SPAIN TRAVEL GUIDE CONTENTS

At a Glance | Trip Planning | Things to Do | What to Eat | Places to Stay | Latest

At a Glance

Known as the land of siestas, fiestas, and flamenco, there’s no wonder why Spain is one of the top most visited countries in the world. Full of diverse landscapes, incredible cuisine and a unique appreciation for the slow pace of life, this is one country that charms every kind of traveler and keeps them coming back for more year after year. Whether you’re visiting the luscious north, the vibrant cities or the south coast, you can be sure that you’ll come across plenty of social Spaniards, great music, and incredible food!

Spain Quick Information

Currency: Euro

Electricity Socket: 230V AC electricity. Power outlets are usually two-prong round sockets. Be sure to pack a universal travel adaptor so you can still use all your electronic gadgets.

Visa: Visas are not required for stays up to 90 days for both EU and non-EU citizens. However, citizens from EU countries that are not part of the Schengen agreement and non-EU citizens need to carry a valid Schengen visa to be able to enter Spain.

If you want to stay longer in Spain or work there, you will need to apply for a student or work and residency visa which can be more difficult. Make sure to look into this properly and in advance before your travels if you know you will be staying longer as the laws are constantly changing.

Safety: Spain is one of the safest places to visit in Europe with very little serious crime, so the majority of travelers shouldn’t come across any major issues. With that being said, however, as Spain is a very tourist heavy country, the main cities like Madrid and Barcelona are a target for pickpockets and scammers so it is always important to make sure you have travel insurance. Our travel insurance recommendation is through World Nomads so check them out!

With petty theft being such a serious problem in touristic places, always remember to be vigilant, keep your belongings safe and don’t ever do something that someone asks if it doesn’t sound or feel right.

Language: English is very prevalent in Spain with many people speaking good English in the major tourist cities (Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga, and Seville) and it is especially widely spoken in the South and at major coastal resorts. In less touristic places, and particularly inland towns or villages, you will find fewer people who speak English and more local dialects such as Catalan or Andaluz.

Although you may not find English everywhere, the Spanish people are known for their enthusiasm for their language. If you are armed with a few useful phrases and you try to communicate with them as much as you can, they will really appreciate it and be more than happy to help you with any problems you may have.

spain granada

Spain Trip Planning

Best Time to Go

While you can visit Spain all year round, most travelers tend to visit in the Summer months to soak up that amazing Mediterranean sun! The only problem with this, however, is that it leads to crowded areas, especially along the coast. The best time to go is from April to October.
Spain’s weather can be split into three parts:

  • Cold/Rainy (Nov-Feb)
  • Cool/Clear (Mar-May, Sep & Oct)
  • Hot/Dry (Jun-Aug)

Rough Budget

With so many different types of travel, it is difficult to suggest a daily budget. However, from our experience, we know that it is possible to travel around Spain for as little as $60-80 a day depending on what accommodation you prefer as that will take up the bulk of your budget. Food is relatively inexpensive, especially when you eat at local restaurants, and the transport in Spain is very cheap and very efficient. Here is a rough cost of basic commodities:

thailand accommodation budget

Accommodation

Budget: Dorm €20-30 ($25-35) / Private €55-65 ($65-75)
Mid-Range: €65 – 140 ($75-165)
Splurge: €150+ ($180+)

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Food (Typical Meal For One)

Self-catering / lunch menú del día: €10-15 ($12-18)
Local Restaurant: €20-40 ($25-50)
Fine dining: €150+ ($175+)

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Transport

City Metro / Bus: €1-3 ($1-4)
Overnight Bus: ~€18 (~$22)
Regional Trains: €15-45 ($18-55)
High-speed Trains: €50-140 ($60-165)
Taxis: €10+ ($12+)

What to Pack for Traveling Spain

For Spain, you can get away with just packing Summer clothes during the Summertime, however, it is worth packing other items that you can use to layer if it does get cold and if you are doing activities that will take you up into the mountains.

Every time I travel around Europe, I make sure I pack with me a travel scarf, a light cardigan, as well as a collapsible water bottle. You can drink the tap water in most places so make sure you pack a container with you.

One thing that a lot of people forget is a high-quality day bag! When walking around cities, a light backpack or satchel style body bag is best.

In other seasons, you will need a variety of clothes to suit all weather conditions. For a complete guide on what to pack for Europe, check out our full article.

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Best Things to Do in Spain

Be Enchanted by Beautiful Barcelona

There are many reasons that travelers flock to the enchanting city of Barcelona, and one of them has to do with the fascinating blend of ancient architectural treasures alongside contemporary masterpieces. As well as truly iconic sights such as Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, Barcelona also captures our hearts through its culture.

