There are places in Spain that are empty almost all year round. Large areas with little population which, at most, experience a brief rise on the occasion of the local festivity.
But even the big cities experience their moments of absolute calm. Cities are left empty when their inhabitants head off to enjoy the few days' holiday.
With the data from the electricity meters of millions of Spaniards, we can discover the few times of year when cities feel like towns. When their electricity consumption drops is when the cars horns give way to silence.
Easter Week: processions and some time at the beach
The first dates when the big cities (Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia…) are left empty are at Easter.
The tourist exodus causes cities like Seville, Valladolid and Zamora to reach annual peaks of electricity consumption. But the rise is also very marked in coastal areas without any tradition of processions.
The long Spanish summer
It is when the hot weather arrives that people move around the most, being distributed among a variety of destinations and activities:
Short breaks in June: long weekends on the coast and highly popular festivities such as Corpus Christi in Seville (15 June) or the feast of San Juan with its bonfires (24 June). The latter shows a clear impact on electricity consumption throughout the Levant, including Aragon and the Pyrenees.
Closed for holidays: we are a summertime country, with some 90 million car trips between July and August (according to data from the General Traffic Directorate). At these times Madrid and Barcelona lose one third of their population, but at a very different rate: Madrid suddenly, in a very marked way that reaches its peak in August; Barcelona in a smoother and more gradual way. Some leave and others arrive: around 2 million tourists visit Madrid in summer, compared to 4 million in Barcelona. Places close to these great capitals (Segovia, Toledo, Figueres, Cadaqués) receive some of these visitors, who take advantage to go on day trips.