Prepare for a trip to Spain

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Travel Tips for Spain: prepare for your trip to Spain

Prepare for your trip to Spain once you are registered for a Spanish language course – or holiday - in Spain - and check our travel tips for Spain about transport, taxi’s, sim cards, money issues, tipping, packing list, Spanish weather, National Holidays, Hotels in Spain and more.

How to get there

There are several ways to get to Spain, including by plane, train, car, and bus. The most convenient way to get to Spain will depend on your location and budget.

By plane: Spain's main airports are located in Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, Valencia, and Palma de Mallorca. There are many international flights to Spain from major cities around the world. Once you arrive, you can take a train, bus, or taxi to your final destination.

By train: Spain is well connected by train with regular services to major cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, and Seville. You can also take the high-speed train, known as AVE, to travel between major cities.

By car: Spain can be reached by car via the main highways that connect with other European countries. Spain has a well-maintained network of highways and roads, but it's important to note that the tolls can be expensive, especially in the highways.

You can also rent a car in Spain.

By bus: Spain can also be reached by bus from other European countries, but it can take longer and can be less comfortable than other options. A good option is Flixbus.

By boat: Spain is accessible by boat, for example, you can take a ferry to the Balearic Islands or the Canary Islands from different points in Europe.

It's important to note that depending on your point of departure and destination in Spain, some options may be more convenient and budget-friendly than others. It's recommended to check the prices and schedule of different options and plan accordingly.

What to bring (packing list for a trip to Spain)

Here is a general packing list for a trip to Spain:

  • Passport and visa: Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after your trip, and check if you need a visa to enter Spain.

  • Travel documents: Make copies of your passport, visa, and other important documents and keep them in a separate location from the originals.

  • Currency: Make sure to have enough cash or a credit card that works in Spain and that has no foreign transaction fee.

  • Clothing: Pack clothing that is appropriate for the time of year and the destinations you will be visiting. Spain generally has a Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and warm summers. Read more about the Spanish climate below.

  • Comfortable shoes: Pack comfortable shoes for walking, as many cities in Spain have cobblestone streets.

  • Swimwear: If you plan to visit the beach or a swimming pool, pack your swimwear.

  • Sunscreen and sunglasses: Spain has a lot of sunshine, so it's important to protect your skin from the sun.

  • Toiletries: Pack your toiletries, including any medications you may need.

  • Camera: Pack a camera or a smartphone to take pictures of the beautiful scenery and landmarks.

  • Plug adapter: Spain uses Type C and Type F plug adapters, so make sure you have the right one for your electronic devices.

  • First Aid Kit: Pack a small first aid kit with band-aids, pain relievers, and other essentials.

  • Travel Insurance: Make sure to have a travel insurance to cover any unexpected medical expenses, trip cancellations, or lost or stolen belongings.

Weather in Spain

The climate in Spain is generally Mediterranean, with mild winters and warm summers. However, the Spanish climate can vary depending on the region to it depends on where you will go.

Coastal regions: Coastal regions of Spain, including the Mediterranean and Atlantic coast, have a mild Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm summers. These regions receive moderate to low rainfall, with the majority of the rain falling in the autumn and winter months. (Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga, Cádiz, etc.)

Inland regions: Inland regions of Spain, including the central plateau, have a more continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. These regions receive less rainfall than the coastal regions, with the majority of the rain falling in the spring and autumn months. (Madrid, Salamanc, etc.)

Southern regions: Southern regions of Spain, such as Andalusia, have a hot and dry climate, with hot summers and mild winters. These regions receive very little rainfall, with the majority of the rain falling in the winter months. (Granada, Sevilla, Málaga, Cádiz)

Mountainous regions: The mountainous regions of Spain, such as the Pyrenees and the Sierra Nevada, have a cooler and wetter climate than the lowland regions, with snowfall in the winter months.

In general, Spain's climate is characterized by long, hot summers and short, mild winters, with the exception of the mountainous regions where the climate is colder and wetter. The best time to visit Spain depends on what you want to do, for example, the summer months are ideal for beach vacations and the spring and autumn are perfect for city trips or cultural tours.

Travel Tips for Spain (prepare for your trip)

Here are some tips to prepare for a trip to Spain.

Check your passport and visa requirements: Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after your trip, and check if you need a visa to enter Spain.

Make copies of important documents: Make copies of your passport, visa, and other important documents and keep them in a separate location from the originals.

Learn some basic Spanish: While many people in Spain speak English, knowing some basic Spanish will make your trip much more enjoyable. You can learn some basic Spanish phrases and vocabulary using apps, books, or language classes in your home country or you take online Spanish Lessons.

Research your destination: Research your destination and learn about the culture, customs, and attractions. Make a list of the places you want to visit and make reservations in advance if necessary.

Keep in mind the climate and dress code for the places you are visiting.

