You Can Learn Spanish in Spain Year Round. So When Is the Best Time to Go?
There are over 250 great and reliable Spanish schools in Spain. In every desirable Spanish city you will find a Spanish school where you can learn Spanish. The best time to go to Spain to learn Spanish will depend a bit on what you want to experience in Spain and what you are expecting to experience. Some cities, like Salamanca and Granada, have an atmosphere that’s especially cool during the academic year – in Fall, Winter, and Spring. When summer comes along, Salamanca and Granada are still fantastic places to learn Spanish, but a part of the souls of the two cities are gone during the summer. Plus, in the off summer months, you get to see an experience a Spain that is not typical, but every bit original and exciting. Other cities, like Alicante and Malaga, are vibrant during the year, since both are university cities, but they are equally as vibrant during the summer because of tourism. Different cities can be more fun during different times of the year and the different times of the year will influence your experience in Spain.
Spring in Spain – If your planning to learn Spanish for 4 months or longer, consider going in the Spring. You’ll learn plenty of Spanish and then have the summer to practice your Spanish and have fun.
Summer in Spain – If you’re looking for the stereotypical experience in Spain, go in the summer. University towns will be sleepy. Seaside towns will be energetic and lively.
Fall in Spain – If you want to learn Spanish in a vibrant university town in Spain, consider going in the Fall, when thousands of Spanish students return to their university cities and bring all that energy with them.
Winter in Spain – Winter in Spain is a great time to hunker down and learn as much Spanish as possible. There’s still plenty to do in Winter wherever you go to learn Spanish in Spain, but you won’t be distracted by the beautiful weather and that magnetic like attraction that draws you to the beach. If you learn Spanish in Spain during the Spring (or even Winter, if you are planning to learn Spanish for 4 months or more), you get to enjoy experiencing Spain as it transitions from Winter to Spring (and then to summer if you learn Spanish long term in Spain).
Learning Spanish in Spain in the Summer
Learning Spanish in Spain during the summer is a no brainer. Summer break allows college students from all over the world to converge on Spain to learn Spanish (Spain is the world’s top destination to learn Spanish). And converge they do!
Spain is famous for it’s beaches, food, nightlife, and fun. When you think of Spain, you probably imagine the typical: sunny days, sandy beaches, parties and dinners with friends, and dancing in clubs until the early morning hours – and you probably imagine it during the summer!
Pros of Learning Spanish in the Summer
If Spain’s great weather isn’t the number one reason for learning Spanish in Spain during the summer, we don’t know what is. Cities that are well known as vacation destinations get extra lively and extra fun during the summer. Alicante and Malaga are the first two that come to mind. Both are summer vacation destinations for people who live in Madrid and want to have some beach vacation time during the summer.
Summer is a popular time to learn Spanish in Spain. There are international students from all over the world that come to Spain to learn Spanish, but this is especially true during the summers. When you learn Spanish in Spain during the summer, you can count on having classmates from many countries in Europe, Asia, and beyond. The international mix of students makes learning Spanish in Spain extra fun and extra educational. You will also learn more Spanish when you are in an international crowd than if you learn Spanish with just US students because you will have to speak with many of the other international students in Spanish.
Cool Festivals and Things to Do
Spain’s great weather translates to plenty of cool festivals, concerts, and things to do. This is especially true if you learn Spanish by the beach, like Alicante or Malaga. Alicante and towns nearby to Alicante, for example, have very cool Moros y Cristianos festivals that are a sight to see. In Alicante and Valencia you will also have Hogueras, which lasts for an entire week (and, in Alicante, is followed by great fireworks for several days). Wherever you learn Spanish in Spain, however, you will definitely be able to take advantage of the great weather and Spain’s out-of-doors lifestyle.
Cons of Learning Spanish in the Summer
Summer time is peak travel season and you will have to deal with more expensive flights unless you plan ahead. Hotels will be more expensive and some hostels will be full to capacity. If you are planning to travel around Spain during your free time, plan ahead or be prepared to deal with higher costs.
