Travelling to Spain for the First Time? Useful Suggestions Await!
Ah, Spain. As one in every of Lisa’s favorite locations on the planet, we write about Spain journey fairly a bit! Lisa studied overseas in Bilbao for months and travelled as a lot as Spain as she might.
Present her a map of Spain – she will get excited! Eric has solely been to Barcelona so Lisa needs to take him again to Spain quickly.
That stated, in case you are planning a visit to Spain for the primary time, there are a few issues you need to know and we’re right here to interrupt them down for you. It may be simple to get caught up within the sunshine and neglect concerning the place round you!
As for extra Spain journey ideas, if you wish to know what to carry when travelling to Spain, we’re writing a Spain packing listing very quickly!
For now, whether or not you’re in search of how a lot to tip, what forex to make use of, easy methods to hire a automotive, Spanish tradition or you’re simply in search of common info to your Spain journey, now we have you coated under!
Normal Info About Spain
Spain is situated in Western Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. It’s a part of the European Union, and makes use of Central European Commonplace Time.
So you may look it as much as see what the time distinction (if any) is for you. The nation itself is comprised of 17 autonomous areas that usually have totally different geography, tradition, and typically even language.
General Spain has a inhabitants with barely over 46 million folks. Madrid is the capital with barely greater than 3 million inhabitants.
Enjoyable Reality: Madrid is situated just about proper within the middle of the nation which is a sensible place for a capital metropolis to be.
There are a number of different large cities like Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Zaragoza and Malága. Spain additionally has a number of islands with notable ones being Mallorca, Ibiza, and Tenerife.
The official language of Spain is Spanish – and the model you could be pondering of is known as Castellano. That stated, there are different languages spoken and we dive into that down under within the languages part!
Climate and Local weather in Spain
Spain is kind of a big nation and has a various geography. Which means that there are totally different local weather zones all through the nation.
Often summers are scorching and dry whereas winters are delicate and wet. Through the summer season, you may count on temperatures as much as 30 °C (typically even hotter) and within the winter temperatures between 10 – 15 °C.
In fact, these temperatures fluctuate relying on the area you’re visiting. You’ll be able to even discover areas the place there may be snow within the winter equivalent to in Sierra Nevada near Granada.
Seville is among the hottest cities of the nation and temperatures above 30 °C in the summertime are fairly widespread. Since it isn’t by the ocean, it could possibly really feel even hotter. Subsequently, we’d suggest to keep away from this space throughout July and August.
Visa Info to Go to Spain
Spain is a part of the European Union and the Schengen Zone. As such, you solely want a legitimate ID or passport if you happen to maintain an EU-citizenship.
In case you didn’t know, the Schengen Zone is an space in Europe comprised of 26 nations that permit free motion between them upon getting “entered the zone”.
Most main non-European passports (Canadian, America, Australian, and many others.) can keep within the Schengen Zone with no visa for as much as 90 days inside a span of 180 complete days.
So that you’ll be high quality if you happen to solely go to Spain for a number of weeks. Nonetheless, you do have to take into accounts any time you spend in different Schengen nations earlier than or after your time in Spain.
Additionally, all the time test the visa restrictions to your passport along with your nation’s authorities/embassy earlier than leaving! If you happen to want a visa for the Schengen Zone, you’ll have to apply beforehand.
Learn Extra – Our Europe Packing Record When Travelling Carry-On Solely!
Paying and Tipping In Spain
The nationwide forex utilized in Spain is the Euro. In supermarkets and greater outlets, you may normally pay with a European Debit Card or worldwide bank card.
Visa and Grasp Card are broadly accepted, smaller bank cards not all the time.
Whilst you pays with card in larger shops we nonetheless suggest that you’ve money with you while you exit to eat, go for a espresso, or out for a drink – particularly when going to small bars.
Generally it’s only doable to pay with money at these locations. You don’t must get Euro in your house nation however we suggest that you simply take out some cash from an ATM when you arrive in Spain.
