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Walking & self-drive tours

Europe without Spain would be a dark place indeed. Spain is the great cultural conduit of our continent - from the Romans to the Moors to the Catholic Kings, Spanish history is as varied as its landscapes, people and food. You can keep your Costas, they have nothing to do with the Spain we know and love - a Spain which never, ever fails to surprise and delight us. Hopefully you will agree.

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Read our 5-part Expert Guide to Spain Get the guide

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Top 7 things to do in Spain

Embrace the stereotype of Andalucía

If there’s a stereotype of Spain, it’s here in Andalucía: dancing horses, flamenco, sherry barrels, orange blossom, guitars, hot sun, endless olive groves, hanging hams and bullrings. And they are all here, not preserved in aspic but actually part of every day life.

And there’s far, far more to Andalucía, a place where Middle Eastern, north African and European cultures have merged to create some of the great buildings of our continent as well as a deliciously colourful, unruly and exotic culture living in a landscape with more protected areas than any other part of Spain.

Discover Andalucía on our Inn to Inn itinerary »

Discover the Picos de Europa

Most people have never heard of the Picos de Europa. Which is no bad thing for those of us who love the peace and quiet of big mountains and deserted beaches. There is something for pretty much everyone in the Picos de Europa, they just don’t know it yet.

It is very hard to feel stressed in the Picos, it is a place which almost immediately takes you out of the day to day. It might be the echoing cowbells or the constant flow of water. It might be the prospect of a lunch of wood-baked bread, cheese and chorizo made in the nearby village eaten high in the hills, or a harbourside feast of seafood fresh from the sea.

Take a look at our Picos Inn to Inn itinerary »

Adventure in the Pyrenees

Beautiful mountains, superb hiking and wildlife, fun activities from white water rafting to skiing and some of our favourite small hotels in all of Spain. What's not to love about the Pyrenees? It's a little disingenuous to talk about the Pyrenees as one place. Maybe more than anywhere else in Spain, a journey along the Pyrenees is a cultural adventure – from the Catalan heartlands of the Mediterranean, up via the Spanish speaking high mountains and down again to the pastures of the Basque country.

It is barely credible that you can experience this physical, linguistic and cultural diversity without crossing a border. As the cultures change, so do the culinary traditions. Between Barcelona and San Sebastián you are within striking distance of more exceptional restaurants than anywhere else in the world.

Explore the best of the Pyrenees by car »

Drink in La Rioja

Spain has a greater area under vine than anywhere else in the world. Many people therefore think that La Rioja is a vast area, it isn't. In fact, it's Spain's smallest region - a strip of fertile land along the Ebro River Valley hemmed in by mountains to the north and south. La Rioja makes up for what it lacks in size with sheer variety. Mountains, forests, rivers, UNESCO world heritage monasteries, the Camino de Santiago and some of the best cuisine in Spain.

Oh, and then there's the wine. From world famous producers to tiny boutique wineries, the diversity of Rioja's output is something which can only really be appreciated while you are here since much of the good stuff never leaves.

Visit our favourite Rioja wineries on our Explorer itinerary »

Walk the Camino de Santiago

The great cultural highway of Europe has connected north and south Europe for well over a thousand years. The history and community along the Camino gives it a palpable spirit. For a life-affirming shot in the arm, there is little in this world to beat sitting in the Plaza Obradeiros in front of Santiago cathedral watching the emotions of the pilgrims as they complete their journeys.

The Camino is amazing even before you add in landscapes as varied as the hot cereal plains of Castille and the cool, green forests of Galicia. And while your soul is being fed, your body won’t be neglected. The cuisine shifts by region along each part of the Camino, from tender beef grazed on the mountain meadows of Navarre, via Riojan vintages to seafood fresh from the clean, cold Atlantic waters of Galicia.

