Best tourist season: April-October, tho’ the coasts and islands are often fine and fairly warm in winter; the north and mountains are cooler and marginally less crowded in the summer. July and August are crowded everywhere and extremely hot in southerly areas such as Andalusia but temperatures along the Atlantic coast of northern Spain will be perfect in this season, between 20C-30C.
Worst: December-February can be bitterly cold (below zero) and damp in north/central Spain – including Madrid – and the rain in Spain doesn’t just fall on the plain, Andalusia gets it too.
Spain Guide: Activities
Spain mostly attracts beach bums or culture vultures or both as coasts are lined with good sized beaches and inviting hotels for sun-starved north Europeans who occasionally need some cultural input during their stag dos, romantic get-aways or family holidays. But there are many other activities available.
Papagayo beach, Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain.
February-March, Carnival time. Especially wild in Madrid, Barcelona, Sitges and Tenerife island.
March, Las Fallas, Valencia. A crazed week-long street party based on fire and fireworks, lots of both.
March- April, Holy Week (Semana Santa) – majestic, pointy-headed parades and some music. Especially vibrant in Seville, Granada and Malaga.
Late April, Feria de Abril, Seville. More wild, horse-oriented celebrations in this lovely city, but this time less restrained – to put it mildly. . .
July, Bull Running (Sanfermines), Pamplona. Don’t be bored, be gored.
August (last Wed), La Tomatina, Buñol (Valencia). The famous tomato street battles.
Spanish pharmacists usually speak good English and have wide powers to prescribe medicines. i. e. try them first for small medical problems. The sign is a fat illuminated green or red cross.
Spain electric sockets are mostly 230v and take 2 round pin plugs, identical to France.
EU citizens do not need visas, nor do many other country residents – including USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, for visits up to 90 days.
As usual a tourist’s relationship with locals – not to mention ability to haggle politely over prices – will improve dramatically with a few words and phrases of the local language. Fortunately Spanish is a particularly easy language to learn, in fact many regard it as the easiest major language in the world.
In addition, think how many countries use it, including California and Florida! So it’s well worth making an effort to learn Spanish, especially considering the availability of learning resources, from online classes to hiring a Spanish tutor at takelessons.com.
Spain Guide: Food
Spanish foods tend to be full-flavoured, rich and leans towards heavy protein content.
Popular with travellers are paella (sea food with rice, frequently overcooked), gazpacho (cold tomato++ soup, yummy) and varied chorizo (spicy sausages). Tapas (small tasty snacks served with drinks) used to be free but rarely are these days, but are still a good way to eat on the cheap.
Lunch and siesta occupy much of the heat of the day, while dinner is eaten either late or very late by locals.
See Tourist Attractions for Spain’s best destinations