Spain — The Basics
A land of rich history, diverse cultures, incredible landscapes, and charming cities — Spain has a little bit of everything, making Spain one of the best places to travel for those who bore of monotony. Whether you’re into history and architecture, nightlife, cuisine, beaches, or anything else, Spain has it. Come see for yourself!
Sights and Attractions
Barcelona is full of marvelous things to see. Anyone traveling to Barcelona needs to see the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia . This massive structure stands tall at a whopping 566 feet. Made in a very ornate style, this Basilica is the epitome of maximalist grandiosity. As you take in the sights and sounds of Barcelona, you’ll eventually have to grab a bite to eat and rest your head. Any eatery and hotel can get the job done, but for an adventure turn to the Gothic Quarter.
Huge blocks of well-preserved medieval buildings line the narrow streets in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter . It’s like stepping into another century. Completed in 1420, the Cathedral of Barcelona is an iconic part of Barcelona’s history and image. Many postcards feature this splendid Gothic Cathedral as it is one of the most memorable destinations in the city. Gargoyles, gardens, fountains, and crypts all add up in an absolutely incredible way.
Spain has no shortage of natural attractions. Want to see ancient roman goldmines? Take a trip to Las Medulas Roman Gold Mines in Leon. Want to cross a narrow gorge over 300 feet above a river? Caminito Del Rey in Malaga will do the trick. A wide range of mountains, forests, rivers, and beaches await all you backpackers, kayakers, and sunbathers out there!
Spain Travel Tips
Spain Currency Considerations
Spain uses the Euro! Accepted in 19 countries, the Euro is a pretty versatile currency for adventurers traveling through Europe. You don’t want to wait until your Spain travel adventure begins to exchange your currency.
You’re likely to get a lousy rate as a tourist in Spain. Exchanging currency in airport kiosks and tourist hotspots is a sure way to throw your hard-earned money away. Instead, exchange your currency in your home country. An online currency exchange service is a great way to get the Euros you need at a fair rate. More euros can go towards more churros. And who doesn’t like a churro?
Spain’s a safe place, but you still need to watch your valuables! Your Barcelona Spain travel plans are all about having a good time and seeing new things. This trip is not about getting your wallet jacked or purse stolen. Always keep an eye on purses and bags. For those who carry a wallet in the back pocket, consider carrying the wallet in the front pocket instead. It’s much harder to pickpocket that way. No one wants to work hard for their vacation just for fun to be snatched away.
Hotels in Spain are reasonably priced. Spain is among the best places to travel for backpackers and travelers who are ok with a hostel. There are many, and they can be a great deal.
Flights and Transportation
Spain has a large number of international airports. Book a flight to whichever country is both cheapest and most accommodating to your travel itinerary.
Most cities in Spain have a metro system. The railway network is extensive enough to take you to most cities in the country. Where trains don’t go, buses do. Fare is pretty inexpensive, especially compared to the States.
The national language of Spain is Spanish. In Spain, they refer to the national language as Castilian or Castellano, as it is the language-based in the region of Castile. Many other languages exist within Spain’s bounds, including: Basque, Galician, Catalan, Occitan, Asturian, and quite a few more. Many of these linguistic groups have strong cultural identities. About 35 percent of the country can speak English to varying degrees. You should be able to get around major cities without much trouble. Still, you should learn a few Spanish phrases to travel in Spain more easily. If Barcelona Spain travel is on your itinerary, then consider even learning some basic Catalan phrases. Anything to do with directions, distance, money/transactions, and hotel lingo will help immensely.
Spain Considerations and Etiquette
When you travel in Spain, you’ll find that when someone says they’ll meet you at a certain time, it’s really just a loose suggestion. Punctuality, like in many romance-language countries, is not taken as seriously in Spain. Don’t be offended someone says they’ll meet you at the bar at eight but don’t stroll in until nine.
It can be pretty infuriating for those of us who come from a culture where you do things on time and lateness is frowned upon, but we can’t really give them trouble for it. Being mad at a Spaniard for being “late” is like being mad at a Spaniard for liking gazpacho. That’s just a part of the culture, and it’s their country. The rules are different, and tourists need to accept that in their Spain travel experience. We can grumble to ourselves, our fellow tourist friends, and our social circle back home.
Spain was under the fascist regime of Francisco Franco until 1975. Opinions are split on the former dictator, and passions tend to run hot on either side. As you travel in Spain, you don’t want to offend locals or spark an argument between Spaniards. It’s just not good form. Focus on the positives of the present rather than the demons of the past.
Matadors, bullfighting, and all that jazz may not be your thing. Many people outside of Spain find such acts barbaric, and so does a sizable chunk of the Spanish population. Still, many Spanish people are excited about bullfighting, and they consider the practice an important part of their history and national identity. It’s fine to have an opinion on it, but expressing disgust with or approval of a controversial local custom is a sure way to stoke controversy.
If someone has an opinion on one of their country’s customs, some tourist who is there for two weeks isn’t going to change their mind. If you don’t approve of the bull-related spectacles, research ahead of time and adjust your Spain travel itinerary to avoid certain locales and events.
If you have Barcelona Spain travel plans, then you’ll be in the region of Catalonia. When speaking to Catalonians (also known as Catalans), try not to refer to Catalonians as Spanish. Catalonians tend to hold onto their own identity, and there have been many secessionist movements over the years that have seen quite a bit of Catalonian public support.
Wherever you are in Spain, don’t bring up Catalonian independence, or Basque independence, or Galician independence… Really, just about every region of Spain has a secessionist movement, and some are quite popular. All are controversial. Avoid these subjects like the plague. Spain is one of the best places to travel to meet friendly locals. Don’t trample upon the Spanish people’s kindness and hospitality with callousness and judgment.
Why not visit Spain? It’s affordable. It has everything. The people are friendly. The food is filling. The drinks flow. There really aren’t any downsides, so make the leap, book that ticket, and head on over!
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