Spain Travel Tips

I don’t think I need to give any incentives for most people who want to visit Spain. In India, it was popularised by a very famous Bollywood movie, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. A road trip movie following three best friends on a bachelor trip set in the stunning locales of Spain. And it had everything from skydiving to the Flamenco dances. There is no denying the fact that Spain is gorgeous. Gorgeous beaches, party islands, a unique historical charm to it with lots of adventurous activities, Spain has it all and it is not hard to see why most people love Spain. Most people assume that I don’t like Madrid because I was robbed in Madrid. However, Madrid is a city I slowly warmed to while I am in love with the islands of Spain. I have not seen many parts of Spain but I hope to go there again one day to see the parts I missed last time around. With this post, I provide some Spain travel tips to make planning your trip to Spain a bit easier.

Spain Travel Guide Contents

Latest Posts | Quick Tips | Where to Go | When To Go | How to Go | Driving Tips | Public Transportation | Where to Stay | What to eat | What to shop | Things to Do

Spain Travel Tips

  • Visa required for Indians: Spain is part of the Schengen zone. The only difference is that in India, Spain visa is handled by BLS and not by VFS like other Schengen countries.
  • Languages spoken here: Spanish is the only official language of Spain. But in addition to Spanish, Catalan, Galician and Basque are spoken by a good percentage of the population. In the cities, it is easier to find people who speak English. Hola, Gracias, Buenos Dias, Como Estas are Hello, Thank you, Good morning, How are you in Spanish.
  • Capital: Madrid
  • Currency: Euro
  • Location: The Iberian Peninsula in Europe. Neighbours are Portugal, France and Andorra. It also consists of two archipelagos of the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands off the African Atlantic coast. Spain is also the only European country to share a border with an African country, Morocco.
  • Electrical Travel Adapter specifications: 230 volts and 50 Hz. They use C and F plug types in Spain.
  • IDP required for Indians? IDP is preferred if you are driving in Spain
  • SIM Cards: Most cards you buy in other countries in the Schengen zone will work without additional data or roaming charges. Orange TuMundo is recommended in Spain.
  • WIFI connectivity: The cities are well-equipped with Wifi and you can find free Wifi in many areas in major cities like Barcelona and Madrid.
  • Safety in Spain: Spain is notorious for petty theft and it is highly recommended that you guard your possessions at all times, especially in touristic spots. My wallet was flicked near Plaza Mayor in Madrid and I had to duck into one of the shops in La Ramblas (one of the most crowded spots in Barcelona) because I had a gut feeling that someone was following me.

Where to go in Spain

Some of the suggested places to go in Spain are:

Islands of Spain itinerary

Spain is full of gorgeous islands and it is difficult to choose only one island.

Canary Islands

The Canary Islands is an archipelago off the coast of Morocco and have the historical significance of being the bridge between America, Africa and Europe. So which of the Canary islands would you love to visit? There are 7 major Canary islands. The popular ones are Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gorema and Fuerteventura.

Balearic Islands

On the other hand, there are the Balearic islands. I loved my time in Mallorca and if you are looking to spend a relaxing vacation, then one of the laid-back beaches in Mallorca is your place to be. Ibiza is the most popular of the lot and is famous for its nightlife and thriving party scene. Menorca and Formentera are also known for their beautiful Mediterranean beaches.

North Spain itinerary

  • Barcelona: If you love art and Gaudi, then Barcelona is the place to be. Barcelona is also famous for its beaches and nightlife. A day trip to Montserrat from Barcelona is also quite popular.
  • La Rioja: The La Rioja region in northern Spain is quite famous for wine lovers.
  • Galicia: The Camino De Santiago has always been a fascination for me and I know many travel blogger friends who have taken this pilgrimage by walking for so many days across different terrains. The city of Santiago De Compostela in Galicia in North Western Spain is where the shrine of St James is and the pilgrimage ends at this shrine.
  • Bilbao: From here, let us head to the industrial port city in northern Spain known mostly for its museums, predominantly the Modern Art Museum, Guggenheim Museum.
  • San Sebastian: Head to the resort town of San Sebastian to have some relaxing time at some picturesque beaches and world famous restaurants in the Basque county.
  • Pamplona: The running of the bulls happens here but I have no plans to attend this tradition since it is quite brutal to both humans and the animals.
  • Girona and Costa Brava: Costa Brava is known as the wild rugged coast of Spain and is known for some spectacular beaches in Europe. Did you know that the scuba diving part of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara was shot here? When you are in Girona or Barcelona, why don’t you take a day trip to the neighbouring country of Andorra?

South Spain itinerary

  • Madrid. I did absolutely nothing in Madrid and I still loved the city. It is one of those charming cities that has the ability to charm you if you allow it to. But more than everything else, I fell in love with the people of Madrid. When you are in Madrid, don’t forget to do a day trip to Segovia and Toledo.
  • Seville: I had to cancel my plans of visiting Seville since I was waiting for my cards in Madrid and this is one place I would love to go back to. I would love to see the Flamenco dancing and the Alcazar palace. A road trip to Andalucia is definitely on the charts for the next time I visit Spain.
  • Cordoba: When you are in Seville, don’t forget to do a day trip to another jewel in the Andalusian region, Cordoba. Since this was a major Islamic centre in the Middle Ages, I would love to visit the famous mosque and other architectural gems here.
  • Ronda: Ronda has made it to many of the top ‘beautiful cities to see before you die’ lists. It is a mountainous city and sits on top of a deep gorge and this lends to the beauty of this place.
  • Marbella: From here, I would love to head to go visit some Mediterranean beaches in the Costa Del Sol region. Marbella is the perfect town to get some beach time and go scuba diving in Spain.
  • Malaga: Malaga is another perfect port city on the Costa Del Sol and is ideal for some more beach time.
  • Granada: To see the great medieval architecture like the Alhambra and other Moorish attractions, I would love to take a detour to Granada.
  • Almeria: Looking for more Medieval architecture from the Moorish times? Then don’t forget to head out to Almeria in Andalusia.
  • Alicante: Alicante is another port city that you can visit if you are looking for more time in the Mediterranean beaches.
  • Valencia: Valencia can be your last stop when planning a road trip around southern Spain. I haven’t been but many people have fallen in love with the city for its old city charms with a modern touch.
Recommended Read – Best Europe Day Trips

