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San Sebastian - Spain Travel Guide

Spain Travel Guide

Spain certainly has no shortage of attractions. Whether you’re interested in exploring exotic medieval palaces or treating your taste buds with the country’s exceptional food and wine, expect a fantastic vacation with an abundance of things to see and experience. 

But before you head to the land of sun, sea and sangria, we recommend you spend a few minutes reading our Spain travel guide so you know what to expect when you arrive. From practical information about the language and currency to tips on local dining habits, prepare yourself for an unforgettable trip to Spain.

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Visa and Entry

If you have a US or EU citizenship you will not need a visa to enter Spain. As long as you have a passport valid for six months from the date of your exit, you can travel within the Schengen Area for up to 90 days. Please refer to the Schengen Visa website for more information.

From 2021 all US citizens will require ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) authorization to enter.

Language - Spain Travel Guide


Spanish is the most widely spoken language in Spain, however, the way it is spoken can differ from region to region. Some areas – including Catalonia and Basque Country – have their own unique languages, however locals will still speak the main dialect, too. 

In cities and at popular tourist attractions, you’ll find most locals will speak or understand English. It is still worth learning a few useful Spanish phrases or carrying a phrasebook around with you to make it easier to communicate in more rural areas.

Euro currency, coins and banknotes, Germany

Currency and Tipping in Spain

The local currency in Spain is the Euro (EUR). You’ll be able to purchase Euros in advance in your home country or at a Currency Exchange in Spain when you arrive. Most international credit and debit cards can be used in Spain, however, you’ll need to inform your bank that you’re traveling abroad to avoid any extra charges or issues. 

Tipping in Spain is completely at your discretion. If you’re unhappy with the service you receive in a restaurant, bar or hotel, there’s no obligation to leave a tip. You will find most establishments will add a mandatory service charge to your bill. If you would like to tip someone on top of this amount, use these figures as a general guide:

  • Restaurants and cafes – 10% of your total bill  
  • Luggage at hotels – 1 Euro per piece of luggage
  • Taxis – round up to the nearest full figure
  • Private airport transfer – 10 Euros
  • Private taxi – 15 Euros for half a day, 30 Euros for a full day

Health Information

Spain is generally a safe country to visit and has a good health service, with both public and private hospitals in all cities and large towns. It’s a good idea though to purchase travel insurance, which will cover the cost of any emergency medical care in case you fall ill during your vacation.

The phone number for all emergency services in Spain is 112, although you can also ring 061 should you only require an ambulance.

Getting Around Spain

Spain being a vast country, it’s easiest to avail the high-speed train service (known locally as the Alta Velocidad or AVE) that connects most major cities, with journeys between Barcelona and Madrid taking under three hours. There are also several flights available if you’re planning to travel from one end of the country to the other.

Within different regions, you’ll spot local bus services and train networks that can take you from cities and towns to the more rural areas. It’s also easy to hire a car in Spain and there are many highways (autovías), which make long journeys down the Spanish coast or between big cities quick and easy

Tasty Spanish paella with seafood and chicken breast

Dining out in Spain

Eating out in Spain will no doubt be a highlight of your vacation! There are so many delicious delicacies to try, which can vary greatly from region to region.

Spain’s cities – particularly Barcelona, Madrid, and Bilbao – have a huge range of dining options to suit all tastes and budgets. You’ll discover that more rural communities still enjoy siestas, with restaurants and cafes often closing during the afternoons. 

It’s typical for Spanish people to eat dinner late and for lunch to be the main meal of the day. Some restaurants will have special set menus of the day for lunch, while tapas (small savory dishes) are more popularly eaten in the evening with wine. 

Do you need specific advice on something that hasn’t been covered in our Spain travel guide? Get in touch with our Travel Consultants at Enchanting Travels today for more information on this colorful and culturally diverse country.

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