Welcome to our inside guide on summer in Spain, including all the places you should go and the ones you should avoid.
It’s no secret that I love Spain. I lived there for four years, after all. But summer in Spain can be tricky. It’s entirely possible to have an amazing experience, sipping sangria and soaking up culture in between splashing your feet in the waves.
But it’s also possible to have an unforgettable trip for all the wrong reasons. Summer in Spain can be hot, especially in the south, and without the right preparation, you can end up making yourself ill.
And no one wants that.
So, instead let’s be strategic and walk you through the best things to do in the summer in Spain.
What’s the Weather Like in Spain during the Summer?
First of all, it depends where in Spain you’re talking about.
As the summer months approach, Spain becomes a hot and dry place overall, with temperatures varying from 25 to 40 degrees Celsius.
Southern and south-eastern regions like Andalusia, Murcia, and Valencia tend to be hotter, with an average temperature of 38 degrees during the day, with conditions that keep locals indoors until sunset.
If extreme temperatures aren’t for you, the country also has some hidden regions where you can enjoy a splendid Spanish summer under the shelter of mountains and forests. The coastal areas of Galicia, Asturias, and the Basque Country in the north have cooler summer temperatures, averaging between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius. These areas also benefit from a more moderate climate year-round since they are closer to the Atlantic Ocean.
Coastal areas are also usually cooler than their inland counterparts, and as a result, Spain’s islands are often more comfortable, too.
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The Best Destinations in Spain to Visit During the Summer
You can fit so many beautiful places into your Spanish itinerary but a word of caution. Think twice before visiting Seville and Granada in the peak of the summer sun. Everywhere else, go for it!
Barcelona in the summer is a sight to see! The city comes alive with the sunshine, the sound of Catalan, and the scent of freshl flowers and sea air .
Barcelona is a city made for outdoor living and as you stroll through the streets or stop for a coffee in Plaza Major, you can’t help but feel like you’re transported back in time with the historic buildings that line the streets, each one telling a story.
Of course, no trip to Barcelona would be complete without a visit to the breathtaking La Sagrada Familia or the other Gaudi buildings which came to define this spectacular city.
But make sure to book in advance as you won’t be the only one who wants to see them. For more inspiration on what to do in this iconic city, check out our guide to the 21 best things to do alone in Barcelona.
Another great idea to escape from the heat is to stay in one of these gorgeous villas near Barcelona which have their own pools.
Valencia is a dazzling city on the eastern coast of Spain, with a warm Mediterranean climate that seems to wrap you in a gentle embrace as soon as you arrive.
As you wander through Valencia’s historic streets, from the towering spires of the Cathedral to the winding alleys of the Barrio del Carmen, every corner of Valencia tells a story.
Wander through the old river bed to the dazzling City of Arts and Sciences and then head on to the beach.
Valencia, like Barcelona, allows you to have the best of both worlds: city chic and easy access to the beach.
Water sports, festivals, and some of the best beaches in the world – this is how Mallorca welcomes you in the summer. But the largest of the Balearic Islands has even more up its Spanish sleeve.
Visit Palma, with its winding stone streets, top restaurants and impressive cathedral. A handy spot to shelter in for some shade after wandering for hours in the Spanish sun.
Arriving in Seville in the summer is like stepping into an oasis of culture and nature. Apart from the heat. The city is bathed in a warm, golden light that seems to make everything glow. The air is thick with the scent of orange blossoms, and the sound of flamenco music drifts through the streets.
But, holy moly, this place gets hot, sometimes reaching a staggering 50 degrees Celsius in summer. If you have the chance, I’d visit at another time of year. But if summer is all you got, then stay in the shade, embrace the siesta and get ready to have dinner at 10pm with the flamenco shows at midnight.
The biggest attractions of the city are the Royal Palace of Alcazar and the more than 500 years old Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See, but for a complete immersion in the culture of Spain, you must stop by the lively plazas to enjoy some tapas and watch the street performers as they unravel their talents and captivate their audiences.
More about Seville
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Nestled in the heart of Southern Spain, Granada will steal your heart and make you feel at home with its rich culture and warm hospitality. It even gives free tapas with drinks, for goodness sake.
Granada’s cobbled streets, adorned with colourful flowers and whitewashed houses, wind and twist through the heart of the city, inviting you to meander through its labyrinthine alleyways.
And then there is the Alhambra, the UNESCO World Heritage Site and palace of unfathomable beauty.
For an authentic experience, consider staying with a host family, where you can immerse yourself in the local culture and traditions. Since Granada is a more affordable city, it is a good spot to drop anchor if you want to stay for a long time in Spain.
The Canary Islands
Located off the coast of Morocco, these Spanish islands offer a truly unique blend of cultures and landscapes. With black sand beaches, a UNESCO World Heritage Site volcano and the prototype for all the cities in the New World, Tenerife offers much more than just sun and sand. And that’s only one of the islands.
