In this Destination Guide you will find information for:
♦Currency: Euro €
♦Best time to visit:Mar-May/Sept-Nov
♦Time Zone: +1 GMT
♦Phone Code: +34
♦Must eat: Paella, Tortilla, Tapas
♦Must drink: Red Wine, Sangria, Beer
♦Don't miss: "Chiringuito" Restaurants on the Beach!
Number of times visited: "Base Country"
Getting there and transportation: The most common transportation option is by air, with many airlines operating to many Spanish Cities from most European Airports.Main airports are Madrid-Barajas (MAD), Barcelona El Prat (BCN) , Malaga (AGP) , Alicante (ALC) and Palma de Mallorca (PMI).
Iberia and Iberia Express offer a wide range of destinations together with low-cost airlines such as Easyjet, Ryanair and recently based Norwegian.
You can also reach Spain by international rail from cities such as Paris or Brussels. Internal Spanish Rail is excellent, having high speed connections through out most of the major cities ranging north to south and west to east.Prices are very competitive and always better to buy in advance except for local trips. For more information about Spanish rail system visit Renfe.
Busses are widely popular to travel in Spain through out the country despite the longer times, for more info visit Alsa.
Weather and temperature: Spain's climate varies from temperate in the north to dry and hot in the south. As it is a big country with varying terrain and altitudes, climate can be extremely distinctive from one corner to another. Overall, the coastal regions in the South and Eastern parts of Spain are excellent to visit all year round thanks to the Mediterranean climate (mild temperatures and long days). Northern Spain generally experiences colder temperatures than the South, while Central Spain stays hot and dry due to its location on a plateau.
The best time to visit depends on the region and type of travel experience you’re seeking. For a beach vacation, the best months for guaranteed sunshine are June to August. Naturally, these are also the busiest months for tourism along the coast and on the Spanish islands, so be prepared for high prices and crowds. If you’re looking to escape the crowds, head inland to cities like Seville, Madrid and Granada where temperatures are sizzling (+35/40C) but streets are empty.
The best time to go is mid season, Spring and autumn: from March to end of May and September to November. These are when tourist destinations are least crowded and weather is still pleasant. January to February is the best time to ski, as snow is ample and the sun is shining. Especially in the Sierra Nevada, the sun can be quite overwhelming even in the snow, so come prepared with snow goggles and sunscreen.
Food and Drink: Spain's eating and drinking culture is one of its greatest attractions, and a very sociable one too, with people very close together rubbing shoulders in tapas bars and cafés. The Spaniards take their food seriously, you can find from cheap menus del dia (menus of the day) or elaborate cuisine in gourmet restaurants. An excellent way to understand different facets of Spanish cuisine is to sample tapas (pintxos in the Basque Country): small snacks served with drinks in local bars across the country. They can range from gourmet canapés to simple plates of olives, cheeses and cured meats, and may be charged or given for free.
Specialities include: Paella, a Valencian rice dish loaded with seafood and chicken or rabbit, saffron and vegetables. Croquetas, fried bread-crumbed fritters with a creamy, potato interior. Cocido, a fragrant and rich chickpea and meat stew popular in Madrid. Tortilla Espaniola, a rich, chunky potato omelette, one of the most traditional dishes and made in different styles depending on the region you visit. Gazpacho, a chilled tomato-based, tangy vegetable soup from Andalucía. Jamón Serrano, one of many cured Spanish meats, finely sliced ham. Pulpo á feira, tender, boiled lobster seasoned with paprika and salt and drizzled in olive oil. Chorizo, a dried pork sausage seasoned with smoked paprika. Bacalao al pil, a Basque Country dish of salt cod with a velvety white olive-oil emulsion. Albondigas, fried Spanish-style meatballs, usually smothered in tomato sauce.
Spanish drinks are also very popular, and are renowed worldwide. From the thirst-quenching sangria (Fruity red wine with a sweet taste served in a Jug) to bubbly Cava and the sophisticated Rioja wine. Spirits are also famous, like the, Sherry a fortified wine available in several styles: Fino and Manzanilla (pale and dry), amontillado (dry, richer in body and darker in colour), Oloroso (medium, full-bodied, fragrant and golden) and sweet sherries such as Pedro Ximénez.Rioja: Spain’s flagship red wine, made from Tempranillo and Garnacha grapes. Cava, a sparkling wine from Catalonia made using the same method used to produce Champagne.