Spain receives my Gold Standard for traveling Europe. It can be relatively affordable and at the same time equally amazing. Amazing beaches, worlds best paella, naps in the afternoon, and outdoor actives are my favorite aspect of this country. There is so much energy and friendliness amongst the Spanish citizens. They are always willing to make your experience enjoyable.
Top Things to Do
- Barcelona – This is one amazing city if you enjoy good nightlife, beaches, and amazing walks. Experience the Catalan culture first hand. Make sure to check out Montjuic and Park Guell. Also an awesome free walking tour of the city.
- Running of the Bulls – For those adventure seekers head to Pamplona in July for this festival. People get mauled by these large animals every year, but people still come out. The adrenaline rush of this event must last a lifetime! Be careful, as many tourist turn this once in a lifetime festival into a mistake they wish they never did.
- Ibiza – Party like it is spring break in the tropical island oasis. There are some of the best beaches in the world in combination with world class entertainment. Many people get stuck on this island because it is too amazing to leave.
- El Camino de Santiago – This is the 500 mile walk across the country in the northern part of Spain. The route has a few different variations, but most people start St. Jean Pied Du Port in France and goes to Santiago in Spain.
- Paella in Valencia – This is said to be the capital of the Paella making in Spain. This sure could be argued by anybody, but try the local variation here. One of my good friends in Miami always made his hometown variation from Valencia, and man, is it amazing.
- Siesta lifestyle – Relax with a midday nap. The laid-back lifestyle of this country can be loved by travelers. It can also be a reason for frustration. Do not be surprised if things are not open in the middle part of the day or if dinner starts at midnight. This is the local culture and you will need to learn to love it.
- Explore Seville – This city is the historic capital of Spain. There are many palaces, churches, and historical sites that should not be missed. Many of your friends may have studied here and it has amazing nightlife.
- Throw some Tomatoes – La Tomatina is another festival in Spain. Held in the town of Bunol in August, come and throw vegetables at each other. Some say this is the worlds largest food fight. Who would not want to get involved with that?
Spanish culture usually calls for later meal times. It is not normal for lunch to be in the mid afternoon and for friends to sit down for dinner at midnight. This is the one thing that most travelers have to get accustomed to. You may go to a dinner spot and nobody will be there at 8pm, but there will be a line at midnight. It may not even be open at 8pm.
My favorite part of Spanish food is their culture around Tapas. These are little appetizers and dishes that are meant to be shared. These are usually side orders to accompany your drink or beverage of choice.
Once again, my favorite dish to have in Spain is paella. Yes, I am biased, but the mixture of rice and fresh seafood cannot be beat. There are also some amazing soups and empanadas that are known for their Spanish variations.
Overall Country Cost – $$ (2/4)
Hostels – $16 – $30 USD per person
3 Star Hotel – $80 – $160 USD
Breakfast – $3 – $10
Lunch – $5 – $12
Dinner – $5 – $30
Here is my breakdown of time spend in Spain:
3 days – Madrid and Toledo – Explore the big cities and enjoy the tapa lifestyle.
2 days – Seville – Spend the day walking around and getting lost in this ancient feeling city.
2 days – Valencia – eat some amazing food and experience the amazing little coastal town.
3 days – Ibiza – Party like you are on spring break and relax on the beach all day.
3 days Barcelona – Explore all the culture aspects of the city including Park Guell and enjoy some beachside food while relaxing for the day.
Yes, there are many cities you can go to and I did not include many cities in the north. The following is more of the tourist route to quickly explore the country and see many different sites.