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Why You Should Spend the Winter Holidays in Spain

by Billie Cohen | November 25, 2015

The weather in Spain is some of the best in Europe in the wintertime. Even when it’s cold, it’s not too cold, and you’ll find plenty of good food, festivals, and fun activities in fall, winter, and early spring. In fact, Wendy has taken her own family to Barcelona at Christmastime and to Granada for her kids’ February school break.

We spoke with Mary Vaira, a villa booking professional who specializes in Spanish vacations, to find out her favorite spots for every winter holiday. She knows which regions are crowded, which aren’t, and where you can go to join in the holiday spirit—or stay huddled up with your loved ones in cozy secluded havens.

Thanksgiving in San Sebastian

Villa San Sebastian, San Sebastian, Spain

Villa San Sebastian, San Sebastian, Spain. Photo: El Sol Villas

Thanksgiving is all about feasting, so Mary recommends spending it in a food town. San Sebastian has more Michelin stars per capita than any other city in Europe—and is at the top of the list for the world too. If you stay in town, you’re near the beach, which is famous for tapas and food (though too cold at this time of year for sunbathing or swimming).

Christmas in Ronda, Andalucia

Finca Andalucia, Ronda, Spain vacation rental

Finca Andalucia, Ronda, Spain. Photo: El Sol Villas

“I have a house outside the ancient Moorish city of Ronda called Finca Andalucia that’s decorated festively at Christmas, complete with tree. It accommodates 14 people and is 15 minutes from Ronda. You can go into town for church, then entertain in the house: There are two kitchens, a home cinema, a game room with a pool table and a foosball table, and beautiful views across the Arriate valley. Plus, Ronda is a working town—it’s not a resort area—so it goes all year long.”

New Year’s in Madrid

Jose apartment rental, Madrid, Spain.

Jose apartment, Madrid, Spain. Photo: El Sol Villas

“Madrid can be cold in the wintertime, but it’s festive. On New Year’s Eve, everyone goes down to the central Plaza Mayor and eats grapes for good luck, and there are lots of parties. Madrid has an Old World, traditional-Spanish-city feel. It’s a real walking town: All the museums are close to each other, so it’s easy to get around, and there is plenty of nightlife.

Easter in Seville

Palacio Santa Cruz, Seville, Spain vacation rental

Palacio Santa Cruz, Seville, Spain. Photo: El Sol Villas

“Seville is where the action is at Easter time. There are floats and processions all through town.”

Summer House vacation rental, Marbella, Spain.

Summer House, Marbella, Spain. Photo: El Sol Villas

“Marbella has a micro-climate, so it’s pretty warm year-round. It’s an international resort, with golf and tennis, and yachts in the summertime. We have a lot of houses there, some with tennis courts and pools. May brings the legendary Jerez Horse Fair, so if you’re interested in the historical, that’s the part of the country to go to.”

For help planning a villa vacation to Spain, Ask Wendy to recommend the right travel specialist for your needs.


Be a smarter traveler: Follow Wendy Perrin on Facebook and Twitter @wendyperrin, and sign up for her weekly newsletter to stay in the know.

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