Walk our very own version of the Camino de Santiago »

Visit the other Spain, Catalonia

Catalonia asserts its right to be different. The history, the language, cuisine and culture are all uniquely Catalan. But this isn't a culture which revels in insularity, quite the opposite. As a great crossroads for trade, Catalonia has traditionally been far more cosmopolitan than other parts of Spain.

Catalonia is large enough that there is fantastic variety within the region itself. To the west, the region climbs into the high valleys of the Pyrenees. To the north, the coast becomes increasingly dramatic until it culminates with the beautiful Cap de Creus. In the south are hidden secrets like the Priorat wine growing region. Barcelona everyone knows about, and it is a great city, but what about medieval Girona or Roman Tarragona? There is a lot to love about Catalonia.

Take a look at our Catalonia Inn to Inn »

Explore the coastline of Cabo de Gata

The Cabo de Gata Natural Park is one part of Spain's Mediterranean coast that feels genuinely remote. Spain's south-easternmost tip is home to mainland Europe's only desert, and Spain's only protected marine reserve. The Cabo de Gata sometimes looks and feels more like North Africa than Spain. That is, until you find the seafood restaurant on the harbourside serving fish straight from the Mediterranean. This is Spain with an exotic edge.

Cacti dot the hillsides on which goats graze; houses are low white blocks. There are flamingoes in salt flats and people snorkelling the clear blue waters. In the Cabo de Gata there are fishing villages where the road simply ends in the beach. Arid flanks of dormant volcanoes drop down towards sandy coves, passing crumbling Moorish watchtowers and Napoleonic forts along the way. The landscapes are fantastic, so is the weather.

Our Andalucía Explorer can take you there.

Our top 5 memories of Spain

Meet the Picos

It isn’t supposed to be clear, it’s November for heavens’ sake. By rights the mountains should be in a thick layer of cloud. My new wife and I should be curled up, guilt free, in front of a big open fire. But we have been blessed with a beautiful day and there is no excuse not to be up here in the high mountains. Diego wants to show us a walk from Sotres village, it sounded pretty nice. In reality it’s breathtaking.

Sound, not noise

A still, warm autumn evening in the village square and the air is softly filled with voices, the ebb and flow of conversations, greetings and laughter. The children of the village play, disappearing and reappearing noisily as they roam the cobbled streets. No cars, no phones, only the hum of people, young and old, enjoying each other’s company. That is the sound of Andalucía.

Less is more

It’s baking hot on the plains of Spain. The Cantabrian mountains are shadows in the distance, the Camino de Santiago is a wide path across not much at all. There is a gentle excitement as pilgrims near their bed for the night in the Roman town of Astorga. There is one thing out here though – an abandoned barn. In front of it, in the middle of the trail, a brightly decorated refreshment trolley. In its shade are are cool drinks, food, even plasters for weary feet.

A brilliant piece of commercialism – ‘get ‘em at their lowest ebb’? No, this is La Casa de los Dioses (the house of the gods). At David Vidal’s rest stop nothing is for sale, it’s there to be shared. If you leave him a donation, he’ll use it to get more food and drinks for the pilgrims. He derives his enjoyment from giving to others. David owns nothing of value and yet is perhaps the happiest person I’ve ever met. The spirit of the Camino is something very special and David is its embodiment.

Autumn in Ordesa

I am amazed at the scale of the landscape. This feels like Zion Canyon in the USA. I had been told about Ordesa National Park but never managed to get here, until this autumn. On my own, travelling the Pyrenees and here I am with a few hours to spare in Ordesa.

Nothing beats a beech forest in autumn, except perhaps a completely deserted one hemmed in by huge mountains with brilliantly marked trails. It often amazes me how dramatic and how empty Spain can be. And that's what I am treated to here, crunching off up into the mountains.

Singing in the streets

Bottle tops, gin bottles, old boxes, a trumpet and 30 blokes singing in the street outside my window at 4am on a Sunday morning. Magaluf? No. Aracena, a small town in the distant hills of Andalucia. Was I cross? No, I was spellbound.

