Bullfighting is deeply rooted in global historic traditions. But today, local public opinion leans against the tradition. Though the site includes information for tourists interested in attending the events, TripSavvy trusts its readers to make their own decisions on the ethics of bullfighting as an attraction.
Spain is synonymous with sunshine and good vibes, both of which are plentiful throughout the country in July. Along with August, it's one of the nation's hottest months, with temperatures regularly beating 90 degrees down in the central southernmost regions (the north is much milder), but the endless opportunities for summer fun make the heat a bit more bearable.
Many cities and towns throughout Spain offer a packed cultural agenda during the summer months, so no matter where you go, you're guaranteed to find something going on. However, keep in mind that summer is high season for Spain (as well as for most of western Europe), so expect large tourist crowds—and consider buying your tickets for popular attractions in advance to avoid day-of lines.
Ready to go? Pack your bags and get ready to enjoy a fabulous trip to Spain in July. Here are five cities to add to your itinerary.
It's no surprise that the thriving, vibrant national capital is also one of the best places to visit in Spain in July. Madrid could easily be considered Europe's answer to the city that never sleeps, with a world-famous late-night drinks and dining scene as well as some of the world's most iconic nightlife. During the day, the city is full of refreshing spots to beat the heat, from shady and tranquil Retiro Park to the urban oasis that is Madrid Rio.
July Events in Madrid
- Veranos de la Villa: Madrid's signature summertime music and performing arts festival, with more than 90 acts taking place throughout the city.
- Virgen del Carmen (July 12–16, 2019): One of Spain's ubiquitous saints' festivals, complete with religious processions and even a water fight (in the Vallecas district).
How to Get There
All roads lead to Madrid, as evidenced by its central location in Spain, as well as its importance as the capital. There are high-speed trains from Barcelona to Madrid as well as from most big cities in Andalusia, and trains and buses connecting the whole country to the capital.
If you're coming from abroad, things are also quite easy. Madrid's airport is one of the best-connected in Europe, and it's easy to get to the city after your flight via metro, train, or bus.
If you've read anything about southern Spain, then the vaulting candy-cane-striped arches of Cordoba's legendary Mezquita will probably look familiar. Aside from one of the most iconic mosques in Europe, the city also has gained fame for its colorful floral patios (which can be seen year-round at Viana Palace) as well as its impressive Roman sites. It's one of Spain's hottest cities in July, but still deserves a spot on your itinerary due to its unrivaled cultural heritage.
The main draw in Cordoba in July is the Festival de la Guitarra, featuring flamenco, blues, classical guitar and a host of other styles.
Cordoba is also home to Mezquita, one of the largest mosques in Europe. It draws a lot of tourists. especially during the summer months, but is worth a visit if you're in town.
July Events in Cordoba
The annual Festival de la Guitarra (July 4–13, 2019) is a world-class music event that draws some of the best guitar players from all around the globe to Cordoba for more than a week of concerts, workshops, classes and so much more.
How to Get There
Let's shift gears and head up to the much more tolerable (temperature-wise) north. The Basque Country may look quite different than the image you may have of your head in Spain, which is exactly why it's worth a visit. Aside from the fascinating local heritage, culture, and language, the region teems with must-visit destinations, from industrial-cool Bilbao to gastro heaven San Sebastian to the wealth of beaches dotting the coast.
July Events in the Basque Country
- Heineken Jazzaldia (July 24–28, 2019): This San Sebastian-based event is one of the oldest jazz festivals in Europe, which will play host to internationally known talents such as Diana Krall and Joan Baez this year.
- BBK Live (July 11–13, 2019): If jazz isn't your thing, consider this rock and pop music festival taking place among breathtaking natural beauty in the mountains just outside Bilbao.
How to Get There
The Renfe train network connects top Basque destinations such as Bilbao and San Sebastian with other major Spanish cities, such as Madrid and Barcelona. Buses to the region are also plentiful.
Pamplona is one of northern Spain's most important historic and cultural destinations. With a prime location between the French border and the Rioja wine region, as well as right along the famed Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, it's easy to get to—and once you arrive, the city's irresistible charm is sure to captivate you (much as it did Hemingway himself).
July Events in Pamplona
Without a doubt, Pamplona is on most travelers' radar in July thanks to the Sanfermines festival (July 6–14, 2019). Most people may be familiar with the festival thanks to its famous (or infamous, depending on how you look at it) bull run. Participating in the bull run is dangerous and not recommended.
However, there are plenty more ways to enjoy this exciting festival, which dates back centuries. Parades, concerts and more also take place throughout the week, making it easy to enjoy one of Spain's most iconic festivals without the danger of drunkenly being chased by raging bulls.
How to Get There
Pamplona is well-connected to many other cities in northern Spain, such as San Sebastian, Bilbao, and Barcelona, as well as to Madrid. Accommodation prices are exorbitant in the city during Sanfermines, so consider staying in a nearby city in the Basque Country and making the short commute to the festival.
A list of Spain's top destinations for July wouldn't be complete without at least one laid-back Mediterranean hotspot, and Valencia fits the bill perfectly. Yes, it's Spain's third-largest city, but it doesn't feel like a bustling metropolis—instead, it combines plenty of history and culture with the vibe of a chilled-out beach town.
July Events in Valencia
How to Get There
Valencia is part of the AVE high-speed rail network, with trains running to and from major Spanish destinations such as Madrid, Barcelona, and more. It's also well-served by Spain's national bus service, Alsa.