There’s always an excuse to visit Spain… whether it’s for the glorious sunshine, lazy-day siestas or soaking up those beautiful sights – the whole country is a open book of experiences that are definitely too beautiful to resist.

The best part about visiting Spain though is the sheer diversity you can find all across the country – the cultures, food and even languages can change quite dramatically depending on where you find yourself in Spain. This of course only adds to the excitement of visiting and re-visiting Spain as each time afford you the possibility of having a fantastic new experience in a paradoxically familiar place.

25 Travel Tips You Need To Know Before Visiting Spain

Despite the diversity, a few rules hold true, no matter where in Spain you’re planning on visiting and indeed, it doesn’t matter if it’s your first or tenth visit, Spain always manages to find brilliant ways to surprise and impress you. To that end, I’ve put together 25 top tips that will be useful for your next galavant to Spain! Entonces, ¿Qué esperas! 😉

 

1.) Spain ain’t small 

The Impressive Sights Of Madrid, Spain... (42)

Yup, Spain’s not a small country – there’s no point just visiting Madrid or Barcelona and thinking you’ve seen the whole of Spain… the country is vast and diverse – both in culture and geography. This makes for a truly exciting country to visit, especially if you’re planning a road trip where you can experience so much!

 

2.) Some of the best views are not quite where you’d expect

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Everyone knows the locals knows where the best spots are and that holds particularly true in Spain. Even if you don’t end up mingling with the locals for some reason or the other, ask the receptionist at your hotel (or you host on Airbnb) or pretty much anyone you find that lives in the local area. Their simple tip can sometime be the one thing that makes your holiday extra special!

 

3.) Don’t just stay in the cities

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Hot Air Balloon Sunrise... In Sierra De Mariola, Valencia (25)Sand-Dunes, Windmills And Cute Little Piglets In Fuerteventura, Canary Island, Spain (4)

There are some pretty beautiful cities in Spain, including but not limited to the amazing; Valencia, Madrid, Barcelona and Granada, but don’t think the cities are all there is to see! The beautiful Mediterranean coast, mountainous Basque region and the plains around Madrid all provide ample stomping ground for us travellers to see and explore a different aspect of this stunning country.

 

4.) The love of Siestas is real and deep! 

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A siesta is a pretty big deal in Spain… and rightly so! Usually, around 1-4pm, many shops, offices and restaurants will shut their doors for a little afternoon kip. Take advantage of this time to chill-out and relax… or even enjoy a cheeky siesta yourself, after all it’s your holiday!

 

5.) You’re going to eat late! 

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One thing to note (especially if you’re not from Southern Europe) is that dinner is usually much later than its Northern European neighbours. Dinner will usually start around 10pm for locals and can last a good few hours. Food is not rushed and is an amazing opportunity to socialise until the wee hours in your new local haunt.

 

6.) Pintxos are great with pre-dinner drinks 

This Is Where To Go For The Most Amazing 'Alternative' Pintxos In Ibiza (18)Ever Wondered What The Spanish Island Of Menorca Looks Like? Well Here It is... (29)Valencia_-21

Pintxos are usually a quick snack that you’ll eat whilst having an early evening drink and little (or long) gab with your friends. Grab a wine or beer and order 1 pintxos at each place you visit (you can go to as many places as you like), enjoying a scrumptious snack before your late evening meal. Pintxos are usually inexpensive and readily available in bars. Don’t expect to pay more than 1-2 Euro per pintxo, unless you’re ordering caviar… and if you are, grab me a plate too! 😉

 

7.) Spain isn’t just Spanish 

The Most Beautiful City in Spain. San Sebastian, Gipuzkoa, Spain, Hotel Londres (14)The Most Beautiful City in Spain. San Sebastian, Gipuzkoa, Spain, Hotel Londres (16)

Don’t be fooled into thinking that Spain has one national identity! Catalonia and the Basque region both have very strong identities that people are very rightly proud of. The language, food, culture and even architecture changes quite dramatically depending on where you are. If you’re visiting Barcelona, for instance, learning a little Catalan is always a nice little nod to the region and its proud people!

 

8.) You’ve got to have Pan Con Tomate for breakfast

This Is The Most Amazing Tapas Restaurant In Ibiza (4)

It’s as simple as it sounds, shredded tomatoes, fresh olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and a baton of bread (cut to size, of course). It’s such a delicious breakfast and it fills you up royally before you traipse around the towns.

 

9.) You won’t get lost, well, you might but…

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Roads in Spain are great, especially if you’re using the toll roads between major urban centres. If you’re driving, grab yourself a sat nav or use Google Maps on your smart phone. This will allow you to better concentrate when driving in an unfamiliar country, while also making sure you don’t get lost – not that I expect that you would! 😉

 

10.) Eat where locals eat! 

