Is a fascinating mix
Passionate, sophisticated and devoted to living the good life, Spain is both a stereotype come to life and a country more diverse than you ever imagined.
An Epic Land
Spain’s diverse landscapes stir the soul. The Pyrenees and the Picos de Europa are as beautiful as any mountain range on the continent, while the snowcapped Sierra Nevada rises up improbably from the sun-baked plains of Andalucía; these are hiking destinations of the highest order. The wildly beautiful cliffs of Spain’s Atlantic northwest are offset by the charming coves of the Mediterranean. And everywhere you go, villages of timeless beauty perch on hilltops, huddle in valleys and cling to coastal outcrops as tiny but resilient outposts of Old Spain. That’s where the country’s charms are most likely to take hold.
A Culinary Feast
Food and wine are national obsessions in Spain, and with good reason. The touchstones of Spanish cooking are deceptively simple: incalculable variety, traditional recipes handed down through the generations, and an innate willingness to experiment and see what comes out of the kitchen laboratory. You may experience the best meal ever via tapas in an earthy bar where everyone’s shouting, or via a meal prepared by a celebrity chef in the refined surrounds of a Michelin-starred restaurant. Either way, the breadth of gastronomic experience that awaits you is breathtaking and sure to be a highlight of your trip.
Art Imitates Life
Windswept Roman ruins, cathedrals of rare power and incomparable jewels of Islamic architecture speak of a country where the great civilisations of history have risen, fallen and left behind their indelible mark. More recently, what other country could produce such rebellious and relentlessly creative spirits as Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso and Antoni Gaudí and place them front and centre in public life? And here, grand monuments of history coexist alongside architectural creations of such daring that it becomes clear Spain’s future will be every bit as original as its past.
Fiestas & Flamenco
For all the talk of Spain’s history, this is a country that lives very much in the present and there’s a reason ‘fiesta’ is one of the best-known words in the Spanish language – life itself is a fiesta here and everyone seems to be invited. Perhaps you’ll sense it along a crowded, post-midnight street when all the world has come out to play. Or maybe that moment will come when a flamenco performer touches something deep in your soul. Whenever it happens, you’ll find yourself nodding in recognition: this is Spain.
Eating and Drinking
Spain is one of Europe’s culinary powerhouses, a foodie destination of the highest order. So much of Spanish cuisine has colonised the world, from tapas, paella, jamón and churros to Spanish wines and olive oils. But by visiting Spain you can go to the source and enjoy Spanish cooking at its best and in all its infinite variety.
Spain has a staggering array of eating choices, with a mix of both casual and high-end options. At many places, it’s wise to book ahead on weekends. For the country’s most famous dining rooms, book at least one month in advance.
- Restaurantes Runs the gambit from low to high, with strict closings between meal times.
- Tascas Lively tapas bars, where you can nibble your way though small bites accompanied by drinks.
- Tabernas Rustic eateries that serve tapas and raciones (large tapas), with set menus at some.
- Cafes A fine spot for coffee, desserts and light fare throughout the day.
In many parts of the country you won’t find anything but wines from Spain. La Rioja is the king of Spanish wine regions, but there’s so much more to be discovered.
La Rioja wine region Bodegas, wine museums and vineyards to the horizon – this is Spanish wine’s heartland.
Ribera del Duero Spain’s favourite wine region in waiting, with bodegas all along the valley.
Penedès wine country The cavas (sparkling wines) that are Spain’s favourite Christmas drink.
The Sherry Triangle Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa María and Sanlúcar de Barrameda – the sherry capitals of the world, with numerous bodegas.
Somontano One of Spain’s most underrated wine regions, with dozens of vineyards open to the public.
Galicia Up-and-coming region with fruity white albariño, and a revival of native grape varieties in areas like Ribeira Sacra and Monterrei.
Asturias Spain’s cider capital where’s it’s poured expertly, straight from the barrel.
Priorat Some of Spain’s finest and most expensive wines, in Catalonia.
Click on the image below to see a video of food in Spain:
Do I need a visa to go to Spain if I have an Australian passport?
Australian passport holders can visit any countries within the Schengen area visa-free for up to 90 days over a 180-day period for the purpose of tourism.
What´s the currency used in Spain?
The currency in Spain is the euro, the same as in other European Union countries.
EUR 1 = AUD 1.70
Payment using recognised international credit cards is also commonly available in Spanish shops. They usually have signs indicating this option at the entrance to the establishment. When you make a payment you should show your passport or ID card. You can change currencies in bureaux de change and some banks. This service is also available in many hotels and travel agencies.
Should I tip in restaurants and hotels in Spain?
Tipping is not mandatory in Spain. In every single establishment in Spain, service is included with the price of the meal or drink. However, tipping is a common practice at bars and restaurants, hotels, and taxis, depending on the total price for the service, and on the generosity of the client. It is usually around five to ten percent of the total price.
Is it safe to travel to Spain?
The Australian Government provides up to date information on the safety of travelling to various countries, and all travellers should take note of this advice. Liberty Tours recommends that all travellers take out appropriate Travel Insurance to cover the entire duration of their absence from home.
Link for current official assessment:
Advice on health risks and vaccination recommendations can also be found using the same link.
When is the best time to go to Spain?
High Season (Jun–Aug, public holidays)
- Accommodation books out and prices increase by up to 50%.
- Low season in parts of inland Spain.
- Expect warm, dry and sunny weather; more humid in coastal areas.
Shoulder (Mar–May, Sep & Oct)
- A good time to travel: mild, clear weather and fewer crowds.
- Local festivals can send prices soaring.
- Fewer hikers on trails but weather unpredictable.
Low Season (Nov–Feb)
- Cold in central Spain; rain in the north and northwest.
- Mild temperatures in Andalucía and the Mediterranean coast.
- This is high season in ski resorts.
- Many hotels are closed in beach areas but elsewhere along the coast prices plummet.
All of Mainland Spain is in the CET time zone except the Canary Islands. The Canary Islands are in Western European Time (GMT±00:00) and in summer in the Western European Summer Time (GMT+01:00). Daylight saving time starts in Spain on last Sunday in March (01:00 GMT) and ends on the last Sunday in October (01:00 GMT). Canberra, Australia is 8 hours ahead of Spain.
220v/50 hz. The electrical sockets used in Spain are type F
Spanish, Catalan in Catalonia, Valencia and Balearic Islands, Basque in Euskadi and Navarre, Galician in Galicia, Occitan in Catalonia
Roman Catholic 94%, other 6%