I’m thinking of adding single posts dedicated to each of these cities so I can go more in depth about each of them, pros/cons, food, etc. Until then, if you have any questions about any of these locations please ask in the comments below! I would love to hear from you.
Any other cities in Spain that you feel are a must visit in the Spring or Summer?