20 Unique And Amazing Experiences To Have In Valencia, Spain (58)

One of the biggest things I learned about Spain (and with other countries I’ve visited) is that you should follow in the footsteps of locals. If I see a restaurant filled with locals, I will always try and go there -I’ve yet to be disappointed and it’s always a nice surprise to discover something that’s not a total tourist trap. (I wouldn’t tourist traps so much if they weren’t overly pricey with the food being rather appalling – I’d rather pay crap prices for crappy food or expensive prices for delicious food than expensive prices for crappy food, its as simple as that really…).

 

11.) Do Download a free offline walking map

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Exploring a destination on foot is a great way to explore wherever you’re visiting but getting lost is a waste of time (especially if you’re just visiting for a few days) that can easily be avoided by getting yourself an offline map. This will allow you to walk the winding streets like a boss, all without getting lost when on foot!

 

12.) Look our for pick pockets in Barcelona 

Photo Updates From Lobos Island And Fuerteventura (3)

Look, it happens in most global cities and it’s not specific to Barcelona but like any large urban destiantion, petty crime does exist. Be sensible by keeping your belongings in front of you and not filling your back pockets with gold bullions, diamonds or that precious chocolate bar. Take extra care on the metro when spaces can be cramped, you might not notice a sticky finger or two.

 

13.) Embrace the culture

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One of the most important things about travelling is exploring a different culture to your own. Delve in with open arms and live the ways that locals live! Not only will this give you an authentic travel experience, it’ll let you discover a whole new side of travel and adventure that might be a world away from your life at home.

 

14.) Learn the lingo 

20 Unique And Amazing Experiences To Have In Valencia, Spain (30)

Everyone appreciates a little convo, especially when it’s in your mother tongue! Try and pick up a few phrases and ‘sayings’ before you go. Practice with free apps like Duolingo that’ll train you each and everyday before your trip!

If you need some help, teach yourself some Basque with these 28 essential phrases you’ll need for your trip!

 

15.) Enjoy the relaxed way of life 

My Recommendation For Where To Stay In Madrid, Spain (33)

This Is The Most Amazing Tapas Restaurant In Ibiza (24)

You might find, especially in the south of Spain, that life moves at a much more relaxed pace than you’re used to -trust me when I say this is a good thing! Sometimes it’s so nice to see another perspective of living at a different pace that you can learn from and take home with you!

 

16.) Great architecture 

Travel Spotlight: 9 Reasons Why You Should Visit Alhambra in Spain! (3)

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Spend A Day Exploring The Beauty Of Valencia (4)

Spain’s got some pretty dazzling buildings with the likes of Gaudi, Calatrava and Miralles. Make sure you take some time to enjoy some of the breathtaking buildings that have been erected in this millennia and the last!

 

17.) Spain isn’t just the mainlandThe Best Place To Watch The Sunset In Ibiza AND Where To Go For An Amazing 10 Course Gourmet Dinner! (10)20 Unique And Amazing Experiences To Have In Valencia, Spain (28)

Yup, there’s a whole heap of little islands that are also worth a visit! From the dazzling blue seas around Menorca, or the breathtaking beauty of Ibiza, to the largely unspoilt island of Fuerteventura (in the Canary Islands) – Spain has a a wealth of pretty islands that shouldn’t be overlooked!

 

18.) The coast isn’t just the Mediterranean!How To Have The Ultimate Ibiza Trip (20)Ever Wondered What The Spanish Island Of Menorca Looks Like? Well Here It is... (2)Arrival In Fuerteventure In The Canary Islands (41)Photo Updates From Lobos Island And Fuerteventura (12)

Spain is largely surrounded by water that isn’t just the mediterranean. Often, when thinking of Spain it can be easy to think of the coast as just the Mediterranean but there’s so much more. Discover the west coast of Spain and take advantage of those powerful waves that attract surfers from all over the world, or even dip your toes into the waters around the Bay of Biscay! There really is so much diversity on Spain’s coast.

 

19.) Tip if you like

Postcards From Spain - Malaga, Ronda And The Alhambra (22)

Tipping in Spain isn’t essential, though is often greatly appreciated. If service is good I’d usually offer a tip of 15 percent and above – but do check before you double tip! Some restaurants automatically add a service charge (i.e. a tip) upon your bill that can be harder to spot if it’s not in a familiar language.