Tipping in Spain just isn’t necessary however it’s a widespread observe in bars, eating places, resorts and taxis. How a lot you tip is dependent upon the whole value and the way nice the service was.
Often you may count on to tip round 5 – 10% of the whole value – so in case you are coming from North America that is barely lower than you may tip at residence.
Plugs/Electronics Utilized in Spain
Spain makes use of a two-prong plug labeled as kind C or E/F plug with 230 Volt – that’s the identical as in lots of different European nations equivalent to Germany, France, Denmark – however not within the UK, Malta, Eire or Cyprus.
So in case you are travelling to Spain from one other European nation, you almost certainly gained’t want an adapter/converter.
Nonetheless, in case you are visiting Spain from North America you’ll need an adapter for the reason that plug type is totally different than in america or Canada.
Whereas most of your digital equivalent to cellphone and laptop computer chargers or hair dryers ought to have the ability to deal with 230-volt plugs, be sure that to double test the label beforehand!
Getting To/Round Spain
Spain has many airports – a number of the main ones are in Madrid, Barcelona, Málaga, Sevilla and Bilbao on the mainland and Mallorca, Ibiza, and Tenerife on the islands.
Usually, you shouldn’t have an issue attending to Spain from different elements of Europe and even abroad.
When you’re in Spain, you may both hire a automotive (which we’ll cowl additional down) or make use of their public transport system.
Spain has a dependable practice and bus system that Lisa has used many, many occasions throughout her time in Spain. One of many largest bus firms is Alsa – you may take a look at their web site right here.
The general public practice firm is known as RENFE. We’d suggest to all the time test each practice and bus choices as typically buses can truly be sooner (and normally cheaper) than trains.
That is for instance the case within the Basque nation. Within the south the practice is normally sooner, although.
Driving and Renting a Automobile in Spain
In Spain folks drive on the proper facet as in most elements of Europe. Usually driving in Spain is fairly secure however some Spaniards could be thought-about “reckless drivers” – so it may be a bit of bit loopy in larger cities.
If you happen to’re not used to driving in large cities anyway, perhaps keep away from doing it in Spain.
There are many rental automotive companies in Spain since it’s such a preferred vacationer vacation spot. You should be over 21 (and in some instances older relying on the corporate) and have had your license for a sure period of time (normally 1-2 years) to rent a automotive.
You’ll be able to examine costs for leases from totally different firms right here. As all the time be sure that to test for any damages instantly while you get the automotive.
If you happen to maintain a driver’s license from one other European Union nation you’ll be high quality to drive in Spain as properly. In case you have a drivers license from one other nation, you’ll more than likely want a world drivers license along with your common license.
You may get that in your house nation earlier than leaving to your journey to Spain. Eric has one from Canada.
In Spain, there are fairly a number of toll roads that are similar to the highways you could be used to. We’d suggest that you simply test your route beforehand so you recognize whether or not you’ll be utilizing toll roads – have some money with you for that, simply in case.
It’s typically doable to keep away from toll roads by utilizing smaller roads shut by – nevertheless, this may end up in longer driving occasions.
Pace limits are normally 120 km/h on motorways, 100 km/h on nation roads, and 50 km/h on inside metropolis roads – and all distances are given in kilometres not miles.
Security in Spain
Spain is usually a reasonably secure nation. Nonetheless, pick-pocketing does happen fairly incessantly particularly in larger centres equivalent to Madrid and Barcelona.
Lisa is aware of at the least 5 those who had their cellphone and/or pockets stolen in one in every of these two cities. So please watch out and solely take the issues that you simply want out with you.
If you happen to can, depart bank cards, drivers license, and many others. on the resort while you discover town and particularly while you exit at evening.
As for well being and security, the summer season solar could be extremely popular. So, be sure that to put on sunscreen, drink sufficient water and put on a hat.