Every Sunday in October the town’s traditional musicians, Campanilleros, sing the five parts of the rosary in five different parts of town. The beautiful, simple, sound of people singing in the enclosed streets of the old town has a magic to it. To do it in the silence of the dead of night with the faithful in attendance is to make it incredibly moving.

Read our 5-part Expert Guide to Spain Get the guide

Why us?

Because Pura Aventura is an Anglo-Spanish company, we are Spanish or at least some of us are.

Between us we’ve spent many decades exploring the country from top to toe. Some of us live there, some of us were born there, some of us simply love visiting whenever we can. It’s this combination of life-long connections and fresh eyes which allows us to create genuinely special trips to the parts of Spain we most love. It is for this reason too that so many people, both individuals and other travel companies, trust us to create holidays to Spain.

If you are looking for a package holiday to the Costas, we're not the people for you. If you want to get under the skin of Spain, want to meet people and enjoy the incredible landscapes, food, wine, culture and history of the country, then we are absolutely the people you should speak to.

Spain at a glance

Capital city


Famous highlights

Andalucia, Pyrenees, Camino de Santiago, Catalonia

Hidden gems

Picos de Europa, La Rioja, Cabo de Gata


Spanish, Catalan, Basque (Euskera), Galician (Gallego), Valencian and Aranés (a Pyrenean language cluster)

Food & drink

Where to start? Paella, pulpo, chorizo, jamón, almejas, pimientos padrón, patatas bravas, churros, wine, sherry, cider, cava, mosto, tinto verano, cola cao.

How far?

2 hours (London to Barcelona, non-stop)




GMT +1

When to go to Spain

January in Spain

In the north of Spain it is full ski season so the Pyrenees will be great but the rest of the region is a write off for holidays – very wet indeed. In central Madrid it is bitingly cold though the weather isn’t unpleasant – the light is beautiful and it tends to be dry. Along the east of Spain, the weather is cool and valleys and plains in Catalonia can often be foggy. In Andalucía, peak snowfall in the Sierra Nevada means it is full ski season. Potentially wet in the west, it is cool but pleasant on the coast.

Suggested itinerary: Andalucía Uncovered »

Max (°C) Min (°C) Precip. (mm)
North 13 5 100 Okay
Central 9 2 40 Okay
East 13 4 41 Okay
Andalucía 16 5 65 Good
January events in Spain

Jan 5-6: Three Kings’ Day, nationwide
Jan 17: San Sebastian festival

February in Spain

In the north, it's another ski season month in the Pyreenees but elsewhere too wet and cold to be a nice prospect for a holiday to Spain. In the centre it is, again, very cold. With olive harvests happening in Toledo and Extremadura it can be a nice time to go but make sure you go wrapped up. In the east, it's cool out of season weather, though Barcelona is popular all year round. In Andalucía, expect similar weather to January. The olive harvest is done by hand across the region this month.

Suggested itinerary: Pyrenees Ski Explorer »

Max (°C) Min (°C) Precip. (mm)
North 13 6 80 Okay
Central 12 4 40 Okay
East 14 5 29 Okay
Andalucía 18 6 54 Good
February events in Spain

Just before Lent: Madrid & Cadiz carnivals
Feb 20 - Mar 7: Jerez Festival

March in Spain

Ski season is usually starting to wane in the Pyrenees so early in the month a ski holiday is a good option. In central Spain, the days start to warm up though temperatures at night stay cold in Madrid. In the east, the climate gradually starts warming up; for now, the days are cool and clear with the odd rain shower. In Andalucía, it's warming up nicely. Lovely for walking in the east. The colour and scent of orange blossom trees is everywhere in Cordoba and Seville.

