Spain is a country on Europe’s Iberian Peninsula, which it shares with its smaller neighbor Portugal. With it’s world-renowned architecture, fascinating history and stunning natural landscapes, Spain sits at the top of most European’s annual holiday wishlist. Famous for it’s fiestas, siestas, tasty tapas and flamenco, Spain is also blessed with lush landscapes and loved for it’s relaxed and slow-paced lifestyle. Spain has a booming tourist industry and is unsurprisingly one of the most visited countries in Europe. The country is so diverse that it has something to offer everyone, from budget travelers backpacking in Ronda to luxury vacationers looking to splash the cash in Puerto Banus, Marbella.
SPAIN TOP 5 THINGS TO DO
Barcelona is a city on the coast of northeastern Spain. It is the capital and largest city of the community of Catalonia. If you can picture yourself enjoying the most iconic architecture and finest food, Barcelona is the place for you. Wherever you are in Barcelona, there’s always something to see: Gaudi’s iconic works of art, contemporary architecture, Catalan art nouveau, modernism, bustling markets that are a treat for the senses. Head to Las Ramblas and let your adventure unravel from here!
Ronda is considered one of the prettiest towns in Spain and draws travelers from all corners of the globe with its charm alone. This mountaintop city in Malaga is set above a deep gorge (called El Tajo) which separates the city’s circa-15th-century new town from its old town. The stone bridge, Puente Nuevo, spans the gorge and has a lookout with incredible views. New town’s Plaza de Toros, a legendary 18th-century bullring, is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks.
Madrid is Spain’s central capital city and a great place for shopping and dining! Walk along the elegant boulevards and explore the expansive parks such as the Buen Retiro. Madrid is full of energy seven days a week, even more so when midnight approaches. Madrid is also renowned for its rich repositories of European art, including the Prado Museum’s works by Velázquez, Goya and other Spanish artists. Popular with travelers for to its grand museums, finger licking cuisine, and the ever-buzzing nightlife, Madrid is one such city that will sweep you off your feet with it’s culture, vibrancy and shopping!
A Spanish archipelago off the coast of northwestern Africa, with rugged volcanic isles known for their black and white sand beaches. Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, is home to an active volcano, Mt. Teide. These islands are a popular holiday destination due to the stunning beaches, incredible volcanic landscapes, gorgeous canyons, soaring hills, charming little towns and the Spanish cuisine where you can eat your weight in tasty tapas.
Costa Del Sol
It probably won’t surprise you to hear that the Costa del Sol is famous for its beaches. This coastal haven in Andalucía, a southern region of Spain, has been delighting beach bunnies for decades. The towns along Spain’s ‘Sunshine Coast’ have beautiful golden sand beaches to choose from however the beautiful beach of El Bajondillo is iconic Costa del Sol. So make the most of the warm weather that Spain is so loved for by hitting a beach… this is usually the main priority for pale tourists!
Read more: 10 amazing things to do on a trip to Spain
Adventurous Traveler? Browse our
Bucket Bunny List of the top 25 Europe travel adventures.
Run with the bulls in Spain, do a husky safari in Finland or take a dip in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon. Enjoy browsing our top 25 Europe Travel Adventures and be inspired to tick off a few yourself.
SPAIN TOP 3 FESTIVALS
Running Of The Bulls
Experience the Running Of The Bulls festival like the locals do! The running of the bulls takes place annually from July 7th – 14th during the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, Spain. The running of the bulls is an event that involves running in front of a small group of bulls, sometimes ten or more, that have been let loose in the town’s streets. If you are brave and fit enough to join in the run, be careful, the bull’s horns are real and people do get gored!
Semana Santa is one of Spain’s most traditional festivals and takes place over Easter week. Semana Santa is full of processions and various religious festivals. Churches prepare well in advance for this event making this celebration an unforgettable one for all. Hundreds of men and women take to the streets with the effigy of the Church’s Saint, don’t miss this great Spanish religious celebration.
Travelers from all around the world flock to Spain to be a part of this fun and crazy Spanish festival. La Tomatina is a festival that is held in the Valencian town of Buñol, in the East of Spain 30 kms from the Mediterranean. La Tomatina began seventy years ago and is now celebrated annually at the end of August. Basically, people throw tomatoes at each other purely for entertainment purposes. You should try it!
Language: The official language of Spain is Spanish but local dialects such as Catalan and Andaluz are also prevalent. English is a widely spoken language in most major cities of Spain, and most people in the tourist areas speak very good English. In smaller towns and villages, few people speak English although some might know a few basics phrases. Try to speak in Spanish to the locals, if only to make them laugh at your mis-pronunciation. They’ll appreciate the effort nonetheless.
Visa: Visiting Spain will usually require a valid passport and visa for any travelers that are not from the European Union. Use these free online visa checker and calculator tools so you know if a visa for Spain is required, which will depend on the country you are from, and if so, how long it will take to process your visa and the cost.
Electricity: In Spain the standard voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. You can use your electric appliances in Spain, if the standard voltage in your country is between 220 – 240 V (as is in the UK, Europe, Australia and most of Asia and Africa). Buy a Universal Travel Adapter so you don’t need to keep buying new adapters for each new country you visit.
Lonely Planet Spain: Check price on Amazon
WHAT TO EAT IN SPAIN
Some of the most delicious, traditional dishes that you must try when in Spain are listed below.
