Spain in winter? What’s there to do?
For most people, Spain brings up images of sangria, beach
restaurants and paella. What many don’t realise, however, is the country is
great in winter too. In fact, visiting Spain in December can be better than in
If you didn’t realise, it does snow in Spain and it is
more mountainous than any other European country which makes ideal for a skiing
holiday. For instance, you just can’t beat the Pyrenees and there are ski
resorts right along the Spanish-French border. There is also the added novelty of
being able to go skiing, and sun yourself on the beach in the same day – the
Sierra Nevada is perfect for this.
One drawback Spanish summers, at least for the Spanish, is
that many businesses close as the staff and owners head for cooler parts of the
country. What this means is that some of the best restaurants open in the
winter. Away from restaurants, special events and art exhibitions are also
closed during the summer months, and for the same reason.
Very much like most other countries, the temperatures can
vary depending on the part of the country. For instance, some parts of Spain
can be unbearably hot in the summer with temperatures in some areas frequently
rising above 40 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) – this is especially
true in Seville and Madrid.
Winter temperatures are more reasonable, and toward the
centre and the north of the country, it can be very cold. Andalusia though is
mild, pleasantly so, right through the winter months.
Winter events in Spain start in December, but traditional
sweets such as turron and marzipan begin to appear in stores and supermarkets
As you might expect, the winter months in Spain are pretty
dominated by New Year and Christmas but there are other events happening too.
Religious services and celebrations run from the middle of December through to
early January. If you fancy your chances, there is the multi-million euro
lottery too. Amazing food, breathtaking nativity scenes and possibly one of the
biggest New Year’s Eve parties you will ever see.
In February there is the Sitges carnival, which is the
most important event of the month. It is also the biggest in the whole of Spain
and you can expect lots of colourful costumes and, naturally, drinking. The event
is not always in February though, so it’s worth checking dates first if you
want to experience it.
February also plays host to one of the more important
flamenco festivals in the country. The Festival de Jerez is held in Cadiz, and
normally runs a couple of weeks.
Airfares and hotel prices in Spain are normally lower in
the months, as there are fewer tourists, so it is worth keeping your eyes
peeled for good deals.
Also, January is by far the coldest month in Madrid (and
most of Spain), so be sure to pack warm clothes too if you do plan on visiting.