Spain travel advice
Spain’s reputation as a country of rich food and wines, and passionate music draws great numbers of visitors each year. From its vibrant and eclectic museums, inspired flamenco shows, relaxing beaches and everything in-between, Spain’s varied offerings make it an attractive destination.
Planning your trip
While Spain may not be the most off-the-beaten-track destination, we still approach planning trips there with our usual goal of offering truly different ways to experience a country. Our specialists have scoured Spain to find the best it has to offer, learning the best tips and tricks for getting the most out of your time there, so they can expertly help you plan your adventure.
Spain’s official language is Spanish, specifically Castilian, though English is spoken widely. In addition to Castilian, there are three major regional languages — Catalan, Galician and Basque — which you’re likely to hear when visiting these respective areas.
Food & drink
Spanish food and wine are revered the world over and Spain is well-known for its fresh fish, cured meats and distinctive cheeses. It’s a country that brings to mind yellow-hued paella, plentiful shellfish, unbelievably varied tapas dishes and cool, refreshing glasses of sangria. Spain is also home to several notable wine varietals, most famously reds from the Rioja region, though it also produces several delicious whites as well as high-quality sparkling cava wine in the Penedès region close to Barcelona.
Festivals & public holidays
Spaniards love a celebration and there are several country-wide festivals and holidays throughout the year. As well as celebrating religious events, a great majority are dedicated to food, music and dance, such as Granada’s International Festival of Music and Dance and la Batalla del Vino (‘the Battle of Wine’) in La Rioja.
The biggest week of festivals is Semana Santa, or Holy Week, which precedes Easter. During this time, parishes in each city join together in parades with elaborate statues of saints, carried by hooded men known as penitentes.
- 1st January — New Year’s Day
- 6th January — Epiphany
- March/April — Good Friday
- March/April — Easter Monday
- 1st May — Labor Day
- 15th August — Assumption
- 12th October — Hispanic Day
- 1st November — All Saints’ Day
- 6th December — Constitution Day
- 8th December — Feast of the Immaculate Conception
- 25th December — Christmas Day
Tipping isn’t customary in Spanish restaurants, as it’s deemed waiters are paid a reasonable wage. If you receive exceptional service, you might wish to leave a few euros though. Taxi drivers don’t expect much of a tip either, but for a superior ride you could leave a small tip by rounding up the cost of your fare to the nearest euro. For porters assisting with luggage, a tip of a couple of euros is appropriate.
Money & Expenses
Spain uses the euro, which you can obtain easily before travel. Visa, Mastercard and American Express are all widely accepted, though keep in mind that proprietors may ask you to pay in cash for smaller transactions.
Cash is easily obtainable at ATMs (cajeros automáticos), which are all over major cities. It should be noted that, when withdrawing large amounts, you’re likely to receive large bills (of €50 or more), which many small stores may not accept.
Spain’s country dialling code is +34. Making international calls or calling from hotels can be quite expensive, but most hotels, restaurants and cafes provide complimentary Wi-Fi, usually indicated by a sign in the window. It’s also a good idea to check with your phone company prior to travel to make sure you understand its policies and charges for making calls while overseas.
Our certified country specialists can advise on any safety concerns you may have. For current information, please refer to the State Department website.
When to go to Spain
You'll find temperature and rainfall information, together with a month-by-month guide on visiting, on our guide for when to go to Spain.
7 hours 40 upwards dependent on airline (New York to Madrid)