Spain Travel Guide
Best Time to Visit Spain
Winter in the Andalucian and east coast cities is generally mild (other than in mountainous Granada) and in Barcelona and Seville you’ll find fantastic Christmas markets.
- Pack layers for shoulder season trips and loose cotton or linen for summer.
- Include one longer dress/linen trousers or longer shorts and something to cover your shoulders, if you want to enter religious buildings.
- Sun protection, sunglasses and a cap or hat are a must in summer.
- Winter visitors should bring a waterproof or showerproof jacket and a few warm layers for colder days.
Spanish City Destinations
Spain has a number of different languages. Castilian (or Spanish) is the main language, with Catalan being spoken in Catalonia, Valenciano being spoken in Valencia (both being more like the French language), Galician belonging to the northern region and Basque If you want to learn a few words, Castilian is the one to pick as it is the most widely spoken.
UTC +2 GMT
Spanish state hospitals are required to provide vital primary healthcare to any patient who is admitted to hospital with life-threatening injuries or illness, regardless of their ability to pay so you’re be looked after in the event of an accident or sudden onset of illness. However, ongoing medical costs and repatrication are not covered even if you are EU traveler with a valid EHIC card. We recommend taking out travel and medical insurance for your trip.
The currency in Spain is the Euro € and cents.
ATM’s which accept foreign cards are widely available in all cities and towns. If you decide to travel rurally, you will find ATM’s are less common.
Credit cards are widely accepted, with Visa and Mastercard being the most common.
Plugs in Italy are type C and F. The standard voltage is 230 V, and the standard frequency is 50Hz. We recommend using a universal adapter with surge protection.
Some city municipalities provide free wifi zones which you have to register to use. Most hotels now provide free wifi. All of Spain’s cities enjoy 4g coverage and most of Spain’s large cities have rolled out 5g. Rent a travel hotspot with built in SIM for your trip and stay connected wherever you travel in Spain.
Tipping is not expected in Spain, but welcomed if offered. It’s unusual to tip in informal cafes, restaurants and bars, but if you go out for a more formal dinner, then 5-10% would be the usual tip.
Spain is known for being a safe destination for travelers as long as you are mindful of the risks in big tourist destinations like Madrid where the Metro is notorious for pickpockets, and Barcelona. In an emergency, the number for police, fire and ambulance is 112. There is also a tourist helpline in Spain to assist you with non-emergency issues, the number is 902 102 112.
Intro to Spain
Spain is a country of contrasts, from the lush green landscape of the northern provinces and their wild Atlantic coast to the the desert of Almeria and the gentle coves of the Mediterranean. With a well-deserved reputation as a country larger than life, Spain’s people live it to the max. Every town and village has its own official fiesta (party), when the wine flows and the tapas is plentiful. Two of the most famous fiestas in Spain involve being chased by a bull (San Fermin), or throwing tomatoes at strangers (La Tomatina) – but this is Spain, in all it’s loud and colourful glory.
Spain’s cities are cosmopolitan and forward thinking, and full of modern and ancient treasures. The Moorish architecture of Andalucia is breathtaking and some of the best preserved in the world. The Gaudi legacy in Barcelona is fantastical and a perfect reflection of one of Europe’s most lively and vibrant cities. And in Madrid, the Prado is a stunning testimony to Spanish art and culture. Alongside these treasures, you’ll also find world class gastronomy and wine to rival France, without the snobbery or price tag!
Things to Know About Spain
Getting to Spain
Spain’s largest international airport serves Madrid and is a direct destination from most of the world. Although Madrid is central (in fact, it’s exactly in the middle of the country), most of Spain’s large mainland cities are on the coasts and are served by their own international airports such as Barcelona, Alicante and Malaga. These cities make perfect stopping off places for a day as you head to your holiday destination or start a Spanish road trip
If you’re visiting from Europe, Spain is very accessible by car – you might even squeeze in a detour over some of the Pyrenees more interesting routes on the way! If you’re in a hurry, the well maintained French or Portuguese motorway networks will deliver you into the country quickly and safely, whatever your route.
Recommended Trip Resources
Alicante on the eastern Costa Blanca is one of Spain’s most well known tourist destinations. Many visitors pass through on their way elsewhere, to a villa or package holiday hotel somewhere. But don’t overlook this charming city, which has a colourful and lively old town complete with castle, some stunning beaches and a very modern marina.
Barcelona, the cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, is known for its architecture and art. Home to many works by the fantastical architect Gaudi, including the Sagrada Familia, as well as other modernist landmarks, Barcelona is a city with a lot to offer. The Barrio Gotico is packed with atmosphere, and trendy bars and restaurants deep in the medieval alleys. The beaches speak to sun seekers, and the nightlife is legendary.
An industrial port city in northern Spain, Bilbao is surrounded by the green mountains of the Picos de Europa. The capital of Basque Country, Bilbao has a surprisingly skyscraper-filled centre and is most visited for the Guggenheim Museum, which sparked rejuvenation when it opened in 1997. The museum houses prominent modern and contemporary works, but it’s the curvaceous metal-clad building that wows.
High in the spectacular Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada is all about the Alhambra Palace. This spectacular Moorish palace sits high on a hill overlooking the city and is the jewel in Andalucia’s crown, as well as being one of the most famous landmarks in Spain.
Leon, a city on the Bernesga River in northwest Spain, is the capital of the province of the same name. It’s home to many churches and cathedrals noted for their architecture and art, and one of the best tapas quarters in Spain, where it’s still customary to be served a complimentary plate with your drink.
Right next door
Valencia is vibrant university city, with a reputation for night life. Add a contemporary science museum and dry river bed which has been repurposed as lush green space which runs right around the city, and Valencia feels fresh and modern. If you’re feeling brave, go during Las Fallas, the fire festival, one of the most famous fiestas in Spain.