Plan your transportation: Research the best way to get to and from your destination, and make any necessary reservations in advance.

Get travel insurance: Get travel insurance to cover any unexpected medical expenses, trip cancellations, or lost or stolen belongings.

Exchange currency or get a cash card: Make sure you have a way to access your money in Spain, you can exchange currency or get a cash card with no foreign transaction fees.

Learn about emergency contact information: Make a note of the emergency contact information for the country you are visiting, such as the number for the local emergency services, the embassy or consulate of your home country, and your travel insurance provider.

Be aware of local laws and customs: Learn about the local laws and customs before you go to avoid any misunderstandings or problems.

Tipping in Spain

Tipping in Spain is not as common as in some other countries, and it is generally not expected in most situations. However, in some cases, it is customary to leave a small tip as a gesture of appreciation.

Restaurants: Tipping in restaurants is not expected, but it is common to leave a small tip of 5-10% for good service. It is not necessary to tip for bad service.

Bars: Tipping in bars is not expected, but it is common to leave small change for the bartender if the service is good.

Hotels: Tipping in hotels is not expected, but it is common to leave a small tip for the maid if the service is good.

Taxis: Tipping in taxis is not expected, but it is common to round up the fare to the nearest whole number.

Tours: Tipping in tours is not expected, but it is common to tip the guide if the service is good.

It's important to note that these are general guidelines and customs may vary depending on the region and the establishment. It's always a good idea to observe how locals behave in those situations and follow their lead.

Taxis in Spain

Taxis in Spain are widely available and are a convenient way to get around, especially in cities where public transportation may be limited.

Flag fall fee: Taxis in Spain have a flag fall fee, which is the initial charge for the first few kilometers of the journey. This fee varies depending on the region and the time of day.

Additional charges: In addition to the flag fall fee, taxis in Spain have additional charges for extra passengers, luggage, and for travel during certain times of the day, such as late at night.

Metered fares: Taxis in Spain generally have metered fares, which means that the fare is calculated based on the distance and time of the journey. It's important to check that the meter is working and that the driver is using it.

Airport taxis: Taxis are available at all airports in Spain and they have a fixed fare to different destinations, which is usually more expensive than a regular metered fare.

Booking a taxi: Taxis can be hailed on the street, but it's also possible to book them in advance by phone or through an app like Uber (not in Barcelona and in a few other cities) or Cabify or Free Now or NTaxi, or Mytaxi.

Safety: Taxis in Spain are generally safe, but it's always a good idea to check that the driver's ID is displayed and to take note of the taxi's license plate number for your own safety.

Payment: Taxis in Spain generally accept cash and most major credit cards. It's always a good idea to check with the driver before starting the journey to ensure that the payment method you have is accepted.

In general, taxis in Spain are a convenient and safe way to get around, but as with any taxi service, it's important to be aware of the fare and any additional charges, and to ensure that the driver is licensed and that the vehicle is in good condition.

Spanish Airlines

There are over 40 airports in Spain and a few (low-cost airlines) with daily flights between the Spanish cities. Most flights are under two hours unless (except the Canary Islands).

  • Vueling is the low-cost branch of Iberia Airlines and offers affordable tickets for domestic flights. For example, you can get a flight from Barcelona to Madrid for around €50.
  • Air Europa is another great option for flying within Spain and are also a great bargain. You can fly the same route from Barcelona to Madrid for €45.
  • Ryanair is another alternative for getting around Spain. Ryanair offers fewer routes than Vueling or Air Europa, but their airfares are comparable.

Travel in Spain: train or bus

By Train

Spain’s national train network called Renfe (is fast and reliable) offering many different options: regular, high-speed, suburban train lines, or the high-speed train called AVE (only between the mayor cities.For the AVE, we recommend you buy the tickets in advance (online or at a train station).

By Bus

You cannot reach any town (or village) by train and therefore, coach buses are popular and widespread. The biggest buscompany is called ALSA and they have a good service. ALSA runs between major cities like Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, Bilbao as well as smaller towns all over Spain. A trip by bus from Madrid to Barcelona will take you about 8 hours and costs about €25.

Metro in Spain

The metro in Spain is a convenient and efficient way to get around the major cities. It is a fast, cheap, and easy way to travel. Here are some general information about metro in Spain:

Cities with metro systems: The main cities in Spain that have metro systems are Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Malaga, Bilbao, and Zaragoza.

Operating hours: The metro systems in Spain usually operate from 5:00am to Midnight, but some lines have different schedules.

Price: The fare for the metro varies depending on the city, but it's generally affordable. You can purchase a single ticket or a reloadable metro card, which can be used for multiple trips.

Frequency: The frequency of trains on metro lines varies depending on the time of day, but they generally run every 5 to 10 minutes during peak hours and every 15 to 20 minutes during off-peak hours.

Safety: The metro systems in Spain are generally safe, but it's always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings and to be careful with your belongings.

