Thinking about traveling to Spain? Spain – located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula – continues to be one of the most popular tourist attractions and vacation spots just as much today as it has always been in the past. Maybe you’re wondering about where to visit in Spain… Maybe you want to learn more about its history and experience its tremendous influence in European art… Whatever your reasons for wanting to visit are, you’re certainly bound to enjoy the rich culture, customs, and history of this country once you’ve arrived there.
As you can imagine, the architecture of Barcelona, the Holy Monstreat, and the Toledo cathedral make this a popular coordinate. And because this is such a hot travel spot, you’re advised to make your airline reservations, hotel reservations, and car rental preparations early – three to four months in advance as a matter of fact – especially when tourism is likely to be high (summer months, holidays, etc.). If you prefer to travel “off-season,” – that is, during a time when tourism is low, you may not need to make such early reservations. In the latter case, one month-advanced preparation may suffice.
After you’ve made your reservations, you can fulfill the rest of your time preparing for everything that Spain has to offer. One of the ways that you can do that is by taking a local trip to your favorite library and perusing the immense number of books about Spain. By doing this, you can prepare yourself with the language – perhaps even check out a few books or audio tapes of the language (if available) and additionally learn about Spain’s monetary system.
You should always learn about entry requirements, inoculations and other safety information you might need before you go not only to Spain – but also just about anywhere out of the country. But you can also familiarize yourself with the dress of the land and maybe try a few local restaurants that serve Spanish cuisine and play a little of its native music. Of course you can always visit your museum and inquire about the art of the land so that you’ll know what to look for once you get there – in particular, the works of El Greco. The idea here is to educate yourself amid all the excitement of visiting a place so rich in culture!
Now some people like spontaneity – a little adventure – the unknown – whatever you want to call it, but some of us like to create an itinerary of things to do and places to go. If you’re the “planning type,” then you might appreciate taking the time to map out your excursion. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that – seeing that you’re visiting a new area, your chances of being bored or going against spontaneity are very slim because Spain has so much to offer to each one of your physical senses!
When and if you create such an itinerary, some of the things that you will want to include of course are things like times to eat, take tours, attend shows, and (our favorite) shop! You might think that this information is hard to find but thanks to the Internet, it really isn’t’ hard to find at all. If you’re working with a travel agent, then your efforts to fill an itinerary should be pretty minimal. But if you’re working alone, you can certainly visit the tourist websites of Spain and create your own chart of things to discover and enjoy.
If you’re handy with the native language of Spain (which you might have correctly guessed is Spanish), you can certainly read a few online Spanish newspapers to find events and locals that might be of interest to you. Chances are that you’ll find a lot more entertainment information by reading a Spanish newspaper than you would if you solely relied on an English interpretation.
Once you’ve arrived and have found transportation to your hotel, you can inquire further to find even more interests. By this time, you should be speaking a little Spanish so that you can effectively communicate and exchange money with your hotel manager:
Gracias! (Thank You)
Como te llamas? (What’s your name?)
Como estas? (How are you?)
Me llamo… (My name is…)
Soy de United States of America (I’m from the United States of America)
No comprendo (I don’t understand)
Por favor (please)
Me numero de telefono es el… (My phone number is [and then the numbers in Spanish [uno, dos, tres, quatro, cinco, etc.)
You’ll of course want to learn how to ask for other important things like help and/or directions. These are some of the things that will make your trip to Spain more enjoyable – especially as you converse with the natives and experiment with new foods or amusements that you hadn’t even planned for! Just remember to pack your camera or your small video cam so that you can record your experience and enjoy them with loved ones back home.
Travel in Spain by Taxi
Traveling by taxi in Spain provides an extremely convenient way to move about and “sight-see.” Like traveling by taxi in the United States, minimum charges accompany metered mileage plus a small additional fee for baggage and evening – night – or holiday drives.
Spain Driving Tips
European Union citizens (18 years or older) must own a national driving license to drive in Spain, however non-European Union citizens (18 years or older) also need an International Driving Permit as well. Both types of citizens must have car insurance and identification (license, passport, etc.) by law, is required at all times. Seat belts must be worn by all passengers, and travelers under the age of 14 must be seated in the back seat of the vehicle. When driving, remember that driving positions are reversed to American drivers. You must yield to on-coming traffic from junctures and traffic circles.
Special care should be taken to restrict your driving to the main routes outlined on the most recent maps of this area as other routes may not be appropriate for driving (dirt roads, mountain passes, etc.). In urban areas, you can conveniently refuel your vehicle from unleaded or diesel gas stations. But if you’ll drive for long periods of time, it’s wise to completely fill your tank, as fuel stations are sparse in rural sections of the country.
Driving speeds are generally restricted to 30 mph to 56 mph, however driving speeds can increase from 62 mph to 75 mph on highways with more than two lanes. Be prepared to pay both variable and fixed toll charges associated with city entry ways.
Traveling in Spain by Car / Car Rental
Because Spain’s city centers are so popular, you are cautioned to avoid driving in these areas – especially since the narrow roads in these places can accommodate traffic traveling in one direction only. In addition, parked automobiles make driving extremely difficult. Traveling by car rental is best accomplished by following a current map of its roads – which offer views that are nothing short of amazing.