You Know It’s Summer in Madrid When…

You know it’s summer in Madrid when…

The city council recommends that no one go outside between of the hours of 12 and 6 p.m.

summer in madrid

Because you never have to leave the house during the day. Nope. Never.

You blow the money from a week’s worth of private lessons in only one day. (Yay for two whole hours of class!)


Money for cañas, tinto de verano, and other cold drinks gets rerouted to the “Absolutely Necessary” column of your monthly budget.

summer in madrid

This ginormous cup, my friends, is what’s known as a “mini”

You don’t dare leave the house without a bottle of water (and a hair tie).


You find excuses to go to the bank, the supermarket, anywhere to spend some quality time with the AC.


Depending on the neighborhood, you notice either a mass exodus of locals or an influx of tourists.

summer in madrid

If you’re lucky, your ‘rents will number among the visitors

You spend the day lugging the sole fan in your apartment from room to room.

You don’t remember where you stored your umbrella because it’s been months since you needed it.


All of your favorite restaurants are closed when you have August visitors (and you’re even willing to bend the requirements for “fav” here).


You find a daily reason to visit the fruteria just to pick up more picota cherries.

summer in madrid
Summer in Madrid is incomplete without picotas

You sync your morning jog with the park sprinkler system.


You become acutely jealous of Spanish friends with a mountain home or a pueblo in the north.

summer in madrid

If you have a home near, say, La Pedriza, let’s have a picnic


Depending on the time of day–and the amount of shade–terrazas either sound like the best or the worst idea ever.

When you pass through Salamanca (or Calle Princesa, etc), there are so many rebajas shopping bags that you wonder if Spain is climbing out of the crisis or sinking further into it.

summer in madrid

Rebajas = sales

You find yourself shaking your fist when the metro station you need is smack-dab in the middle of obras.


You wonder how you survived the previous summers.

The #1 reason students cancel class becomes “It’s too hot to study English.”


Cold dishes suddenly sound the most appealing.

summer in madrid

Cue salmorejo, sushi, ceviche, salads…anything cold

You can’t fix the broken persianas (blinds) in your bedroom because the only repairman your landlady trusts is on vacation for two more weeks. (Thus ensuring that your room gets zero air flow at night. This also means you have working windows in ONE–count ’em, ONE–room in your entire apartment.*)



What defines summer where you live?

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  1. Ugh, I remember in DC how they’d have days the air was so bad they told no one to get outside and they’d send buses out to round up people who didn’t have anywhere else to cool off.

    Here in Moscow it’s pretty unbearable but most people have escaped out of the city.

    • Cassandra

      Really?! Did the buses have a destination or was the aim to provide immediate relief? And did you ever hop on board?

  2. I used to get the “I’ve just signed up for swimming classes” excuse not to study English a lot. Happy August!

    • Cassandra

      These are all variations on the I-Don’t-Want-To-Crack-Open-A-Book theme. Just what a teacher wants to hear!

  3. Lindsey

    It was so hot my 1st summer in Madrid I signed up for a gym membership just for the AC and the pool and knew the El Corte Ingles department store like the back of my hand.

  4. Christine

    El Corte Ingles was my best friend during those horrid summer months when I was in Madrid. I still have a small scar on my back from one night I was so desperate I was hanging out of the window just to catch what seemed like the only breeze felt in a million years. Ahhh good times!

  5. eeesh. I love the sync your morning jog one! you’re parents are adorable!!

    • Cassandra

      Thanks! What’s the weather like in San Francisco these days? Is it humid?

  6. Oh, I am so glad I missed this hot summer! Madrid is bad, Seville is bad, all is bad!

  7. Heeheehee I still can’t get over that recommendation to “NOT LEAVE THE HOUSE!!!” from the Ayuntamiento. And people wonder why siesta is still A Thing here. Crazy.

    Also, tinto de verano is indeed part of the Absolutely Necessary budget 😛

    • Cassandra

      That warning was a bit crazy, huh?! I wonder if it’s to cover their backs?

      YES to tinto de verano! Lately I’ve been a big fan of claras, they’re so refreshing!

  8. Spain can be brutal in the summer! I keep telling people in the northern hemisphere I’m jealous it’s summer there, but Sydney’s “cold” winter (in the 60s) does sound preferable to scorching Madrid summers. There’s no way you can be productive there right now!

    • Cassandra

      I try! Although I prefer warm weather over the cold, there is a point where it does become too much. Enjoy your mild winter in Sydney!

  9. Holy cow. The city council actually recommended that?!? I can’t believe it. (But actually I can, because #spain.) Too funny. I hope you’re drinking lots of tinto de verano to cool down!

    • Cassandra

      Haha, yes, they actually did. I knew I had to save a screenshot of a message like that!

      Lately I’ve been switching my beloved red wine for white! Chilled, for summer sippin’ 😉

  10. Love your stories! I have spent several HOT summers in Spain. Just returned from spending all of July in Madrid, Bilbao and Barcelona. Oh how I wish they sold Fanta Limon here in Texas!!

  11. Hahah this sounds so much like my summer in Granada! Except I was a student then, not a teacher, so I was the one doing all the class-canceling 🙂 I’m headed back to Bilbao tomorrow, and what I remember from this time last year is being eaten alive by mosquitos at night. Because Spain doesn’t think screens on windows are a good idea. WTF.

    • Cassandra

      Yikes, I bet summer in Andalucia can be even more brutal!

      This is the first summer I’ve lived in a 7th-floor apartment, and I’m quickly finding that an additional hazard to the screen-free windows is the birds! None have come flown inside yet, but they get dangerously close.

  12. I’d definitely be one going out to find air con. Also the idea of jogging in time for the water sprinklers is a genius idea.

  13. I’ve been to Madrid in July and it was kind of ok for me (maybe I’m crazy?:). Just couldn’t stay outside from 4 till 6-7 pm. But it was hell in Cordoba! I’ve spent most of the time there under Air con 😉

    • Cassandra

      Yikes, I can’t imagine what Cordoba was like in July! I went in September and it was still pretty brutal. Good thing you had AC!

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