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Spain

With its magnificent beaches and spectacular mountains, Spain, and its people’s dedication to living a good life should be a message to all of us.

Surrounded by history dating back to the Phonecians and Romans, it is hard to travel anywhere in this sun-baked country without being reminded of who was there before.

Proud of their history and excellent cuisine, Spaniards are a very family-oriented people who still come home each day for lunch with their loved ones.

While a castle may dominate each hilltop, Spain lives very much in the present, which is why the word”fiesta” is known worldwide. No matter what type of vacation you are looking for, be it sea, sun, culture, or adventure, Spain delivers in every category.


Avoid tourist traps with the “Spain Like a Local” itinerary:

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Good to know before traveling to Spain

Capital: Madrid

Currency: EUR

Power voltage and socket type(s): 230V, plug types F and C. 

Official religion(s): 60% of the population is Roman Catholic, followed by atheist and agnostic citizens

Official language(s) and general knowledge of English: Spanish is the official language, followed by regional languages like Catalan and Basque. English is semi-widely spoken.

Main tourist areas: Barcelona, Mallorca, AndalusiaCanary IslandsValencia , Marbella


Most famous places in Spain

Alhambra

Arguably the greatest Moorish treasure, the Alhambra Palace in Granada, is a testament to how advanced a civilization the Moors were. The city of Granada is also the birthplace of flamenco, so be sure and see this unique art in its purest form. – Buy tickets here

Golden Triangle of Art

Composed of three of the world’s most famous art museums, the Prado, Reina Sofía, and Thyssen-Bornemisza are all located in the center of Madrid within walking distance of each other. While visiting the museums wander through the Retiro Gardens and grab a bite to eat. – Get Skip-the-Line tickets here

Sagrada Família

Located in the Eixample district of Barcelona, Antoni Gaudí’s unfinished cathedral is a masterpiece of Spanish Moderniste architecture. Stroll along the city’s popular Rambla and pop in the Boqueria indoor food market. – Get fast-track tickets here

The Guggenheim

Designed by world-renowned architect, Frank Gehry, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is as spectacular on the outside as the art collection within. While visiting Bilbao, be sure and sample some of the region’s famous pinchos.

The Aqueduct, Segovia

Dating back to the first century, the Roman stone aqueduct in Segovia stretches for nearly nine miles before it reaches the city. The ancient waterway is one of the best-preserved Roman ruins in Spain. – Book a day trip to Segovia

Accommodation in Spain

With Spain being such a popular tourist destination, finding a place to stay that matches your budget will not be a problem. Whether it is a hip, trendy hostel in the center of the city, or a luxurious beach resort in Marbella, when it comes to accommodation, Spain will never disappoint. 

Budget Solo Travelers

Camping in Spain is prohibited except on licensed campsites, which are mostly on the coast. Pitches during the peak summer months cost around 20€ ($23.60) and include the use of all the campsites facilities. Just about every city in Spain has a hostel where you have the option of a shared dormitory.

Stye rooms or a private room with a shared bathroom. Prices vary from city to city, but you should be able to get a bed for less than 16€ ( $19). – Check hostels here

Mid-Range 

Nearly all mid-range hotels in Spain are family-run and often located in old historic buildings. In recent years, many newly renovated boutique style hotels have opened, and while they might look appealing, the price tends to be higher than an old fashioned 3-star establishment.

In Madrid and Barcelona, you can expect to pay a premium while in other parts of Spain you can expect to pay around 35€ ($41) per night. – 

Luxury

Spain’s government-owned Parador Hotels are located in old historic buildings and castles, making them unique places to stay. Prices too are reasonable at between 100€ and 300€ ( $ 118 and $354) per night. – Check the best Paradores

Other Accommodation Options

Hotels in beach resorts are plentiful, with many now offering all-inclusive packages for families. Airbnb is also popular in Spain and is an excellent option for families or people traveling with friends.

Do I need a visa to travel to Spain?

Fast-Track: Get your Spain Visa in advance

If visiting from North America, Australia, New Zealand, or Europe, no visa is required, and you are allowed to stay in the country for up to 90 days.

From anywhere else, contact your nearest Spanish Embassy or Consulate for more information.

Best time to visit Spain

Depending on what you want to see and do, there is never really a wrong time to visit Spain, especially if it is for a city break in Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga or Seville.

In Spain, summer can be quite hot and especially so during July and August in the south of the country. Spring and early autumn are particularly lovely with November and April the worst months for rain.

Transportation in Spain

Where to buy transport tickets: Omio

Flights: Traveling in Spain is a pleasure, with the country having an extensive motorway network and a high-speed train system. – Check flights here

Train: For cities and towns not on the rail network, intercity buses are available. – Get tickets here

How to get to Spain

If you are traveling from within Europe, low-cost airlines like Ryanair serve nearly every Spanish city and resort. You can also go to Spain by train from France and Portugal or travel to Spain by ferry from the United Kingdom.

