Oh Spain… how you dazzle us with architectural feats and artistic treats, enrich us with historic treasures and nourish us with sangria and tapas! From charismatic cities full of boisterous bars and hip galleries, to sleepy villages dotted with run-down farmhouses and olive groves, Spain never fails to open up travellers’ eyes, minds and hearts.
Spain Tours & Travel
All our Spain trips
8 days from
Visit some of the best culinary cities in Northern Spain and discover the history, culture, sights and incredible food...View trip details
15 days from
Visit southern Spain and Morocco and explore the sights of Seville, become acquainted with Granada's eclectic air,...View trip details
Articles on Spain
Walking the Camino – do you need a reason?
Posted on Thu, 10 Apr 2014 by Jane Crouch
For over a thousand years, people have embarked on pilgrimages along El Camino de Santiago as an act of Christian spiritual devotion. For Intrepid co-founder, Darrell Wade, the experience of [...]Read more
Unforgettable Sunday in Spain
Posted on Sat, 25 Jan 2014 by Sue Elliot
Sure, it’s the number one sport in the country, but Raul Rodruiguez didn’t rate fútbol as a must-do on his first visit to Spain. His plans for Madrid included viewing [...]Read more
Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.
Depending on which trip you're on while in Spain, you may find yourself travelling by:
At a glance
- Trips Available:
- Capital city:
- Madrid (population 3.1 million)
- 46.7 million
- Spanish, Catalan
- Time zone:
- (GMT+01:00) Brussels, Copenhagen, Madrid, Paris
- Type C (European 2-pin) Type F (German 2-pin, side clip earth)
- Dialing code:
Best time to visit Spain
The months of May, June, September and October are ideal for visiting Spain. July and August, can get extremely hot (particularly in the south) and is the peak period for Spaniards to travel. During these months there is a mass exodus from the cities to the coast. The ‘Costas' become a hive of activity and the cities are fairly deserted.
Generally, pleasant weather can be found in different areas of the country, depending on the season. Why not retreat to the north of Spain and enjoy the beaches and mountains in the height of summer? In winter, the north can become quite cold so perhaps this is the time to enjoy the mild winter of the south?
Culture and customs
With most Spaniards being Roman Catholic, Easter, Christmas and other religious holidays are observed. Additionally, different Patron Saints are honoured by regional areas – with cities and villages celebrating with bonfires, feasts and parades. Many regional areas of Spain are culturally different from others (especially the Basque and Catalonia areas) where unique traditions, customs, holidays and language are observed.
Eating and drinking
Intrepid believes that one of the best ways to experience a country is by eating! Whether you're sampling street food, savouring a cheap eat or indulging in a banquet, there are endless options to choose from wherever you are in the world.
Food doesn’t get much better or fresher than in Spain. An abundance of fresh seafood, vegetables, fruits, wines and pastries ensures there’s plenty to try in the bars, restaurants, cafes, street fiestas and markets of Spain.
Things to try in Spain
Who would have thought that little bowls of seafood, pork, beef, vegetables and olives could be so filling? Have fun hopping to different tapas bars, trying classics like patatas bravas, croquetas, pulpo a la gallega and jamon serrano.
Don’t leave without trying a glass of tempranillo or sherry, both native to Spain. The Jerez area is famous for its sherry varieties, so have fun visiting local cellars for some taste testing.
Although Spain has a strong wine culture, local beer is still a great choice, especially on a hot summer’s day. Try Moritz, San Miguel or Estrella for a refreshing afternoon beach treat.
Spaniards serve their coffee espresso-style, which is perfect considering the amount of caffeine required to stay up partying with the locals until the sun rises.
Geography and environment
Spain’s major cities (Madrid and Barcelona) are busy, urban centres, yet have managed to retain their historic charm while encouraging contemporary development. In comparison, Spain’s vast countryside offers picturesque landscapes dotted with rustic villas, traditional stone cottages, olive groves, farms and rivers. Life is slower here – perfect for hiking, indulging in fresh produce and enjoying the sense of peace that often can’t be found in big cities.
History and government
Spain has a rich and complex history. As conquerors (and the conquered), Spain has seen many different outside influences come and go via war, invasion, immigration and trade. From the Moors to the Romans, the British to the Portuguese, Spain has been influenced both by its neighbours and by far-flung lands. This is evident in the different styles of architecture, art, cuisine and culture that are present in modern-day Spain. Emerging from social upheaval, civil war, international conflict, devastating pandemics and terrorism, Spain’s spirit is both irrepressible and irresistible.
Top 10 Must-Try Foods of Spain
This dish of meatballs swimming in a spicy tomato sauce is a Spanish tapas staple. Typically made from a combination of veal and pork mince, they are simple to make and even easier to eat.