Suggested itinerary: Andalucía Uncovered »

Max (°C) Min (°C) Precip. (mm)
North 14 6 70 Okay
Central 15 5 30 Good
East 16 6 42 Good
Andalucía 21 8 38 Best
March events in Spain

Mar 14-19: Las Fallas, Valencia

April in Spain

In northern Spain, it is still somewhat wet though later in the month it is becoming a good time to travel though higher areas will still be snowy. In central Spain days continue to warm up but nights remain cool. Valladolid’s famous Easter procession draws a lot of visitors. Over in the east, Barcelona is also very popular around Easter. In Andalucía, it is already nicely warm - you can swim off the beaches of Cabo de Gata, and Aracena is lovely for walking.

Suggested itinerary: Andalucía Inn to Inn »

Max (°C) Min (°C) Precip. (mm)
North 15 8 90 Good
Central 17 7 40 Best
East 17 8 49 Best
Andalucía 22 10 57 Best
April events in Spain

Easter week: Processions in cities throughout Spain
Second week after Easter: La Feria, Seville

May in Spain

All in all, May is one of the best months for travel to Spain. Spring is in full swing in the north and it is beautiful, with snow on the peaks and meadows full of spring flowers in the Picos de Europa. May is a very pleasant month in central Spain – sunny and warm but not too hot, perfect for walking around Madrid. In the east, this is the month for ‘almadraba’, the traditional method for catching red tuna. May in Andalucía offers great walking, the El Rocio pilgrimage, and lovely beach weather around Cabo de Gata.

Suggested itinerary: Picos de Europa Inn to Inn »

Max (°C) Min (°C) Precip. (mm)
North 18 10 60 Best
Central 21 10 40 Best
East 20 12 59 Best
Andalucía 26 13 34 Best
May events in Spain

Mid-May: Fiestas de Asúncion, Santiago de Compostela
Mid-May: Fiesta de San Isidro, Madrid

June in Spain

Another beautiful month for travel to Spain. This is a lovely month for the Camino de Santiago in the north. The weather is fine in central Spain, hot and dry. In the east, June is the start of the peak season in Barcelona – it will start getting busier but is not yet too hot. In Andalucía, this is the last sensible month to go walking before the height of the summer. Otherwise a very nice month to go.

Suggested itinerary: Camino Inn to Inn »

Max (°C) Min (°C) Precip. (mm)
North 20 13 50 Best
Central 27 15 20 Best
East 24 15 42 Best
Andalucía 31 16 13 Best
June events in Spain

Jun 19-29: Hogueras de San Juan, Alicante
Jun 23: Verbena de St Joan, Barcelona

July in Spain

In the north, it is nice on the coast and not too hot. The Pyreenes will be busy and there is great walking and watersports. July is the last good month for rafting in the natural rivers here. In central Spain, it is now brutally hot. Densely populated Barcelona is now very hot and crowded. Down in Andalucía, temperatures can reach 40-50c in Seville and Cordoba. Cabo de Gata tends to get a breeze so it doesn’t get above the mid 30s, which is a bit more manageable.

Suggested itinerary: Pyrenees Family Explorer »

Max (°C) Min (°C) Precip. (mm)
North 23 15 40 Best
Central 31 18 10 Okay
East 27 18 20 Okay
Andalucía 35 19 2 Okay
July events in Spain

Jul 6-14: San Fermín Festival, Pamplona
Jul 15-30: Fiesta de Santiago, Santiago de Compostela

August in Spain

In the north, temperatures are moderate and there are no crowds, making this a good time for the coast. It is still unbearably hot in the centre of Spain. Everyone evacuates Madrid in the summer and the city seems strangely quiet. In the east, Barcelona is still a sun trap but, beyond the city, sea breezes moderate the temperature nicely. Avoid inland Andalucía in August. The Costa de la Luz is less crowded and gets more of a breeze from the Atlantic.

