It doesn’t happen very often in southern Spain, but what can do you do to pass the day when the heavens open and the rain falls on Spain?

After many months of dry weather you often get two or three days of heavy rain. So your holiday visit to the beach is off. What then?

Well there is plenty to do in Spain, whatever the weather. Don’t let a drop of rain prevent you from seeing more of what is on offer in the country.

Going to museums in Spain is exciting, not boring. There are so many of them around and so many of them lend themselves to be of genuine interest to all ages. The children of Spain enjoy going to museums. They know that lots of them are interactive and are sure to entertain them.

Taking shelter in Arcos de la Frontera

If you find yourself in or near the city of Granada, take yourselves and your children to the Science Park on the outskirts of the city. I had my doubts when first visiting this place a few years ago but it has exceeded my expectations.

Indeed I have yet to come across anyone, young or old, who is anything other than impressed with this clever museum. Something for all ages and a high degree of interaction.

Granada Science Park

There are permanent exhibitions that entice visitors back time and time again. And there are temporary exhibits on show for weeks or months on end. If you or your children are into mathematics there is, until the end of 2012, an exhibition celebrating the centenary of the Royal Spanish Mathematics Society.

Personally I would rather spend time with the Raptors or in the planetarium. And, of course, you should climb the observation tower that offers you great views of Granada and the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Pampaneira in the sun

There are even things to do when it rains in the mountain villages of La Alpujarra. Go into one of the warming bodegas in the town of Pampaneira and take your time tasting locally produced ham, chorizo, wine and pacharan. The last named is a favourite drink of mine made with sloe berries.

These welcoming shops have bars within them and allow you to stay as long as you wish. Perhaps you would like to buy some cow bells why you are there.

Also in Pampaneira there is a chocolate shop like no other I have experienced. I have watched this business take off. They make a wide variety of chocolate on the premises and you can watch the employees at work while tasting samples of their work. On a day when an umbrella is required outside, I can’t think of a better place to take cover than in an underground chocolate shop.

Pampaneira in the rain

Depending on where you are holidaying in Spain, you could go to the cinema and see a film in the English language.

While that is only possible once a week in inland cities such as Granada, only 90 minutes away in Malaga you can see English language films more often. There are several cinema complexes along the ever popular Costa del Sol and you can find information on what films are showing in local newspapers and free English language magazines.

Going to the cinema in Spain is something most holidaymakers will not do. Be different. When the heavens open go to the pictures.

Or take cover under the roof of one of the many superb indoor markets, such as the one in the third biggest city in Spain, Valencia. Marvel at the sheer array of fruit and vegetables on sale. Take in the colour and vibrancy of a busy Spanish food market. A great way to stay dry.

And while you are in Valencia, be sure to visit its own vast City of Arts and Sciences – an attraction so vast you could spend an entire day there.

Valencia central market

Art exhibitions tend to attract the more adult holidaymaker. I am always amazed how, no matter where you find yourself in Spain, there will be an art exhibition not far from where you are staying.

Of course some museums and art galleries are more famous than others. In Malaga the Picasso museum attracts thousands of visitors every year. But it is not so busy that you cannot stand back and take in the work of Malaga’s most famous son.

2013 will be the tenth anniversary of the opening of this museum by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain. Special events are planned to mark one decade of displaying the works of Picasso – a man whose art divides opinion but never fails to impress.

Salvador Dali Museum, Figueres

If you are in the north of Spain then you can visit the crazy museum created by the man who is buried underneath it. Salvador Dali was instrumental in planning the layout and content of the very distinctive museum, named after him, that cannot be missed in the city of Figueres on the Costa Brava.

The building is unmistakeable from the outside and suitably flamboyant inside. The master of surrealism is buried underneath the entrance. As you queue for your entrance tickets, he is under your feet. Bizarre! Or should I say surreal?

Understandably this is a very popular museum. There is so much to see and take in that you should allow plenty of time for your visit. You will still be left scratching your head at some of Dali’s work but it does set you thinking. As Hercule Poirot would have said: It engages your little grey cells.

The young love this museum and school parties visit in big numbers. You will enjoy your visit to this museum more if you are able to avoid the busiest times.

This part of the Costa Brava is also famous for being home to some huge wine warehouses. Come out of the rain and take time to study the booze on offer and don’t leave without buying some local wines.

Inside Dali’s world

People don’t go on holiday intending to play indoor sport. But, when the rain pours, why not? Esepcially if you are a keen player of squash or tennis. Many very modern sports centres in Spain will allow visitors entry on a temporary pass and the courts and other sports facilities are superb.

Perhaps your children would like to play an indoor game of football with Spanish youngsters of a similar age. Don’t be afraid to ask to do so. Spanish children will be sporting the shirts of football teams from all over Europe and are always keen to meet fans of football from England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany or Holland.

Wine shopping on the Costa Brava

A game all the family can play on a rainy day is ten pin bowling. These facilities are often located in the same shopping complexes as the local cinema. You have restaurants and cafes on offer and you have some wide bowling lanes to enjoy. Some hours spent bowling are a great way to stay dry and have lots of competitive fun.

Sure, you came to holiday in Spain for the blue skies and sunshine. You may not have anticipated a rainy day. You probably thought you would be on the beach every day. But it is wise to be prepared. It does rain in Spain from time to time and you want to have a plan ‘B’ up your sleeve.

Rain in Spain doesn’t have to stop play.

Posted by vernon
Vernon is a London born, former Fleet Street journalist and, for 25 years, a television producer for ITV, BBC, SKY & C4. In 2002 he began travelling the length and breadth of Spain. In 2005 he settled south of Granada, and is co-author of a guidebook to the 100 best tapas bars in the city and province of Granada.