Spain is one of the most diverse countries you will come across in the world. The country’s landscape is unique with an array of attractions that reflect the culture, heritage, and history. Spain manages to blend its tumultuous past with its glorious present effortlessly. The ancient monuments, pristine beaches, medieval castles, charming villages, and delicious cuisine are just the tip of the iceberg. If you are traveling to this gorgeous country for the first time, then here is a detailed Spain Travel Guide for planning your vacay perfectly.
Best places to visit
Spain is gifted with abundant natural beauty and each city is more scenic than the other. Some of the best places in Spain that you can consider during your first visit are:
Madrid: The capital city of Spain is one of the best places to get the feel of the country. The city boasts of mouthwatering food, as it is home to many restaurants, rooftop bars, and nightclubs. It also has beautiful parks and museums that are worth a visit. The Prado and Paseo del Artes museum is very famous and should not be missed. The Plaza Mayor is another important highlight and a place popular for ceremonial events, public entertainment, and the ideal meeting place here.
Barcelona: Hands down one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Barcelona is known for its jaw-dropping architecture and art. The city has a global cosmopolitan vibe and is one of the most vibrant places in the world. The prominent Sagrada Familia Church and Gaudi Sites are the most iconic landmarks in the city.
Seville: One of the most well-known cities in Spain, Seville is a former Jewish quarter and one of the most scenic places here. You can wander around and admire the historic sites, palaces, and churches. It is best known for its bars, and the famous Flamenco shows. It is also a good place for shopping. Be sure to check out the La Giralda Tower, Seville Cathedral, and the Alcazar which together is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Basque Country: An autonomous region in Spain, Basque Country is well-known for its unique heritage and culture. Situated in the northeast nook of Spain, you will notice a lot of cultural differences here from Spain despite being part of the country. Some of the most famous attractions here are Guggenheim Museum, La Bretxa, Saint Mary’s Cathedral and Cloister Bayonne, and the La Concha beach.
Granada: The Alhambra fortress and Generalife Gardens in Granada is a very popular attraction and thronged by thousands of visitors every year. The old center here also houses incredible monuments of the Moorish civilization.
Pamplona: This city is most famous for the San Fermin Festival that takes place in Spain every year. Also known as the Running of the Bulls, it is one of the highly popular adventures that is enjoyed by the locals as well as tourists.
Valencia: It is a charming little town that works as an ideal base to visit the neighboring town of Bunol. Many people flock to Bunol for the well-known Tomatina Festival which is a playful fight with tomatoes. However, Valencia is also great to enjoy some delicious Spanish delicacy paella, an interesting history, and a wonderful soccer team.
About Spain Visa
Spain is a part of the European Union (EU) and falls under the Schengen Zone. You need to apply for a Schengen visa to visit Spain or any other countries that fall under the Schengen Zone. Check the visa rules for your passport with the embassy of your country and apply for it in advance.
Spain has several airports and a few of the major ones on the mainland are Barcelona, Sevilla, Madrid, Málaga, and Bilbao. Other airports on the island are Mallorca, Tenerife, and Ibiza. Even domestic air services within Spain are well-connected.
Spain has one of the best networks of buses and trains in Europe and it is possible to travel almost throughout the country using them. The national train system in Spain is called Renfe and they operate the majority of the train services in the country efficiently.
You can also rent a car in Spain if you are over 21 years old. In fact, this is one of the best ways to travel within the country. You need to have your driver’s license and also an international driving permit. It is advisable to research car rentals thoroughly for the best rates. Also make sure that you are aware of the drop-off charges, insurance policies, and surcharges before you rent a car.
Accommodation in Spain is quite reasonable in comparison to other countries in Western Europe. AirBnBs are a great option that is available in most places and at a very economical price starting at 80 EUR for a private place. You can opt for a separate apartment or private home or take a shared accommodation. Shared accommodation starts at around 25 EUR.
Hostels and dormitories are also very popular and are available at cheap prices starting at around 15 EUR. They are perfect for solo travelers or backpackers. Budget hotels start at approximately 45 EUR. The prices mentioned are per night.
Spain has a plethora of boutique and five-star hotels and if budget is not an issue, you can surely book one of them. However, they can be expensive and can start from 150 EUR.
- Spain has excellent weather all year round. But the best time to visit the country is during the spring and autumn season in the months of April-May and September-October
- The national currency of Spain is the Euro. International debit and credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard are accepted everywhere.
- The official language of Spain is Spanish. Though English is spoken widely, it will help to know a few basic words and phrases in Spanish.
- Tipping is not compulsory in Spain but it quite common in restaurants, hotels, bars, and taxis. The usual tip is approximately 5-10% of the total bill.
- Spain is generally a safe country, but you can expect petty crimes such as pickpocketing in bigger cities such as Barcelona and Madrid.
- Siesta culture is big in Spain. So, shops, restaurants, offices, etc. might be closed around 1-4 pm. It is best to plan your outings accordingly.
- Spain is a foodie’s paradise and some of the local dishes that you must surely try on your visit are tortilla, paella, gazpacho, patatas bravas, jamon, croquettes, and churros.
Spain is a large country, and it is practically impossible to see it completely in one trip. Based on your interests, you can plan to visit a few cities during your holiday and make the most of it. It is a land of festivals, fun, entertainment, and unique experiences. If you are craving some sun, sand, surf, and great food, you know where to head on your next vacay. Hope this Spain travel guide will help you.
This article has been written by Neha Singh who is a professional travel blogger.