Spain is a large landmass influenced by the Atlantic in the north and the Mediterranean in the south, with a vast central interior. Spain is best visited in the springtime, when the temperatures are generally warm and comfortable, the landscapes are in full bloom and the best of the fiestas take place. Autumn is equally comfortable, though less green and the landscapes are drier. July and August are very hot, particularly in central Spain where temperatures can soar. August is especially busy as international visitors line the beach resorts and the Spanish take their annual holidays. The winter climate varies from freezing in the central regions to pleasant on the southern coast and in the Balearic Islands.
Portugal’s climate is also influenced by the sea. Spring and autumn are the most pleasant times to visit. July and August can be very hot, especially in the sheltered bays of the Algarve in the south, though this region is especially pleasant and mild during the winter months when it is popular with Europeans taking second holidays and short breaks. Madeira and the Azores benefit from the warming influence of the Gulf Stream and so are pleasantly warm year round.
15th March - 19th March 2015
A lively festival of bonfires and fireworks, Las Fallas sees a colourful parade of Ninots (giant papier maché figures) and people dressed in traditional costume take to the streets. At the end of the festival the carefully prepared Ninots are set ablaze on an enormous bonfire as fireworks explode overhead. Today the impressive Ninots are incredibly decorated and often satirical forming an unforgettable sight in the streets.
29th March – 6th April 2015
Also known as Holy Week, Semana Santa occurs across Spain and commemorates the Passion of Jesus Christ. Impressive floats decorated with statues of Jesus and Mary are carried through the streets by the Catholic brotherhoods, followed by a huge crowd of penitents.
12th – 14th June 2015
Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon, celebrates the day of its patron Saint with some rather unusual traditions. Across the city the air is full of the smell of cooking sardines as everyone tucks into these delicious grilled fish. There are also a number of traditions relating to match-making and marriages, including putting handwritten messages inside bread rolls and placing them by a painting of St Anthony.
21st September 2015
Winelovers should come to the traditional Grape Festival in Logrono. At the Pisado de la Uva (Grape pressing), men in folk costumes squelch the grapes with their feet and offer the first Mosto (grape juice) to the Virgen de Valvanera. Enjoy traditional food, local music and fireworks.