Spain Travel Guide

A famous song sings an ode to Spain, describing it as a land of joy and love, with a conclusion that the country is simply the best. And you know what? It really is! All the good things you’ve ever heard about Spain are true.
The country has a quaint soul that is open to new ideas. Sharing the Iberian peninsula with its smaller neighbor Portugal, Spain is full of fun, joy, sheer happiness, laughter, passion, and love for everything and everyone. Its energy can’t be described with words. From the relaxed islands, laid-back and slow-paced coastal villages and towns, to the wonderful yet completely different northern part, Spain is here to steal and melt hearts.  It has such a unique, one of a kind charm that will have you coming back for more. Its cities are dreamy and romantic yet urban and modern. Even though Spain is very traditional, it always keeps up with new times.

The Plaza de la Virgen, an old square that dates back to the Roman times, offering tourists and locals alike a respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.

A home to many great artists and creative souls will keep busy those artsy culture loving souls. With breathtaking and diverse nature, it will bring smiles to those who like outdoor activities and spending time under the open sky. What compliments it, are astonishing, diverse architecture and splendid, interesting history. Friendliness of the Spanish people is like a cherry on top. They are kind, warm and have this incredible, hard-to-resist energy.

Beautiful travel landscape of Mallorca island of Spain on a sunny day a blue sky and azure sea near stony rocks

The country used to dominate the old continent during the 16th and 17th centuries and still does today – tourism-wise. Spain’s been the number one travel destination in Europe for a long time now. Imagine plazas late at night, still heated from the hot sun and people wandering around with joy lit in their eyes, carrying a big, warming smile and so much love for life. It’s easy to understand why Spain is everyone’s favorite. Whole families gather at night when everything comes bursting to life. And then, during the unbearable heat of the day, nothing feels as good a relaxing and soothing siesta. Come and see for yourself why this Iberian Jewel is the best. The following short and helpful guide will reveal you some of the best things to do and see in the country.

City & Area Guides

What to see and do in Spain

Madrid

Spain’s vibrant capital that will charm you with an impressive and beautiful architecture, lively culture, great food and friendly people. Think of Madrid as of a good friend who you always feel comfortable with. Walk around the famous landmarks that are all close to each other, enjoy the festive nightlife or find some tranquility in the beautiful and serene gardens of the Parque del Retiro. If you want to take a day off and escape from the bustling city, Salamanca is the answer. Only an hour away, this small town offers pretty sights and a peaceful pace.

Aerial view of Madrid taken from the top of the almudea cathedral in Madrid, Spain

Barcelona

This city is like a magnet. People come and fall in love with its mystery spark. With its interesting and dazzling history, dark Goth features showing in the architecture and on the streets, marvelous art, and of course, many beaches, it’s a no-brainer to see why it’s so hip and popular. Come here to indulge in delicious food, take a walk on Rambla, admire some of the world’s greatest art pieces and get some tan on the Europe’s finest beaches.

Plazas and taking it easy

Fear not, Madrid and Barcelona aren’t the only cities to see when in Spain. From quiet, old villages still clinging to traditions, small towns with an intriguing history to big and cosmopolitan urban jungles – no matter where you are, all Spanish places promise a wonderful and unforgettable experience.

bilbao marketplace on sunny day

Bilbao in the north is known for the stunning architecture, Santander for spectacular landscapes, and Granada as the home of the majestic Alhambra and a birthplace of the poet-genius Federico Garcia Lorca. Valencia is fun and features an interesting park in the old river stream.

Alhambra of Granada, Spain. Alhambra fortress at twilight.

Wherever you decide to go, you are guaranteed to enjoy the relaxing and inviting charm of the monumental streets, avenues, parks, and Spain’s super famous plazas.

Go South

For some authentic Spanish experience. While all of Spain is unmistakably beautiful, the southern part of the country carries its true spirit and gives a rhythm to the rest of it. Andalusia is the heart of Spain. This southern province has a rich Moorish heritage you can see everywhere. Marvel the magnificent architecture and admire the details. Cordoba, Sevilla, Granada, are just some of the cities you must visit. If you enjoy history, like spending time outdoors and eat well, then you’ll be busy in this peaceful yet passionate region.