More about the Canary Islands
- The best things to do in North Tenerife
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The warm, sunny weather in the summer months makes it a great time to explore all that San Sebastian has to offer.
You can spend your days chilling on the beach and soaking up the sun. Or you can explore the city’s many cultural attractions, like the San Telmo Museum or the Aquarium.
One of the things that make San Sebastian so special is its unique blend of Spanish and Basque culture. Instead of tapas, you’ll find pintxos, for example.
And of course, no trip to San Sebastian would be complete without indulging in the city’s world-renowned cuisine.
San Sebastian is known for its pintxos, which are small, flavoursome bites perfect for sharing with friends over a glass of wine. The city is also home to several Michelin-starred restaurants, so you can enjoy some of the best food in the world while you’re here.
As Spain’s capital city, Madrid is already known for its architecture, world-class museums, and vibrant nightlife. But in the summer, the city takes on a whole new energy.
The sun-drenched streets come alive with people enjoying the warm weather, sipping on cold drinks at outdoor cafes, and taking strolls through the city’s many parks and gardens. And while Madrid can be quite hot in the summer months, the city’s many fountains and shady plazas offer a refreshing respite from the heat.
Plus, many locals head for the coast, so the city itself is that bit less congested.
From the efficient underground system to the many buses and taxis, getting around the city is a breeze. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even hire a bike or take a leisurely boat ride on one of the capital’s many lakes and rivers.
But perhaps the best thing about Madrid in the summer is that it truly captures the spirit of the entire country. The city’s outdoor energy, its love of good food and wine, and its deep appreciation for culture and the arts are all quintessentially Spanish.
More about Madrid
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Festivals to Attend in Spain during the Summer
Spain is a great place to experience new cultures and music festivals. Known for its enthusiastic approach to celebrations, Spain has more festivals than there are days in the year.
From traditional festivals to contemporary music gatherings, here are some of the best festivals you shouldn’t miss in the summer.
- San Fermín Festival (Running of the Bulls) – Each year, from the 6th to the 14th of July, one of the most famous festivals in Spain takes place in Pamplona. The celebration involves the running of the bulls, in which brave (or foolish, depending on your point of view) participants attempt to outrun the charging bulls as they are released into the streets.
- La Tomatina – This world-famous tomato fight takes place in the small town of Buñol, near Valencia, where thousands of people gather to throw ripe tomatoes at each other in a giant food fight. If you want to throw the first tomato, be there on the last Wednesday of August. I’ve done it. It was kinda fun and it also kinda hurt.
- Benicassim Festival – Every year, in July, music lovers gather for a massive four-day festival in Benicassim, a coastal town near Valencia. The festival features some of the biggest names in music and attracts thousands of visitors each year.
- Flamenco Festival – Seville hosts the biggest Flamenco festival in the world, with performances taking place throughout the summer months. This is a great opportunity to experience the traditional music and dance of Andalusia.
- Feria de Málaga – The Feria de Málaga is a week-long festival celebrating the city’s history and culture. It features live music, street parades, traditional food, and fireworks. Check for the exact date in August, as it changes from one year to another.
- Santander International Festival – In late July or early August, the northern coastal city of Santander dresses up for a wonderful celebration, featuring classical music, dance, and theatre performances.
- Festival of the Virgen del Carmen – This festival that celebrates the patron saint of fishermen takes place in coastal towns and cities throughout Andalusia on 16th July. It features boat processions, fireworks, and traditional music and dance.
Not a Big Fan of Crowds? Check Out These Hidden Gems!
Spain may have hot summers and crowded cities during the peak season, but you will also find some splendid areas with charming small towns, UNESCO world heritage sites, and huge national parks with only a few people milling around.
Here are some ideas if you want to escape from the crowds in the summer in Spain.
Asturias is a region in Northern Spain that Spaniards know for its food, landscape and history.
One of the region’s standout features is its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, which has influenced its food, culture, and architecture. The region is home to the Picos de Europa mountain range, which offers stunning hiking and outdoor activities.
Summer is the perfect time to visit Asturias, as the sunshine lights up the green and rugged coastline.
In addition, Asturias is a great starting point for exploring other regions of Northern Spain, such as the Basque Country and Santiago de Compostela. Here are the Asturias highlights you need to know about.
More about Galicia and Asturias
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Located in the western part of Spain, Cáceres has an impressive array of historical and cultural landmarks, including the Old Town, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During the summer months, Cáceres comes alive with festivals and events, providing visitors with a good time and a chance to experience the local culture.
However, it is a smaller town that can be enjoyed in a single day, so a day trip here may be the best option.
We are concluding our list with Menorca, a prime summer destination with over 200 stunning beaches and a rich cultural heritage dating back to prehistoric times. The island’s unique talayots and delicious blend of Mediterranean and Balearic cuisines make it a must-visit for history and food enthusiasts alike. The best way to explore the island and its many attractions is to rent a car or a bike and tour it.
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