Super useful and totally free travel guides to Spain

Aerial view of Barcelona City and its city lights before night time
Barcelona, Spain

Why We Love Spain – Ok, let’s get one thing straight about travel to Spain: you’re hardly going to be alone. Spain trails only France globally in terms of the number of annual tourist arrivals. So you should firmly expect to have to fight a few selfie stick-wielding tourists in order to get those iconic Instagram shots in Barcelona or Madrid. But, with that said, Spain is a large and diverse country with a lot to offer. Eschew the traditional lemming destinations and think more broadly and you will find plenty of Spanish destinations still teeming with authenticity and ready to welcome you with open arms. 

Best of Spain

🏙️ Destinations

View of the Cibeles Fountain during a sunny morning in Madrid
Cibeles Fountain Madrid, Spain

Whether you head towards a fan favorite or go off the beaten trail, there are plenty of great places to visit in Spain. Some of the best include:

  • Barcelona – Filled with Gaudi architecture, incredible markets, and some of the best nightlife in the world, Barcelona is firmly on the tourist trail for a reason.
  • Madrid – The capital of Spain, Madrid is a great place to dive into Spanish history and indulge in some of the best foodie experiences in the country.
  • Granada – Located in the southern Andalusia region, Granada has an exciting bohemian atmosphere and is known for being home to the Alhambra Palace.
  • Almeria – Located in southeast Spain, Almeria is primarily a beach-lovers paradise, but is also known for its network of tunnels and tapas scene.
  • Valencia – One of Spain’s primary port cities, Valencia is known for being home to the City of Arts and Sciences, Plaza de la Reina, and incredible beaches.

👉 See the full list of best places to visit in Spain.

Things to Do

Stunning castles, modern architecture, and excellent museums. These are some of our favorite things to do in Spain:

  • The Alhambra – A palace in Granada, The Alhambra is the most important remnant of Islamic rule in the area. It’s also jaw-droppingly beautiful.
  • City of the Arts and Sciences – A cultural complex in Valencia, the City of Arts and Sciences is comprised of six structures that are home to the largest aquarium in Europe, cinemas, planetariums, art, and more.
  • Church of the Sacred Family – The ever-recognizable Basílica de la Sagrada Família is one of Antoni Gaudi’s most famous architectural achievements.
  • Guggenheim Museum Bilbao – A modern and contemporary art museum, the Guggenheim in Bilbao is architecturally stunning and is home to a vast collection of works.
  • The Walls of Avila – Located in central Spain, the Walls of Avila were built in the 11th century and are some of the most impeccably intact fortifications of their kind.

✨ Read the full list of best things to do in Spain.

The Spider sculpture in Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (photo: Mimadeo / Shutterstock)

Spain Travel Advice

🗓️ Best Time to Visit

Spring (April to May) and Autumn (September to November) are the best times to visit Spain. You have cheaper accommodations, less crowd, and perfect weather.

⚠️ Safety

Other than the occasional pick-pocketing incidents that are common to a lot of tourist destinations, Spain is a very safe place to visit. Just practice caution and common sense, and you’ll be fine. It is also a good idea to check the latest US State Department travel advisories for your destination. 

👉 Tips & Things to Know

  • 🍽️ – Dinner Is a Late Affair – In Spain, it’s customary to eat dinner quite late in the day — usually around 9 or 10pm. If you can feel your blood sugar dropping reading this, then prepare with a heavier lunch.
  • ⏰ – Be Aware of Siesta Times – Though not as widespread as it used to be, many businesses close for siesta between 2 and 5pm. Plan your day accordingly.
  • 🗓️ – Book In Advance – Because Spain is such a busy destination, you’ll want to book most of your tours and travel in advance. Some of the major attractions book out weeks ahead of time, so don’t sleep on your plans!
  • ⌚ – Things Run on Spanish Time – If your food comes out a little late or your friend doesn’t show up to lunch on the nose, don’t sweat it. Spanish time is much more relaxed than in North America, and the best thing you can do is go with the flow.
  • 🚌 – Public Transportation is Excellent – If you’re not up for a road trip, then you’re in luck. Spanish public transport is excellent and you’ll be able to get to most of the sites by taking it.

🧳 What to Pack

  • 📖 – Spanish Phrasebook – Not everyone in Spain speaks English, especially once you get off the beaten trail. Bring a phrasebook and leave the miming at home.
  • ☀️ – Sunscreen Areas of Spain have high UV indexes — save your skin and load up on the SPF.
  • ⛱️ – Quickdrying Towel If you plan to hit the Spanish beaches (which you should), bring a quickdrying towel along.
  • 💧 – Water Bottle – Bring a water bottle that you can refill on the go. Spain’s tapwater is safe to drink, so it’s an easy way to skip the single use plastic.
  • 🦺 – Travel Insurance Though Spain is generally a very safe country, things can happen. Secure your trip ahead of time with travel insurance for Spain.

👉 See our full Spain packing list.

🤓 Facts & Info

  • Population – 47.5 million
  • Capital – Madrid
  • Currency – Euro ($1 = ~0.91 euros)
  • Language – English and Spanish
  • Plugs – Type C or F, 230V / 50Hz.

💵 Budgeting & Money

Majority of establishments take credit/debit cards, but do bring enough cash just in case, and also for when you travel to more remote areas. ATMs widely available. 

📰 Spain Travel Guides

Getting planning your trip to Spain with all our Spain travel guides: