Spain Travel Guide
Spain is an incredibly diverse country which takes full advantage of its undeniably beautiful landscape which includes the dramatic snow capped Pyrenees in the north to the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Andalusia and on to the impressive Teide volcano on Tenerife within the Canary island archipelago. The country is blessed with no shortage of golden beaches and shimmering blue waters which can be found along much of the country's incredibly scenic coastline making it a real playground for water sports activities and for sun worshipers.
Spain has a rich treasure trove of cultural heritage and sites of interest which can be found around its every corner, from striking forts and stunning palaces to impressive cathedrals, museums, natural parks and tranquil gardens. The country has both a modern and ultra chic side as well as a deep rooted traditional air of authenticity which can be enjoyed within its many festivals, events and its flamboyant Flamenco scene.
Spain is located in southwest Europe and has sea borders with the Mediterranean Sea, Balearic Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and land borders with France, Andorra, Portugal and due to Ceuta and Melilla also with Morocco.
Regions And Cities
Spain offers a diverse selection of regions and cities each offering its own unique charm and characteristics
from the bustling capital Madrid to the party island of Ibiza and on to the tranquil and secluded tiny island of Formentera there is plenty to entertain and choose from.
Central Spain contains the regions of Castile-Leon, Extremadura, Castile-La Mancha and Community of Madrid and includes the cities Madrid, Leon, Merida, Badajoz, Caceres, Salamanaca, Toledo, Zamora, Valladolid and Guadalajara.
The effortlessly modern city of Madrid is well known for its thriving nightlife and upmarket shopping opportunities as well as for its rich history and culture which can be enjoyed within its unique museums, galleries and architecture which include impressive buildings such as the Royal Palace and the Almudena Cathedral... more about Madrid
Spain's Andalusia region contains the cities of Seville, Almeria, Cadiz, Cordoba, Huelva, Marbella, Malaga, Jaen and Granada.
The capital of Andalusia offers many historic buildings that contain no shortage of beautiful architecture and antiquities set in amongst a bustling modern city centre well known for its mouth watering tapas and thriving Flamenco scene... more about Seville
Well known for its impressive Alhambra palace and fortress complex the city of Granada also offers a rich Flamenco scene, scenic white washed houses, cobbled streets, museums, shops, restaurants and stunning views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains which provide a breathtaking backdrop to this historic city... more about Granada
- North Spain
The north of Spain contains the regions of Navarre, La Rioja and Basque Country and includes the cities Bilbao, Logrono, Guernica, San Sebastian, Pamplona and Victoria-Gasteiz.
- Northwestern Spain
The northwest contains the regions of Asturias, Galicia and Cantabria and the cities of Santiago de Compostela, Gijon, Oviedo, A Coruna, Vigo and Santander.
- Northeastern Spain
Spain's northeast contains the Aragon and Catalonia regions and the cities of Barcelona, Girona, Figueres, Lloret de Mar, Zaragoza, Tarragona, Sitges and Salou.
The vibrant city of Barcelona has a superb selection of beaches, nightlife and shopping as well as architectural delights that include the Sagrada Familia, Guell Park and Casa Mila... more about Barcelona
The city of Zaragoza is a fascinating blend of historic buildings, culture and ancient Roman monuments which include delights such as Aljaferia Palace, Roman Theatre and the Nuestra Senora del Pilar Basilica which is beautifully located next to the River Ebro, the city also offers a bustling modern side which offers quality shopping and dining opportunities as well an energetic nightlife scene.
- Eastern Spain
Eastern Spain contains the regions of Murcia and Valencia and the cities of Alicante, Valencia, Benidorm, Cartagena, Castellon, Javea, Peniscola and Murcia.
- Balearic Islands
The islands of Mallorca, Ibiza, Minorca, Cabrera and Formentera are all part of the Balearic islands and each offer their own unique charm from the party island of Ibiza to the more tranquil natural retreat of Formentera and Minorca... more about the Balearic Islands
- Canary Islands
On the west coast of Africa are the Canary Islands which include Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Tenerife, La Gomera, Lanzarote and Hierro which contain the cities Las Palmas, Arrecife, and Santa Cruz de Tenerife... more about the Canary Islands
- Ceuta and Melilla
The Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla are located in North Africa and border with Morocco.