Larger Spanish Classes
If you want to learn Spanish in Spain you are not alone. Tons of students converge on Spain during the summer to learn Spanish. As a result you are likely to find yourself in larger Spanish classes (though still way smaller than language classes at your home university). Larger Spanish classes mean that you’ll have a little less personal attention – but you can be sure that you will learn a lot of Spanish during your course in Spain.
Summer is the peak season for learning Spanish in Spain and housing can get tight. The Spanish schools will arrange your housing and most students want to live in a shared apartment or a home stay. But because of the high demand in summer, home stays may not be available (there tend to be less families available than student apartments) and the remaining apartments might, for example, be further away or only have double rooms available. Usually you won’t have any problems with housing but the occasional problem can pop up.
Pros of Learning Spanish in Spain in the Fall
Flights to Europe are much less expensive after the summer. You will also find that prices for hotels and hostels are less expensive after the summer, meaning you can travel around Spain for less money during your free time.
Smaller Spanish Classes
Summer time is peak season for Spanish schools and they really fill up. In fall, however, there are less students learning Spanish in Spain. So you can count on smaller classes, which translates to more personal attention in class, and a more family like environment in the Spanish schools.
Certain Spanish cities just have great vibes in the fall. This is especially true of the smaller, vibrant university cities like Salamanca and Granada. These cities have a pretty large student populations during the academic year and you can feel the energy that they bring with them to their university towns. Restaurants, cafes, bars, and open spaces are filled with students and energy, and that energy seems to spread throughout the city. There’s fun stuff going on everywhere and you’ll always have plenty to do outside of your Spanish classes. You may not be able to fully appreciate the vibe unless you visit these cities during the summer – the university students are gone, that vibe is missing, the cafes, bars, restaurants all seem quieter, and groups of tourists replace the students in the cities open spaces.
Spain’s fun and sun comes with, of course, a lot of heat! If you are not accustomed to long, hot sunny days accompanied by some pretty hot nights, you’ll appreciate the cooler weather during the fall. From the middle to the north of Spain you will have cooler, “typical” fall weather, while in the south temperatures will drop, but it won’t feel like fall in the northern US. Cooler weather can makes things feel a bit cozier.
Cons of Learning Spanish in Spain in the Fall
The Sunny Days of Summer are Over (but not a prob. in Spain!)
If you are a 100% summer person and you go to Spain to learn Spanish in the middle or north of Spain, you’re not going to have that summer vibe. (If you learn Spanish in Spain in the Fall or Winter, and you really want sunny days and great light, go to Alicante.) From the middle to the north of Spain fall weather (especially towards the end of fall) can be a bit cool and dreary (some see it as refreshing and cozy). So if you’re worried about feeling home sick, or you’re afraid of culture shock, you might want to consider that the fall days might not cheer you up, cozy as they may be!
Holiday Separation if You Learn Spanish Long Term
Another potential con is for those of you who are planning to learn Spanish, and to really learn it well by learning Spanish in Spain long term. If you are planning to learn Spanish longer term, and you start learning Spanish in the fall, keep in mind that when winter vacation arrives, many of your classmates will be heading home for the holidays. If they went to Spain to learn Spanish during the fall semester, they won’t be coming back after the holidays. So unless you also head home for the holidays, you’ll definitely be noticing the absence of a lot of your friends – that could definitely bum you out. And when your Spanish classes start again, it can be a difficult adjustment to continue your Spanish course without the friends you had from the fall semester.
Keep in mind that apartments in Spain are usually a bit cooler than in the US. Not all of Spain has central heating (they just don’t need it) and the Spanish tend to heat the common spaces of the apartment, or the rooms they are in, but not the entire apartment. So as fall moves to winter, you may have to adjust to the cooler temperatures indoors. It’s not a big problem, though. Most students end up buying inexpensive electric heaters for their rooms if they need them.
