If what you were looking for were tips to travel to Spain for the first time , we tell you that you are lucky to have come to the right place!
Spain is the favorite destination of millions of tourists who want to know one of the most beautiful and, above all, interesting countries in Europe (or around the world).
That is why right now we tell you that it is a fantastic idea that you have also decided to visit it.
It is very important to start organizing your trip as soon as possible. And we propose to help you with this guide that we have specially made so that you can plan your visit to Spain.
The charm of Spain has fascinated us during our visits to the country: there is nothing like its picturesque cities , its friendly people and its delicious food and drinks.
And so that you too can enjoy all this, we want to give you a series of recommendations to travel to Spain that we would have loved to have before our first visit.
We’re really looking forward to getting started, shall we?
Tips for traveling to Spain from 1 to 4
Tips for Barajas airport in Madrid
Barajas airport in Madrid is one of the largest in the world and one of the main gateways to Europe.
This is against the fact that it is one of the most difficult to decipher.
Among its many peculiarities we can highlight that the loudspeakers are somewhat difficult to hear with so much noise and that the belts for collecting luggage are somewhat far from the places of arrival.
However, not to despair . Here are some tips to ensure that your visit to Barajas does not drive you crazy:
- If you have the need to make a transfer there you should know that the distances between terminals can be long and there may be delays, therefore we advise you to take well-spaced flight stopovers and leave with a good time to spare to reach your door departure on time.
- If you have a long waiting time between plane and plane, you have the possibility to choose between quite accessible restaurants , surf the internet (since it has computer services), recharge your phone or portable charger, sleep and even pray.
- If you are not a resident of the EU and you have to make your tax refund request (tax free) before leaving Europe, go to the stamping centers in Terminals 1 and 4 to complete the corresponding procedure.
- Make sure you know your airline’s baggage allowance rules and the documentation you will need to present before boarding to avoid delays.
- Make your check-in online or use some of the machinery from the airport to do this automatically and saltearte queues.
- Use a travel app to keep track of your flight and be aware of any last minute warnings or delays. Aena is a very good one that usually works very well in many airports, including Barajas.
If you follow these tips, we assure you that your passage through this monumental airport will be simple and pleasant.
How to get from Madrid airport to the center
Although there are several options to get from Madrid airport to the center, and vice versa, we will focus on the two simplest and cheapest:
- Meter. When leaving the arrivals area, just follow the signs to the subway entrance. It is necessary that in addition to your regular metro ticket you buy a supplement for the airport (this applies both onward and on your return). In the ticket buying area there are usually several people helping travelers to facilitate the entire process. It should be noted that, although the metro is the simplest and most flexible option, it does not work 24 hours a day
- Express bus. The airport has a service called “Airport Express”, it is a bus that goes from the various airport terminals to the center of Madrid (Atocha Station or Glorieta de Cibeles at night, which is from 11:30 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. ). This bus runs 24 hours a day, which is ideal when the metro is not running. The cost is 5 Euros and you can pay directly on the bus in cash (maximum change of 20 Euros)
How to get from Barcelona airport to the center
The second main airport in Spain is in Barcelona and although there are several options to get to or from the airport, either from terminal 1 or 2, the simplest is:
This is the special bus that connects the airport with the city center (Plaza Catalunya), making stops at Plaza España, Gran Vía-Urgel and Plaza Universidad (all of these stops have metro stations). The cost is 5.90 Euros one way, or 10.20 Euros if you buy the round ticket.
Tickets can be purchased in advance online or directly on the bus with cash (maximum change of 20 Euros).
Know the means of transport in the country
Spain is one of the best countries in the world in terms of its rail, metro, motorway and road networks.
It is the best that is easy to access from its airports to all major cities and have many options to make r it in public transport , since it has an excellent system of connections to both urban and metropolitan.
The Renfe and the Ave are the train companies with which it is practically possible to reach almost any place in Spain and even Europe.
