Travel to Spain on your own, a practical guideCategory: Articles
Do you wish to travel to Spain on your own but need a practical guide? If you need some assistance in deciding on a route, finding accommodations in Spain, hotels or other types of lodging; making arrangements for transportation such as car rentals, motor coach or by train; or you simply need to decide just what to see and do, don’t fret—it may not be as difficult as you think. I wish to assist you with the task and I have a few years experience at this. Not only that, but I am Spanish, located in Spain , I speak your language, and I know what you need and want. So read on. In this page, I will cover those necessary aspects of your Spain tour such as: your itinerary, your budget, your transportation from one point to another, your accommodations and meals, and what to see and do in Spain . If you are ready, let’s begin.
Your tour of Spain itinerary
Are coming totally alone or do you have a friend or spouse to travel with? Touring Spain is so exciting, so much to see and learn, and so much variety. You would have never thought that from one region to the next, some times from one town to the next, everything would change: the scenery, the cuisine, the traditions, the weather, and some times even the language! What a contrast from one area to another! What an amazing country! Bring a companion with whom to share the experience, one friend or even small group. You will not be disappointed.
Your Spain tour can be based on a variety of purposes. It can take many themes, but let me suggest that with which I am most familiar: let me propose an educational tour, “una visita cultural,” like Spaniards would say. We have several routes already designed that you can just download. These you can do as suggested or you can adapt them to suit your needs and interests. First 2 short routes designed by us:
Following are other itineraries designed by us for a group experience. You are welcome to print the itinerary and implement it on your own. Enjoy it! Of course, if you have a group (20 participants or more) and you want us to do the legwork for you, all you have to do is ask . We’ll love to do it for you. If you will do it alone, here are a few ideas:
- Discover Spain
- History of Spain
- The Al-Andalus Legacy
- Art History of Spain
- Spanish Literature Route
- Christmas in Spain
- Landscapes and Civilizations
- Catholic Pilgrimage
Shortly we will add El Cid Campeador Route , a tour developed by Consorcio Camino del Cid www.caminodelcid.org that we will adapt and promoted with their permission. Additionally we will develop a wine route, starting with wines of La Rioja, Valdepeñas and Jerez , and a route of the Spanish language and culture. More will follow.
Someone wisely said, before you build a tower, first count the cost. Yes, add up all the cost before you even get started—you wouldn’t want to run out of money half way into the trip. So what costs do you want to add? Firsts the airfare and the other obvious costs: hotel, meals (3 of them) and transportation. Then the other minor things: entrance fees to monuments and museums, to a flamenco show or to another types of performance. Then the trivial stuff such as those drinks at the sidewalk café, the souvenir you have wished to take home, and the gifts you thought of for your special friends. Adding up all those costs excluding the airfare and gifts, and I say you can do it on about 90 euros per day. But you must be very thrifty with your money!
Transportation from one point of your route to another
So, if you are on own, trying to get from one point to another, how would you do it? It is not difficult at all, and Spain ‘s public transportation system is great. If you choose not to rent a car, you can go by air, train or bus.
But let’s say you rather go by car and have an international driver’s license issued by the proper authority in your home country, no problem. There are many car hire, car rental companies in every major city. If you are coming from a country outside of the European Union, keep in mind that some aspects of the driving code will be different from those in your country.
Air transportation is of course faster, however it is more expensive and many the places you want to see will not have an airport. Be sure to check Iberia ‘s web site to see if you can get to those cities by air.
I would suggest you think of taking a train. The train system is great. It connects major cities and it is safe, inexpensive and very comfortable. Once you have decided the cities you wish to visit, take a look at Renfe’s website http://www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/ to find the schedules and costs.
Occasionally you will find that you cannot go from one city to another by train, for that we have the public bus transportation system. This is a little more complicated because each area is served by a different bus company. Perhaps you might want to try this your second time around and when you have a little knowledge of the Spanish language.
Your accommodations and meals
Your accommodations can be hotels (5, 4, 3, 2, and 1-star), hostels, pensiones, rural hotels and “casas rurales.” The 5-star hotels are the most exclusive and expensive. If you are on an average budget, I suggest 3-star hotels. Some hotels will include breakfast but the majority will not. This is an additional expense you need to count on. The rural accommodations are historic homes, some times a couple of centuries old that have been refurbished to host travelers and vacationers. They are usually gorgeous. If you have time to spend on the countryside, don’t miss lodging in one of these beauties. There are many websites that will assist you in finding suitable accommodations in just about every area of Spain . Make sure to check several of those and compare prices on the same hotel.
Many hotels have restaurants, usually the hotels with at least 3 stars. If you wish not to bother with finding a place to eat, you have three options at the hotels for your meals: lodging and breakfast, lodging and half board (breakfast and dinner) and lodging and full board (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Since you will be out and about visiting all those awesome monuments and getting in some shopping, you probably should opt for the half board. You can get lunch while you are out, and you will be able to have a good lunch at a reasonable price—that is 9 to 15 euros.
Remember lunch in Spain , “la comida,” is the most important meal of the day and it is served after 1:30 p.m. Most restaurants will stop serving lunch around 3.30 in the afternoon. When you go in to eat, do ask if they have a “menú del día,” the daily special meal. The “menú” will include 3 courses, first course, second course, and desert. It will also include a drink (wine or water) and your bread. For every course they will have several options. Be careful with that wine! It will make you feel very relaxed and sleepy. Then you will need a nice cup of the great Spanish coffee. ¡Que aproveche!
What to see and do
Wow! So much to see and do! Where does on begin? First, every city has its own historical building—remember Spain is an ancient country. You will find monuments dating back to the time of the Romans and before. So do a little research on the historical aspects of each city and select the monuments you want to see. Find out also what museums the have. Every city and town will have its own festivals coinciding with its patron saint’s day. You also have special dates, such as Semana Santa, that are observed all over Spain . Lately, many cities and towns have started celebrating the historical time and circumstances that gave them and sealed their identity. These celebrations usually last for several days and the entire town gets involved in them. In some places they are called historical faires, in others Roman or medieval festival. Some we’ll provide a list of them and the dates of their celebrations.
In this page, we have covered a lot of ground in my attempt to provide a practical guide for your tour of Spain , but we have barely scratched the surface. There is so much more that can be said! I promise to add new information to these pages in the future, and you be sure to check us out again next time you plan to travel to Spain on your own. ¡Hasta pronto!