Thinking about booking a trip to Spain? If there’s one tip we can give you, it’s this: go! Between the tapas and the tight streets, the amazing people and the rich culture, the breathtaking topography and the activities you can do there, traveling to Spain is an excellent idea.
We want to make sure that while you’re there, everything goes smoothly. Of course, there’s always the occasional hiccup when it comes to international travel — it wouldn’t be an adventure if everything went according to plan — but these tips should help you out.
Having traveled extensively in España, we’ve pulled together a few tips and tricks you should keep in mind when traveling throughout the country — by train, plane, or automobile.
To rent a car or not to rent a car?
This is a huge question for many travelers! If you’re just going to be stopping in a few major cities, don’t bother—public transportation is pretty straightforward and easy enough to manage, even without a grasp on the language. If you’re lugging gear like bikes or surfboards, and/or want to travel independently without being hampered by late buses and train transfers, renting a car is well worth it.
We had good luck with Sixt.
Travel by Train
Traveling by train in Spain is, generally speaking, the preferred method of transportation. Especially between major cities, but even between lesser-known locales. Check out the Renfe website here to book your trip: http://www.renfe.com/
If you’re traveling extensively through Spain, you can look into a Rail Europe (AKA Eurail) Pass. Rail Europe has a whole menu of different passes: some are specific to Spain, some are for a combination of countries (like Spain and Portugal), and the famed Global pass, which provides access to 28 European nations.
Travel by Bus
Traveling by bus is the cheapest way to go—but it’s also the slowest. But be careful, as booking travel on the ALSA website is much more finicky than doing so on the Renfe website. Enter at your own risk If you’re taking a bus, sometimes it’s smart to simply go to the station and buy the ticket in person as opposed to diving into the rabbit hole that is the ALSA online experience. It’s best practice to buy the ticket a day or two ahead of time, especially for popular routes and holiday travel.
Travel by Plane
Though it is a small country, hopping on a plane is sometimes your best bet to make the most of your travel time. And with a budget airline like Ryan Air, it’s often less expensive than you think.
Think beyond the mainland
When most people think of Spain, they imagine hot summer nights, flamenco, red wine, and tapas. Tropical beaches and volcanoes don’t always come to mind. Consider flying to the Canary Islands, a Spanish autonomous community, for an even sunnier side of Spain. Of course, the Balearic Islands are a bit more well-known — thanks to the international party destination of Ibiza — but the entirety of this Mediterranean archipelago is worth jetting away from the mainland.