Planning a trip to Spain? This could be the beginning of the best vacation of your life.
From the most amazing beaches to the Pyrenees Mountains, from the estuaries in Galicia to the sandy Almeria landscape and from quaint rural villages in Andalusia to the most urban cities where historical and modern architecture stand side by side. However, to ensure a great trip you do need some advance preparation.
Visas and other entry requirements
People traveling from Europe need only a valid photo ID card. Those traveling from the United States of America can stay in Spain for up to ninety days with a valid passport. Tourists from other countries will require a visa along with a valid passport. Further information is available at all Spanish Consulate websites and offices. Other than baby food and food required specifically for people with medical conditions, all other foods are allowed only up to a maximum limit of one kilogram. Restrictions apply on tobacco, alcohol and perfumes too.
Language and Etiquette
Although during the Franco dictatorship only Castilian Spanish was allowed and it is still Spain’s official language, Spain has several thriving dialects and languages. However, you the tourist need not fear. English is understood and spoken everywhere. Just a small tip-I would suggest that you attempt some Spanish; at least the use of addresses like Señor for Mr. and Señora for Mrs. You will then find the locals more inclined to answer all your queries. Remember Spanish etiquette demands that you be dressed conservatively while visiting churches or cathedrals. Men should never be without a shirt in public except on the beach.
When to go
Spain is a great tourist destination the whole year round. Spring is probably the best time. The beaches see their biggest crowds in August. July and August also finds big crowds heading to the mountain resorts. May and October are the best months weather-wise. But if you love a thriving nightlife, stunning architecture and can stand some variation in temperature, board a flight at any time of the year. Spain is always great!
Accommodation and food
Spain has everything from the most extravagant five star hotels to Casas Huespedes and Fondas which are the cheapest place to stay in Spain. If you are planning well in advance try booking a stay at a Paradores for a unique experience. Ancient castles and monasteries have been changed into modern hotels without compromising on their ancient architecture in any way.
Food is never a problem in Spain. Local cuisine never loses its place of importance though international cuisine is aplenty too. However, a thing to keep in mind is that Spaniards eat late and if you reach a restaurant at six you are bound to raise a few eyebrows. Don’t forget to try the paella and tapas. You wont get that unique taste anywhere outside Spain. In fact, S.Pellegrino list El Bulli in Spain as the best restaurant in Europe.
Have a great time planning for a trip to Spain and an even greater time visiting! Buen Viaje!
Photo of Spanish flag originally posted by cesarastudillo