The good news is that Spain is not very expensive relative to other European countries. Barcelona is amongst the more expensive cities but even here it is entirely plausible to have good 4-star accommodations for lesser than Euro 100 per night for 2. Madrid, Seville, Granada are all cheaper. Even the islands of Mallorca, Tenerife and Ibiza may not startle any traveler for accommodion.
Spain has excellent travel infrastructure. The Spanish national railways - “Renfe” cuts through the country at high speed. It takes less than 3 hours to cover the 600 km distance between Barcelona to Madrid. Spain also has a dense bus network, though it takes much longer.
What could however, surprise any traveler is internal travel costs by Renfe (train). It takes Euro 120 per person for the less than 3 hour journey between Barcelona and Madrid. A bus on the other hand would take 6 hours but would cost one-fourth of what it would by train.
While in Spain, one needs to be on the guard. Barcelona is the pick-pocketing capital of Europe. And these guys would follow you for miles, if they find you easy prey. This trend has been seen in other cities as well as the deep recession in Spain is taking its toll. Have no money in your pockets – however deep they may be and always have an eye on your luggage. Just a few basic precautions and all else is fine. Spain is one of the most banked countries in the world - An ATM cannot be more than half a kilometre away!! Language is a barrier across much of Spain – even in cities sometimes. Learn a few Spanish words and things should improve significantly.
What to expect: World class beaches and resorts, unbeatable architecture in Barcelona, Granada and Madrid, culture history, sports
Travel infrastructure: 4/5
Tourist friendliness : 3/5
English spoken : 2.5/5
Money's worth : 4/5
Minimum 3 days: Barcelona - for cheaches, architecture of Antoni Gaudi and much more
5-6 days: Add Ibiza / Mallorca / Tenerife - for the best beaches, excellent resorts and vibrant nightlife
Off the Beaten Path:
7-9 days: Add Granada - for the mountains, confluence of Islamic and Roman architecture
10-12 days: Add Costa Brava - for a different perspective of beaches
12-14 days: Add Madrid - the Capital known as an architectural marvel
16-18 days: Add Seville - centre of arts and culture
Fantastic beaches, amazing night life, great food and bull fighting are the first things that come to the mind of any traveler when considering touring Spain. However, like many other myths have to be busted, so does this. Spain has the third-most number of UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world and the second in Europe after Italy. No one needs to go much farther than Barcelona to be dazzled by the distinctive architecture all over Barcelona by Antoni Gaudi, a famous architect. One only needs to visit Granada or Cordoba to check on the distinctive Islamic influence. As one moves across the country, the cultural diversity is in full display. Spain has lush meadows to mountains to even a desert. Spain has a long history – imperial history as much as a few centuries back as well as civil war, fascism – all of which are only a few decades old. This is a football fanatic country – just experience the electrifying environment in any game in the La Liga. Spain is diverse in all respects and cannot be typecasted!