Gazpacho: A classic of Spanish cuisine, bread, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, cucumber and peppers are blended and chilled. This is just like soup… but served cold, which is perfect for the hot Spanish summers. Gazpacho originated in the southern region of Andalusia and is widely eaten in Spain particularly during hot summers, as it is refreshing and cool.
Paella: One of the best-known dishes in the Spanish cuisine, Paella is a rice dish originally from Valencia. Paella takes its name from the wide, shallow traditional pan used to cook the dish on an open fire. Today paella is made in every region of Spain, using just about any ingredient that goes well with rice, usually seafood is included but there are as many versions of paella as there are cooks.
Tortilla Espanola: Spanish tortilla (omelette) is a traditional dish from Spain and one of the signature dishes in the Spanish cuisine. Its an omelette made with eggs, potatoes and onions all slowly fried in olive oil. Tortilla Espanola can be eaten with ham, chorizo or just bread to make a complete meal and it is often served at room temperature as a tapas too.
Crema Catalana: There is nothing better than ending a leisurely Spanish dinner with a Crema Catalana. For all travelers to Spain with a sweet tooth, this is the perfect treat. This creamy dessert is made with milk, cream, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, orange peel, and cinnamon and is very similar to a crème brûlée. This is a must try when in Barcelona.
Tapas: Last but not least, Tapas isn’t just one dish, it’s a collection of lots of little dishes. A tapa is an appetizer or snack in Spanish cuisine and is served hot or cold. In some bars and restaurants in Spain and across the globe, tapas has evolved into a more sophisticated cuisine. Some popular tapas plates are Croquetas, Gambas al ajillo (fresh garlic prawns), spicy potatoes, grilled calamari, and blood sausages.
WHERE TO STAY IN SPAIN
Spain is a reasonably affordable place to visit. Finding excellent accommodation in Spain is super easy because there’s so many options whatever your budget.
Hostels and dormitories make travel to Spain affordable for backpackers and any travelers on a shoe-string budget. Whether you’re a backpacker, flash-packer or a luxury vacationer, Spain will not disappoint you. A basic hotel room in Spain can cost less than 100 euros.
If you’re looking for accommodation that includes luxury amenities and comforts then there will be endless options to choose from in the big cities and popular tourist hotspots like Madrid, Barcelona, Seville or Malaga. Whatever month you choose to visit Spain, it’s wise to book your accommodation in advance. Don’t wait until you arrive to see what’s available or you may be disappointed to find that all the best places to stay have been snapped up already. Spain is an extremely popular year-round destination with business travelers and backpackers.
Jetset Bunny recommends using Booking.com for the best accommodation deals in Spain. However, if you are backpacking in Spain or traveling on a tight budget then Hostel World is another great option. Staying in hostels makes travel in Spain very affordable and is also a great way to meet new travel buddies where ever you go.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
BEST TIME TO VISIT SPAIN
The best time to visit Spain is in May and June or September and October when the weather is reliably sunny. It is also less crowded at these times than the summer months of July and August which are high season and can be very hot, more expensive and extremely crowded, especially during the afternoons.
SPAIN TRAVEL BUDGET
Spain is generally an affordable destination for travelers on all budgets. The cost of your trip to Spain really depends on the level of comfort you want. If you are backpacking and planning on staying in dormitories, hostels and eating fast food then budget between 50 to 100 euros per day. If you prefer to stay in 3-4 star hotel rooms and eat in mid-range restaurants you could spend anywhere between 100 to 250 euros per day. If you want to enjoy luxury 4-5 star accommodation and gourmet restaurants then budget at least 250 to 500+ euros per day.
IS SPAIN SAFE FOR FEMALE TRAVELERS?
Safety does not need to be a huge concern for women travelers in Spain which is considered a generally very safe country to visit. As with any country you visit, always be extra careful when walking alone or at night. Some parts of Spain aren’t as safe as other areas so do your research before you go and avoid these places. Based on many years of travel in Europe I would never leave home without insurance and recommend checking out the travel insurance plan that World Nomads can offer you a few weeks before your Spain trip.
SPAIN VISA CHECKER
SPAIN FLIGHT DEALS
SPAIN TOURS & ACTIVITIES
SPAIN PACKING TIPS
Packing for a trip to Spain, like most other places in Europe, is a breeze. You really don’t need as much travel gear as you may think for a trip to Spain.
That said, the gear you do bring on your trip should be the very best option available for you and that doesn’t always mean the most expensive. Jetset Bunnies around the globe are always discovering the latest and the greatest in travel gear for women and this is where we share our awesome finds with you.
If you’re visiting Spain during the warmer months it will be much easier to travel light. Pack mainly lightweight and breathable clothing but still be prepared for cold mornings and evenings depending on the month you visit. You’ll need to wrap up warm between November and February. So pack a warm sweater, waterproof coat, gloves, scarves and a wooly hat if you’re traveling during winter.
Other essential items to pack for a trip to Spain include, most importantly, a good quality travel backpack. Choose the brand carefully and make sure you find the right size backpack for your torso. Believe me, doing this will make all the difference and prevent major backache. Read our related blog post with advice on how to choose the best backpacks for women travelers. Smaller items to pack include a padlock, sleep sheet and a money belt to keep important documents close to you.
So if you’ve found your travel inspiration, figured out the practicalities and got the travel gear it’s time to stuff it all in a bag and go right? Well, no, hold your horses, you see there’s an art to packing which we have (almost) perfected. Hop to our Travel Packing Tips for all of the latest on this topic.