Where to Go in Spain in May: City by City

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When visiting Spain, May is a great month for warmer weather, smaller crowds, and plenty of exciting events and activities all across the country. However, knowing where to go and when can be difficult, especially since Spain has so many great cities and celebrations to choose from this month.

Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona is probably the biggest event of the month, particularly if you're a fan of alternative rock music, but Madrid is dominated by the annual San Isidro Festival, and Caceres is dominated by the WOMAD World Music Festival.

Basically, no matter where you go, there's bound to be a party to kick off summer season early. Whether you're traveling to Cordoba or Seville—or want to visit all of the big cities—knowing what's happening will help you better plan the perfect vacation to Spain.

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    Potted plants and flowers in courtyard
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    Cordoba is one of Spain's hottest cities, so coming a bit before the height of summer is a good idea.

    Cordoba has two big events in May, Cruces de Mayo and the Cordoba Festival—but there are also several smaller events throughout the month, including the Feria Corridas (bullfighting).

    At the start of the month, the Cruces de Mayo festival takes place across Andulasia on May 3 and is known for its best-decorated patio competition. In 2018, Cordoba will close out the month with the Cordoba Festival, which celebrates Andulasian cultural traditions and takes place from May 19 to 26.

    While there are many hotels in Cordoba, you should also make sure you also include visits to nearby Seville and Granada for other Cruces de Mayo celebrations or head north from Cordoba to Madrid to catch more bullfighting at the end of the month.

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    Madrid in May is dominated by the San Isidro Festival, which features daily bullfights for most of the month along with a variety of other events throughout the month.

    Dos de Mayo festival takes place on May 2 around the Plaza Dos de Mayo square in Malasaña, and the Madrid Open is the country's biggest tennis tournament, which will take place from May 4 to 13 at La Caja Mágica. Additionally, film buffs can enjoy Documenta Madrid, a documentary festival that takes place from May 3 to 13, 2018.

    Madrid is also home to some of the best hotels, bars, and nightlife in Spain, so it's not too difficult to plan the perfect Madrid vacation during your trip. Madrid is also well-connected to most of Spain's top cities thanks to the ever-growing AVE high-speed train network, so if you want to explore elsewhere, it won't be hard to do.

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    Empty street in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
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    Madrid's biggest competition in terms of popularity is Barcelona, but which is better for you really depends on what you want out of your vacation to Spain—even if it's an off-the-beaten-path adventure.

    While Madrid is the country's thriving capital, Barcelona is the country's most celebratory city year-round, but especially in May when the city plays host to dozens of special events. There are also several great day trips from Barcelona, so be sure to plan extra time to explore the region while you're there.

    Some of the best events in Barcelona in May 2018 include the Girona Flower Festival from May 12 to 20; the Spanish Grand Prix Formula One (F1) motor races from May 12 through 14; and the Snail Festival on May 26 through 28. To close out the month, you can attend the Primavera Sound Music Festival from May 30 to June 3, which features performances of some of the top music artists from Spain and around the world.

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    Rooftops of old town of Caceres
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    The big event for Caceres in May is the world-famous WOMAD World Music Festival, which takes place on May 10, 2018, and will feature American artists !!! (Chk Chk Chk), Columbian artists Canalón de Timbiquí, and Elemotho Gaalelekwe (Namibia), among others.

    No matter when you visit, you can also explore the Apple Museum of Computer History, the historical Old Town Caceres, Monfrague National Park, and the Real Monasterio de Santa Maria de Guadalupe.

    Nearby Merida is home to the most beautiful Roman ruins in Spain and is well worth a side trip, especially if you're planning on staying in Caceres for a few days.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05
    Triana district, Seville
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    Much like Cordoba, Seville gets extremely high temperatures in the summer and is often said to be the hottest city in Europe. As a result, May is one of the best and most popular times to visit this southern Spanish city.

    The Seville Fair (La Feria de Abril) takes place in late April and early May, which invites over four million people to the city for a week-long celebration of the history and culture of the region. Occasionally, Semana Santa (Holy Week) also falls in May, but that isn't the case for 2018, as it takes place in April.

    Whether you're planning to attend an event or not, there's still plenty to do and see in and around Seville. Book a hotel nearby or take a day tips around Andulasia, including the nearby towns of Jerez and Cadiz.