Summer is approaching: how do we experience this time of year in Spain?

✎ includes a video lesson with vocabulary: means of transportation (see below)

PODCAST: read and listen to this entry at the same time (you can find the Spanish text here)

Summer has many different aspects and can be seen as a quiet, busy, stressful, awaited, hated etc. season, depending on how you spend it and what plans you have.

Summer comes closer with the arrival of June and Spanish people feel its arrival when vacations start for the little ones, teenagers and university students.
Why? I’m going to tell you.

School vacation and semester break

Schools, high-schools and universities finish the school year between the middle and the end of June, depending on the region where they are located. Summer vacations don’t finish until the beginning of September for schools and high-schools and even until the end of September for universities. So, Spanish students are on summer vacation for two months. This is something that surprises a lot of my students, because in their countries, vacations are more evenly distributed across the whole school year, which means that they don’t have summer vacations that are this long.

But why are there two months of vacation?

Everybody is going to tell you, that this is due to the heat. With temperatures that high, it’s impossible to study or to learn, and it’s better to take a break and start again in September, when the temperatures start going down. And because of that, the beginning of summer vacation for children and students is the (1) starting signal for the (2) summer season. Once school ends, summer begins.

And what do pupils and students do?

Generally, they are off for two months, unless they have to study because they didn’t pass a subject or are weak in it.  Children and teenagers usually do summer activities like sports or going to a summer camp.

And what’s with the ones that have to work?

For many people, the two summer months are either quieter or busier than the rest of the year. That depends vastly on your line of work.
For me as a teacher, summers tend to be quieter than the rest of the year. Many of my regular students take a few weeks off from learning when they’re on vacation. However, people that run bars or coffee shops, have much more work in those months, especially those that work on the coast or in other touristic hot spots.

On the other hand, people that work in an office or in a company that isn’t focused on summer often take vacations in July or August. For that reason, in many places it’s quite noticeable that August is a very quiet month. Since a lot of people go on vacation, the cities are usually a bit deserted and many businesses close.

Where do Spanish people pass the summer?

I don’t think that there’s a big difference in comparison to other countries. In Spain there are three “typical” ways to spend your summer vacation.

The first one…

consists of renting an apartment near the beach. People that don’t live close to the coast love to spend a week or fifteen days in an apartment that’s close to the beach.
Every year, the coast of Alicante, which is where I live, is full with tourists from the center of Spain. Although no only from Spain. There are lots of tourists from the north of Europe as well. Beach vacations include sun, beach, lunch at beachside cafes, going out to have ice-creams, taking a stroll on the esplanade, etc.

The second one…

consists of visiting “the town”. That’s what we call it when we visit the town of our parents or grandparents for a couple of days to see the family. This is quite common among Spanish people that live in a different place than the one they or their parents grew up in. Many still have the house of the family there, so that’s where they spend a part of their vacations. Depending on where the town is, this type of vacation can be sun and beach or mountains. What is for sure is that there are lots of family visits with uncles, cousins, and so on.

And finally…

it’s also customary to go on a trip to a place you haven’t been before, whether it’s inside Spain or abroad.

Summer is one of the most popular seasons and, naturally, it offers all kinds of possibilities for any preference that allows to relax and forget for a moment the stressful winter. Enjoy your summer!


  1. starting signal: pistoletazo de salida; el comienzo, el arranque, el inicio.
  2. summer season: temporada estival; temporada de verano.

VIDEO LESSON: means of transportation

Featured image: dl Spanish lessons
Picture 01: Photo by MD Duran on Unsplash
Picture 02: Photo by STIL on Unsplash