Start Planning you Trip to Spain!

Spain is a country that sits atop many people’s ‘must-see’ lists–and it’s no surprise. The country boasts nearly everything you could wish for in a destination, all wrapped up in a neat and vivacious package.

The Spain Travel Hub has everything you need to get started – where to go, what to eat, where to stay, best times to visit, and all the practicalities of currency, time zones, and how to get around. 

We love Spain and we are supported by a team of local writers from all over the country so you can be sure you are getting up-to-date information about what’s happening in this diverse country.

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why Visit Spain

Spain is a destination that has dazzled visitors for centuries. A long and tumultuous past resulted in many groups having left their mark on the country, meaning each of the cities and regions is distinct and fascinating.

There are, however, a few threads that link all of Spain together. There’s a love for the good things in life, like fine wine, delicious food, and beautiful art. Then there’s a certain joyfulness in Spanish culture that is expressed through festivals, events, and just everyday life.

Whether you’re in the heart of metropolitan Barcelona, the remote stretches of the Camino, or the beaches of Malaga or San Sebastian, there’s something just so magical about Spain.

The Spanish enjoy a genuine enthusiasm for life, and with such beautiful surroundings, it’s easy to see why. Diverse and bustling cities are hotspots for lovers of arts, culture, and fine food, while dazzling beaches and islands are the perfect places to escape the hustle and bustle.

Lovers of architecture and history are sure to also be enraptured by Spain, with its abundance of UNESCO World Heritage sites including castles, cathedrals, aqueducts, and more.

where to go? Spain highlights

Spain receives over 83.7 million tourists each year. Like many other parts of Europe, visitors come for the history, culture, food, and wine. The modernist architecture of Barcelona, the white villages of Andalucía, and the stunningly Moorish architecture of Granada and Seville form a big part of Spain’s appeal.

The beaches of Spain’s coastline, with their golf resorts and holiday accommodation, are another major reason for Spain’s popularity. And finally, there are the Balearic and Canary Islands with the vibrant nightlife of Ibiza, sun-soaked Mallorca, and the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of La Palma.

Top Spain destinations

The most visited destinations in Spain are:

Madrid is the capital of Spain. It is in the central region and home to some of Europe’s most important art galleries. Madrid might be the capital but for most visitors, Barcelona is the number one must-see city in Spain. The country’s most visited region, Andalusia is home to seven World Heritage sites and some of the country’s best festivals.

Granada, Seville, Cordoba, and Malaga are popular bases for visits to smaller villages and towns. They are themselves historical, and unique and give travelers a genuine sense of the rhythms of Spanish life.

There are many more wonderful cities and regions in Spain, including its islands. But if it’s your first time in Spain and you can fit these four destinations into your holiday, you’ll get a great sense of the variety of food, history, and culture of the country, and the unspoiled beauty of its national parks, and beaches.

How long should I spend in Spain?

A 10-day trip would be a good minimum but you can easily fill 4-6 weeks. If you only have a week stick to one or two cities, perhaps Barcelona or Madrid, and one or two stops in Andalusia. Five days is ideal for exploring the big cities and 3 days in smaller places like Granada and Seville. Cordoba and San Sebastian can be squeezed into a couple of days if that is all you have. However, our motto when traveling is fewer stops in best and it certainly is our recommendation when planning your Spanish itinerary. Less is more, give yourself time to settle in and stop to eat and drink everything!

San Sebastian in Summer

Many visitors add Portugal to their Spain itinerary, often for just a week or two. You can find the most popular itineraries on our itineraries page.

when is the best time to go to Spain?

Spain is a brilliant destination at any time, however, a full calendar of events and festivals adds even more reason to visit. From the kooky fun of La Tomatina to the romance of Sant Jordi Day, there’s almost always a special something happening somewhere in Spain.

Valencia and Valencia oranges in Spring

If we had to choose a perfect time to visit Spain we would suggest you plan your trip from mid-May to mid-June or mid-September and the first week of October. Only those with a high tolerance to heat should attempt to visit Andalusia in the summer when daily temperatures can reach 95-105°F.

Check out more detailed seasonal temperature average highs and lows and rainfall in each of the major regional centers of Barcelona, Cordoba, Seville, Madrid, Granada, Madrid, and San Sebastian, in our Guide to Weather in Spain

Travel costs in Spain

Like its neighbors, Spain uses the euro so there’s no need to change money if you’re coming from the Eurozone.

Overall, Spain is a relatively affordable country to visit, especially if you are coming from neighboring France, where it’s a noticeable step down in price. Things are more expensive in the cities, but overall mainland Spain presents very good value for money. 

