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Spain Travel from US in February 2021

Greetings,

Our Spain trip last April was cancelled last year and now we are forced to use our tickets by March 2022, so in order to not lose our airfare, we are thinking to go to Madrid and Barcelona February 19-26 2021. We are all vaccinated, yet I am unsure of the state of the country during that time, I worry that all the museums and restaurants will not be open. I know we should also plan to pack light, my worry is it will be cold temps in Feb vs April. We are traveling from Boston, so we are used to cold weather but from a packing/sightseeing standpoint, not to have pack all winter gear.

Would love your tips and advice!
Carolyn

Posted by
656 posts

Use this website to search for the weather in Madrid and Barcelona in February 19-26, in the last ten years.

https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/

My trip is in March. So far I bought a ticket to the Alhambra fortress in Granada. The museums in Spain are currently open. As of not they seem to still require masks. Spain may be more strict than Michigan about making people wear masks. As of today, in Michigan, the government doesn't mandate masks but some businesses still require them.

Posted by
18892 posts

Is February 19 the day you would arrive in Spain, or is it the departure date from Boston? Is February 26 the day you depart for home? If you arrive on Feb 19 and depart on Feb 26, that gives you just six full days in Spain, which isn't a lot of time to try to see both Madrid and Barcelona, not to mention that each of those cities has some excellent side-trips. Madrid has arguably the best set of convenient side-trips in Europe: Toledo, Segovia, Salamanca, Cuenca, Alcala de Henares, etc.

Unless there's another bad COVID spike I wouldn't expect things to be closed in Madrid or Barcelona. Those are huge cities; they do not remotely shut down in the winter any more than Boston does. However, weather in the center of the country (around Madrid) probably won't be especially warm. (I've been to Boston several times in January, and it would be really freaky if Madrid was that bad.) Barcelona will probably be considerably more pleasant than Madrid. Wikipedia's entries for major cities nearly always include a climate-summary chart that will give you an idea how those two cities compare. I use that data especially when I'm wondering about rainfall. However, take into account that monthly averages hide extremes, and it's the extremes that are likely to make us uncomfortable. In addition, the summary data reported by Wikipedia is usually based on a time period that cuts off in 2010. I think we all know weather has gotten flakier since then, so I'm not at all sure those averages are accurate anymore, even as averages.

I like to do a lot of outdoor walking in cities, so weather matters to me more than it does to many other tourists. Therefore, I always consult the actual, historical, day-by-day weather statistics available for about the last ten years on the website timeanddate.com. You can scroll across the time period you're considering for multiple years (I recommend five) and see how many days were cold, etc. I've given you a link for Madrid's February 2021 weather data, but please do check 2020, etc.

If I had an expiring flight credit and a burning desire to see the art museums in Madrid I might be willing to go in February, though it certainly would not be my preference. I'd be more willing to hit Barcelona at that time of year for its wackadoodle modernista architecture (and museums of its own, of course). But if you would like to maximize your chances of weather that will make you forget winter in Boston, I urge you to consider Andalucia. It will almost certainly be warmer and drier there than in Madrid and Barcelona. You'd have enough time to Seville and Cordoba. Seville and Granada would be possible if you truly have six full days, but Granada won't be as warm and the days will be fairly short in February, limiting your outdoor sightseeing time, so I'd probably opt for Seville + Cordoba.

I realize you may be locked in to flying into Madrid or Barcelona because of the sometimes-much-more-costly airfare to other Spanish cities. There's very rapid rail service from Madrid to Cordoba and on to Seville.

Have you contacted your airline to see whether it will extend your credit? I know many airlines have done that.

Can you add more days to your trip? It's a long way to go for only about a week, and Spain is really sight-rich.

The earliest I've been to Europe was the second week of April and that was Andalucia. I think even if you go to Madrid, you should get by with layers. One or two (layerable) pairs of long johns (polypropylene, but merino wool is also great) under rain-shedding 97% nylon slacks will help prevent that chilled-to-the-bone feeling you can get on cold, rainy days. Above the waist I layer a waterproof rain jacket over a fleece jacket. Let's see what those with winter experience in Spain say.

Posted by
21 posts

If you are used to Boston winters then a light weight puffer with a shirt and thermal layer underneath should be more than enough for Spain in Feb. Leave the heavy winter gear at home.

19-26 is not really enough for both Madrid and Barcelona. Perhaps Madrid with Seville or another Andalucía city thrown in but imo Barcelona is stretching it.

Nobody knows how next February will be. The vaccination rate there is high so the chances of them closing tourist attractions again are quite low. I believe the current elected government was particularly keen on promising everyone that they will not shut down again. If major things are closed in Feb then trust me something has happened and they will probably not be welcoming tourists anyway.

I would book the trip to use up the credit, and if things are bad enough to cancel again, the airlines will likely grant you an extension, which is better than letting the old credit expire.