Connections: The metro systems in Spain are well-connected with other forms of transportation, such as buses and trains. Many metro stations are connected to the main train stations, which makes it easy to travel to other cities and regions.

Maps and information: Maps of the metro systems and information about the lines, schedules, and fares are available at the metro stations and on the websites of the metro companies.

Sim Cards in Spain

Spain is a Go Roam in Europe destination which means you can use your data here at no extra cost if you are from Europe. Otherwise, you might still able to use your existing SIM card and take advantage of international roaming, but it's important to check with your mobile carrier for the costs, as it can be expensive.

A SIM card in Spain is a convenient way to stay connected while traveling, as it allows you to have a local phone number and access to internet data.

Where to buy: You can buy SIM cards in Spain from various providers, such as Vodafone, Orange, Movistar, and Yoigo. They can be found in many places such as, phone shops, supermarkets, and even vending machines.

Types of plans: There are different types of plans available, such as pay-as-you-go, which allows you to purchase credit in advance and use it as you need it, or prepaid plans, which allow you to pay for a certain amount of data, minutes, and text messages in advance.

Required documents: You may need to provide a copy of your passport or ID card to buy a SIM card in Spain.

Activation: Once you have the SIM card, you will need to activate it by following the instructions provided. This may involve inserting the SIM card into your phone and following the on-screen instructions to activate it.

Coverage: It's important to check the coverage of the provider you choose, as some providers may have better coverage in certain areas than others.

In general, buying a SIM card in Spain is a convenient way to stay connected while traveling, it can be a cost-effective option compared to roaming. It's recommended to research the different providers and plans available and choose the one that best suits your needs.

Money in Spain

The currency used in Spain is the Euro (EUR). The Euro is divided into 100 cents, and it is denoted by the symbol "€".

Spain is part of the European Union and thus the Euro is the official currency throughout the country. Spain has implemented the Euro since January 1st, 2002 and replaced the Spanish peseta.

Coins come in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents, and 1 and 2 Euro coins. Banknotes come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 Euros.

ATMs are widely available throughout Spain and most major credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are accepted in most shops, restaurants, and hotels. It is always recommended to carry some cash with you, as some small businesses and markets may not accept credit cards.

National Holidays in Spain

Spain has several national holidays throughout the year, which are important for both cultural and religious reasons. The Spanish language institutes will be closed on National (or regional) holidays.

Here are some of the most important holidays in Spain:

New Year's Day (January 1st): This is the first day of the year and is a public holiday. People usually celebrate it with fireworks, parties, and family gatherings.

Three Kings Day or Epiphany (January 6th): This is a Christian holiday that celebrates the arrival of the Three Wise Men in Bethlehem. It is a public holiday and is celebrated with parades and the exchange of gifts.

Good Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday): This is a Christian holiday that commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus. It is a public holiday in Spain.

Easter Sunday: This is a Christian holiday that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. It is a public holiday in Spain and is celebrated with family gatherings and the exchange of Easter eggs.

Labor Day (May 1st): This is a public holiday that celebrates the rights of workers. It is marked with parades and rallies.

The Feast of Saint James (July 25th) : This is a public holiday in the autonomous community of Galicia, it celebrates the patron saint of Galicia, Santiago.

The Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin (August 15th): This is a public holiday in Spain and is a Catholic holiday that commemorates the assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven.

National Day (October 12th): This is a public holiday that commemorates the travels of Christopher Columbus to the America and it is also the National Day of Spain.

All Saints' Day (November 1st): This is a public holiday that honors the saints, both known and unknown.

Christmas Day (December 25).

Hotel in Spain

Spain offers a wide range of accommodation options, from budget-friendly hostels to luxury hotels.

In peak travel seasons we recommend to book in advance. It's recommended to compare different hotels before booking, and to take into account the location, amenities and services offered, and price.

Types of hotels: There are many types of hotels in Spain, including budget hotels, mid-range hotels, and luxury hotels. Also, it is possible to find apartments, hostels, and camping sites.

Star rating: Hotels in Spain are rated with stars, with one-star hotels being the most basic and five-star hotels being the most luxurious.

Amenities: Amenities offered by hotels in Spain vary depending on the type and star rating of the hotel. Basic amenities such as private bathrooms and air-conditioning are usually provided, while luxury hotels may offer additional amenities such as spas, fitness centers, and room service.

Online reviews: Before booking a hotel in Spain, it's a good idea to read online reviews from other travelers to get an idea of the hotel's quality, location, and service.

Booking sites: There are many booking sites where you can find and compare hotels in Spain, such as Booking.com, Hotels.com, and Expedia.

Price range: The prices for hotels in Spain vary greatly depending on the location, type, and star rating of the hotel. You can find budget-friendly options for less than 50 euros per night, and luxury hotels for several hundred euros per night.