Spain in July: Is it that bad?

Old May 6th, 2010, 01:36 PM
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Spain in July: Is it that bad?

This mid-July, my wife and I are travelling to Spain for the first time for about 12 days. Although I've looked at forecasts, we want to know from actual visitors if the weather at that time is really unbearable.

This might be the only time we are able to go. We are planning to visit Madrid, Barceleno and a third Spanish city. Any suggestions for our itinerary?

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old May 6th, 2010, 01:43 PM
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Barcelona wasn't terribly hot when we were there in early July, nor was the northern coast, Basque region. I fear Madrid may be another story.
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Old May 6th, 2010, 02:16 PM
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In 2006 I was in Madrid in late July and then later in August. We lucked out and temps were in the 80's. However, I will not lie to you, it typically is hotter than that but I wouldn't let that prevent me from visiting at that time. As a matter of fact I'm going back this July. Maybe you could make your third city San Sebastian, by the sea.
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Old May 6th, 2010, 02:26 PM
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I assume you've already checked the weather histories foryour dates at weather underground; if not, I suggest you do so since there won;t be ANY "difficulties" with possible faulty recollections.

From experience you should EXPECT much MUCH more humid weather in Barcelona regardless of what time you visit; Madrid tends to be drier.

Last time I was in Madrid in late July I distinctly remember dining at 11:30 PM..that's as in after dark and the local temperature was 96 degrees F. We did not find it to be terribly uncomfortable.

Seville is another place that tends to get very hot during part of the Summer and people are advised to do things early in the mornings or later in the afternoons and evenings.

Would I NOT go because of the heat...I definitely WOULD go..just be prepared and yes, you WILL WANT air conditioning.
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Old May 6th, 2010, 02:29 PM
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We rented a car and drove from Barcelona to Madrid, then down to Sevilla, Marbella etc. It was 40 C from Madrid on down. That was in early September.

I have never been to San Sebastian, but hear only good things. I would stay north given the choice.
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Old May 6th, 2010, 02:58 PM
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don't let the weather keep you from this trip. The way the weather has been lately, one could even expect a cold wave! Who knows! it snowed the other day in Spain after hitting high temps.. so.. just make sure you have AC as mentioned.

This has been a very cold, wet year so far. I am curious as to what the summer will bring. The warm weather certainly is taking its sweet time to settle in permanently.
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Old May 6th, 2010, 05:53 PM
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In southern Spain you can count on temps around 100 - if not higher. I've been in Madrid in April, May and June - and the daytime highs were in the 90s every time.

You need to be sure yourhotel has American style AC - and don't count on doing much in the middle of the afternoon.
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Old May 7th, 2010, 12:38 AM
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Both Madrid and Barcelona are great cities, and I wouldn't hesitate going again in July.

I nevertheless suggest you take a look at San Sebastián on the Basque coast (pop 180 000). Arguably one of the most beautiful cities in Spain and very popular with Spaniards in summer. The food capital of Spain and with a culture that people take great pride in. From the article "A different kind of Spain":

"It is Spain, but instead of summer heat and arid expanses, there are cool, lush mountains plunging to the sea through forests of pine. During the summer months daily high temperatures are normally below 80 degrees... There is dining that features more Michelin starred restaurants per mile than Paris, New York, or Vienna. There is a culture that brought Woody Allen to the city’s Film Festival last year, brings Herbie Hancock and Bob Dylan to this summer’s Jazz Fest, and embraces Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum just down the coast in Bilbao. There is the zest for life that drew Ernest Hemingway to nearby Pamplona and was immortalized in The Sun Also Rises.

San Sebastian’s setting on the coast is a panorama reminiscent of Rio de Janeiro - a horseshoe bay of blue water whose entrance is guarded by Mount Igueldo, a wide sandy beach circling the bay, green mountains extending all the way to the water, and a statue of Christ on Mount Orgull overlooking it all. At the back of the bay lies the city, clad largely in white, perched on the beach and the slopes heading up into the mountains."

Cheap flights from Madrid to nearby Bilbao with Air Europa (1h, about 80€) and with Vueling from Barcelona to Bilbao (1h, about 30€). Direct bus from Bilbao airport to San Sebastián in 1h 15mins.

The world's most renowned chef, the catalan Ferran Adrià, suggests that San Sebastián is the best place to eat in the world "in terms of the average quality of the food, in terms of what you can get at any place you happen to walk into".
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Old May 7th, 2010, 03:01 AM
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- Barcelona will be okay in July, since it is on the Mediterranean coast.