These trains are modern, comfortable, and run frequently enough that you can save time between destinations.
To get your tickets you can do it in advance through the web pages of each company (it is usually convenient to take them out before to look for prices) or directly at the terminal before leaving.
Another option is to have a Eurail pass that includes Spain to be able to move freely by train.In cities, Spain’s subway system is one of the most widespread in the world .
Its main cities, such as Madrid, Barcelona, Alicante, Zaragoza, Valencia, or Alicante, to name just a few, have extensive connections with which you can access almost every corner.
If you want to travel a little more economically, another option is the buses .
The advantage of buses is that they may take you to other remote destinations that are not accessible by train . However, keep in mind that the frequencies are not that many and the travel times are slower.
Tips for traveling to Spain from 5 to 8
Take the weather into account
Spain is a country that has a great climatic diversity that varies according to the time of year and the region you visit.
The summer is from June to September and is known for being extremely hot and dry. It is truly suffocating in many places, especially in the center and south of the country.
The autumn begins in September and lasts until December and personally we see no better time to visit Spain. During the day you can enjoy temperatures above 20 degrees and in the afternoons it will cool enough but not enough to get cold.
The winter is very cold and rainy, with winds tend to be a bit unpleasant. Although during the day it is a bit warm, the nights are usually very cold if you are not used to it. In the north of the country it is always much harder. It lasts from December to March.
The spring runs from March to June and although it is sunny, still usually be some rainy and cold depending on the region. Anyway, it is one of the best times to visit Spain.
We recommend you check the particular climate in the destination of Spain that you want to visit so as not to experience any type of setback, since the annual average ranges between numbers as far as 24 degrees in some places and 14 in others.
Discover Spanish tapas
A great characteristic of Spain is its incredible cuisine : the freshness of its vegetables, its cold cuts and sausages, its tortillas, wines and beers will mean that, even if you walk all day, you will probably gain a few kilos at the end of your trip.
It is very common for Spaniards to enter a bar or restaurant to “tapas” , that is, to eat small portions of omelette, Iberian ham or the odd snack- size delicacy . This, of course, is almost always accompanied by a “straw” (which is nothing more than a small glass of draft beer).
It is common for the locals of the cities and towns of Spain to make an express pass several times a day through the tapas bars and lean directly at the bar.
One piece of advice we can give you is that you keep in mind that, in many places, just by asking for a beer is already accompanied by a ham, omelette or some other complimentary delicacy.
This will allow you to save a lot on food , since in several places (especially in southern Spain) the tapas that come as a side are more than abundant and will leave you satisfied.
Take a food tour
As we mentioned in the previous point, Spanish gastronomy is spectacular and an excellent way to discover it, in addition to its famous tapas, is to take a gastronomic tour, a wine tour or a cooking course in different regions of the country.
Here are some tours of the most representative cities (click on the name of the tour to see details, schedules, prices and book):
Know the electrical system
If you have already had the possibility of making a trip abroad, you will know that not all electrical systems are the same , and neither are plugs.
The most widely used system in Europe is 220 volts, and Spain is no exception. That is why it is important to know in advance that in Spain 110 volt electrical items may not work or do not work properly.
However, today most electronic devices have a voltage that ranges from 110 to 240 volts , so you should not have problems with your smartphone or laptop. It is always important, equally, to check your devices before traveling.
Another great dilemma that we find ourselves during a trip is the incompatibility of our plugs with those of the hotel. It is common to arrive at night tired at the hotel, wanting to charge our phone or camera and discover that our plugs have nothing to do with theirs.
In Spain the plugs are of type F , so we recommend buying a travel adapter if your devices have another type.
Tips for traveling to Spain for the first time from 9 to 13
If possible leave a tip
In Spain, the tip is generally not included in the final bill.
If you liked the food and the attention of the waiters or the bartender, which will undoubtedly be the case since they are generally professionals who have been in the trade for many years, the tip is usually 10% or more of the total bill.
