What weather to expect, and the dates to avoid
When to Visit
Ask a Spaniard for a word to describe Soria, and the chances are that word will be "cold" (or "butter", a local speciality). There's certainly an ounce of truth in this, but Soria's climate has its advantages for an outdoor holiday.
The continental climate of the Castilian plains is characterised by hot dry summers and cold dry winters, with rainfall concentrated mostly in spring and autumn. This means we have clear blue skies for a large part of the year, and at close to 1000 metres above sea level the sun burns bright and hot during the day, even in winter, while at night the sky is clear, dark and star-spangled.
The air temperature is usually cool during the day, even in July you can cool off in the shade, and chilly at night. And for people unused to this type of climate there are two important things to note. The first is the great difference between daytime and night-time temperatures, which can vary by up to 20ºC, and the second is to stress that this is a very dry climate, so very low winter temperatures are quite manageable as the cold doesn't bite into you, but rather just "brushes off".
In many parts of Spain they complain that the year is split into "nueve meses de invierno y tres meses de infierno" (nine months of winter and three months of hell), but in Soria I think we are lucky to have at least a snatch of all four seasons, and our summers are not so hellish thanks to the cool air and the low humidity.
A land for (nearly) all seasons
Almost any time of year can be good to travel to Soria, and each season has its own pros and cons.
Winters tend to be cold and dry (it snows a lot less than they say it used to) and the days are generally sunny with beautiful blue skies. January and February are the bitterest months, but the winter sunshine can be hot, and very warm spells in February are not unknown. All of this makes for glorious days out in the country. The chief problem is that the days are short, though considerably longer than in northern Europe. Winter this year has been rainier, but the upside is that spring has arrived much earlier.
Spring is generally late in arriving, and the countryside sometimes seems to take forever to come back to life. March and April are warmer months with much longer days, and this is generally the "rainy season" with plenty of showery weather. May and June are arguably the best months of the year, when the countryside is at its prettiest. June is the month of flowers and has the longest days, with warm temperatures but without the summer heat, and, despite the excellent conditions, very few visitors.
Summer arrives suddenly and with a vengeance, and July is the hottest month. This is weather for serious heat lovers, and not everyone's cup of tea (as my mother will certify, though her grandchildren were unfussed). At least we have the advantage of cool nights, so there is respite from the heat, unlike in other parts of Spain. August is milder, and summer can go on well into September, with gradually cooler temperatures.
Autumn comes in the latter part of September and reaches its full glory in October, though the mild weather may carry over into November, but to me it always seems too short-lived. It's my favourite season, so I may be biased, but there's no denying that this is a beautiful time of year in Soria, and very popular for rural tourism. Rain is initially very welcome after months of dryness, but can become tiresome as the days shorten and the cold weather approaches. As November draws on and December sets in, the best place to be might actually be sat in front of the fire, or maybe even in the Canary Islands.
Beat the crowds
Soria is absolutely off the beaten track, by anybody's standards, and the concept of "crowds" here is rather relative. That said, there are nevertheless certain times of year when the number of visitors suddenly increases and which may be worth avoiding (by visitors we mean not only tourists but also Sorian emigrants returning to their villages for holidays or special occasions).
By far the busiest times of year are the Easter week closely followed by the autumn bank holidays of El Pilar (12 October), All Saints' Day (1 November) and the Constitution (6-8 December). The month of August is obviously also a peak time. Apart from this, other local holidays in the big cities or just autumn weekends may also be quite busy (by our standards).
Having said that, it's worth noting that tourism is not only mostly concentrated at these specific times, but also focused on very few resources in the province. So don't go to the Black Lagoon at Easter, you won't even get into the car park. But take a walk through the forest or along the river Douro just down the road, and you might even be on your own. We will do our best to point you in the right direction at the right time.
Finally, just to mention that we close during the last week of August, coinciding with the noisy village fiestas in Valdemaluque.