- Madrid will be hot, but still bearable.

- Andalucia will be brutally hot. Avoid it - most attractions, restaurants etc. do not have A/C. The natives live a nocturnal life to stand the heat.

- Northern Spain will be pleasant and agreeable, even cool in July. In addition to Donostia (San Sebastian), Bilbao and Santander are very attractive destinations.

I would suggest travelling to Madrid, Barcelona and Northern Spain. Leaves the question, which base in Northern Spain: Donostia, Santander or even Santiago de Compostela. I would not stay in Bilbao (you can easily do a daytrip to Bilbao either from Donostia or from Santander).

Donostia has the advantage that you can also do a daytrip into southwest France, esp. Biarritz. Santander has IMO more diverse attractions in the vicinity, including several prehistoric caves (Altamira and others), picturesque villages, impressive mountains and a spectacular coastline. Foodwise, both cities are excellent and have several Michelin-starred restaurants.

But this is also true for Barcelona and Madrid. All these cities - Donostia, Santander, Barcelona, Madrid, Bilbao - are heaven for gourmets, especially since you still get outstanding food at reasonable prices.
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Old May 7th, 2010, 03:59 AM
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It was stiflingly hot and humid in Barcelona in July when I went a few years ago. So that is at least a possibility. While it was hotter in Madrid, it was also drier. It only became pleasant to be outside in both cities late in the evening, and that is when you will find most people outdoors.
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Old May 7th, 2010, 04:17 AM
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Beware of areas with dry heat.

I lived in El Paso, Texas for many years. Each year we had numerous tourists end up in the emergency ward from running around in our "dry heat." Because it doesn't feel as uncomfortable as "humid heat," they didn't realize the effect that the heat was having on their bodies.

We natives wouldn't go out during the afternoon unless we absolutely had to, and even then it was from air conditioned house, to air conditioned car, to air conditioned shop or office and back.

As soon as the sun began to set, the streets came alive with people leaving their air conditioned homes, shops, and offices.
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Old May 7th, 2010, 04:29 AM
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These are the average daily high temperatures for mid-July:
Sevilla: 36°C
Madrid: 32°C
Barcelona: 28°C
Santander: 22°C

These are averages. "Average" means that 50% of the days are warmer than the average (approx.) and that peak temperatures can easily be 10°C higher than the average. 46°C in Sevilla are not uncommon in summer - and this without A/C at many places.

The more I think the more I come to the conclusion that you should spend as much time as possible in Northern Spain. It's beautiful!
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Old May 7th, 2010, 04:50 AM
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Agree with Echnaton. Santander could make a beautiful base for a few days. Not only the bay/beach area is gorgeous and weather is mild, it is a convenient base to do daytrips to the Picos area, and other intersting cities such as Santillana.
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Old May 7th, 2010, 04:54 AM
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Another possibility you may want to explore if you wish to avoid the heat is Galicia, in northwest Spain. The climate is cooler than the rest of Spain, the culture has a Celtic cast, and they produce fine wines from grapes that are not common outside the region. Otherwise, I'd agree with most of the other posters. We spent three weeks in Spain at the end of June and beginning of July a few years back, and it was hot everywhere (we didn't visit Galicia on that trip), although a bit less so in San Sebastian. Nonetheless, we still had a great time.
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Old May 7th, 2010, 04:57 AM
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Several years ago we were in Madrid, Seville, Granada and Barcelona.

Mardird, Granada and Barcelona were fine.

Seville was pretty darn hot. We passed an outdoor digital thermometer and it read 40.

A girl in a store told me it reaches 45 in the summer.
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Old May 7th, 2010, 06:50 AM
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I have a friend who was born and raised in Seville. She lives here in California as she married an American man. All of her family still lives in Seville. The last two trips home was made during the summer months as summertime was the only time her husband could get his vacation time. After the last summer trip she told me that she sadly informed her family including her parents that they never again will go to Seville during the summertime due to the extreme heat. They did buy airline tickets for her parents to visit them last summer and although our area gets quite hot her parents were amazed how "cool" it was. So as Myer said, "Seville gets pretty darn hot" to put it midly.
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Old May 7th, 2010, 07:33 AM
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I would just go to Barcelona and San Sebastian if you're not prepared for 100 degrees in the bright sun. Come to think of it I would spend all of my time in San Sebastian (and the north coast).
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