Winter Travel in Spain

by Tyson on Thursday, December 27, 2012

Winter Travel in Spain

Travel Destinations in Spain

Winter is a wonderful time to experience the rich culture of Spain. Many Spanish travel destinations feature winter sunshine, which offers an attractive alternative to the icy grip that frosty grey skies cast over much of the rest of Europe during this time of year. Travel expenses are often cheaper in winter (sometimes up to half the price), and availability is usually much easier to come by when booking a hotel room, an air or train ticket, tickets for events, etc. Attractions (and the cities and towns themselves) are less crowded with tourists, which may make your trip more comfortable and even a more personal journey. Certain Spanish winter vacation plans listed below are clearly more appropriate for families while others are more suited to couples or folks travelling alone, and we’ve grouped ideas into convenient categories, however keeping an open mind when deciding where to go may open up some curious possibilities: 

Historic/Cultural destinations

Granada’s incredible 10th century Moorish fortress palace the Alhambra is open in winter. The city of Granada also sits at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range, where the nearby Sierra Nevada Ski Station offers skiers some of the best skiing in Spain.

The historic masonry work of Salamanca’s centuries old cathedrals, monuments and its university (one of Europe’s first) are just as stunning in winter as any other time of year. Visiting this historic university town in winter also gives visitors the special chance to experience the vibrant and youthful energy of its students, which summertime tourists miss.     

Flamenco excitement heats up Sevillian nights in winter. Seville is the home of flamenco, and winter visitors get to enjoy the city’s liveliest artistic traditions during the coolest time of year. The Royal Alcáhazar (Seville’s Moorish fortress/palace) and the Cathedral are open all winter long, along with a number of other attractions here in Andalucia’s largest city. 

Rural destinations

Spain offers a rich diversity of natural settings for wintertime travelers wishing to escape to a world of peaceful scenery. From the woodsy green landscapes of northern regions, particularly Galicia, where brave visitors could perhaps start the historic Camino de Santiago to do a little cool weather soul searching, to dry southlands, rustic vacation accommodations are available all over Spain. A casa rural may refer to just about any type of countryside lodging and some rural tourist sites offer activities such as horseback riding, guided hikes, skiing, etc. A Spanish countryside experience can be a relaxing retreat or an exciting adventure or both, depending on the kind of experience that most appeals to you.   

Theme parks

Many theme parks in Spain close during much of the winter, however some such as Port Aventura, about an hour south of Barcelona, and Madrid’s Warner Brothers Park, have special Christmas and New Year’s Eve promotions that are worth checking out, especially if you’re travelling with kids or if you’re just an amusement park lover.

Spa destinations

Imagine enjoying a hydromassage in a Jacuzzi in a spa resort nestled in the Pyrenees, surrounded by snowy mountain woodlands. You can do that at the Baños de Benasque Spa Resort and the Panticosa Spa Resort, which are also both located next to skiing facilities. In Southern Spain, Baños Arabes (Arab baths), particularly in Granada, offer an exciting way to experience the relaxing traditions of the Moorish Empire that flourished here hundreds of years ago.

Beach destinations

If you’re interested in Spanish wintertime beach fun in the sun, your best bet is likely somewhere on the Canary Islands. Temperatures on these islands located off the coast of western Africa remain warm all year round. Tenerife is the biggest and most popular of the islands, where the toasty black and golden sands of long scenic beaches await those hoping to escape chilly wintertime climates.    

Image by Javier Vicente

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