The same thing happens with taxis and it is always convenient to round up the cost of the trip if you do not want to leave 10% of it.
It is always convenient to tip the bellboys, room service or hotel cleaning staff , since they usually rotate in different shifts (especially in large chains).
Finally, we remind you that just like anywhere in the world, a simple “thank you very much” can never, ever, hurt.
Find out about restaurant hours
Unlike many other large European countries, Spain tends to eat much later , therefore restaurants have hours that can be considered exorbitant for many people.
For example, a typical Spanish day can include a breakfast that is usually nothing more than a croissant with a coffee before work or school; around 11 a sandwich (sandwich) or a tapa; a good lunch at 2 in the afternoon; the snack at 5 and dinner from the 21 or 22 hours. It is also not unusual to see people eating after midnight.
Of course, in the big cities you will find alternatives from 6 or 7 in the afternoon, since the tourist market is extensive, but rest assured that the experience will not be the same (beyond that you may be alone in the few places open to tourism) .
Our advice is that you try to incorporate the snack so as not to arrive at night so hungry and to be able to enjoy a dinner at the typical Spanish schedule.
Keep in mind that everything closes at nap time
During our visit to Spain, it was not uncommon to approach places that we had marked as pending visit and when we went we were surprised that they were closed.
This has a simple reason: siesta is sacred , especially in small towns or in times of extreme temperatures.
Therefore, within our recommendations for traveling to Spain, we suggest you check the schedules on the official website of the place you want to visit or, if this is not possible, call by phone before your visit.
Try to coordinate your visit with a festival
Spain is a country full of popular festivals where it is common to see a large part of the inhabitants taking part, either as participants or as spectators, and rest assured that this is an extra spice on any trip.
Not all Spanish celebrations are about animal torture or waste of tons of food, there are also very interesting ones, such as:
- Las Fallas (March 19, in Valencia);
- The Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (varies between February and March, depending on the year, in the Canary Islands);
- The April party (from April 14 to 21, in Seville);
- Moros y Cristianos (from April 21 to 24, in Alicante);
- Feast of the descent of Sella (sometime in August, depending on the year, in Ribadesella);
- Fiestas de San Miguel (in the month of September, it varies every year, in Lleida);
- And a host of other festivals, mainly agricultural or religious.
We recommend organizing your trip with one of these events to make it even more unforgettable than it was surely going to be.
Narrow your visit to a region
While this is not a huge country, it can take several hours to move from one city to another in Spain.
For this reason, our advice is that if you do not have much time, limit your visit exclusively to one of its regions and try to visit it until you express its greatest potential.
Some regions through which we recommend organizing your itinerary are:
- Central area: Madrid, Toledo, Cuenca and Segovia
- Basque Country
- Mediterranean coast: Valencia, Murcia and Catalonia
- Northwest Spain: Galicia, Asturias and Cantabria
We assure you that this way you will fully discover the identity of each region, its festivities, climate, foods and customs.
Tips for traveling to Spain for the first time from 14 to 17
Learn some Catalan, Galician or Basque
Although almost all the inhabitants of Catalonia, Galicia or the Basque Country speak Spanish, another tip to travel to Spain and that will never hurt is to learn a few simple words to interact with the locals of these regions.
We assure you that with a simple “Bon día”, “Egun Un” or “Bo día” (as appropriate) you will generate a better connection with people.
Everyone values those who make a small effort to empathize , as they take it as a sign of respect and acceptance of their customs.
Our recommendation is that you look for any page that teaches basic words before traveling to any of these regions.
We assure you that the experience can become completely more pleasant and you will know, in this way, the benefits of these beautiful towns.
Consider the islands
Spain is not only the Peninsula, and the truth is that some of the best destinations in this country are found on its islands : the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.
In any of them you can give a finishing touch to your trip and we assure you that they will be the ideal complement to close an unforgettable experience.
Among the most prominent, we can mention:
- Gran Canaria