Autumn in Andalucia is a welcome relief from the scorching temperatures of the summer months and, now that I’ve lived through five long hot Spanish summers, I have to confess to a newfound appreciation for autumn and all that it brings.
If you’ve never been to Andalucia in autumn, here are just five good reasons why it’s such a magical time to visit.
Summer in Andalucia is hot hot hot! On the Costa del Sol temperatures are regularly well above 30°c throughout June, July, and August. Head inland and it’s even hotter but, by the time the autumn equinox rolls around in late September, the sweltering temperatures are already dropping.
Although the mornings tend to be a bit chilly the temperature generally reaches a pleasant 20-25°c which means that, yes, you can still hit the beach even if you’re not feeling brave enough to go in the sea. There are a few hardy souls who regularly go in for a dip but it’s just as nice to find a sheltered spot on the beach and read a book in the late afternoon sunshine.
Many of the chiringuitos (beach bars) are seasonal but plenty, in the more popular areas, do stay open throughout the year so al fresco wining and dining by the sea is still a possibility in the autumn months.
The cooler mornings are also the perfect excuse (not that I personally ever need one) to start the day with churros con chocolate – the best way to warm up your weekend.
The arrival of autumn means it’s time to say goodbye to gazpacho and starting welcoming in heartier fayre. In autumn that usually means lots of stews that make the most of seasonal Spanish produce.
Have a wander round any local market at this time of year and you’ll see plenty of pumpkins, pomegranates, and quince (which makes a lovely jam that goes well with local cheese).
Autumn is also wild mushroom foraging season. If you do plan to head into the woods to have a look for some I’d recommend going with an expert so that you know what to look for and, perhaps just as importantly, what to avoid!
Even if you don’t pick your own, you’ll find lots of wild mushrooms on the menu in restaurants, like these freshly foraged ones that I enjoyed in Jimena de la Frontera.
Special mention needs to go to my favourite of all the autumn foods – chestnuts. Think of chestnuts roasting on an open fire and you’re most likely transported to Christmas time but, by mid-October, braziers have appeared on the street corners of many towns around Andalucia and, for just a couple of Euros, you can buy a cone of freshly roasted chestnuts.
Join my Facebook group ‘Explore Andalucia‘ – a private group for anyone who loves all things Andalucian.
The great outdoors
I love going for long walks but, during the summer, it’s just too hot to do anything too strenuous. However, with the drop in temperature, autumn is the perfect time for getting out and about and exploring.
There are plenty of pueblos blancos (white villages) to spend time in and most of them are ideally placed for walking. Casares, for example, has some excellent hiking trails nearby and, once you’ve finished, you can head to the Roman Baths for a relaxing dip to soothe your aching muscles.
For something more taxing head to the hills. On the Costa del Sol there’s the Sierra Bermeja near Estepona where you can either enjoy the walking trails on the lower part of the mountain or head to the summit for outstanding views of the coast all the way down to Gibraltar.
On the Costa de la Luz there are excellent hikes in the Parque Natural del Estrecho near Tarifa where you will more than likely spot vultures.
I’ve recently moved to the beautiful village of Castellar de la Frontera which is part of the Parque Natural de los Alcornocales and which has excellent hikes in the surrounding hills. I’ve already ticked a few off the list but am going to be busy over the coming months exploring more of the countryside on my doorstep.
Wherever you plan to go in Andalucia there are plenty of guidebooks to the best hikes in the region. I’m a fan of the Cicerone guides having also used them for walks on the Isle of Man.
You can view the full range of Cicerone guides here.
The berrea is a special time throughout Spain and, in Andalucia, occurs for only a few short weeks in late September and early October.
This is deer rutting season and, in the mountainous regions, the bellowing of the deer can be heard as the sun goes down. The males get ready to go into mating battle by bellowing to mark their territory and, if another male arrives on the scene, there’ll be a clash of antlers to assert their dominance.
In many parts of Andalucia there are guided tours to witness this spectacle of nature but, even if you miss it, you may still spot wild deer if you’re walking in the countryside.
It’s less crowded
Just like spring in Andalucia, autumn is always an enjoyable time for a city break whether that’s in Cordoba, Granada, Malaga, or Seville. The summer holidaymakers have gone home which means the popular attractions like the Mezquita, Alhambra, Caminito del Rey, and Alcazar are a lot quieter. That’s not to say that the cities will be deserted (far from it) so I’d still recommend booking your tickets for the main attractions, particularly the skip the line tours so that you don’t waste any precious holiday time in a queue.
If you’re after a holiday where the welcome you’ll receive is as warm as the weather then autumn in Andalucia might just be what you’re looking for.
This post was written in October 2020, and updated in October 2021.
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If you’re interested in spending autumn in Andalucia you might find these resources useful to help you plan your visit and save you money.
Find the best accommodation. I regularly use Booking.com as they have a huge range of accommodation options in Andalucia as well as an excellent cancellation policy in case you have to change your plans.
Book a rental car. Andalucia is the ideal destination for a road trip, so hiring a car offers you freedom and flexibility. I recommend Discover Cars which lets you compare multiple car hire sites.
Book your train travel. Travelling by train is a fantastic way to see the Andalucian countryside and can often work out cheaper than hiring a car. The national railway is RENFE but, if you plan to travel a lot within Andalucia, it may be worth considering an Interrail or Eurail pass.
Organise trips and tours. It’s worth booking ahead if you intend to visit any of Andalucia’s most popular attractions. I always use Get Your Guide when I’m planning tours or day trips as they have a wide selection to choose from throughout Andalucia.
Take out travel insurance. Travel insurance is vital and it’s really not worth the risk of taking a trip without it. I recommend World Nomads who have policies to suit whatever type of traveller you are.
Get your travel guides. While blogs (like this one!) can help you plan your trip it’s still useful to have a good travel guide (or two!) to make sure you don’t miss any of the sights.
Andalucia Tourist Information – the official website for Andalucia tourism with information on all eight of the region’s provinces.