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Spain travel guide

From magnificent art museums and architecture, to flamenco-filled fiestas and endless nightlife, Spain has a ton of highlights to keep you coming back for more. Quirky festivals like La Tomatina, beautiful islands off the coast, the famous clubs of Ibiza, hiking volcanoes and mountains, and all the tapas and Sangria you could ever want makes Spain one of Europe's ultimate destinations.
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Official language: 

Regional languages:
blue stacked coins icon Currency
Name: Euro
Code: EU
Symbol: €
blue clock icon Time Zone
Mainland & Balearics: 
Central European Time 
(UTC +1:00)

The Canary Islands:
Western European Time
(UTC +0:00)

Our favorite destinations in Spain

A woman carrying a backpack facing backward with her arms stretched out looking at the city of 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, tons of galleries, all night jazz joints, fun locals, food markets and the otherworldly Sagrada Familia are just a few of our highlights.
Aerial view of Madrid city landscape with a yellow sky in the background


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 center, which are studded with some of the most fashionable boutiques in the world. 2,800 hours of annual sunshine, plus plenty of galleries and cathedrals seal the deal!
Large group of people in beach clothing cheering at the camera in 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.
Narrow pathways lined by buildings of Old Town in San Sebastian

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?
A woman facing backward standing in front of a door of a building with balconies and blue tiled walls

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!?
Close up of Bougainvillea against the backdrop of buildings of Valencia in Spain

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?!
A man and a woman facing backward sitting atop a boulder looking out at the sea

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.

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 72 F 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.

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

read blog
STA Travel Blog

The five quirkiest & craziest festivals in Europe

read blog

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