Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain

Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Autumn leaves in Madrid's Retiro Park. Photo: Jocelyn Erskine-Kellie/Flickr
September 22nd marks the autumnal equinox and officially heralds in the best season to spend in Spain. The Local tells you why.

1. The colours


Faedo de Ciñera. Photo: José Antonio Carretero/Flickr

With so many wooded areas of outstanding natural beauty to be found in Spain you are never too far from those stunning Autumn colours. However, Faedo de Ciñera in León is one of the best places to see nature's display. It was voted the “best cared for wood in Spain” by Bosques Sin Fronteras (Woods without borders) and is home to beech trees that date back over 500 years. 

IN PICS: 15 photos that will get you excited about autumn in Spain

2. The chestnuts


Photo: Elsergientenapuros/Flickr

 

The Hamlet of Pujerra loves chestnuts, so much so it stages its own annual Chestnut Festival (Although in 2020 with coronavirus it won't be taking place in it's usual form). Despite being tiny (home to around 300 people) it boasts Malaga's biggest chestnut cooperative and even a museum dedicated to the humble autumnal treat. 

During the festival you can taste up to 50 dishes made from chestnuts. There is also an exhibition of the clothes and tools used in chestnut picking. 

But wherever you are in Spain look out for the chestnut sellers who appear with their braziers on street corners just as soon as there's a chill in the air. 

3. The wine


Photo: Robert McIntosh/Flickr

You may have missed the wine harvest, which usually takes place in early September, but autumn is a fantastic time to tour some of Spain's vineyards and it's not just limited to the famous regions of Rioja and Ribera. With wine made in so many regions across Spain you should be able to find bodegas near you for a glimpse into the age-old wine-making tradition while the air is permeated with the scent of crushed grapes.

Grape Escape: Discovering the art of winemaking in the vineyards of Rioja 

4. The mushrooms


Photo: Inga Vitola/Flickr

Autumn is wild mushroom season in Spain, so why not grab a basket and spend a fun autumnal day foraging for some tasty fungi but be sure to go out with an expert so you know what to look for…and what to avoid.

Many towns hold mushroom picking and tasting events, like the mycology (study of fungi) fest in Ezcaray, La Rioja, which runs from the end of October to the beginning of November, with workshops on cooking mushrooms and more. There are similar mycology fests in Beceite, Aragon and San Esteban del Valle, Avila.

5. Hearty food


Churros with hot chocolate. Photo: Toni Kaarttinen/Flickr.

 

As soon as the temperature drops, it's nice to cozy up to some warm, Spanish cuisine in the autumn, especially after doing everything possible to avoid hot dishes in the sweltering summer.

Though they can be enjoyed year-round, there is nothing quite like churros con chocolate to warm you up from the inside now the chillier weather is here. 

Spaniards also love to make use of seasonal crops, so it's time to give up the refreshing gazpacho so perfect in the summer months and  instead tuck into crema de calabaza (cream of pumpkin soup), cocido madrileño (stew of Madrid) or caldo gallego (Galician soup) with autumn veggies. 

READ MORE: Ten best cold weather tapas

6. Fewer tourists


Barcelona harbour in Autumn. Photo: Dexter HP/Flickr.

In usual years, autumn is a good time to tour the more popular sites, once the hordes of tourists have left at the end of the summer. But this year Covid-19 dealt a severe blow to Spain's tourist industry and pretty much all but domestic visitors were forced to stay away meaning it was a great summer for those left behind to visit the famous sites without having to wait in line.  

But if you didn't get to roam the almost deserted grounds of the Alhambra or marvel at the spires of the Sagrada Familia without have to brave the lines outside, autumn is an even quieter time to do it.     

And as the days turn colder or on those rainy days when you don't want to be outside, consider paying a visit to one of Spain's world-renowned museums without the headache of too many tourists.

7. The weather


Photo: Juanedc/Flickr

For those of us who struggle to make it through Spain’s sweltering summer, autumn comes as a welcome relief: a sunny, breezy time when people are still enjoying the outside terraces, but in a much more pleasant temperature. The fall in temperatures makes it a great time for exploring. Madrid is too unbearable during the summer, but perfectly lovely in autumn. 


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