Boasting a world-class drinking and dining scene, spend a few days here and you’ll soon be eating at midnight and partying into the early hours of the morning with the locals! Visiting Barcelona and indulging in its awesome culture is definitely one of our top bucket list items in Spain.

After spending a month living in Barcelona, we’ve absolutely fallen in love with the city. Apart from the incredible food, it’s close proximity to the beach and nature also gives it plus points!

Insider Tip: Barcelona gets BUSY so it’s best to plan ahead. Tickets to places like the Sagrada Familia need to be bought in advance so keep this in mind. Listed below are some of our top recommendations.

Recommended Barcelona Tours

Sagrada Familia Small Group Tour– Fast track the line and get a private small group tour of Antonio Gaudi’s best creation. While we usually tend to explore places on our own, to understand the amount of work that has gone into building this church, we highly recommend getting a guided tour. If you don’t want to get a guide, you can also just book tickets ahead of time.

Casa Mila Skip the Line + Audio Guide– Casa Mila along with Park Guell are must visits in Barcelona. Skip the long line by booking tickets in advance.

Costa Brava Snorkeling and Kayaking-If you want to spend some time in the outdoors, a trip to Costa Brava is a must! Enjoy the day swimming and kayaking in the beautiful clear waters with this 8-hour day trip.

Barcelona Bike Tour- Discover the highlights of the city with this guided city bike tour. It’s a great way to see the place and squeeze in some exercise!

barcelona-beach

Discover Ancient Granada

If you want to explore an ancient Moorish city, Granada is the place to go! Step into history and wander the breathtaking streets of Alhambra, Granada’s old palace, and learn about the incredible past that this one destination has witnessed. Boy, if these walls could talk! Visiting Granada is definitely one of the best things to do in Andalusia.

Get Lost in Vibrant Madrid

Although Barcelona is a big tourist city to hit when in Spain, the capital is just as beguiling. Full of energy that oozes down every street, Madrid is one city that is alive and vibrant 24/7 – especially when it comes to midnight! Famous for its museums, amazing cuisine, and non-stop nightlife, Madrid is one city that you will find yourself being swept along soaking up the culture at every turn.

For a full guide to making the most of the city, see our full city break guide featuring where to stay, what to eat, and more.

View Our Madrid City Break Guide

Insider Tip: Similar to Barcelona, being that Madrid is a popular city, it’s best that you book a few things in advance. Here are our top recommendations on tours and things to do.

Skip the Line Prado Museum– Deemed as one of Madrid’s top attractions, don’t spend your day queueing up. Instead, buy tickets ahead.

Flamenco Show– No trip to Madrid would be complete without drinking sangria while watching a Flamenco show which is why we highly recommend this tour.

Toledo and Segovia Day Tour– If there are two-day tours that I suggest you go on, it is to these two places. My trip there was nothing short of spectacular.

madrid city aerial shot

Challenge Yourself with El Camino de Santiago

Stretching for 800 km from the French border to Santiago de Compostela in North-Western Spain, El Camino de Santiago (The Way of Saint James) is a challenge that many travelers take on while visiting Spain.

This popular pilgrimage takes a month to complete, a lot of determination and dedication, and is supposed to be one of the most inspiring and enlightening experiences that you can ever have. Walking this popular route definitely makes it on our top adventure holidays in Spain list. If hiking isn’t your thing, check out our guide to the best rock climbing in Spain.

You can opt to do this activity independently or with a group. If you choose to do the later, we recommend G Adventures.

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walking down santiago de compostella

Get Adventurous in Spain

While most people associate Spain with cities and culture, for those that want some adventure, Spain has so many incredible activities available. Listed below are just a few of our recommended experiences for those that want some thrill and adventure.

Highest Bungy Jump in Spain– If you’re near Barcelona, you can try out the highest bungy jump in the country for an experience of a lifetime.

Scenic Helicopter Ride– Want a different way of going around a city? This super affordable helicopter tour around Barcelona offers incredible views of the city.

Tandem Skydiving in Madrid– If you’re looking for a thrill of a lifetime, check out the tandem skydive in Madrid. We’ve gone skydiving over three times now and love the entire experience.

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Enjoy the Festivals and Celebrations

We love coming across local festivals when we travel and sometimes even travel specifically to a place when we know an epic event is going on. In Spain, they have great celebrations such as the Running of the Bulls (held in July in Pamplona) and La Tomatina (held on the last Wednesday in August in Buñol). Even if you don’t want to actively run away from the bulls (as that is quite dangerous) or throw tomatoes at thousands of other people, you can still go to the events to enjoy some great food and drink and an even better atmosphere!

la-tomatina festival

Attend a Cooking Class

When we were in Barcelona, one of the best things we did was attend a Paella class! It was honestly one of our favorite experiences, mainly due to the hosts- the guys from The Paella Club. Over an afternoon, we learned how to make paella with free-flowing cava and wine to keep us fuelled through the night! It was an awesome experience that I highly recommend.

