Before you travel anywhere, you should always make the effort to learn a bit about the location. This will help you to plan the perfect vacation and it will also help you to make the most out of your trip in general.
Weather and Climate
Spain is a huge country and it’s also incredibly diverse. There are various climate zones in the country and this makes it all the more unique. Summers in Spain tend to be hot and very dry, whereas when winter hits, you may wake up to find entire rooftops covered in snow. This is especially the case if you stay near to Sierra Nevada. Seville is one of the hottest cities in the area and it’s not uncommon for temperatures to rise well above 30 °C in summer. If you are concerned about the heat then try and avoid this location during July or August.
Spain is part of the European Union. If you hold EU citizenship then you only need to have a valid passport. If you don’t have an EU passport, for example, if you’re Australian, Canadian or American, then you will be able to stay without a visa for up to 90 days. If you only plan on visiting for a couple of weeks then you won’t have to worry at all, but if you are planning on travelling to other Schengen countries after then it is worth checking the visa restrictions as the same time limit does apply. If you are planning on visiting Spain and you need to get a visa, then make sure that you apply well in advance. This is especially the case if you are looking for a property for sale.
The currency in Spain is the Euro. In supermarkets or even in bigger stores, you can usually pay via an EU debit card. Visa and even Mastercard tend to be widely accepted, but if you have a smaller credit card then this may not be the case. If you want to avoid any trouble, then it is a good idea for you to carry cash with you as much as possible. Tipping in Spain is not mandatory at all, but it is common practice if you were to get in a taxi or even if you were to visit a hotel or restaurant. The amount you tip will depend on the price you’re paying and even how great the service you received was. Usually, this will be around 5-10%. If you’re travelling from America then this will probably be less than you might tip in your home country.
Plugs and Electronics
In Spain, you will be using a two-prong plug. This is classed as being an E or an F plug. Usually, you’ll need one that’s 230 volts. This is the same as the ones you’d find in Denmark, France or Germany, but it is not the same as the ones you’d find in Cyprus, the UK or even in Malta.
Spain is absolutely full of airports. The main ones include Barcelona, Sevilla and Madrid. You shouldn’t ever have a problem getting to Spain from other parts of the EU or even from overseas. When you are in Spain, it is highly recommended that you rent a car or even that you take advantage of the public transportation system. Buses tend to be faster and sometimes cheaper than trains, and this is especially the case if you are staying in northern Spain. If you
are in southern Spain, then the train is cheaper.
In Spain, people drive on the right. Driving in Spain is very safe but if you are staying in a big city then you may find the roads slightly hectic. There are a lot of rental car agencies that you can use to get to where you need to be, but you will need to be over the age of 21. You might also need to have held your license for a minimum of 2 years if you want to hire a car as well. If you have a driving license from an EU country, then you will be fine to drive in Spain. If you have another license, then you may need to apply for an international driving license. You can do this in advance and it is super easy to do. It’s also worth noting that there are some toll roads. You need to check beforehand to see the route you’ll be taking so that you know to carry some cash with you. You can avoid the toll roads by taking some of the smaller roads that are nearby, but this can significantly extend your driving time.
The official language in Spain is of course, Spanish. That being said, Euskera is classed as being an official language in Basque, so it is important to take note that the language in one location might be different to another. In Catalonia, Catalan is often spoken. It can be quite confusing to see that the street signs in Valencia do not match the street names that are on your map that you picked up in Castellano. At the end of the day, if you know that you are going to be visiting Spain for the very first time then it is always a good idea for you to learn basic Spanish. That being said, you really don’t want to be afraid to learn a few new words whenever you travel to a new area. This will help you to broaden your cultural horizon and it will also help you to connect with the locals too. If you aren’t sure about the place where you are visiting, then pick up a guide book when you are there and also try and do some research online. This can go a long way and it can also help you to feel more at ease when you arrive.
Communicate with the Locals
Spanish people are very friendly, polite and open. They are often willing to show tourists around and they take pride in their culture. Sometimes it can be difficult for you to communicate with them however, depending on the region that you are visiting. English is a very common language in the tourism industry, so if you are visiting a very popular town then you may be able to get away without learning any Spanish. That being said, it does help to learn a few phrases. The locals will appreciate it and they will also respect you more as a result. If you find it hard to communicate or if you want to learn more then you need to start by saying hello to everyone you see. When you do this, you will encourage them to talk back to you and this can really help you to break down the language barrier. If you want to take things to that next level, then it may be beneficial for you to hire a tour guide. When you do, they can show you around everywhere and they can also help you to learn the phrases you need to know along the way. Of course, another benefit of hiring a guide is that they can show you some of the more underground gems of Spain, that you might not know about unless you are a local.
So, travelling to Spain is relatively easy and when you utilise the above tips, you can be sure to have a great time while also increasing your own understanding of the country.