Spain has a Mediterranean, semiarid and oceanic climate
depending on where in the country you are. with everything from snow in the mountainous regions to scorching heat along the south's sunshine coast in the summer.
The mountains in the north of Spain such as around the Sierra Nevada and Pyrenees have plenty of snowfall throughout the winter, keeping the ski resorts in fine form, while the Canary Islands averages between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter months and 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months. Areas such as Zaragoza enjoy warm summers that often have temperatures around the 75 to 80 degree mark whilst winters can be a more sobering 35 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, with freezing temperatures, frosts and snowfall common.
On Spain's east coast around Barcelona temperatures tend to be cooler during the winter months averaging between 50 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit and during the summer often going up to around the 75 to 85 degree mark.
In areas of central Spain such as Madrid the winters can be quite cold with temperatures around the 40 to 50's or lower while summer temperatures often reach 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit and above.
The south of Spain enjoys mild warm winters that often average around 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit and long summers with temperatures often in excess of the 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit mark.
The Balearic Islands have winter temperatures averaging around 60 to 65 and from May temperatures will start to rise into the 70's with summer temperatures often well into the high 70's to mid 80's.
Spain is very accessible from other parts of Europe and has a good network of travel options available:
There are airports throughout Spain that offer flights of an international and domestic nature. Some of the main airports go to the cities of Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Seville, Valencia, Santiago de Compostela and Alicante.
Spain's two major ports for cruise ships are Santander and Bilbao, and there are also ferry links to Northern Africa with trips from Algeciras and Tarifa to Tangiers, Morocco a relatively quick boat trip away. Boat crossings to the city of Ceuta can be achieved from Algeciras and Melilla can be reached from the ports of Malaga and Almeria. There are also regular boat crossings to the Canary Islands often departing from Cadiz and to the Balearic Islands from Barcelona, Valencia and Denia.
There are regular long distance bus services available for travelling to Spain's many fascinating cities making bus travel a great option. Travelling around within a city by bus is also very easy with many regular services available.
Train travel is another excellent option with regular, often punctual long distance train services running to many cities, however not all areas of Spain have rail links and for shorter journeys some trains can be subject to delays.
There are plenty of car rental agencies at airports and within the cities throughout Spain. Car insurance is a must as is air conditioning and breakdown cover (just in case). To hire a car you will need a valid drivers licence, if it is a paper drivers licence you will also need to take your passport along as well and the car rental documents, drivers licence and insurance documents for the car should be kept with you at all times.
There are no shortage of taxis within the major cities, although, be aware that many taxi drivers do not speak English and only use licenced and registered taxis.
There are ample opportunities to hire bicycles and in many cities there are cycle lanes as well making it a great choice for getting around.
Spain has no shortage of beautiful sites and attractions from its pristine beaches, scenic volcanoes and snow capped mountain ranges to historic World Heritage Sites which are packed with architectural delights and a wealth of history and culture.
