Spain

Spain

The diversity of experience and life in Spain is immeasurable. It is probably Europe’s most geographical diverse country, ranging from the near-deserts of eastern Andalusia to the green countryside and deep coastal inlets of Galicia. But contrary to popular belief, there’s a great deal more to Spain than concrete apartment blocks and the Costa del Sol.

The country covers over nearly 300,000 sq miles making it the second biggest country in Western Europe. Travel is easy, accommodation plentiful, the climate generally benign, the people relaxed and fun loving, the beaches long and sandy, and food and drink easy to come by and full of regional variation.

It is also well known for its plethora of colourful fiestas and unbelievably vibrant nightlife. It’s not suprising that more than 40 million foreigners a year take holidays in Spain.

It’s a phenomenal land to discover the unique people and characteristics of each contrasting region and also a wealth of vibrant history from great 20th century artists (Dali, Picasso, Miro), to the prehistoric. Architecture is glorious – influences from the Romans, Moors and Catholicism have created an amazing blend of styles in Spain. From stunning coastal cities like Barcelona that have captured the imagination of the world to vibrant and unique regional cultures and the cool clublife of the Balearic islands – the party never stops in Spain.

Currency

The local currency  is the Euro.
For up to date currency information, check the Currency Converter.

Spain is one of Europe’s more affordable countries. Places like Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla and San Sebastian will however place a greater strain on your money belt. Off season, avoiding cities you can expect to survive on around $50 a day sharing a room.

People

Spain has a population of just over 39 million – although a staggering 60 million or so visitors flood into the country each year. Spain never received any significant immigration from its empire, and its main ancestral peoples – Iberians, Basques, Celts, Romans, Jews, Visigoths, Franks, Arabs and Berbers – had all arrived by 1000 year ago, though large number of Jews and Muslims were expelled in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, these people had already intermingled with the rest of the population.

Travel

Transport in Spain is a fairly good standard, offering internal and international flights, trains, car hire and buses. Domestic flights are run by Iberia (IB), Aviaco (AO), and Air Europa (AEA). Scheduled flights connect all main towns. The Spanish rail system is one of the cheapest in Europe. Travellers can purchase a Spanish Railways Tourist Card allows unlimited travel from three to ten days within two months and is valid for on all RENFE long-distance trains, with the exception of high-speed ones (the Ave and Talgo 200).

Motorways are well-maintained and connect Spain north-south. Trunk roads between major cities are generally fast and well-maintained. Rural roads are of differing quality. There are bus lines, which are efficient and cheap, operating between cities and towns.

Food

Eating out in Spain is often cheap and meals are substantial rather than gourmet. One of the best ways to sample Spanish food is to try tapas (bar snacks) which are served at any time of day in local bars. These range from cheese and olives to squid or meat delicacies, and are priced accordingly. Many of the specialities of Spanish cuisine are based on seafood, although regional specialities are easier to find inland than along the coast.

Language

Spanish or Castilian is spoken throughout Spain, but there are also three widely spoken regional languages: Catalan, Galician and Basque. English isn’t as widely spoken as many travellers seem to expect. It’s much easier to find people who speak at least some English in the main cities and tourist areas, but generally you’ll be better received if you at least try to communicate in Spanish.

Climate

Spain’s climate varies from temperate in the north to dry and hot in the south. The best months to visit are from April to October, although mid-summer (July to August) can be excessively hot throughout the country except the coastal regions. Madrid is best visited in late spring or autumn, avoiding the opressive heat and hoards of tourists, although the central plateau can be bitterly cold in winter.

Dress

Spain is a funky, modern western country with no religious or clothing restrictions, but make sure you wear suncream on bare flesh as in the summer the temperatures soar. If you’re visiting a Catholic religious site, you should make sure you are dressed modestly with arms and legs covered.

Health

Spain is a pretty healthy country with no major history of contracting life threatening diseases. Your main risks are likely to be sunburn, dehydration, foot blisters, insect bites, or mild gut problems, if you’re not used to a lot of olive oil.

Visas

Those who need no visa for Spain are citizens from the EU, America, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, Switzerland and Norway. Those who require a visa for Spain are Australians and South Africans. Other Nationals should consult their local consulate.

Alcoy

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Bunol

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Granada

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Madrid

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Navarra

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North Spain

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Seville and Granada

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Valencia

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Northern Spain

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Southern Spain

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