November sees the arrival of late-fall rains and storms. During this month many places in the nation, including the famously sunny Mediterannean coast, will have more cloudy and wet days. If you're planning on visiting Basque Country, know that the northern Atlantic coast is often hit first and hardest with offshore storms. This is also one of the chillier of Spain's regions during November, as cities like San Sebastian and Bilbao see average highs in the low 60s (Fahrenheit), which dip into the mid-40s at night.
Madrid is a tad cooler than the north with an average high of 59°F/15°C and temps dipping into the low 40s at night. Even temperatures in Barcelona and the party-mad island of Ibiza are mostly too chilly for beach fun, as average highs typically only reach the low-to-mid-60s. Your best bet for finding sunbathing and (possibly) swimming weather is in Spain's southern Andalusia region and the Canary Islands, as temperatures here still peak in the 70s.
Crowds & Costs
Although Spain is never completely tourist-free—it's too beautiful a country for that prospect to ever become a reality—the crowds will be decidedly thin by November. At the very least this means you won't have to contend with masses of people and the most famous sites in the country, be it the museums of Madrid and Barcelona, the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, and the ancient basilicas and grand plazas throughout the country.
The weather might not be ideal in November, but at least you can take advantage of low season prices. With no major holidays this month (other than All Saints Day; more on that below), you can book cheap flights throughout most of November. You should also be able to score discounts of up to 30% and possibly more on hotels in most of the major cities throughout the country.
Where to Go
November is perfect to discover Spain's southern Andalusia region, as the oppressive heat in summer makes walking tours of historic cities like Málaga, Córdoba, and Seville an arduous task. While you could certainly opt for a drive around Marbella and the Costa del Sol, a rainout would ruin that coastal scenery; best to keep any road-tripping plans to the interior of Andalusia. The ancient mountaintop city of Ronda, one of the most evocative places in the country, would be a perfect stop on a November itinerary.
Really, it's impossible for any of Spain's historic cities to be ruined by lousy weather. Even though some days might be rainy and gloomy, Madrid is a solid prospect, despite the cooler temps. The beautiful fall foliage on display in El Retiro Park is reason enough to go, and if rainouts are an unfortunate reality, spend time indoors in Madrid at the Museo de Prado, or in Barcelona at the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya and the Picasso Museum.
What to Do
If you have your sights set on a beach holiday, weather be damned, then the most optimum location in November is likely the Canary Islands. Tenerife, in particular, enjoys higher temperatures during the day than almost anywhere else in Spain, often peaking in the mid-70s (Fahrenheit). The water may still be chilly, but if you're determined you can enjoy a dip in the sea. Plus, many cloudless days will likely yield the perfect weather to go sunbathing.
One of the best activities in Tenerife that can be enjoyed is whale watching. There are resident pods of pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins in these waters year-round, so November is as good a month to embark on a tour as any. If you'd like to spot migratory sperm whales, head to the southernmost edge of Andalusia and the town of Tarifa, which runs whale-watching boat tours off the coast.
And if you're in Spain in early November and want to imbibe, head to Andalusia. November marks their annual weeklong celebration of sherry, and it's quite a party (more on this below).
Events in November
All Saints Day. Nov. 1st is a national holiday to celebrate and honor deceased relatives and friends. Businesses are closed and many people observe the holiday by placing flowers on the graves of friends and relatives.
International Sherry Week. This annual event usually occurs in early November and is held in Andalusia's southwestern city of Jerez de la Frontera (where sherry was actually invented). It's a fun weeklong celebration featuring sherry tastings, sherry pairing menus, sherry cocktails, and other sherry-themed events.
Traveling to Spain in November? Check out these great itineraries.
Best of Andalusia's Interior - 8 Days. This 8-day cultural tour takes you from Seville to Granada in Spain's southernmost region of Andalusia. The interior is the perfect area of Andalusia to visit in November, as the inclement weather can be a wild card for coastal trips.
Highlights of Central & Southern Spain - 12 Days. This complete itinerary highlights some of Spain's most enchanting cities, featuring Madrid, Sevilla, and Barcelona. These are great cities to visit in November, as there are plenty of restaurants and museums to enjoy if it's rainy outside.