Eat your way around Spain

The country is known for delicious food, and many of its significant dishes are popular all around the globe. Whether you like savory goodness or have a sweet tooth, you’ll find something for yourself. Just like the rest of the country, its cuisine is colorful, rich and flavourful. And let’s not forget about its wines. Rioja, a region in the Northern Spain, is well known and established in the world.  It attracts millions of visitors who come to indulge in a fine glass of wine and the beautiful backdrop of the region.

Traditional Spanish dish (Navarre, Aragon, Gascony) pollo al chilindron - chicken, stewed with vegetables (peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic) in a blue ceramic tray on a wooden table

Traditional Paella served at restaurant in Barcelona, Spain

Last but not least – tapas! These small, bite-sized snacks and appetizers will win your heart. You can get them hot or cold and even turn them into a full meal.

Fire with flamenco

Flamenco is a traditional Spanish dance that will captivate you with its fierce passion and expressiveness. It is an enchanting combination of the guitar sounds, rough singing, vocalizations, dancing, finger-snapping, and handclapping. It was born in Andalusia and is a form of art with fans all over the world. Visit one of the performances and let its magic take you on a wistful journey.

Party on the islands

Spain has lots of islands, but best known are the Balearic and the Canary Islands.The latter are located in the Atlantic ocean. The climate makes sure you will be able to enjoy a beautiful, diverse and enchanting flora and fauna.  Followed by order of size, the main islands are Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro, with many smaller islands and islets.

The Balearic Islands, on the other hand, are an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea and are best known for its wild party life. Everybody knows Ibiza, one of the four largest islands. The others are Mallorca, Minorca (also known as Menorca), and Formentera.

If you don’t feel like heading over to the islands, you can choose from a number of other beaches.

Discover Spain on foot

And go trekking or hiking. The stunning Sierra Nevada is the perfect spot for hikes during the summer and skiing in the winter. You can explore its surrounding small towns and take a full advantage of this outdoor activities friendly area. Another great terrain is also the grand mountain chain of Pyrenees where you’ll be able to walk through medieval villages and high mountain trails. Here is where most people traditionally begin their journey on The Camino, the legendary pilgrim’s route through Spain.

Sierra Nevada (Spain)

Those who love wild, untamed nature will fall in love with Picos de Europa located in the northern Spain.

Typical costs

Accommodation

You can choose from a variety of accommodations. Stay in hostels, hotels, bungalows, private rooms, B&B’s, pensions or do some couch-surfing. Prices vary but expect to pay 15-20 USD for a budget accommodation. Remember to make a reservation, especially during the busy holiday time when prices tend to go up as well. You can also stay at so-called “Paradores” which are unique to Spain. They are spectacular luxury hotels, converted from castles, monasteries and other Spanish historic monuments.

Old cozy street in Madrid, Spain. Architecture and landmark of Madrid, postcard of Madrid

Sangria - a Spanish drink of red wine mixed with lemonade, fruit, and spices

A Pintxo - a small snack on a skewer found in Northern Spain

Food and drinks

Eating and drinking in Spain won’t break your budget. You will get to enjoy most delicious food at very reasonable prices. At budget friendly places you won’t pay more than 13 USD, while a typical three-course meal for two costs from 27 USD. Eating at a fancy restaurant cost around 55 USD. Eating at fast food chain places will cost between 7-9 USD. But you might want to skip those and go for local delis – they offer (bigger and better) sandwiches and other fast foods at way more friendly prices. Domestic beer costs around 2 USD and imported up to 4 USD. Soft drinks cost between 1-3 USD. Tap water is safe to drink so go for that, bottled is quite pricey, starting at around 1.20 USD for a small bottle. And let’s not forget about tapas and the happy hours! You can get tipsy quite fast in Spain. Many bars will invite you in with flyers that will get your first drink for free! Remember, Spain is a place of many passions, food is just one of them. You should try sangria, a traditional drink of wine and fruits. Tipping is usually optional.

Transportation

You can get to Spain by air, water, or road. You may consider renting a car, but be prepared for the mayhem and some reckless driving in the cities. Luckily, you can get around by fast trains and buses. There are many well-connected lines. However, trains tend to be more expensive. BlaBla car is growing popularity in Europe. You can find someone to share a ride with, save some extra bucks and meet new people.

Woman riding bicycle through old street of Barcelona

Sights

Prices for sights depends, but luckily you can see a lot for free in Spain. Make sure you follow some of the places and see when they have special deals or when museums and galleries are open free of charge. Consider a city pass – with that, you get to enter some of the museums, see landmarks, and travel around the city, for a much lower price.

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