Visiting Spain in winter? What’s there to do?
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 in October.
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.