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How far in advance do we need to book accommodations in Spain for February and March?

We are going to Sevilla for the first half of February and have already booked accommodation for that city.
Given the time of year, can we wait until we are in Spain to book accommodations for the second half of our travels in February and early March?. Or should we book all accommodations well in advance of our trip? We would like to be able to book as we go, but is that realistic?
Our rough itinerary after Sevilla is: White Towns, Granada, Toledo, Madrid and Barcelona.

Any advice?

Posted by
315 posts

RS's and his follows suggested lodgings are gone up to six months in advance. I would choose lodging with a cancellation policy. In Catalunya in May outside Barcelona and Gerona we had no problems with spontaneous lodging bookings 1-2 days before on

Posted by
5360 posts

If you have fixed dates, you might book those, but in most of those places, with a short list of options you should easily be able to book a few days ahead on the fly.

Posted by
3789 posts

There are dozens of lodging choices in any of these cities. Rick's suggestions and criteria hotels may book up ahead, but you can bet all the hostales (not hostels....think pensions) that he rarely recommends anymore are not going to be booked out. There are also dozens of short let apartment rental companies or B&Bs or Airbnb options. Or decide on a Parador.
No reason you can't short list a few for each city, even email them to ask how vacancy seems to be that time of year...then book whenever you want. At worst, you may have to take second or third choice, or throw a little more money at a perfectly acceptable option.
Loads of people book last minute, or just roll up to the counter and are successful. All depends how risk averse you are.

Posted by
19160 posts

I commonly book lodgings just 1 to 4 days before arrival, and I travel during and around the peak period. What I find happens is that a lot of the low-priced, most-central options are full, so I have to balance location vs. cost. It's still worth it to me for the flexibility, but I have been trying to book a bit earlier rather than just 24 or 36 hours ahead.

There's an additional issue in Madrid and Barcelona, in my experience: Those are very popular cities with considerable demand all year--especially true of Barcelona. You will probably be able to watch room rates rise substantially as your arrival date approaches. If you have a fixed budget, you will probably have to trade down in quality if you book late in those cities.

Another wrinkle is that the more days you are staying in a city, the trickier it can be to get a last-minute room. I tend to stay considerably longer than the average visitor in each city. A hotel may have a cancellation that makes a room unexpectedly available, but that cancellation probably will not be for as many nights as I need.

Obviously, you should do some Googling to be sure you won't be arriving during a major local celebration.

Posted by
14399 posts

It sounds like you're planning a minimum 4 week trip. How long are you planning to stay in each place and will you have a car for part of that time?

As acraven has pointed out, longer stays may well need to be booked in advance. Unless you're okay with changing hotels while in one city. And it depends on how picky you are and what your budget allows.

Barcelona may be difficult if you end up there during an expo week. Granada really needs to be planned in advance because Alhambra tickets sell out even in February/March. As of today, tickets on the official website are sold out through Nov. 5 and very few tickets are still availble through the middle of the month.

The white hill towns probably not a problem in February if you have a car. Some places may close in February because of low demand or to make repairs/renovations.

Lastly, I'd encourage you to spend a few nights in Cordoba.

You will get big discounts on train tickets if you buy them well in advance. Tickets are usually offered 62 days ahead, though it varies somewhat. I compared the fares for Madrid-Barcelona. Most tickets for a week from today were over €100, though there were still a handful at around €85. For 2 months from now, many were at €67 and I even saw one at €50. However, if you are entitled to the tarjeta dorada (60+), that won't be a factor.

Posted by
7 posts

Thanks for all the great advice.
We are planning to rent a car for White Hill Town touring.
I think I will book hotels in Barcelona, Granada, Madrid and Toledo but leave it more open for
the pueblos blancos.