The hills of Andalucia are covered in olive groves, making this region a top place to savour these salty delights. You don’t have to go far to find them, a wide variety of olives and oils can be found in the markets, restaurants, farms and shops of Andalucia.
This delectable combination of rice, chorizo, mussels, prawns and saffron is a firm favourite with travellers, and rightly so! Although a speciality of the Valencia region, quality paella is available throughout Spain.
Jugs filled with chunks of apple, lemon and orange floating in spiced red wine are the perfect accompaniment to a golden, Spanish sunset. But it doesn’t end there – Sangria is a one-way ticket to extended late night revelry.
5. Calamares a la Romana
This dish of deep-fried, crispy calamari is popular in the coastal regions of Spain. Eat a plate of it at a beachside restaurant or head to a bar and include it in your tapas mix.
For a sugar hit, try Spain’s version of the donut. Churros are sweet crunchy strips of deep-fried goodness, dipped in chocolate for extra calories! Find them at open-air food stalls and cafes.
Spain is world-renown for its legendary jamon (cured ham). You’ll find salty jamon hanging in shop windows, displayed at markets and featured on menus all throughout Spain.
For a fresh, healthy and oh so Spanish dish, you can’t go past Gazpacho. This raw, chilled tomato soap is a cool answer to Spain’s summer heat.
9. Tortilla de Patatas
Potato tortilla (or Spanish omelette) is a slice of authentic Spanish culinary tradition. A simple dish that’s often served at tapas, it’s a great option for vegetarians wanting something hearty.
Native to the Jerez region of Spain, locals call this dry, fortified wine ‘vino de jerez’. When visiting the area, stop at cellar doors to sample the world’s best straight from the source.
Home of cult-fashion brand ZARA, Camper shoes, Lladro porcelain, Mango clothing and some of the best wine and olive oil in the world, shopping in Spain may not be cheap but quality is pretty much guaranteed if you stick to authentic brands and handmade goods, rather than fake imports.
It's a good idea to check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to bring certain items back into your home country. Australia and New Zealand generally have strict quarantine laws.
Things to buy in Spain
Spain is known for its excellent leather products, which generally offer good value for money. Bags, belts and footwear are the best picks, and will often last a lifetime.
2. Moorish Mementos
Elaborate Moorish-style decorated tiles, jewellery and scarves are great buys when travelling in Seville, Toledo, Cordoba and Granada.
3. Modern Art
With such rich artistic traditions, Spain is a good place to pick up a souvenir piece of art to hang at home. Whether it’s an iconic reproduction from a museum or an original piece from an up and coming artist, there’s enough variety here to satisfy most tourists.
Festivals and Events in Spain
A relative newcomer to the Spanish festival scene, La Tomatina draws in travellers, tourists and the world’s media who come to see ripened tomatoes splattered across the city of Bunol. Thousands of people cram into the narrow town plaza to smash tomatoes into each other – a chaotic, strange and super fun experience.
Valencia’s Las Fallas is a sizzling cacophony of colourful firecrackers, smoky bonfires, roaring rockets and massive effigies. Celebrated each year in honour of Valencia’s patron saint, this is a week of fiery fun and extensive late night partying.
Every June, the Spanish town of Haro explodes into a Wine War known to locals as ‘Batallo de Vino’. Unforgiving residents pump red wine out of water pistols, hoses and other vessels in this grand example of wine warfare. Be warned: no one is spared - this is not a spectator sport!
FAQs on Spain
Pastry = 3 Euro
Beer = 5 Euro
Simple meal in a café = 10 Euro
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 6 Epiphany *
Mar 19 San Jose *
Mar 28 Maunday Thursday
Mar 29 Good Friday
Apr 1 Easter Monday
May 1 Labour Day
Aug 15 Assumption
Oct 12 National Day
Nov 1 All Saints’ Day
Dec 6 Constitution Day
Dec 8 Immaculate Conception
Dec 25 Christmas Day
* Autonomous regions of Spain may celebrate these holidays on another date
Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/Spain/public-holidays
Australia: No - Not required
Belgium: No - Not required
Canada: No - Not required
Germany: No - Not required
Ireland: No - Not required
Netherlands: No - Not required
New Zealand: No - Not required
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: No - Not required
UK: No - Not required
USA: No - Not required
Health and Safety
Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:
From New Zealand?
Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/
Go to: http://travel.state.gov/
Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
The World Health Organisation
also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/
Spain Travel Tips
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
Top responsible travel tips for Spain
1. Be considerate of Spain’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.
2. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.
3. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
4. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.
5. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
6. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
|The Shadow of the Wind||Carlos Ruiz Zafon|
|Don Quixote||Miguel De Cervantes|
|The Time of the Doves||Merce Rodoreda|
|Travels with My Donkey: One Man and his Ass on a Pilgrimage to Santiago||Tim Moore|
|Homage to Catalonia||George Orwell|