How to get around in Spain

Car Rentals: All the global car hire firms are represented at Spanish airports, along with a few local operators. – Get the best deals here

Train: As we already mentioned, Spain’s high-speed AVE trains are an excellent way to get around, and national rail operator Renfe sells a select multi-city railcard for people visiting from overseas. – Buy train tickets here

Taxi & airport transfers: Public transport in Spain is very affordable and most people’s way of getting from A to B. Taxis can be found at strategic locations and all work using a taximeter. Expect to pay more at night and on weekends and holidays. – Check transfers here

Picking up or dropping off at the airport also has an additional charge. – Book airport transfers in advance

Best Food in Spain

While the food in Spain varies slightly from region to region, generally speaking, it is always of a high standard. Spaniards love to eat with the seasons, and it is reflected in the menus at restaurants.

When you arrive in Spain, throw away your old eating habits and learn to eat like a Spaniard.

For breakfast, locals have a cup of coffee and a toasted roll topped with olive oil or butter.

For lunch which happens to be the main meal of the day don’t expect to find a restaurant open before 14:00 as that’s when the Spanish like to eat lunch. Started by Franco as a way to ensure workers got a proper meal, restaurants were all required to offer a three-course menu del dia at a price people could afford. Today you will see the menu written on blackboards with the price. Steer clear of the tourist areas and look for a place full of locals.

In the evening it’s tapas time! Spain’s tasty little morsels of food enjoyed with a beer or glass of wine.

Before heading to Spain make sure to know about the best snacks in Spain and what to eat in Spain. Enjoy!

Typical food in Spain

Paella

You could not visit Spain without having what most people consider as being the national dish. Originally made with rabbit and garrofó beans, Paella has evolved into being a seafood delicacy everyone has on holiday.

Typically away from the beaches, it is now made using chicken, Valencian round rice, and saffron. – Get paella ingredients here

Gazpacho

An Andalusian summertime favorite, Gazpacho is a cold soup made using tomatoes, peppers, garlic, and olive oil.

Jamón

 A delicacy around the world, Spain’s famous cured ham comes in two distinct varieties. The least expensive is called Jamón Serrano, while the most costly Jamón Iberico comes from black pigs fed on acorns. – Get Spanish ham here

Tortilla

The humble Spanish omelet or tortilla known in Spain is a simple dish of eggs and potatoes made with or without onions.

Croquetas

Typically found on nearly every tapas menu, croquetas are mashed potato and either cod, ham or mushrooms in a bechamel sauce covered in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. It’s one of the most popular Spanish snacks.

Best Things to do in Spain for Outdoor travelers

The Sierra Nevada

Located close to Granada, the Sierra Nevada mountains are home to the most southerly ski resort in Europe. With a season that stretches into April, this is one of the few places where you can ski in the morning and go swimming in the sea after lunch. – Get tickets here

Caminito del Rey

Aptly named “the king’s walkway” following a royal visit, the Caminito del Rey is a narrow path built on a cliff hundreds of feet above a river.

Once exclusively used by workers to get to a hydroelectric power plant, the track was closed for ten years following several deaths. Now fully restored if you have a head for heights, it’s a unique adventure.

The Caminito del Rey is located near the town of Churro in Malaga. – Get tickets here

Zarautz

Located in Spain’s Basque Country not far from San Sebastian, Zarautz is the home of Spanish surfing. While decent waves can be had year-round, the waves are particularly challenging during the winter when the large Atlantic swells roll in. 

Tenerife star gazing

Teide National Park is home to Spain’s highest mountain, Mount Teide, an active volcano at 3,718 meters (12,198 ft). It is also one of the best places to see the stars. With no ambient light for miles and clear skies, a visit here will change the way you see the world. – Get tickets here

Running of the bulls

Every year during Pamplona’s San Fermín festival, young men from around the world run with the bulls. Perhaps inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s writing about Spain, running with the bulls can be dangerous.

Camino de Santiago

Camino de Santiago or the “Way of Saint James” was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages during the later Middle Ages. Today many people still hike the trail, and you do not have to be religious to enjoy it.

Sea Kayaking

Rent a sea kayak from Burriana beach in Nerja and paddle along the cliffs to Maro. During the trip, you will discover secret coves, caves, and even cascading waterfalls where rivers empty into the Mediterranean Sea. The entire area is also a Marine Reserve where fishing is banned, making it ideal for snorkeling. Nerja is located on the Costa del Sol an hour east of Malaga. It’s the perfect place to rent an inflatable kayak!


Avoid tourist traps with the “Spain Like a Local” itinerary:

spain travel guide bannerMake the most of your time with the fully customizable Spain travel itinerary for 9,99€ only! – Get it here

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