Spain, with its rich history, beautiful beaches, impressive views, and mouth-watering food, really does have it all. From its interesting Moorish past (711 years under Arab rule) and its position as the world superpower during the Golden Age, to the struggles of the Spanish Civil War, dictatorship in the 1900s and the country’s successful return to democracy, Spain has a fascinating history that is well-preserved in its buildings and museums. Spain’s vibrant culture is also rich in music, dance, and art, all reflecting Spain’s unique diversity.
For visitors, Spain has a huge appeal and it’s as to why! Spain has the third most UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world, with 45 in total. From the ancient cave paintings of Altamira and Segovia’s Roman aqueduct to the Alhambra fortress in Granada and the pilgrimage route of Santiago de Compostela, the country is bursting with some of the world’s most fascinating historical and cultural sites, and even though we might not be visiting all at once, we have made a list of the most important and enjoyable cities that are waiting to be explored, wine to be tested, paella to be eaten and more! And of course, for those futbóll fans (yes we mean soccer) out there, Spain is home to two of the world’s best teams: Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, making attending a soccer match at the Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid or Barcelona’s Camp Nou is an unforgettable experience. In Spain you’ll never be hungry or bored, we promise!
Many people might think that Spanish is the only language spoken in Spain. Although Spanish, also known as Castellano, is the official language, there are other co-official or unofficial languages spoken due to the cultural diversity of the Spanish regions that form an important part of the Spanish patrimony. Its interesting to note that all of the dialects of Spanish in Spain are mutually intelligible and being bilingual is very common.
Nowadays 16 different languages (official and unofficial) are spoken on the Iberian Peninsula:
Castilian: As mentioned above it is the official language of Spain and over 45 million people in Spain speak it. It is also the dominant language in every part of Spain, even regions that are multilingual.
Catalan: Catalan is a Romance language named for its origins in Catalonia, in what is northeastern Spain and adjoining parts of France. It is a co-official language of the autonomous communities of Catalonia, where Barcelona forms part of, the Balearic Islands and the Valencian community.
Galician. It’s spoken in Galicia in the north-west corner of Spain next to Portugal. Gallego is spoken by 2.6 million people. The language is close to the Portuguese since Galicia and Portugal were united during the medieval times.
- Alto Aragonese
- Fala Galaico-Extremeña
- Silbo gomero
What will the food be like on my trip?
Spain is renowned for its seafood, jamón (cured ham), and abundant and fresh fruit and vegetables, which make a trip to the local market a feast for the eyes and the stomach. Also important to note, when we talk about tortilla in las Americas, we usually think about the classic flour or corn tortillas native to Mesoamerica. However, in Spain, a tortilla is basically made of scrambled eggs and potatoes! In Spain, eating tapas is common instead of having 1 large main course. This is awesome as you get to enjoy several dishes in smaller portions which are often meant to be shared between family and friends.
Can I drink the water in Spain?
Yes, at least 99.5% of all public tap water in Spain is safe to drink and complies with international water quality standards. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water; ask your leader where filtered water can be found. We will also be providing you with refills!
Is it safe to travel through Spain?
As with most of Western Europe, travel to Spain is generally very safe and free of significant danger. However, all travelers should be vigilant about their surroundings to avoid potentially dangerous situations.
Are credit cards/debit cards accepted?
Visa and Mastercard credit cards are accepted at restaurants, hotels, shops, and even at some of the market vendors. Discover card, on the other hand, is hard to find anyone who accepts it. Several businesses require that you show them a valid ID when you use your credit or debit card and some might insist on looking at your passport. We recommend to carry some cash wherever you go, as many small merchants won’t take cards. Don’t forget to let your bank know you’re traveling!
What documents do I need to visit Spain?
The documentation required to travel to Spain varies according to the country of origin since is a party to the Schengen Agreement. If you are a citizen of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you must carry a valid passport or identity card, ID of your country is valid to enter Spain. U.S. citizens may enter Spain for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. You will need to hold a valid passport and it should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay. You must have sufficient funds and a return airline ticket.
Do U.S. citizens need a visa to visit Spain?
If you’re holding a normal passport, you’re not required to obtain a visa to enter Spain. Tourists and business visitors can stay in Spain for up to 90 days.
Do I have to pay for a Spain departure tax?
This tax is usually included in the price of a flight.
What’s the rule of thumb for tipping?
Tipping is a personal choice and depends on the service rendered, but 10-20% is standard.
What is the weather like in Spain?
The climate of Spain is extremely varied but has a predominantly warm Mediterranean climate, with dry summers and winters with balanced temperatures. The northern coastal regions are cool and humid, with an average annual temperature of 14° C (57° F); temperatures at Bilbao range from an average of 10° C (50° F) in January–March to 19° C (66° F) during July– September. The central plateau is cold in the winter and hot in the summer; Madrid has a winter average of about 8° C (46° F) and a summer average of 23° C (73° F). In Andalucía and the Levante, the climate is temperate except in summer, when temperatures sometimes reach above 40° C (104° F) in the shade. The northern coastal regions have an average annual rainfall of 99 cm (39 in); the southern coastal belt has 41–79 cm (16–31 in); and the interior central plain averages no more than 50 cm (20 in) annually. It is no surprise, then, that this is one of the warmest parts of Europe
Do I need an adaptor for my electronics?
The plugs in Spain are type C and F. The standard voltage is 230 V, and the standard frequency is 50Hz. We recommend buying a universal adapter (make sure it has surge protection) and using a converter for hair dryers or straighteners.
What is Spain's currency?
Spain’s currency is the Euro and is also the official currency of 19 of the 28 member states of the European Union. One US dollar is equivalent to around 0.90 Euros though this does fluctuate often.
The symbol for the Euro is €. You may sometimes see it presented as EUR
Notes are printed in denominations of €500, €200, €100, €50, €20, €10 and €5. Each banknote has its own colour and is dedicated to an artistic period of European architecture. The coins are issued in denominations of €2, €1, 50c, 20c, 10c, 5c, 2c, and 1c.
Can I use my cell phone in Spain?
Most restaurants and hotels have Wi-Fi, but if you’d like to be connected outside of Wi-Fi zones, you can buy a Spanish chip for your phone so that you can make and receive calls on a pay-as-you-go basis. The other thing to consider is that using a SIM card from a local carrier only works if you have an unlocked GSM “world” phone. Most phones from AT&T and T-Mobile USA fit this category. You can also contact your cellphone provider to discuss options for international plans for Spain.