Spain

Spain

Travel Guide

Spain is known for its delicious food and wine, stunning beaches, and endless nightlife.

From crazy Ibiza, to festival and music-filled Barcelona, to traditional flamenco dancers, the Spanish know how to have a good time! Let’s not forget the infamous La Tomatina, when over 30,000 tomato-loving folk flock to Bunyol to throw, well, tomatoes.

Fiestas aside, Spain has some of the best beaches in the world on offer, and an amazing history reflected in its prehistoric cave paintings, Moorish palaces, crumbling castles, Roman ruins, Gothic, Renaissance and Modernist cathedrals, and amazing art galleries, like the Guggenheim in Bilbao, and the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. If you're heading to Europe, Spain is a country you can't miss...

Spain: Fast Facts

language in italy

Languages Spoken

Spanish is the official language but there are also a number of other languages spoken: Catalan in Catalonia (including Barcelona and Ibiza), Galician in Galicia, Euskera/Basque in the Basque Country, Valencian in the Valencia Region. You can get by with Spanish, though!

italy currency

Currency

Name: Euro
Code: EU
Symbol: €
€25 is approx $30

time zone in italy

Time Zone

Spanish mainland and Balearics: GMT + 1
The Canary Islands (Tenerife, Gran Canaria): GMT

Our favourite destinations in Spain

Barcelona
Barcelona
Sandwiched between a pristine beach, and soaring hilltops encrusted with Gaudi's art, Barcelona really is a city with it all. A Gothic Quarter which will leave you starry-eyed, insane nightlife, festivals all summer long, heaps of galleries, all night jazz joints, fun locals, food markets and the otherworldly Sagrada Familia are just a few of our highlights.
madrid
Madrid
There are more bars per capita in Madrid than in any other European city – proof that Spain's capital loves to party! Explore the narrow labyrinths of Madrid's medieval quarter and the grand 18th and 19th Century boulevards around the centre, which are studded with some of the most fashionable boutiques in the world. 2,800 hours of annual sunshine, plus heaps of galleries and cathedrals seal the deal!
ibiza
Ibiza & the Balearic Islands
The Balearic Islands consist of Mallorca (sometimes called Majorca), Menorca, Formentera (home to one of the prettiest beaches in the world) and of course, Ibiza. A night in a club here is likely to be one of the best of your life... but in between all-night raving and blissed-out beach hopping, take time to discover the churches and monuments of Ibiza's Old Town.
san sebastian old town
San Sebastian
This idyllic city in the heart of Spain's northern Basque country may not be super famous, but that's exactly why we love it. Just a short trip from the buzz of Bilbao, San Sebastian is home to a gorgeous beach, romantic old town, and the best, cheapest and most plentisome wine and pintxos spots in Spain. Sangria, anyone?

Spain: travel costs

cost of beer in spain

Drinks

A pint of the local beer in Spain is approx. €2.50 ($3), but can cost a few euros more in the centres of Barelona or Madrid. We'd recommend the local speciality, sangria - a mix of red wine and fruit, which you can find in large jugs for as cheap as €10.

cost of food in spain

Meals

A tapas lunch or a plate of tasty egg tortilla accompanied by coffee can cost well under €5 (under $6) in an inexpensive local cafe, whereas a main course somewhere a little fancier will be around €10 (around $12). Look out for pintxos bars where each tapas items are around a euro each.

cost of transport in spain

Transport

The prices of transport in Spain differ depending on where you are, but on average a one-way ticket on local transport is around €1.50. The train and bus network is extensive and efficient.

cost of cab in italy

Taxi

Taxi tariffs start at around €5 (approx. $6) with around €1.50 added for every km your travel. Be sure to use licensed taxis on your way home after late nights in cities like Barcelona in order to stay safe and avoid being ripped off.

hostels in italy

Hostels

Accommodation prices fluctuate depending on the season; expect higher rates during summer, especially on islands like Ibiza. Grab yourself a dorm bed in a hostel in any city on the mainland, from around $20 a night.

hotels in italy

Hotels

Looking for something a little nicer for your holidays? You can splash out on a private hotel room for around €30 ($35-40) per person, per night. These can book up fast during the summer months, so book ahead, especially if you're looking for somewhere to rest your head in Ibiza.

Italy

Adventure Tours

spain contiki tour
Fiestas & Siestas | 12 days
Madrid's glistening shops and all-night bars? Check. Balmy summer evenings in Barcelona? Check. San Sebastian's endless pintxos bars? Those too! Throw in Zaragoza's awe-inspiring basilica, and a few nights in Portugal's insanely artsy capital. Lisbon, and you've got yourself your dream trip to Europe. Did we mention you'll be visiting Porto, too!?
From £2,285
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Valencia
Ibiza & Beyond | 9 days
Fancy the holiday of a lifetime through Spain's four best spots? Look no further. You'll spend two nights in beautiful Barca before heading on to Ibiza for three days of amazing parties, clubs and beaches. Recover in dreamy Valencia before heading on to Spain's capital, Madrid for your final two nights. Did we mention this includes your accommodation, breakfast, a guide and a bus-load of other party-hungry travelers?!
From $1,829
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Mediterranean Highlights tour
Mediterranean Highlights | 13 days
Kicking off in Rome, the capital of all things culture, you'll journey to Florence with your Contiki crew before hitting up the most Instagrammable destination of them all: the Cinque Terre *sigh*. Pose at Pisa, kick back on the French Riviera and visit Monaco (hello, new stamp on the passport!), before spending four amazing nights split between Barcelona and Madrid.
From $2,608
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When's the best time to visit Spain?

Weather conditions vary throughout Spain but the country generally experiences a warm Mediterranean climate with over 3,000 sunshine hours per year. The location of the Canary Islands especially (facing the coast of Africa) produces mild temperatures of around 22oC year round with only small temperature differences between day and night, and whatever the season - so even if you're craving sunshine and a tan in December, you can head to the Canaries to get some!

The summer months of July and August are the hottest of the year, which means things get busy. If you're heading to Ibiza to party, this is when most of the action happens! If you're a culture vulture, intent on soaking up more than just sunshine and beaches, spring and autumn are the best times to visit Spain, in order to avoid crowds and bag cheaper rates on accommodation and flights. Spring is especially exciting, as is the season for festivals and the Spanish climate is the most bearable.

Higher parts of the country such as the Pyrenees, the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Central and Iberian ranges experience a harsher climate with snow from the beginning of winter to the end of spring (from November to March). 

Do I need a visa to visit Spain?

Americans can enter Spain for tourist or business purposes, and are allowed to stay for up to 90 days without a visa. You just need to have a passport that is valid for at least three months after you plan on leaving.

Can I work or study in Spain?

Yes! It is possible for US citizens to work or study there. A popular option is au pairing, so that the Spanish children you look after learn English. Visit our Study Abroad page to find out more - or even better, call one of our Travel Experts to chat all things working visa.

Start planning your adventure

Looking for some Spain travel inspiration? Check out our blogs...

Travel Blog

The best of Barcelona on a budget

read blog
travel blog

The 7 best things to do in Spain

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STA Travel Blog

The five quirkiest & craziest festivals in Europe

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