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Lounge on Some of the Best Beaches

With such amazing weather, of course, beaches are going to be top of the list of things to do while in Spain! The only question is where? The Costa Del Sol comes to mind when searching for that ideal laid-back sloth-life in the sun. Plus it has some of the best seafood and great nightlife! You can also opt to visit the coastal town of Nerja to combine some hiking, sightseeing, and culture.

In the Southern part of Spain, you could even venture to the Canary Islands to relax or to take up some pretty epic island adventure sports. For a mix of city and beach life, a visit to Valencia should be on your list.

How about up north? If you’re visiting in the summer, put San Sebastian on your itinerary.

If you want to try out your luck in surfing, check out our article on the best surf spots in Spain or if you walk something calmer, read best paddle boarding in Europe.

Tours Around Spain

If you prefer traveling with a group tour, we highly recommend G Adventures. They are a super reputable company and have been running tours all over the world. We particularly love this National Geographic Tour of Northern Spain taking you through the best highlights. The reason why we love G Adventures is because they have loads of different tours that cater to different age groups. They have classic tours, tours for 18-30 year olds, and even tours that take you to different countries around the region, allowing you to explore a little bit of everything.

If traveling by yourself isn’t your jam, check out the variety of tours that G Adventures has and the details and dates of each trip. We suggest using the filters in the sidebar to help you find a tour that fits your travel dates and travel style.

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What to Eat in Spain

Spain is home to the amazing Mediterranean cuisine so you can get your fill of the freshest seafood, zingy sangria, and tapas packed with flavor anywhere! If you’re only passing through Spain on your travels, these are the dishes you simply can’t leave without trying:

Paella

You can’t go to Spain without having a mouthwatering plate of paella. Whether you have Paella Valenciana (rice with vegetables, chicken, duck, and rabbit), Seafood Paella or Paella Mixta (free-style mixture with rice), trust us when we say that you won’t be disappointed, especially if you have a jug of sangria or two as well!

Tortilla Español

This simple omelet is a very traditional Spanish dish always consisting of potatoes, eggs, onion, salt and pepper, and it is incredible! We don’t know what they do to it, but the fact that it is the most common dish in the country goes to show just how delicious it is.

Tapas

Okay, tapas may not be A dish, but it is a bunch of little dishes which are all just as amazing as the next! The most popular plates (and ones you have to try) are Gambas Ajillo (garlic prawns), Patatas Bravas (spicy potatoes), Calamari a la Plancha (grilled calamari) and Morcilla (blood sausage).

Jamon Iberico

You haven’t tasted ham before until you’ve had some of the best Jamón in Spain. Jamón ibérico, in particular, is a delicious cured ham that comes from acorn-fed pigs to give it a rich and delicious flavor. You’ll find some of the best in Madrid!

Crema Catalana

If you have a sweet tooth, this creamy dessert will hit all the right spots! A custard dessert infused with lemon rind and cinnamon and served cold, this popular after dinner treat is a must-try, especially while in Barcelona.

spain tapas

Places to Stay in Spain

The options for accommodation in Spain are endless and are relatively cheap compared to other Western European countries, with dorms and camping being your cheapest option. Hostels, budget hotels, and luxury villas are common all around Spain with Airbnb and shared accommodation also being a very popular option.

Airbnb Travel Tip: If you prefer to stay in apartments or villas, we recommend Airbnb. Check out our full article on how to get $45 coupon code for your booking or simply click here to get our coupon code to apply on your next booking.

If you’re traveling during peak season or holidays, it is best to book your accommodations in advance. We recommend checking sites like Booking.com, Agoda, or Hostel World. To help you out in figuring out the best places to stay in Spain, here are our personal suggestions on where to stay.

Books to Read when Traveling Spain

If you’re looking for some fun reads for your trip to Spain, here are some of my favorite books.

Rick Steves Spain Guide– When it comes to Europe, Rick Steves always has great recommendations and insider tips which is why we love his guides.

Grape, Olive, Pig– If you want an insight into Spanish culture and cuisine, check out this beautiful book whose photos alone makes you want to book a ticket to Spain asap!

The Pilgrimage This popular read by Paolo Coehlo talks all about his journey as he walks the infamous Santiago de Compostela road.

Want More Travel Inspiration? Take a Look at this Video of Spain

If you want a birds-eye view of Spain and the top experiences in the country, check out this video by Lonely Planet.

BOOKING RESOURCES

Airbnb Discount Code Booking.com
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