We all the time have our water bottles topped up and since you may (for probably the most half) drink the faucet water in Spain, this shouldn’t be an issue. In case you are uncertain, ask your host or resort!
Languages in Spain
As we briefly talked about up high, the official language in Spain is Spanish (particularly Castellano). That stated, in a number of the autonomous areas there are extra official languages.
For instance, Euskera is an official language within the Basque nation – it’s a really distinctive language and Lisa didn’t handle to study various phrases when she lived in Bilbao for a number of months. You’ll be able to examine issues to do in Bilbao right here!
In Catalona, additionally they converse Catalan which is extra much like “regular Spanish”. In Valencia, Valencian can also be an official languages.
In reality, it may be fairly complicated when the road indicators are in Valencian and so they don’t match the road names in your map in Castellano. Then there may be additionally Galician which is spoken in – you guessed it – Galicia!
Ultimately, in case you are travelling to Spain for the primary time, persist with “fundamental Spanish” however don’t be afraid to study a number of particular phrases within the language of the realm you’re travelling! Talking of talking to folks whereas in Spain…
Speaking With Locals in Spain
Usually, Spanish individuals are fairly pleasant in case you are well mannered and open. Nonetheless, typically it may be troublesome to speak with them if you happen to’re not talking Spanish.
That’s why we suggest that you simply study at the least a number of phrases of Spanish earlier than your journey. English is widespread within the tourism business.
Most younger folks have at the least a fundamental understanding of English – however don’t count on everybody to talk English. Some folks additionally theoretically converse English however could be too afraid/embarrassed to make use of it.
There’s no must be afraid although – Eric for instance doesn’t converse Spanish and he was utterly high quality when he visited Barcelona with some pals.
Cultural Variations Inside Spain
One factor that you simply’ll discover if you happen to go to a number of areas in Spain is that there could be large cultural variations between them.
That is very true between the Basque nation, Catalonia, or Galicia – every with their distinctive identities and languages (as now we have already coated above).
As a traveller, it is crucial that you’re open-minded and don’t make assumptions – simply because one thing is completed in a single a part of Spain doesn’t imply that that is the case for the entire nation.
An instance we all the time like to make use of is that not all Individuals put on cowboy boots and hats in the identical means that not all Germans put on Dirndl and Lederhosn every day.
Spanish Historical past
Whereas this won’t be important to know for planning a go to to Spain, we needed to briefly speak about Spanish historical past since (regardless of the sunshine) it has fairly a number of darker moments.
As travellers ourselves, we predict that you will need to have a fundamental understanding of the nation’s historical past that you’re visiting. This fashion, you may keep away from some very apparent (and doubtlessly embarrassing/awkward) fake pas moments.
Spain had loads of colonies in Central and South America in previous centuries which they misplaced command of in the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth century. Nonetheless to this date, there’s a robust connection between many South American nations and Spain.
With reference to latest historical past, Spain suffered throughout a civil struggle which lasted from 1936 and 1939. The results of the struggle was a 36 12 months lengthy navy dictatorship beneath Francisco Franco.
Lots of issues had been totally different beneath his rule and for some you may nonetheless really feel the consequences right this moment. In 1975, after Franco’s dying, Spain established a democracy after which joined the European Union in 1986.
Lisa realized so much about Spanish historical past at college. If this can be a matter you have an interest in, you’ll find totally different historical past excursions and museums throughout the nation!
In case you are travelling to Spain for the primary time and/or are planning an superior Spain itinerary, now we have different posts that you simply could be serious about!
And there you have got it – 12 issues you need to know when travelling to Spain for the primary time. Spain is a wonderful nation with a lot to supply travellers.
As we talked about, we wish to return there quickly so we will uncover extra of Spain – the small cities alongside the coast are the goal as soon as Lisa has taken Eric by the massive cities!
As all the time, Completely satisfied Spain Waddling!