Spain travel guide

Spain is a visually addictive country that is full of color, vigor, and beautiful people. Whether you are planning a beach holiday in Ibiza or the Canary Islands, or would like to just go about touring the major cities, Spain promises a burst of excitement and at the end of your trip, there’s just something that you will hook on to and never forget. From the various celebrations of local fiestas, to the amazing nightlife in Madrid, to the Andalucían Moorish monuments, as well as the wild landscapes and birds of prey of Estremadura.

One of the must visit places in Spain would be the capital, Madrid.  This is Spain’s most famous city, and if you want a taste of the nightlife, Madrid has some pretty serious nightlife. There is a bewildering variety of club and pub venues. Most of the common ones that you will spot are called discobares that has a combination of musical and sex appeal with a live rock, dance, or a salsa group in the background. Apart from its nightlife, some of the must see places are also The Royal Palace, used by the King of Spain, and the The Monasterio de las Descalas Reales that was first used as a palace but now is a nunnery.

Barcelona should be your next stop after Madrid. In this city, you would find bustling central boulevards and stylish modern streets. Barcelona is famous for its outrageous architecture, user-friendly design, agreeable climate, as well as its raucous nightlife. Some of the most famous festivals in Barcelona would be the "La Merced," which is a celebration for the patron saint of Barcelona. You will be able to see costumes dancers and folk dancing and is ended by a splendid display of fireworks. From becoming the host of the Olympic Games, Barcelona is now a provincial city with prosperity, stability and cultural activity.

Another must visit town would be Alhambra Palace for a taste of historical relics and well preserved natural setting. Alhambra is known for being the most exciting, sensual, and romantic of all European monuments. Occupied by the Nasrid Sultans and the rulers of the last Spanish Moorish kingdom, what is left behind from the occupancy is a spell bounding and spectacular Moorish art construction, making it an easy entry into the listings of the World Heritage Site.

So when are the best times to come visit Spain? The ideal times to visit this colorful country would be during spring, early summer and autumn. Be careful to note that the weather varies greatly from region to region so it’s best to be prepared with some form of warm clothing just in case. August is Spain’s holiday month with loads of carnivals and fiestas happening so this would be your best time to go.

Spain is one of the safest countries in Europe but beware from walking in empty streets and poor-lit areas as there are many street gambling stalls. But just in case, the emergency telephone number for the police, firefighters and ambulances is 112. A good source of information that can help you when traveling in Spain is the country’s official website which lists places to go, how to get there and so on. Local bus excursions can also be arranged easily through the hotels.

Photo by Bert K on flickr

Spain travel articles

How to hire a boat in Tenerife
Renting a boat when in Tenerife is a great way to see more of the island


Family friendly Tenerife attractions
Take the kids to the island of eternal summer: Tenerife. And enjoy these great attractions.


La Tomatina festival, Bunol, Spain
The world's largest food fight! La Tomatina sees the small town of Bunon explode with tomatos each August.


Exploring the Canary Islands
The various islands in the Canaries offer beaches, parks, nightclubs and plain fun!


Playa Sa Caleta, Menorca
A gorgeous beach nestled under the picturesque town of Cala'n Bosc in Menorca.


Family vacations to Ibiza
Ibiza makes a wonderful family destination if you're no longer partying all night


Lanzarote's best shore excursions
The Canaries is a popular cruise stop, and while in Lanzarote these are the best things to see


Lanzarote's Top Five Attractions
There's so much more to Lanzarote than just great weather and beautiful beaches.àAs this small island in the Canaries is surprisingly big on visitor attractions, making it an ideal holiday destination for anyone keen to combine sunbathing with sightseeing.


Fuerteventura is waiting for you
When winterâs chill is becoming tiresome and dreary, many families from the UK and across Europe head for the Canary Islands and Fuerteventura.


The 7 best beaches in Majorca
The top sandy stretches on the Balearicâs biggest island. Here's where you go for your sun, sand, and sea.


Picos de Europa National Park, Spain
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Northern Spain is the Picos de Europa National Park.


Ryanair now flies to Canary Islands during winter
Irish budget airline Ryanair announced a major shifting of its winter routes Wednesday to capitalize on Europeans' love affair with Canary Islands sunshine.


When in Spain, just say no
Travel brings risks: Theft, accidents, shoddy hotels... You can now add robbery at ATMs to that list. However, this time it's not a thug with a knife you need to worry about but the bank itself


Practical information about Spain

Etiquette in Spain

Dining etiquette

  • No bread and butter plate is used; bread is set directly on the table.
  • Spaniards don't waste food. Don't take what you don't think you can eat.

General etiquette

  • Be patient; expect to be interrupted when talking.
  • It is acceptable and common to be 30 minutes late to social functions in Southern Spain, 15 minutes in Northern Spain. Never be late for a bullfight.
  • Tip everyone for everything.

Getting there and around

Getting there

Main entry points

Airports

 

Land crossings

 

Bus

Cars and motorcycles

Trains

By sea

 

Immigration and customs clearance

 

Prepare to be fingerprinted

 

Customs limits for goods

 

Getting around

By Plane

 

By Train

 

By Bus

 

By Car

 

Towns and cities in Spain

Best time to visit Spain

2012 public holidays in Spain

January

Sunday, January 1st 2012
Año Nuevo (New Year's Day)

Friday, January 6th 2012
Epifanía / Reyes Magos (Epiphany)

February

Tuesday, February 28th 2012
Día de Andalucía (Day of Andalusia)

March

Monday, March 19th 2012
San José (Saint Joseph)

April

Thursday, April 5th 2012
Jueves Santo (Maundy Thursday)

Friday, April 6th 2012
Viernes Santo (Good Friday)

Sunday, April 8th 2012
Domingo de Resurrección (Easter)

Monday, April 9th 2012
Lunes de Pascua (Easter Monday)

Monday, April 23rd 2012
San Jorge (Saint George)

May

Tuesday, May 1st 2012
Día del Trabajo (Labour Day)

Tuesday, May 15th 2012
San Isidro (Saint Isidore)

Wednesday, May 30th 2012
Día de Canarias (Day of the Canary Islands)

June

Thursday, June 7th 2012
Fiesta del Corpus Christi (Corpus Christi)

Saturday, June 9th 2012
Día de la Región de Murcia (Day of the Region of Murcia)

Sunday, June 24th 2012
San Juan (Saint John)

July

Wednesday, July 25th 2012
Santiago Apóstol (Saint James)

August

Wednesday, August 15th 2012
Asunción de la Virgen (Assumption of Mary)

September

Saturday, September 8th 2012
Día de Asturias (Day of Asturias)

Tuesday, September 11th 2012
Fiesta Nacional de Cataluña (Day of Catalonia)

October

Tuesday, October 9th 2012
Día de la Comunidad Valenciana (Day of the Valencian Community)

Friday, October 12th 2012
Fiesta Nacional de España (Spanish National Day)

November

Thursday, November 1st 2012
Fiesta de Todos los Santos (All Saints' Day)

Friday, November 9th 2012
Virgen de la Almudena (Virgin of Almudena)

December

Thursday, December 6th 2012
Día de la Constitución (Spanish Constitution Day)

Saturday, December 8th 2012
La inmaculada (Immaculate Conception)

Tuesday, December 25th 2012
Navidad (Christmas)


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