 

20.) Take the Metro Spend A Day Exploring The Beauty Of Valencia (5)

The metro in places like Barcelona is a great way to hop across the city. Prices for a single ticket are around €2, with stops all across the metropolitan area.

 

21.) Flights can be cheaper than trains

Menorca Island Experiences To Have (2) This sounds counter-intuitive but bear with me on this! If you’re travelling long distances… say from Malaga to Bilbao, you will probably find that flights (with low cost airlines) are much cheaper than a return fare on the train. This can be a convenient way to save time if you want to visit a place for a weekend whilst on a bigger trip in beautiful Spain. Check websites like Skyscanner for the cheapest fares for your chosen dates…

… though, I’ve gotta admit – a good train journey across the countryside is always nice! 🙂

 

22.) Grab a Kalimotxo in the Basque Country

The Best Place To Watch The Sunset In Ibiza AND Where To Go For An Amazing 10 Course Gourmet Dinner! (22)

The Basque region of Spain is a beautiful, relatively rural area close to the French border. Hire a car, discover the natural beauty of the region and don’t forget to drink some Kalimotxo (red wine and Coke, mixed together). 😉

 

23.) Book tickets online for big ticket attractions

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If you’re planning on visiting some of the big-ticket sights like the Alhambra or the Sagrada De Familia, try and book your tickets before you arrive. Queues can be long and you can waste a huge portion of your day, especially at peak times! Booking in advance gives you an allocated time, making you more efficient in planning your day!

 

25.) You can ski in Spain 

Spend A Day Exploring The Beauty Of Valencia (22)

Spain isn’t just sun, sea and sand! You can actually ski in Spain too! One great place to show off your skiing skills is just outside Granada in the Sierra Nevada mountains. At certain times of the year, the mountains become a playground for ski enthusiasts and people just like me… who seem to roll down the hill! 😉



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  • I can highly recommend to explore the Spanish countryside, I experienced it to be stunning!
    http://www.maxitopper.com

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It really is special isn’t it Maxime. So glad you think so too! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • This post is brilliant! *bookmarks*

    Kelsey | Her Daily Glow

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much Kelsey! We love Spain sooooooo much! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Maria Salomonsen

    Aand now I absolutely have to go to Spain. So love your photos! I am so fascinated by the colourful architecture and the landscape also looks fantastic 😛
    /Maria @ http://momentumtravels.com

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much Maria – you will LOVE Spain… it’s such an idyllic and diverse country to explore – there really is so much to see!

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Really great post pointing out the pretty spots and things to do in Spain! Would love to visit Spain again! 🙂

    Kind regards!

    Sarah – a passport can get you everywhere

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much Sarah! Really glad you love Spain too! It’s an incredible country to visit isn’t it!

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • I always like your posts about Spain. Most people here think of it as somewhere to go for a cheap holiday or a city break, but it is so diverse, and that always comes across when you write about it. It was also lovely to see so many photos of Valencia, where I grew up 🙂 And of course, kalimotxo is a must. Did you try aqua de valencia when you were there?

    Inma x
    sunshineandglow.blogspot.com

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much Inma, that means so much to us! 🙂

      You’re so right, Spain is such an incredible country and it really offers so much more than a quick getaway – we’ve yet to find a region in Spain that we don’t like! It’s all amazing!

      We didn’t try Aqua De Valencia… hopefully next time we can! Well, that will be our excuse to visit again now! Haha!

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

      • I think you guys probably go to Spain more often than I do! Haha!
        So… Here is the recipe for a jug of agua de Valencia: mix one glass of orange juice, a bottle of cava or champagne, one and a.half shots of gin and one and a.half of vodka. You can add a bit of sugar to taste… Oh, and ice!
        Enjoy Ibiza!! I’m mega jealous as it reminds me of last summer!
        Inma x

        • HandLuggageOnly

          Okay… that sounds delicious! Thanks so much… we’re definitely going to make that as soon as we arrive back in London.

          PS. We’re going to blame you for our sore head the morning after when we have a hangover! Haha! 😉

          Thanks so much Inma, we’re having such an incredible time in Ibiza… If Spain would adopt us we’d stay forever! 🙂

          Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • As an expat in Spain I definitely agree about not just visiting the cities. The towns are so spectacular, real gems in Spain. And also, the north! Please go to the north! It is majestic and unique and doesn’t get a lot of credit or attention, but it is a must if you truly want to know Spain.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      You’re so right about the North, Nina – it’s such an incredible region of Spain and so different from the south of the country!

      We fell in love with the Basque country when we visited… so much so that we’ve just booked a trip to Bilbao! We can’t wait to explore the whole area! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

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  • Great advice thanks!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya x

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