Posted by
3213 posts

Acraven provided good suggestions. Right now Spain is open but who knows what will happen over the next few months. If it’s a choice between go or lose airfare, I’d go. Be prepared to wear masks indoors, but even if some places are closed, there is plenty to see even if some venues are closed. Right now, Spain’s number of daily new cases is continuing to drop, so that’s encouraging.

Posted by
2 posts

I appreciate your responses very much! We are limited on time due to school vacation week and understand we can’t see it all so we chose some famous landmarks to see and go at a relaxed pace vs the “get it all in” east coast way of doing things. We originally were going to visit friends that live in Barcelona for 3 days and then a day trip to Toledo then take high speed onward to Madrid for 3 days-come to find out they are here in the states and not going back until March! So we are open to divert from original plan- we would fly out of Boston evening of 2/18 fly back 2/26.
We had planned to visit: Madrid-Royal Palace of Madrid, Toledo, Prada Museum. Barcelona-stay in Gothic quarter, Palau de la Musica Catalana, las ramblas, park Guell , Sagrada Familia and Montserrat. I welcome any advice to maximize our time in Spain, we will have a 15 and 16 yr old with us so it’s important they enjoy the time spent there.

Posted by
205 posts

Here's what I would suggest. First open jaw ticket. Fly into Madrid and out of Barcelona (or vice versa). I'm not sure how the flights are running from Boston to Spain, but I flew in June and the Iberia flights were a bit disrupted by Covid. Normally we fly from BOS to MAD direct, but our flight was changed and we had to go to MIA, which was not pleasant. Maybe Level is flying BOS to BCN?

Second, I think your itinerary is a bit ambitious. If you 3 nights in MAD, you can day to Toledo and I suggest Segovia. From Barcelona, I would skip Montserrat. It's a full day trip. I think you can see the rest of the Barcelona sights, though. Check with Viator or other excursion companies for "skip the line," tickets. I like to take it easy the first day there because of jet lag. If your first stop is Barcelona, you can see the Ramblas and maybe Parc Guell the first day. I'd save the heavy duty tour for the next day.

Buen Viaje!

Posted by
18892 posts

The Ramblas is utterly skippable. You'll probably find yourself on it during the course of you sightseeing, which is fine, but there is absolutely no reason to make a point of walking along it unless you particularly want to get up close and personal with the local pickpockets.

Do not get sightseeing tickets from Viator or any other agency. Buy them from the official websites of the sights you want to see. They all have English-language websites that are easy to use and will almost certainly save substantial money. Even the official tickets are costly enough; there's no need to pay extra.

I don't know how crowded Barcelona will be in February. In normal times you do need to get tickets to the Gaudi attractions ahead of time lest you end up in a very, very long ticket line (highly likely) and end up being sold a ticket for many hours later (definitely possible). Parc Guell no longer sells tickets on site at all, so it's critical not to just show up there on a whim. Since it is an outdoor attraction, you'll want to monitor the weather forecast before choosing a time to visit.

Because all the Gaudi sites sell timed (not just dated) tickets, it's not easy to be an efficient sightseer in Barcelona. You cannot predict accurately how much time you'll want to spend at the first sight of the day, so when do you schedule your second visit? I don't have an answer to that other than urging you to take full advantage of every full day you have in the city, scheduling a top-priority/ticket-required sight first thing so you don't have to worry about getting there on time.

Worthwhile sights that have not in the past required advance purchase of tickets include the lovely, multi-building Sant Pau modernista site, the MNAC (large art museum with interesting modernism collection and lovely frescoes rescued from Pyrenees churches) and the Miro Museum. There might be a bit of a line at the Miro, I guess.

One note on geography: Toledo is not between Barcelona and Madrid; it is south of Madrid on a spur railroad that is connected only to Madrid.

Posted by
58 posts

Here’s a Spain weather tip. We left Little Rock, Arkansas on February 6th for Spain. We drove from Barcelona stopping at Pamplona, Leon & Santiago de Compostela. Good weather all the way. Back home an ice storm hit Arkansas the day after we flew out.

We left Santiago the morning of February 11th & hit snow in the hills of Galicia. The snow continued until we made it half way across Spain. (Great snow plows in Spain) We arrived in Barcelona around 5 p.m. with sunny skies & beautiful palm trees. The day after we arrived home 3-4 inches of snow hit Arkansas.

Tip: You never know what the weather will do in Spain. We are headed back to Barcelona February 3-18, 2022, for my wife’s 70th birthday & Valentine’s Day! Enjoy Spain!

Posted by
14326 posts

Whatever you wear outside in Boston - and presumably what you'll wear to the airport - is enough (probably more than enough) for Spain. Hats, gloves, scarves . . . I have worn just a fleece jacket when I've gone and been fine with layers underneath. No boots, no heavy woolens.