Suggested itinerary: Picos de Europa Family Explorer »

Max (°C) Min (°C) Precip. (mm)
North 24 16 70 Good
Central 30 18 10 Okay
East 28 19 61 Okay
Andalucía 35 19 6 Okay
August events in Spain

Aug 9: Octopus Festival, Carballiño
Aug 16: La Tomatina, Buñol

September in Spain

A very nice month in the north of Spain - dry weather in the Picos de Europa, and busy along the Camino de Santiago. By the end of the month there will be lots going on in La Rioja as the wine harvest begins. In central Spain, it is still very hot. This is a lovely time to go to the east, still pleasantly warm. In Andalucía, it is still nice and warm in Aracena and becoming bearable for walking. On the coast, the weather is lovely for the beach and it is getting quieter again. September is a great time to see dolphins and migrating birds around Gibraltar and Cadiz.

Suggested itinerary: Catalonia Inn to Inn »

Max (°C) Min (°C) Precip. (mm)
North 22 14 80 Best
Central 26 15 30 Good
East 25 16 85 Best
Andalucía 31 17 23 Best
September events in Spain

Sep 8: Asturias Day
Sep 9: Wine Harvest Festival, Jerez

October in Spain

Another lovely month to travel to Spain. In the north, the landscapes of the Pyrenees are full of autumn colours. The harvest season continues in La Rioja and the colour of the vineyards is stunning throughout the month. Mainly warm without being too hot. In central and eastern Spain it is now very nice again. A lovely time to see the autumnal colours in the beech forests inland from Girona. This is the peak season for walking down in Andalucía, and mushroom season around Aracena.

Suggested itinerary: Basque Rioja Inn to Inn »

Max (°C) Min (°C) Precip. (mm)
North 19 11 120 Best
Central 19 10 40 Best
East 21 12 91 Best
Andalucía 25 13 62 Best
October events in Spain

Oct 4-12: San Froilan Fiestas, Lugo

November in Spain

It is starting to get damp in northern Spain by now at least near coastal areas. If you happen to get a good run of days in the Picos de Europa it can be beautiful, though it’s unlikely. November is nice but getting cold in central Spain, whereas in the east it’s pretty in Catalonia, particularly around Girona. At some point, a rainy spell will hit western Andalucía but it still tends to be nice up in the forests of the Sierras. There is already an olive harvest in some areas of Spain.

Suggested itinerary: Pyrenees Inn to Inn »

Max (°C) Min (°C) Precip. (mm)
North 16 8 130 Okay
Central 13 6 60 Good
East 17 8 58 Good
Andalucía 20 9 84 Good
November events in Spain

Nov 1: All Saints’ Day, nationwide
Nov 6-8: Orujo Festival, Potes

December in Spain

The ski season opens up in the Pyrenees but otherwise, in the north, it is not great unless you want to tuck yourself up somewhere with wine and a log fire. In central Spain it is now very cold; less so in the east where Barcelona is as popular as ever, especially around the holidays. In Andalucía, ski season starts up in the Sierra Nevada. It is nice and cool now in Granada and potentially very nice along the coast too. This is a good, quiet time to visit Seville and Cordoba.

Suggested itinerary: Pyrenees Ski Explorer »

Max (°C) Min (°C) Precip. (mm)
North 14 7 130 Okay
Central 10 4 40 Okay
East 14 5 51 Okay
Andalucía 16 7 95 Good
December events in Spain

Dec 6-7: Olive Oil Festival, Catalonia

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Book Subscribe to The Pothole » Sunset on Ainsa, Ordesa Spain When to Go Map - January Spain When to Go Map - February Spain When to Go Map - March Spain When to Go Map - April Spain When to Go Map - May Spain When to Go Map - June Spain When to Go Map - July Spain When to Go Map - August Spain When to Go Map - September Spain When to Go Map - October Spain When to Go Map - November Spain When to Go Map - December Retinta cows roaming in the Cadiz pastures Hiking towards the Vega de Llos in Valdeon valley Walking along the high paths of Ordesa. Vineyard and San Vicente de la Sonsierra as background Walking into San Juan de Ortega on the Camino de Santiago Nice view of Girona with its cathedral Kayaking around the cape of Cabo de Gata Hiking up from the village of Tielve to the high Picos mountains Vejer de la Frontera main square The Casa los Dioses near Astorga Autumn leaves and snow in early November