When to go to Spain

The beaches in Spain are accessible for the most part of the year and since Spain is in the Mediterranean, you will find a decent climate even during the winter months. I would generally avoid the touristic cities of Barcelona and Madrid during summer months and would avoid going here between June to August. Most of the festivals happen in July and August like the Tomatino festival. I respect that it is part of the culture of Spain but I am not too keen on wasting food items.

How to get to Spain

By Air: You can fly to the major cities like Barcelona and Madrid from many cities in India. In addition, many of the islands of Spain also have an airport like the Palma De Mallorca Airport, Granaria airport, Ibiza airport etc and you can fly in from other cities in Europe to these airports.

By Rail: Spain has an extensive rail system and the railways in Spain is operated by the National Spain Railway system called Renfe. The AVE trains are the high-speed trains that connect you to major cities in Spain as well as to neighbouring European countries.

By Road: Flixbus regularly operates to major cities in Spain from other cities in Europe.

Driving in Spain

Many people find driving in Spain a bit difficult since the drivers in Spain are a bit rash. You drive on the right side of the road in Spain. Gas costs approximately 4.5 USD per Gallon and most rental companies have a policy of returning a full fuel tank. Like most countries in Europe, you have to fill the Gas yourself and then pay at the counter. There are some weird driving laws in Spain and don’t forget to check them out before driving in Spain.

Recommended Read – Planning a trip to Europe

Public Transportation in Spain

All the major cities in Spain have an extensive public transportation system. Madrid has an extensive metro system and Barcelona has a good metro system. Buses run in all major cities of Spain during regular hours but please keep an eye out for timings during the less crowded hours. You can buy your bus tickets while you are boarding the bus or you can book them online either through the Alsa or Movelia websites. If you are using the Metro, then tickets need to be bought at the stations or in newspaper kiosks. It sometimes work out cheaper if you buy a 10 ticket pass which can be used in both buses and Metros in the major cities.

 Where to stay in Spain

Find some recommendations on where to stay in Spain.

PlaceLuxuryMid-RangeBudget
MadridGran Hotel Ingles
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Petit Palace Opera
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The Hat
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BarcelonaAlmanac Barcelona
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Hotel Granvia
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Generator Hostel, Barcelona
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MallorcaBoutique Hotel Calatrava
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Hotel Miramar
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Apartamentos Ferrer Tamarindos
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IbizaCa Na Xica - Hotel & Spa
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Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza
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Hostal Yebisah
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TenerifeRoyal Hideaway Corales Suites
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Hotel Jardin Tropical
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Hotel Alhambra
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SevilleHotel Mercer Sevilla
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Hotel Bécquer
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Apartamentos Vinuesa15
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What to eat in Spain

Spain is definitely vegetarian-friendly and you can find lots of vegetarian food in Spain. My favourite food to have in Spain was the Spanish Tortilla which is basically a Spanish Omelette stuffed with potatoes. But be careful since they do add ham to some versions of the dish. In addition, you can find so many different types of vegetarian tapas (small bites) and I used to love eating tapas at the Mercado San Miguel market in Madrid. In addition, Gazpacho or the cold tomato soup can also be found in many parts in Spain. Fried eggplant is also something you need to try when you are in Spain. Another popular vegetarian dish is the Garbanzos or chickpeas served with Spinach. You can also find many varieties of Vegetarian Paella in various parts of Spain. If you love desserts like me, then don’t forget to have the Flan, Churros, Spanish cheesecakes, Tarta De Santiago and the Crema Catalana when you are in Spain 

What to shop in Spain?

As usual, I didn’t buy many things from Spain. I did buy a football jersey for my nephew and a small Flamengo figurine for my mom. If you are looking to shop in Spain, then these are some of the popular items to buy in Spain:

  • Abanico or a Spanish Fan
  • Saffron
  • Wine
  • Flamenco attire
  • Paella pans
  • Olive Oil
  • Espadrilles

Things to Do in Spain

There are numerous things to do in Spain. But some of the recommended things to do in Spain below:

  • Visit Barcelona to see the many masterpieces of Gaudi including the Sagrada Familia. Also, don’t forget to visit Park Guell in Barcelona.
  • Go for a Tapas inspired foodwalk in Barcelona or Madrid
  • Watch a Flamenco show in Seville.
  • Visit the many Game of Throne filming locations in Spain.
  • Visit the fortress at Alhambra.
  • Wondering where the cover photo was taken? This is the Temple of Debod in Madrid and is an Egyptian temple that was dismantled from Egypt and assembled in Spain. Go here to catch a gorgeous sunset with stunning views.
  • Go visit the Alcazar of Seville to few some fine examples of Mudejar architecture.
  • Visit the numerous museums around Madrid like the Prado and the Reina Sofia.
  • Visit the Cordoba Mosque-Cathedral
  • Go Scuba diving in the many beaches around Spain.
  • Visit the biggest nightclub in Europe in Ibiza and dance your night away.
  • Walk along the Camino De Santiago.
  • Go see FC Barcelona at Camp Nou.
  • Go salsa dancing in Madrid.
  • Take a road trip across the coast of Spain.

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