October is an ideal time to visit Spain- a month of autumn festivals, few crowds and the perfect conditions for outdoor adventures. You can enjoy the last of the summer heat on quiet beaches, hike in mild mountain air, or enjoy the architecture and museums in cities without the burning heat of summer. Here are some ideas to add a little fiesta to your fall.
Palaces and tapas in Seville
There's a reason Seville is known as the Frying Pan of Spain, the summer here is hot. Locals usually escape to the coast during August and come back to enjoy the cooler fall months. October can still reach up to 80 F but the Andalucian sun is kinder to tourists exploring this ancient and beautiful city. This is the land of colorful tiled palaces and orange trees, where the Arabic influence of the Moors can still be felt strongly in the architecture, food and language. For hungry travelers this is also the land of tapas, order a beer and you will be presented with delicious morsels of Iberian jamón, Padrón peppers or the local salmorejo soup, creating perfect pit stops between sightseeing.
Hike and eat cheese in Asturias
The gloriously green region of Asturias in northern Spain is a departure from the heat and white washed houses Spain is known for but is well worth exploring. October offers favorable conditions to discover its dramatic coast, soaring mountains and rustic villages. The Picos de Europa are some of the most dramatic mountains in Europe where you’ll find jagged limestone peaks and sheer rock faces plunging into river gorges. In October the skies are clear, the air cooler and the forests are slowly turning to golden yellows and reds making the hikes here even more beautiful than usual. You will likely bump into the Asturian cattle that graze the open meadows or pass by a shepherd following his sheep, and you can refuel from your walks with one of two dozen famous local cheeses, the local fabada (bean stew) washed down with Asturian cider.
Fiesta hop in the Costa del Sol
Summer in the Costa del Sol has a reputation for catering to crowds of sunburnt Northern Europeans chasing a sun, sea and sangria vacation, but head here in October and you’ll find more of a taste of local life. The party is far from over as most towns hold their annual festival full of flamenco dancing in the streets, fairground rides and fireworks late into the night. The biggest ferias are in Nerja, Fuengirola and Cádiar where there is a wine fountain providing free wine for everyone. Yes that’s right, a free wine fountain.
Wine and zombies in Sitges
Known as the jewel of the Mediterranean, Sitges is a beach resort 35km southwest of Barcelona famous for its clubs, nightlife and festivals. In October they celebrate the annual wine harvest with a weekend of parties, a wine pressing competition where grapes are squashed by foot, and a lucky local woman is chosen and offered her weight in wine. There is also the 10 day International Horror film festival, attracting more than 100,000 film fans and culminating in the famous ‘Zombie Walk’ where party goers parade through the town then hit the bars in professionally applied zombie makeup.
The birthplace of Picasso in the south of Spain clings onto the summer weather in October, and with 16 beaches to take advantage of it is an ideal time to visit. As well as the sunbathing opportunities you’ll find traditional tapas bars and beachfront restaurants, and a fascinating cultural side to the city. The Picasso Museum houses some of his earliest works and the Soho Art district is covered in street art and graffiti from world famous artists, with many independent and interesting businesses to shop and refuel with lunch.
Bilbao night marathon
Bilbao is a cultural hotspot in the Basque country in northern Spain with its own rich history, language and culture, famous for its contemporary architecture. Starting and finishing at the spectacular Guggenheim Museum, this October race follows the Nervión River through the old town and is Spain’s only marathon held at night. Bilbao’s food scene is also world renowned so you can regain your energy with dinners of cod fish, baked spider crab, chickpea and chorizo stews or just hit the pintxos hard.
This is just a glimpse of what this large, diverse country has to offer. Whether you are into hiking, sightseeing in cities or hitting the beach, October is a great time to visit Spain and get a dose of vitamin D before winter sets in.