Some of the many highlights include:
- Sagrada Familia (Barcelona)
This impressive Roman Catholic church in Barcelona was designed by
Catalan architect Antonio Gaudi and features many superb spires and elaborate facades as well as an incredibly decorative interior... more about the Sagrada Familia
- Poble Espanyol (Barcelona)
The Poble Espanyol is a unique model village and architectural museum that was purpose built for the 1929 Barcelona International Exhibition to show the many different architectural styles of the Spain... more about the Poble Espanyol
The city of Granada is home to the impressive Alhambra complex which includes the Palace of Charles V, the beautiful Generalife Gardens, the Alcazaba and the Nasrid Royal Palace... more about Alhambra
- Royal Palace (Palacio Real) (Madrid)
This grand palace features beautiful architecture and design both inside and out and contains an impressive collection of artwork, furniture, antiquities as well as the Royal Armoury and Royal Pharmacy which along with several other rooms are open to the public... more about Royal Palace
- Almudena Cathedral (Madrid)
Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena Cathedral is located opposite the Pacio Real in Madrid and features superb architecture and detail inside and out... more about Almudena Cathedral
- Real Alcazar(Seville)
The Royal Palace (Reales Alcazares) is one of Seville's most historic buildings that was originally a Moorish Fort and features many superb areas of architecture as well as beautifully presented courtyards and gardens with no shortage of antiquities as well... more about Real Alcazar
- Seville Cathedral
Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See in Seville is an enormous Gothic Cathedral and a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is located within the very heart of Seville... more about Seville Cathedral
- Teide Volcano and National Park (Tenerife)
The Teide Volcano within the Teide National Park on Tenerife in the Canary Islands offers the chance to travel by cable car to close to the summit of this natural landmark taking in some spectacular and breathtaking views along the way... more about Tenerife
- Sunset Strip (Ibiza)
The island of Ibiza within the Balearic archipelago has a unique stretch of beach known as Sunset Strip which offers one of the most superb places to enjoy watching a sunset whilst also taking full advantage of all the bars and restaurants that line this popular stretch as well... more about Ibiza
- Art and Museums
Spain is home to an excellent selection of art museums which include Madrid's famous Golden Triangle of Art which contains the Museo del Prado, Reina Sofia National Museum and Art Centre and the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum of Art which are all within a short walk of each other. Barcelona is another
city rich with art and architecture and contains the Picasso Museum as well as architectural delights from Gaudi which include the Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila and Guell Park... more about the Golden Triangle of Art, Madrid and the Picasso Museum, Barcelona
Spain is blessed with a superb selection of beaches that vary from quiet secluded coves to trendy sandy strips lined with palm trees, bars and restaurants. For those who want to combine city with sand then head for Barcelona, Ibiza or Alicante and for water sports the Canary Islands have plenty to keep you entertained with some excellent scuba diving and windsurfing opportunities... more about Spain Beaches
There are no shortage of adventure sports available that include windsurfing and scuba diving in the Canary Islands, to skiing, hiking, canyoning, horseback riding and rock climbing such as within the Sierra Nevada National Park to exploring by kayak the many superb bays and coves around the Balearic Islands or simply enjoying the golden sandy beaches and beautiful waters that can be found along much of Spain's coastline... more about Adventure Travel In Spain
There are plenty of retail therapy opportunities throughout Spain from the upmarket designer shops in Madrid that contain all the latest styles to the smaller boutiques of the Canary Islands where you can pick up some unique and fashionable clothing and footwear.
Barcelona is equally well known for its shopping with a great selection of well known brand names and for its malls with the El Corte Ingles packed full of just about everything under one roof. Then there are also the smaller shops and markets that also eagerly await to be explored with some great bargains available for those willing to venture off the main boulevards.
There are also no end of souvenir shops available from replicas of well known monuments to Flamenco outfits that are full of colour such as can be found in Seville are amongst some of the many popular souvenir choices available.
Many of the large shopping malls and designer shops are often open all day from around 10 am through to about 10 pm at night, although there are still many shops and boutiques that close during the afternoon from 2pm to 5pm for a siesta.
Sales are also very popular and usually start around the 7th of January through to about the end of February and then often during the summer as well often taking place between July and August.
The cuisine in Spain is both rich and varied and has several deep rooted traditional dishes, from the wide ranging paella to emapanada and tapas. Some Spanish dishes are simplicity themselves while others have a more wholesome and rustic charm that go beautifully with a bottle of wine.
Different regions often focus on their own style and ingredients with coastline regions taking full advantage of plenty of fresh fish and seafood that is often beautifully blended together with a Spanish twist. There are no shortage of restaurants awaiting to amaze your palate from small cafes to Michelen star restaurants that can be found throughout the country, especially within Madrid and Barcelona.
Festivals And Events
There are several festivals and events taking place throughout the year that include religious festivals and long standing traditional fairs to music, dance, art and sporting events... more about Spain Festivals and Events