Granada outdoor dining
Eating out in Spain can be really affordable!

It also offers a great variety of options to suit all budgets. From simple lodgings like hostels and guesthouses to beautiful luxury hotels, you’ll easily find something that fits your needs.

Things are a little more expensive on the islands. This is especially true of Ibiza, which is a playground for those who enjoy the fine things in life–and don’t mind paying for them. That said, even in Ibiza, budget options can be found.

As expenses vary from region to region, it’s hard to list travel costs exactly. However, some common travel costs are listed below to give you a general idea:

  • Accommodation: From €12 (dorm room), €75 (mid-range), €150+ (luxury)
  • Lunch: €5 (simple or self-catering), €15 (local restaurant), €25+ (fine dining)
  • Beer/wine: local varieties from €1.50 and up.
  • Attractions: entrance to La Sagrada Familia, €17 for an adult
  • Car hire: from €25 per day

Getting into and around Spain

Spain’s West Europe location means that it’s easily connected to other cities by air and rail.

Traveling to and around Spain by train is a popular way to explore the country. Not only is it easy to reach Spain from nearby France, but a high-speed train network also links up most of the most visited cities, meaning that train travel in Spain is both fast and comfortable. For example, the 620-kilometer trek between Madrid and Barcelona takes just 1.5 hours by high-speed train.

Trains at the railroad station (Estacio de Francia) in Barcelona, Spain.
Trains in Barcelona make getting around the city easy

Flying into Spain is a sensible choice if you’re visiting from further afield. There are a number of cheap flights from other European destinations that land in Malaga in southern Spain. If you are looking for cheap flight deals, consider arriving at Malaga airport and taking trains from there to explore Spain.

Most flights from the USA and Australia will land at either Madrid or Barcelona airports. These two cities are linked by a fast train system that will get you to many of the cities and small towns of Southern Spain and Andalusia.

There are also numerous domestic flights which can reduce travel times and allow you to get around the country easily. For those traveling on a budget, buses are slower but can save you a lot of money.

Another option for traveling throughout Spain is to hire a car. Car rental will give you access to the entire country, and the condition of the roads is good. Just be prepared for some tolls and brush up on your Spanish road signs, and it’s a great way to explore the country.

You will need an international driving permit and we recommend you have travel insurance is always important but more so if you planning car rental so check any policies carefully to ensure you have the right level of coverage.

Types of Spain Itineraries

The first type of Spain Itinerary we call “See Spain” trips. These vary in length from one month touring much of the country to one or two weeks, usually centered on visiting Barcelona, Madrid and the south of Spain.

The other itinerary visits to a specific area such as the Andalusia, Costa Brava, or the Basque region. Day trips, experiences, and sightseeing tours are popular additions to these regional itineraries that are ideal for trips of more than a week.

Park Guell, Barcelona

Experience-focussed holidays are also very popular, hiking all or part of the Camino, beach vacations along the Costa Brava or Costa del Sol, or on the Spanish Islands of Mallorca, Menorca, and Ibiza. Sightseeing holidays commonly involve choosing a few places as ‘bases’ with day trips and road trips or short hiking and camping stays included.

Simple Spanish words & phrases for travel

  • Want a room upgrade for free?
  • To find a local restaurant that only serves one dish and only locals know about it?
  • How about a taxi driver who goes out of their way to help you when you’re lost?
  • And how about being given the number of a trusted family doctor when you’re ill?

These situations have arisen for us in dozens of countries. We know that learning just a tiny number of phrases will make your trip to Spain more fun and maybe even safer or cheaper. You’ll get more smiles and more help from strangers just because you bothered to learn a few basic words of Spanish.

spanish menu in Andalusia
Spanish menu in Andalusia

The first thing to know about the Spanish language is that each letter is pronounced (unlike French, for example). If you speak French or English, you’re partly there and there are lots of Spanish words that have recognizable English and French equivalents. We’ve created a simple list of the Top 22 words and phrases to help you make friends with the locals, get around, and let people know what you need.

Here are a few to get you started:

  • Hi/Hello Hola
  • Good morning Buenos días
  • Good evening Buenos noches
  • Bye Adiós
  • Excuse me Perdóneme
  • I’m sorry Lo siento
  • Do you speak English? ¿Habla usted Inglés?

Of course, these words and phrases are only a tiny number of those used in everyday greetings and conversations. But depending upon which other languages you speak, it can be easy to pick up a lot of Portuguese quickly.