Spain is known for its friendly inhabitants, relaxed lifestyle, delicious cuisine, crazy all-night parties, and rich history.
But did you know that it also has the second-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites after Italy?
We have been visiting Spain almost yearly for the last 5 years and have fallen in love with its unforgettable beaches, cultural regions, historic cities, and wild nightlife.
From the world-class food culture of San Sebastian and Basque country to the stunning beaches of the Costa Del Sol, each region of Spain offers something different.
Spain is also one of the cheaper European countries so you know your dollar or Euro will stretch a little further.
This Spain travel guide will help you decide where to stay, find the best things to as well as offer budgeting tips an packing tips to make your next trip to Spain easier and more fun.
Table of contents
Table of Contents
Fast Facts about Spain
- Spanish Power: Voltage is 230 V 50Hz; Plug C & F.
- Spanish currency: The EURO and is around 1 Euro to 1.35 USD
- Most Spanish banks close in the afternoon, all day Saturday during summer, and all day Sunday year-round.
- Value-added tax (VAT) is charged on purchases, such as meals at restaurants, shopping expenses, and hotel accommodations. If you are a resident of a non-European Union country, you can get a refund of this tax in certain participating shops. For more info on VAT refunds, click here.
Things to See and Do in Spain
- Hike the Camino de Santiago: One of the most popular hikes in the world that goes through Spain.
- Visit Gaudi in Barcelona – you cannot visit Barcelona without checking out some of its most interesting architecture designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudi.
- Take a tour through the Santa Maria de Ripoll Monastery – dating back to 888, this monastery is known as the birthplace of Catalunya (also known as Catalonia).
- Enjoy Calcots and Build a Castell in Catalonia – spend an afternoon eating the most delectable foods of calcots before building a castell or a human pyramid
- Explore the Universe In Catalonia – visit the Astronomy Park Montsec to gaze inquisitively into the unknown.
- Admire the Hanging Buildings in Cuenca – Built on the side of a cliff these Casa Colgadas are just one reason why you should visit the beautiful town of Cuenca.
Budget – You can stay in hostels and other budget hotels for around $30 US a night in Spain.
These often include a continental breakfast, private rooms, and a TV.
Mid Range – Mid-range hotels will cost you around $50 a night in Spain and may include a restaurant, airport transfers, and a private safe.
High End – High-end hotels start at around $150 per night and may include a private balcony, pool, and lounge.
- Croquettes – This is a typical dish found in many restaurants in Spain which often have cod or jam in them with béchamel sauce and covered with bread and fried. You can get them with cheese as well.
- Cured meats – You can see cured meats like jamon (ham) or chorizo in most restaurants and bars.
- Gazpacho – This soup is made with plenty of vegetables, including full-flavored tomatoes, and served chilled as an appetizer.
The Best Ways to Get Around Spain
Getting to Spain:
Flights: There are many direct flights available from North America and other parts of Europe to Spain.
Barcelona International Airport and Madrid Barajas Airport are some of the popular airports you may fly into.
You can check for the best flights to Spain on Skyscanner.
Buses: Busses are found all over Spain and you can get a bus ticket in major cities like Madrid starting at 3 €.
High Speed Trains: If you want to cover a good distance in a short time the RENFE (the national rail line in Spain), has both high-speed trains and regular trains.
Depending on your budget and how much time you have it can be an economical way to get around.
Taxis/Uber: Taxis are found throughout Spain and start at 3.50 € for a base price.
Car Rental: You can rent a car for as low as 10 € per day for a compact car.
You can also compare prices here.
When to go To Spain
The best time to visit Spain tends to be from September to November and March to May.
This is when you’ll find cheaper flights and hotels but still get great weather for going to the beach.
Where to Stay in Spain
- Hotel SB Diagonal Zero Hotel – This Barcelona hotel offers family rooms, suites that have jacuzzis, and a pool with a view. It’s also located near a large shopping center and the coast.
- Artiem Madrid – This Madrid hotel offers free Wi-Fi, soundproof rooms, and dry cleaning. There’s also a breakfast buffet and secured parking.
- El Rey Moro Hotel Boutique – This Seville hotel is nearby to many tourist attractions and has a rooftop terrace that includes a hot tub. The hotel also has room service and living areas in the suites.
What to Pack for Spain
Packing for Spain can be tricky depending on what parts of Spain that you will be visiting and the time of year.
The climate of Spain varies across the country from a subtropical climate in southern Spain (The Canary Islands) to an alpine climate found in the Pyrenees mountains.
Nonetheless, whatever you don’t have, you can always buy upon arrival!
- Camping gear – if you plan on camping in Spain, then make sure to bring chairs, a table, an adapter, and earplugs.
- Personal safety products – Certain areas in popular Spanish cities are known for their crafty pickpockets; one of those infamous spots is Las Ramblas in Barcelona.
- Before leaving for your trip, make sure to pack some personal safety products, like money belts and locks, so that you can keep your valuables safe on your trip
- Layers – When traveling to different climates we highly recommend that you bring layers. Layering is the key to effortlessly transitioning from cold to hot climates or vice versa.
- See our Packing for Europe – Tips That Will Make Your Travel Life Easier
Spain Travel Guide: Best Booking Resources
Whenever we travel to we make sure to start with these companies. We have tried a lot of different ones over the years and all of these have consistently proven to be the best when it comes to offering great prices.
We have used every one of these personally and continue to do so.
- Booking.com: This is our go site to when comparing prices for accommodation. It usually has the cheapest prices, especially in Europe and we love their interface. Not to mention you get free cancellation and you are guaranteed the best price.
- Trip Advisor: What we like about Trip Advisor is that we can look at all the reviews and then book our accommodation. TripAdvisor is where we go when we want to compare prices with multiple accommodation providers.
- VRBO: is the main search engine we use when we are looking for a home or apartment rental. It can sometimes be cheaper than hotels and it is the best way to stay in areas that offer a more local feel.
- Hostelworld: With one of the largest databases of hostels in the world, Hostelworld is the go-to site when you are looking for budget accommodation.
- Skyscanner: This is the first place we check for flights. It consistently comes back with the cheapest and best options. It allows us to compare a lot of airlines to get the best price.
- Rome 2 Rio: If you want to see how to get somewhere by plane, train, bus, ferry or car Rome2Rio lays it all out for you as well as related costs.I love how they show it all to you on a Google Map and it works offline.
- Get Your Guide: For all your day trip and city guide needs, we use Get Your Guide. It has the world’s largest collection of things to do with more than 30,000 activities in 7500 destinations.
- World Nomads Insurance: When traveling to Italy you should always have travel insurance. We have found the best bang for your buck is by far World Nomads.