Spain

Spain

Travel Guide

Trying to fit Spain into a travel category is like trying to justify your bank balance after a heavy night... almost impossible. From magnificent art museums and architecture, to flamenco-filled fiestas and hedonistic partying, the country 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.

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.

spain currency

Currency

Name: Euro
Code: EU
Symbol: €
€25 is approx $38

time in spain

Time Zone

Spain is Central European Summer Time (CEST).
GMT+1 for the Spanish mainland and Balearics
GMT for the Canary Islands
8 hours ahead of Sydney

Our favourite destinations in Spain

Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is one of the most popular Spanish cities - a great place for a short city break! Culture vultures can take their pick of impressive museums, theatres and art galleries, and hundreds of beautiful feats of architecture - such as Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia. Watch the world go by in Las Ramblas, a pedestrian street with dozens of cafes, restaurants and markets as well as street performers. Night owls will also find plenty of cool spots to entertain themselves.
madrid
Madrid
Outstanding art galleries plus fine dining and top nightlife; yes, you're in Madrid. Imagine a painting palette which brings together the world of Picasso, Dali and Miro, mixed with some of the best tapas you've ever tasted and too many bars to shake a cocktail shaker at. For you creative cats, you'll struggle to choose between the Museo del Prado and the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia.
ibiza
Ibiza & the Balearic Islands
Ibiza is a clubbers paradise. Nowhere else compares. Relax on the beaches of Playa d'en Bossa or Cala Basa by day and party at Space, Pacha or Amnesia by night. Not a raver? Hop around the Balearic Islands to explore churches, monuments, caves and the prettiest beach in the world (in Formentera). 
san sebastian old town
San Sebastian
If you've already soaked up the culture of Barcelona and Madrid, then put San Sebastian next on your list. Another ideal city break, this idyllic destination in the heart of Spain's northern Basque country offers up just as much as the main cities - but with less tourists and cheaper wine and tapas! Add to that a great beach, a fascinating old town, stellar views from a viewpoint high above the city, and you've got yourself the perfect Spanish escape!

Spain: travel costs

cost of beer in spain

Drinks

You can pick up a pint of local beer for around €2.50 (approx $3.80) but in the centre of Madrid and Barcelona it can be more. Want to try the local tipple? Go for a jug of Sangria, which can be as little as €10 (approx $15.30).

cost of food in spain

Meals

Go for a tasty tapas lunch or a Spanish omelette for lunch and it'll usually set you back about €5 or less (approx $7.60). A meal out in the evening can cost anywhere from €10+ (approx $15.30).

cost of transport in spain

Transport

The price of transport across Spain differs depending on where you are, but on average a one-way ticket on local transport is around €1.50 (approx $2.30). Taxi's from the main airports into the cities usually cost between €15-€20. It's very easy to get around Spain.

cost of cab in italy

Taxi

Taxi tariffs in Spain are also pretty low - starting at around €5 (approx $7.65) with around €1.50 added for every extra km (approx $2.30). Be sure to use licensed taxis on your way home after late nights in the main cities.

hostels in italy

Hostels

Looking for an inexpensive dorm room so you can spend your money on the rest of the adventure? They start from €15 per night (approx $22). The price of hostels and hotels rises and falls depending on the season, so expect higher rates during summer, especially on islands like Ibiza.

hotels in italy

Hotels

Don't feel like 'slumming it'? You can splash out on a private hotel room for around €30 per person, per night (approx $45).

Spain

Adventure Tours

Spanish Spree | 14 days
With two weeks flamenco-ing your way through Spain, you'll be hablando Español before you know it! Particularly in the Winter time, when our Spanish Spree has a magic local feel. You'll cover numerous parts of this cultured country, exploring everywhere from San Sebastian to Segovia, to Seville. Cultured days and raging nights are ripe for the picking.
From $1,708 | Was £2,009 | 15% off!
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Valencia
Ibiza & Beyond | 9 days
There's more to Ibiza, Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia than partying, ya know... (but maybe not much more, depending on what kind of person you are). On this nine-day fiesta, try and save a bit of time to soak up beautiful galleries, crumbling, gothic alleyways, charming winebars and some of the best coffee shops in Europe. Then... to the clubs!
From $2,065
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Mediterranean Highlights tour
Mediterranean Highlights | 13 days
If you're quite fond of picturesque pebble beaches, sunset cocktails and eating enough antipasto to sink a small yacht, then congratulations! You are human. And you're going to love the Contiki Mediterranean Highlights. Kicking off in Madrid, we will cruise to Barcelona then around the French Riviera before getting very well acquainted with the best spots in Italy.
From $1,805 | Was $2,123 - 15% off!
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When's the best time to visit Spain?

Spain weather conditions vary throughout Spain but the country generally experiences a warm Mediterranean climate with over 3,000 sunshine hours per year. Spring and autumn are the best times to visit Spain, especially spring as this is the season for festivals and the Spanish climate is the most pleasant.  The summer months of July and August can be extremely crowded. 

Do I need a visa to visit Spain?

If you're an Australian resident you don't need a visa to enter Spain as a tourist - you'll be issued with a short-stay visa on your arrival, which permits a max stay of 90 days. If you're looking to work in Spain then you need to apply for a visa prior to your arrival.

How to get around - Spain transport

Air
There are a number of airlines running domestic flights to all the main towns, as well as the Balearic and Canary Islands, and North African enclaves.

Water
There are regular sailings from Algciras to the North African enclaves of Tangier and Cueta, as well as to Melilla (also a North African enclave) from Malaga and Almeria.  You can also go by boat from Barcelona, Valencia and Alicante to the Balearic Islands and from Cadiz to the Canary Islands.  Inter-island services also run.

Rail
There are a number of different train services available.  A rail network connects all regions on the Iberian Peninsula, with connections between Madrid and all major cities.  There are also connections between the northwest coast and the Mediterranean coast, and between the France and the Mediterranean coast.

If you’re in a hurry there are high-speed trains connecting various cities and a tourist train for those with more time on their hands.  Check out the options for train travel in Spain.

Road
If you’re self-driving in Spain the first thing you’ll need to know is that traffic drives on the right.  The motorways connect north to south and tolls need to be paid in some sections.

If you’re on a budget taking the bus is the best option and you’ll find a bus link almost anywhere you go.  Check out the options for bus travel in Spain.

Organised tours
Organised tours are a great way to see the sites and soak up the local culture – especially if you’re travelling alone or are a first-time traveller. 

Start planning your adventure

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

STA Travel Blog

Round the World - Barcelona

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STA Travel Blog

The best of Barcelona on a budget

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The best European music festivals of 2018

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