Learning Spanish in Spain in the Winter/Spring
Pros of Learning Spanish in the Spain in the Winter/Spring
Winter Leads to Spring
Winter leads to Spring … and Spring leads to summer. That makes learning Spanish in Spain in the Winter/Spring semester a very cool experience. Why? Because when you learn Spanish in the cooler seasons, you will be less distracted by all the fun and the sun (as if there weren’t enough fun things to do in Spain already in Winter and Spring!) Learning Spanish in the Spring gives the you enough time to learn Spanish before summer. When summer arrives, many students who’ve been learning Spanish in the Winter and Spring go off to visit other places in Spain – especially the sunny places by the beach, like Alicante, Malaga, Cadiz, and Valencia. Some go for vacation, some go to other Spanish schools and learn Spanish during the summer, and some try to work. The time and effort they spent to learn Spanish beforehand comes in quite handy!
See Two Sides of Spain
From our experiences, it’s a really cool thing to learn Spanish in a city like Salamanca during the Winter and Spring, and then moving on to a city like Alicante for the summer. In one city during one season you get to experience Spain during the non-summer months. There’s a lot of student energy and that great vibe. People are having fun but also studying and working hard. There aren’t too many tourists wandering around. It’s regular life in Spain (which for students is fantastic and fun!) Once your Spanish classes are over you can go explore Spain. And more than likely you will head for the beach cities. There you will see why Spain is so famous for tourism. The student vibe of the academic year will be gone. Taking it’s place will be the fun and sun atmosphere that Spain is famous for. If you decided to learn Spanish in a city like Alicante in the Winter or Spring, and you stay for the summer, you will see the city take on an even more energetic vibe as tourists from all over Europe and the world come to Alicante and its surrounding towns for summer in Spain. And you’ll keep having fun!
If you get to Spain before the peak summer travel season starts, you’ll save money on your flight (sometimes a lot of money!) That’s money saved that you can use in Spain to travel, have fun, or to learn Spanish for an extra month or two!
Smaller Spanish Classes
As with the Fall, Spanish classes in the Winter and Spring months are going to be smaller than Spanish classes in the summer months. So while you’re learning Spanish you’ll have more personal attention than you will during the summer months, and that can help you to learn more Spanish. Smaller classes also making the learning experience more cozy.
Cons of Learning Spanish in the Spain in the Winter/Spring
More Cons During the Winter than Spring
We see learning Spanish in Spain during the Winter or Spring as an great time to learn Spanish. You get to Spain, learn Spanish before the summer, and when summer comes along you can enjoy Spain even more because you speak Spanish! If you twisted our arms for a con, however, we would have to pick on Winter. If you learn Spanish in Spain during the Winter, especially from the middle to the north of Spain, you are going to have, perhaps not too surprisingly, some cold dreary weather.
Big City Blues in Winter
If you learn Spanish in Spain’s largest cities – Barcelona and Madrid – the dreary days can get you down. Unlike smaller Spanish cities, your friends might be scattered in housing in different neighborhoods of the city, which might make you feel alone or isolated. In a small city, you walk outside, go for a few blocks, and meet up with your friends and classmates. They are close by and you know that. Sometimes just knowing that your friends and classmates is enough to keep the Winter blues away. (If you’re worried about feeling alone or down and out in Spain, choose a smaller city in the sunnier places – it’s hard to feel down and out in sunny places where your friends and classmates are nearby. So think: Alicante and Malaga, Valencia, which is a bit larger but is quite sunny year round. You could also check out Granada.)
As mentioned, the Spanish don’t turn up the heat as much as Americans or Northern Europeans do. In the Winter you might have to adjust to cooler indoor temperatures and wear a light sweater. It’s not really a big deal though. Most students get used to it. And if you really want to, you can get an inexpensive heater for your room.