Soñando Sunday: Travel like a Spaniard during Summer

We’ve mentioned it before, and it can be a great frustration for many people moving abroad to Spain in summer, but a good portion of Spaniards take their holidays during the summer. That means that you might find many things are closed—especially in August (read the post about that here)—when traveling around Spain. However, like the rest of the world, Spaniards deserve their holidays. So, if you are wondering how Spaniards tend to spend their time off, this post is for you.

Retiro Park, Madrid.

Retiro Park, Madrid.

Spaniards like to Travel:

Like many people, you can find Spaniards who take their two weeks to one month holiday to go traveling, both visiting areas inside and outside of Spain. Especially with budget airlines and the possibility to get cheap tickets abroad, more and more Spaniards are taking advantage of their time off—and to escape the heat—by visiting other European countries or going even further away. However, this high consumption of international travel is something that, not so long ago, was not very common in Spain. In fact, you can still find a fair amount of young people who have never left the country.

Not feeling the desire to leave the country also has to do with, like we often talk about on the blog, the many different regions and cultures in Spain itself. Even within this one country, you can find various languages, many cultural differences, and tons of different scenery to explore. That is why many Spaniards take advantage of their holidays to take road or train trips across the country, stopping in specific places that are of interest.

Note: While this desire to stay within one country might seem unusual for all of us international travelers, there is plenty to explore!

However, many times people simply don’t have the time to travel for an entire month or the money to go traveling for their entire holiday (the conundrum between having time or money). However, most Spanish families have a house, apartment, or a rural house—called a cortijo in Southern Spain but with different names elsewhere—where they can go to spend a couple of days to weeks. These houses have likely been in the family for years, probably belonging to someone’s grandparents or shared between siblings, and the time spent there is often organized to be together if the house is big or separately if it is a bit smaller. Since access to a cortijo is such a common reality for many Spaniards, it’s not always considered to be a ‘vacation’ in the same way a trip abroad or to a far-off region of Spain might feel but it’s still a big part of their typical summer traveling like a Spaniard.

In addition to being low-cost, the houses are often available and located somewhere that people can escape from the heat. That is why you can often seen Spaniards escape to one of two places: the beach or the mountains.

A beach in northern Spain, Basque Country.

A beach in northern Spain, Basque Country.

The beach:

We’ve talked a fair amount about escaping to the beach in Spain (whether it be for a day trip, a weekend getaway, or longer). In mainland Spain, you find a lot of amazing beaches but with two main differences: Mediterranean beaches and ocean beaches. Both types of beaches are beautiful and where a family decides to escape to often depends on where they are located. That is, those people living in regions closer to the Mediterranean, will often travel there and those living closer to the ocean will go there.

In addition, it is important to note that each type of beach brings its own charm and the kind of beach holiday a family is looking for will also impact where they invest in a home. That is, the Mediterranean is often warmer, but that means that more tourists (foreign and otherwise) know about the most popular beaches. And, in the summer when it the water is hot, it can mean different types of algae growth and even jellyfish. On the other hand, you might find that on the ocean side that the water can be very cold, even on hot days.

Mountains in Asturias.

Mountains in Asturias.

The mountains:

If families don’t go to the beach, they will often have a house in the mountains or in a valley where they can escape from the heat of the city and the bustle of tourists at the beach. When people go to the mountains, they tend to be fairly separated from other houses and large towns. They make a perfect escape for people who are looking to spend some time in nature and disconnect from daily life. While they might not seem as glamorous as beach adventures, going into the mountains often means cooler nights and more serenity than other summer holidays.


In fact, both beach and mountain vacations are so nice, you might just wish to have both. And while families tend to either be beach goers or mountain visitors, they can also decide how to combine the two and might even have the option to spend time in both places. What’s your dream for a relaxing couple of weeks away in the summer?