Spain is much more than a package holiday destination. With a very diverse range of landscapes, cultures and languages, Spain is defiantly a place to stop and experience what is going on around you.

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Recommended Spain

  • Barcelona
  • Tapas
  • San Sebastian
  • Pamplona
  • Santiago de Compostela

Campsites and free camping in Spain

Campsites are found in all popular coastal regions, and many inland areas. Free camping is possible in many areas. Read more.

Vehicle ferries to and from Spain

There are many ferries to chose from when getting a vehicle to and from Spain. See the ferry section.

Driving in Spain

Spain has the second highest accident rate in western Europe, but with care you should have no problems. Read more.

Crime

Spain is a relatively safe and crime-free country. Vehicle break-ins are amongst the biggest problems, so always secure your vehicle, and leave nothing on display. Sensible parking can also reduce you risk of a break-in.

Costs in Spain

Spain is cheaper than France, but not as cheap as Portugal. Fuel is the cheapest of the western countries. Food is good value.

Information

Currency Euro (€)
Capital city Madrid
Time zone +1hr GMT
Religion Catholic and Muslim
Emergency numbers General emergency 112
Police 092
Local police 091
International operator 1008
Electricity 220v continental
Border crossings Spain is a Schengen state

 

Geography

Spain is the second largest country in western Europe, after France. Spain is the second most mountainous country in Europe. The north of Spain is endless mountains, as the Pyrenees become the Picos de Europe mountains. These landscapes are stunning, and well worth visiting. The Atlantic ocean has left a rugged and beautiful coast line, with some of the best surfing in Europe.
The south and eastern coasts of Spain are lapped by the warm and calm Mediterranean ocean. A world apart from the northern shores.
Inland the capital of Madrid, high on its perch, is boiling in summer and freezing in winter.

Spanish food and drink

Spain is home to pallea and the wonderful experience of tapas. Seafood is cheap and excellent. Wine and beers are good. Read more.

Spanish languages

Almost everywhere in Spain the Castillian language, what we know as Spanish, is spoken (Castellano or Espanol in Spanish). It is spoken at breakneck speed. Knowing some will help you out, as English is not so widely spoken in Spain as it is in France and Portugal.

Below is a guide to the languages spoken in Spain. Do not consider Catalan and Galego to be dialects of Castillian (or Spanish), they are all considered seperate languages.

Language Region Comments
Castillian Central Spain, and generally all over Spain What we know as the "Spanish" language. Also spoken in South America.
Catalan Catalunya (Barcelona) and The Balerica Islands. A distinct language, but has similarities to Castilian and French. Is difficult to understand.
Basque (Euskara) Basque (Euskadi) Unlike any other language. Signs are written with a distinct font.
Galego Galicia Sounds like a combination of Catalan and Portugese
Babel Asturias A minority langague

Health

Health care is excellent and generally free, but European residents need to get a E-111 card from your home country. In towns at least one pharmacy will be 'on-call' and open around the clock. Manned by highly trained staff, they can be a good first of call as many prescription drugs (like antibiotics) can be bought over the counter after a consultation. No drugs, even ibuprofen, are available from supermarkets, only the pharmacy.

Opening hours

Spain's traditional long lunches, and in some places, siestas, are still common. General opening hours are 10:00 - 14:00 and 17:00 - 20:00, Monday to Saturday. Although these hours can vary widely from place to place. Banks generally open at 08:30 and large supermarkets will open all day. If you need to do something important in town, go early or late in the day, or you can be kicking your heals waiting for shops to open. Most smaller shops will shut at midday on Saturday and all day on Sunday.

Surfing in Spain

Spain has a massive variety of breaks, big swell, and warm weather. The most hyped waves include Mundaka and Rodilles. See surfing in Spain.

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