Spain is known to be a popular summer destination. When we think of Spain, we think of hanging out at a beach restaurant, enjoying sangria and paella. But have you ever wondered how it looks like during winter season?
Spain offers its fair share of European winter experience – if you want to experience Spain in a lot more unique way, then visiting the country during winter months would be a nice idea.
While the visiting hours on famous attractions are a bit shorter and some minor sites are even closed, most of the major cities are offering their cultural wonders all year round. A good bonus when visiting the country during this season is that the rates of the hotels are much lower so it is a perfect time for those who want to save some money.
Christmas in Spain
Christmas in Spain is considered to be a very religious holiday. The winter season in Spain starts very early: it officially starts on the 8th of December. The Christmas Eve evening is known as “Noche Buena.” The entire family gathers around together to enjoy a big dinner. The preparations for this special occasion and food are very special. Christmas dinner is extremely influenced by Arabic culture. Through this, the Arabs carried in the traditional dinner products such as oranges, rice, or almonds. There’s a particular cake, made with nuts, almonds, or dried fruits; this is the most popular dish you will find in a Spanish dinner table during this special occasion.
Things to Do In Spain in Winter Season
Although Spain is known as a famous summer destination, there are endless things to do as well during the cold months, here is my list of 10 things to do if ever you visit the country in winter:
1. Hit the shops!
Shopping in Spain, specifically, Barcelona is one of the best things you can do in the winter. Whether you are on the hunt for some presents for your family and friends, looking for the best backpack for travels for yourself, you will never have a problem. From expensive designers and locals brands and independent bohemian fashion shops, spending all afternoon shopping is never tiring.
After the Christmas season come the annual sales in January. Sales normally start the week after the Feast Day of the Kings, around 10th to 14th of January, and continue for roughly a month. Don’t forget to check out most popular department stores in Barcelona, FNAC, El Corte Inglés, and Heron City.
2. Sail in the Mediterranean
The country’s position in the Mediterranean Sea makes it an ideal place to sail a boat and make a quick escape. Whether you’re interested in watching the sun goes down behind the mountains or go to the rough coast to experience another town, you should get yourself onto a boat trip on a winter season. This is a world-class experience you shouldn’t miss when here.
3. Go ice-skating
For the past years, the local council has been renting out Plaça Catalunya to a private company who set up an ice rink from the latter part of November up to mid-January. This gives the locals and foreign visitors alike to experience a real winter feel in this European summer destination.
Another ice rink you can visit is the one located at Camp Nou, which will offer visitors the chance to ice skate while learning about The FC Barcelona football club. The FC Barcelona Museum, which is also situated in the stadium, is a must-visit. Winter season is the best time to visit.
4. Learn Spanish
When you visit Spain during the summer season, there is a great chance for you to find yourself busy doing outdoor activities and enjoying the warm weather, so visiting Spain during the cooler season offer the best time for you to learn the language in the country. There is no better way to learn Spanish than by at the same time, experiencing the culture that surrounds it.
5. Craft Beer in Barcelona
Craft beer is becoming very popular in many major cities in Spain again. Many new variations of beers are coming out. And whether you are with a group of friends or enjoying the benefits of traveling alone, there is no better time to do craft beer hopping than during cold days of Spain. There are a lot of craft brewery in major cities like Barcelona where you are able to learn what it takes to create your own beer – in order to avoid getting drunk, don’t forget to include some food on your trip!
6. Visit Museums
Spain boasts spectacular artworks by some of the greatest artists of all time and exploring them during the winter season will be the best idea. Winter season is the time when you can possibly visit a famous landmark without waiting in a long queue or without many people taking selfies around you. This means you can have more time to enjoy the masterpieces by Picasso, Velaquez, Goya, Dali, and Miro.
7. Go For A Walk
No, I don’t mean to walk around each block of the streets of Spanish cities, what I really mean is to brace walks through breath-taking landscapes that will definitely leave your jaws wide open. Spanish walking holidays are an ideal thing to do anytime of the year, but winter is the perfect time to do it as you’ll encounter much fewer tourists along the way and are able to enjoy your surroundings without dealing with the scorching heat of the sun.
8. Witness Winter Fiestas
In Spain, the main Christmas is being celebrated on the 24th of December. This is when families gather in the evening to enjoy a big feast. Many regions in the country specifically Cataluña offers some mainly interesting traditions, which includes the CagaTió, which is a cute tree trunk with a smiley face who children ‘feed’ throughout December for it to produce gifts for them when they bash it using sticks and sing to it on the 24th.
9. Hike the Tramuntana in Mallorca
Far from the touristy summer resorts, mountain range of Tramuntana in Mallorca remains an untouched treasure for a lot of visitors. It spans the whole Northwest coast of the Island from Andratx in the South to the elegant magnificence of the Formentor peninsula in the North. Listed as a UNESCO World heritage site in the year 2011, the massif has six 6 over 1000 meters with a lot more than just under. Hiking here is best done during the winter season. There are cabins offers dorm style sleeping arrangements and some private rooms where you can enjoy eating hot food and wine to warm your cold evenings.
10. Enjoy the essence of Christmas
Winter season is the time you will see how unique Spain is, not only because of their unusual local traditions but as well as the number of activities each Spain regions offer. While you like the Christmas lights that brighten up the streets at night, the main thing you’ll surely enjoy is the Christmas market of the city. This delightful event oozes the soul of the holiday season with decorations, arts, plants, and crafts, nativity scenes and of course Christmas music. You will also get to know and love each part of the local culture
Spain is a playground for beach bums and art aficionados during the summer season, but it is equally mesmerizing during the winter months.
Yes, that laying down in the fine sand under the sun while looking at the blue clear water is a Spain getaway, but when you visit the country in winter, it is also going to be a lot of fun.