Spain Travel Guide
Whether you seek relaxation in the Mediterranean sun, historical sights, impressive volcanic landscapes and delicious cuisine; Spain has it all.
The mainland of Spain is located on the Iberian Peninsula and it also has other territories, such as the Canary Islands located off the coast of Africa. The country has a population of 47 million and its capital and largest city is Madrid. Spanish is widely spoken throughout its territories; other languages are also spoken in certain areas, such as Catalan, Galician, and Basque.
A heritage resulting from the intertwining of classic European Christian culture, Islamic culture brought over from North Africa and Jewish culture has created exuberant styles of art and architecture that make Spain the incredible destination it is today.
Sun worshipers have a countless choice of beaches, from the golden sands of Costa de la Luz on the mainland to the black volcanic shores of Puerto de la Cruz on the island of Tenerife. Throughout Spain, there are so many historical and cosmopolitan towns and cities offering incredible sights. In Barcelona, you’ll find architectural gems by Anton Gaudi dotted around the city, including Sagrada Familia. Seville claims to be the origin of Tapas and it’s home to the Alcázar, Europe's oldest royal palace, which is still in use today. Granada boasts possibly the most famous Moorish fortress, La Alhambra.
We've outlined some general information below that may be helpful to you when planning your next holiday to Spain.
Time Zone & Currency
The currency used in Spain is the Euro. Mainland Spain and the Balearic Islands are 1 hour ahead of Ireland and the UK. The time in the Canary Islands is the same as in Ireland and the UK.
Weather In Spain
The climate of Spain is varied due to the country's size. The weather is generally reflective of it's position in the Mediterranean, and is often warm and sunny in summer and temperate and rainy in winter. The closer you get to the centre of the country, the cooler the weather in autumn and winter, while cities on the coast generally stay warm year round.
Reading For Your Trip To Spain
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Homage to Barcelona by Colm Toibin
The Hand of Fatima by Ildefonso Falcones
Best time to go to Spain
We believe the best time to visit Spain is either Spring (April to June) or in the Autumn (September to November) when it's less crowded and the weather is cooler.
Top Tourist Attractions In Spain
One of the most intricate and interesting buildings in Europe, La Sagrada Familia is a Roman Catholic church in Barcelona designed by the Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi; one of his most iconic and ambitious creations. Construction began in 1892 and the completion date is expected to be 2026.
Mezquita of Cordoba
Cordoba was the capital of the Moorish kingdom of El-Andalus, and this was when the Great Mosque, or ‘Mezquita’ was created. When Cordoba was re-taken by the Christians in 1236, the new rulers were so awed by its beauty that they left it standing, building their cathedral in the midst of its arches and columns.
Granada was the last Muslim city to fall to the Christians in 1492. Today it is still home to the greatest Moorish legacy in Europe - the jewel in Granada’s crown is the Alhambra, which stands at the foot of Spain's highest mountain range, the Sierra Nevada. The Islamic palaces of Alhambra were built during the Nasrid dynasty for the last Muslim Emirs of Spain.
Mount Teide is the highest peak in Spain, and the epicentre of Teide National Park. As well as this impressive volcanic peak, the park is filled with unique geological features of many shapes and colours that are truly a sight to behold.
Plaza de España
Located in Seville, the Plaza was built by a local architect Aníbal González for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. It’s sometimes referred to as the ‘Venice of Seville’ as you can rent small boats to row in the canal. It’s a relaxing place to take a stroll and admire the beautiful mosaic and ceramic works.
Salvador Dalí was born in Figueres, Spain. You can learn more about the surrealist artist by visiting the Dali Museum, which was designed by Dali himself and it houses the largest and most diverse collection of his works.
Top 5 reasons to visit Spain
Spain is rich in history and culture; it's a country full of breath-taking landscapes, historical monuments, vibrant cities and it's renowned for its delicious cuisine
Food and drink in Spain
Eating out is an experience that can enhance your holiday in Spain as you discover new and delicious flavours and soak up the local atmosphere. Spanish people tend to eat late in the evening. A popular way to curb hunger pangs is to nibble a few tapas (small snacks) with a drink. Many bars offer a free tapa with every drink ordered. Varying according to region, they can be anything from a slice of bread and cheese or jamón (cured ham),to a plate of olives or boquerones (anchovies). This Is an enjoyable way to take in local atmosphere, practice your Spanish, and discover new taste sensations! Accompany your tapas with a cool ‘caña’ (small glass of draught beer) or a glass of sherry.
Spain Travel Guide FAQs
Can you give a brief history of Spain?
Spain has a complex, yet interesting history that spans thousands of years. It was under the rule of the Moors for 800 years and their legacy can be seen today at the Alhambra and Mezquita. In the 15th century, Spain colonised many overseas territories becoming a global superpower. Between the 1500s and 1700, the Habsburg dynasty ruled Spain and it was invaded by France during the Napoleonic Wars in the 19th century. There was political instability throughout most of the 20th century in Spain, with the civil war (1936-1939) and the authoritarian regime of General Francisco Franco. After Franco's death in 1975, Spain became a constitutional monarchy, today Felipe VI is the current King.
Do I require a holiday visa to travel to Spain?
All EU/EEA nationals must present their valid passport on arrival in Spain. A visa is not required for EU passport holders. For information on visa requirements for non-EU citizens, we recommend you contact the Spanish embassy or consulate in your country of residence. UK citizens can find further information by visiting www.gov.co.uk
Is it safe to tour Spain?
The places visited while touring Spain are generally safe and our guides will always keep an eye out for you. However, where tourists congregate, there can be opportunists and pickpockets. Be vigilant and always take good care of your personal belongings. Make use of the safe at your hotel and carry a photocopy of your passport when out and about. Always take extra care if using public transport.
Can I use my bank cards while holidaying in Spain?
Most bank cards can be used in Spanish ATMs. Most retailers accept major debit and credit cards. Identification may be requested. We recommend you contact your bank/card provider to check if transaction charges will apply.
What advice do you have for tipping in restaurants while in Spain?
Tipping in Spain is a less common practice than in other countries, however tips are always welcomed. If service charge has not been added to your restaurant bill, you could tip 5% - 10% directly to your waiter and leave a few coins in cafes and bars. Tips for hotel staff who have offered exceptional service will also be appreciated.
What kind of plugs / sockets are used in Spain?
The most common plug type is the continental two-pin round, although some hotels have installed 3-pin square sockets. We recommend you pack an adaptor, just in case.