WHY GO TO SPAIN?
Spain has everything you could possibly want. Visit the country to lounge on stunning, sandy white beaches, run across acres of vineyards, marvel at historic sights in vibrant cities, party at hip nightclubs and feast on cutting-edge cuisine. There are tons of non-stop flights into Barcelona and Madrid. If you arrive in the afternoon, take a siesta and indulge in a pitcher of sangria. If you arrive at night, dinner doesn’t start until 10pm and the nightlife gets going just after midnight. Dance the flamenco and snack on chocolate churros…you’re in Spain and anything goes!
See what it looks like in our SPAIN PHOTO GALLERY.
Check out our SPAIN ITINERARIES for amazing activities, great places to stay, eat and drink.
WHERE TO GO BY INTEREST
⭐ First Timers Wanting to Hit the Must-Sees
Start by spending two days in Barcelona and/or Madrid. Madrid is great for historic sights and museums. Barcelona is perfect for beaches, food and nightlife. Then, leave the city limits. Head for the countryside, vineyards and beach towns.
⛱ Getting Beachy
Spain’s best beaches are located in the south of the country (in Andalucia) and on the Balearic islands: Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca.
⛰ For the Love of the Outdoors
Head inland on the Costa Blanca and Andalucia for miles of hiking trails and biking. Head for the Pyrenees Mountains on the border with France to rock-climb, white-water raft and trek.
🍷 Wine Enthusiasts
Fly into Bilbao and head to the vineyards of Rioja for a few days. Or fly into Barcelona and drive to Priorat, incredible wine country.
🛍 Shopping Till You Drop
The obvious choices are glitzy Barcelona and Madrid.
🍽 Calling All Foodies
Barcelona and Madrid have tons of places to eat – there are low key mom and pop cafes, glitzy and stylish restaurants and everything in between. But if you’re on a mission for tapas and Michelin stars, don’t miss San Sebastian.
✈ Long Weekend Options from the U.S.
It’s possible to reach Barcelona and Madrid by a 7.5 hour non-stop flight from NYC. So a three day weekend is definitely doable, just load up on the caffeine.
⬄ Combining Spain With a Neighboring Country
The obvious choices are the neighboring countries of Portugal and France.
If You Want Totally Off the Beaten Track
Check out the rugged coast and mountains near Asturias, in northwest Spain.
WHERE TO GO BY REGION
Madrid. The capital of Spain. Madrid has incredible museums, historic sights, nightlife, shops and restaurants.
Barcelona. Barcelona has the good life: sunny weather, outdoor cafes, golden beaches, hip hotels.
Balearic Islands. Three Mediterranean islands with gorgeous beaches. Ibiza is the best place for music, nightlife and the bohemian island style. Mallorca is more family friendly and diverse. Menorca is filled with rustic farms and understated charm.
Costa Blanca. The southeast coast of Spain. Small villages and sandy, golden beaches.
Andalucia. The southwest coast of Spain. Beautiful beaches and lots of sun-seeking tourists, particularly in Marbella. For culture, stop and explore the city of Seville.
WHEN’S THE BEST TIME TO VISIT SPAIN?
Literally, anytime. May through September, head to the the Balearic Islands, Costa Blanca and Andalucia for sea and sun. There is little rainfall and the average temperature hovers around 79F in August. In the winter, check out Barcelona and Madrid which get plenty of sunshine despite the chill in the air. In January, the average temperature in Madrid is 42F and in Barcelona, it’s 49F. Chilly, but not deal-breaker cold. Spring and fall are the best times to venture out into the Spanish countryside, where pending on the season, you can pick wildflowers in bloom or help take in the harvest.
PASSPORT & VISA REQUIREMENTS
If you’ll be in Spain for under 90 days, a visa is not required for U.S. and most European citizens. From the U.S, your passport must be valid for at least three months beyond your planned date of departure and you must have two pages for each entry stamp. Additional information from the U.S. State Department about Spain, including travel requirements, is located here.
Visa and passport requirements for other countries may be located here.
HOW DO I PAY FOR STUFF?
Currency: All of Spain is on the Euro.
ATMs/Credit Cards: Our advice is always have a stash of cash on hand. Fancier and bigger establishments and those around touristy areas, usually take credit card but not always and often not American Express. ATMs in Spain are fairly common but are less prevalent (and sometimes run out of cash) in more remote places.
Tipping: Like most European countries, tipping is 5-10% (10% when there’s heavier service involved) in restaurants.
Money saving tip: Some hotels and merchants offer discounts if you pay cash, so ask.
EATING & DRINKING
Locals eat all their meals later than in the U.S. Typically, hotel breakfasts don’t start until 8 or 8:30 and restaurants don’t open for lunch until 12pm (locals eat around 2pm) and dinner until 7pm (locals eat after 10pm). Bars don’t get busy in cities until after midnight.
Meals are not a rushed affair, so if you’re in a hurry, let your server know. Restaurants do not ask if you’re ready for the check and will only bring it if you ask for it.
Take away coffee is hard to find, so do like the locals and sit (or stand!) and have a café solo.
Spanish regions, even cities and towns, are known for specific food and drinks. These are noted in each Travel Honey itinerary, but we’ve listed some must tries anywhere you go:
Paella. Mounds of tasty rice with veggies and either seafood or meat. Traditionally served in large, metal pan.
Croquetas. Little balls of fried rice, ham and cheese.
Gazpacho. Cold, fresh tomato puree soup.
Patatas Bravas. Fried potato cubes covered in a mayo paprika sauce.
Jam Iberico. Thin slices of fancy ham, cut with a sharp knife from the whole leg.
Pan Con Tomate. Toasted bread covered in a tomato, olive oil and garlic spread.
HOW DO I USE MY CELL PHONE IN ITALY?
Get a SIM card, it’s super easy and the service is good. Read the Ultimate Guide to Using Your Cell Phone Abroad for more information to make your decision.
WHAT SHOULD I READ, WATCH AND LISTEN TO BEFORE THE TRIP?
Read Don Quixote by Cervantes. Watch Julieta, 2016 Cannes Film Festival nominee, a family tale based in Madrid. Listen to the King of Latin Pop, Enrique Iglesias…that’s right, we went there.