Passion is the constant across Spain’s diverse regions and cultures, from the twirling skirts of a flamenco dancer in Seville to the tears of pilgrims arriving in Santiago de Compostela. Despite (or perhaps because of) its complicated and tumultuous history, Spain has produced some of the most moving art in the world. We’re not just talking about Gaudi’s architecture and Dali’s melting clocks; here, art isn’t just in the grand architecture and museums around the country. It’s in the jamon expertly cured by a family who have been making it for centuries, and the giant statues that fill the river-turned-public park in Valencia. Like Spain itself, its art is for everyone.
The climate of Spain varies from the mild winters along the Mediterranean coast to the rainy summers in parts of Galicia, so the best time to travel really depends on where you want to go.
On the east coast of Spain, major cities like Barcelona can be very busy during summer, so if you’d prefer to share the streets with more locals and fewer tourists you might find the ‘low season’ of November to February is the best time to visit this region.
Among the ski resort-heavy peaks of the Pyrenees the high season is November to February, but some areas get snow almost all year. If you’re keen to get active in Spain’s northern reaches, September and October are great months for hiking, with little chance of rain and warm (but usually not sweltering) days.
Travellers from Australia, the USA, New Zealand, Brazil, Japan and more can visit Spain for 90 days in a six-month period with no visa, as long as they have no plans to work.
Citizens of the European Union and Iceland, Norway and Switzerland are not required to obtain a visa but must abide by local residency requirements if they plan to stay for more than 90 days.
Travellers visiting from Cambodia, Ecuador, India, Nepal and others must obtain a visa from the Spanish consulate or embassy in their region – allow at least two weeks for it to be issued.
Tipping in Spain is entirely optional. If you would like to tip, rounding up the bill or leaving spare change in restaurants should be sufficient. Feel free to tip more for good service, but it isn’t expected of you.
Internet access is good in Spain. Internet cafes and wi-fi hotspots are easily found in most cities and major towns. In some very remote and rural areas access can be patchy, but this is improving.
Mobile phone coverage is generally very good in Spain. If you want to use your mobile phone, purchase a local sim or ensure global roaming is activated before you arrive (but be aware of the fees this may incur). Travellers coming from countries that are not part of a Global Mobile Systems network, like Japan, will not be able to use their mobile phone in Spain.
Flushable, Western-style toilets are the standard in Spain. Be aware that public toilets aren’t as common in Spain as they are in some other countries and you often have to pay to use them. Be sure to carry change to avoid being caught short.
Spain's unit of currency is the euro. Prices here are approximate and shown in US dollars for ease of comparison.
Drinking water from taps is safe in Spain unless otherwise marked. For environmental reasons, try to use a refillable water bottle rather than buying bottled water.
Major credit cards are widely accepted by stores and hotels in Spain. Smaller cafes and shops may not accept credit cards, so ensure you carry enough cash to cover small purchases.
ATMs are very common in Spain, so finding one won't be a problem in most towns and cities.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their tour. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
For a current list of public holidays in Spain, including the movable dates noted above, go to worldtravelguide.net
Overall, Spain is a welcoming and safe destination for LGBTQIA+ travellers. Same-sex marriage is legal, and laws exist to protect the rights of LGBTQIA+ individuals to live free from of discrimination (though employment discrimination laws do not yet protect transgender individuals).
Public opinion on LGBTQIA+ individuals is relatively positive. Though LGBTQIA+ travellers may encounter more conservative views in rural areas and small towns, the risk of experiencing overt discrimination in Spain is very low for travellers.
Transgender individuals and gender non-conforming folks are widely accepted in Spain, though gender identity-based discrimination still occurs.
If you are travelling solo on an Intrepid group tour, you will share accommodation with a passenger of the same gender as per your passport information. If you don’t identify with the gender assigned on your passport, please let us know at time of booking and we’ll arrange the rooming configuration accordingly. A single supplement is available on some tours for travellers who do not wish to share a room.
Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and, where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.
Spain is a mixed bag when it comes to access for travellers with disabilities. While some regions like Catalonia are proactively working to meet the needs of travellers with disabilities, others may prove challenging for travellers with mobility and/or visual impairments.
Barcelona is notable as one of the most wheelchair-friendly cities in Europe. All Barcelona’s major sights are accessible for wheelchair users, and some beaches have all-terrain wheelchairs for free hire as well as boardwalks that extend to the water. The vast majority of metro stations and all buses are accessible to folks with reduced mobility. Many train stations in Barcelona have tactile strips to direct folks with vision impairments to platforms, ticket machines and elevators. Ticket machines and elevators have speech options in a variety of languages.
Madrid is also a city committed to accessible travel, with metro and bus systems that can be used by people with mobility and visual impairments and many accessible monuments.
Spain’s national parks are somewhat accessible, as they are commonly outfitted with accessible interpretation centres and viewpoints. The trails of the Picos de Europa are well-maintained and non-reflective, so may be accessible to people with visual impairments (depending on the severity of the impairment).
Travellers who use battery-operated hearing aids should familiarise themselves with the Spanish equivalent of the batteries their devices need.
If you do live with a visual, hearing or other impairment, let your booking agent or group leader know early on so they’re aware and suitable arrangements can be made. As a general rule, knowing some common words in the local language, carrying a written itinerary with you and taking to the streets in a group, rather than solo, can help make your travel experience the best it can be.
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.
In Spain, we stay in locally run accommodation including guesthouses, smaller-scale hotels and homestays in an effort to support the local economies. We also visit locally run restaurants and markets where travellers will have opportunities to support community businesses and purchase handicrafts created by local artisans. Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to being the best travel company for the world.
When you travel with Intrepid, you’ll eat at small, locally owned spots like the family delicatessen we visit in Granada on the Highlights of Andalucia and Morocco tour. Because food tastes better when you know you’re supporting the traditions and way of life you’ve travelled to experience.