Entering Spain requires a Schengen visa for travelers from outside Schengen areas to enter the country.
Spain is in GMT+2 time zone.
The language spoken in Spain is Spanish but normally people working in the tourism sector speak English.
Currency and Payment
Euro (EUR or €) is the currency used in Spain. Visa and MasterCard cards are widely accepted in malls and shopping centers, but for local restaurants, it is always better to prepare cash.
Here are some do’s and don’ts in Spain:
- Greetings – Greetings are traditionally formal in Western Europe with a firm handshake, a smile and even a slight bow in certain old-fashioned circles.
- Kissing – Familiar colleagues may kiss each other 3 times on the cheek. However, men rarely kiss men, they shake hands!
- Dining – Western Europeans follow the Continental or the traditional knife and fork custom when dining. Even sandwiches are eaten with a knife and fork in most West European set-ups. Wait for the host to offer the first toast. Serve yourself small portions to avoid wastage. Place your knife and fork diagonally parallel to each other on your plate, to indicate that you have finished your meal.
- Sitting – Men sit only after all the women are seated at the table.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Spain is in late spring (April to May) or early autumn (September to October), due to the pleasant temperatures and lighter crowds. However, the country’s diverse offerings mean you can find something to enjoy at any time of year.
Spain has a relatively mild climate, staying mostly dry year-round. Summers can be quite hot, especially in the south, and see a greater influx of European visitors heading to the popular beach resorts. Lower temperatures in the north make it a great option during the summer if you are worried about the heat.
Winter temperatures rarely drop below 10°C. It can get cold and wet in the north, but the south remains pleasant.
Points of Interest
Madrid’s Belle Époque
The late 19th century and early 20th century with its Belle Époque and Art Nouveau styles, all beautifully integrated in Madrid, also carried over the romantic styles of the prior century. It signaled a brief period of lightness and prosperity for the capital and the country.
One of the unique elements of Madrid’s Belle Époque is its Neo-Mudéjar-style. This is seen in buildings that popularized medieval Muslim brick-work and mosaics.
Art Deco is another popular style of the Belle Époque here. and present throughout the city.
Royal Palace Madrid
The Royal Palace of Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish royal family in the city of Madrid, although now used only for state ceremonies. The palace has 135,000 m² of floor space and contains 3,418 rooms. It is the largest functioning royal palace and the largest by-floor area in Europe.
Almudena Cathedral Madrid
The Catedral de Almudena is Madrid’s grandest church, situated next to Madrid’s Palacio Real, the royal palace. While plans to build this epic church had been in discussion since the 16th century, construction of churches in the Spanish colonies took priority and Madrid remained without a cathedral for many years.
The Prado Museum, officially known as Museo Nacional del Prado, is the main Spanish national art museum, located in central Madrid.
The Gran Vía (“Great Way”) street is an urban esplanade in central Madrid, Spain. It leads from Calle de Alcalá, close to Plaza de Cibeles, to Plaza de España. The street, sometimes referred to as the “Spanish Broadway”, is one of the city’s most important shopping areas, with a large number of hotels and large movie theatres; however, since the late 2000s, many of these theatres have been replaced by shopping centres.
The Gran Vía serves as a showcase of early 20th-century revival architecture, with architectural styles ranging from Vienna Secession style, Plateresque, Neo-Mudéjar, Art Deco, among others.
Santiago Bernabeu Stadium
The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium is a football stadium in Madrid, Spain. With a current seating capacity of 81,044, it has been the home stadium of Real Madrid since its completion in 1947. It is the second-largest stadium in Spain and third-largest home to a top-flight European club after Camp Nou and Westfalenstadion.
Explore the UNESCO-listed Alhambra Palace and Nasrid Palace on a guided walking tour Discover the hidden Nasrid palaces of the Albaicin quarter on an optional walking tour. The Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex located in Granada, Andalusia, Spain. It was originally constructed as a small fortress in AD 889 on the remains of Roman fortifications, and then largely ignored until its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid-13th century by the Nasrid emir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar of the Emirate of Granada, who built its current palace and walls. It was converted into a royal palace in 1333 by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada.
The Palace of Charles V
The Palace of Charles V is a Renaissance building in Granada, southern Spain, located on the top of the hill of the Assabica, inside the Nasrid fortification of the Alhambra. The building has never been a home to a monarch and stood roofless until 1957. The structure was commanded by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, who wished to establish his residence close to the Alhambra palaces. Although the Catholic Monarchs had already altered some rooms of the Alhambra after the conquest of the city in 1492, Charles V intended to construct a permanent residence befitting an emperor. The project was given to Pedro Machuca, an architect whose biography and influences are poorly understood. At the time, Spanish architecture was immersed in the Plateresque style, still with traces of Gothic origin. Machuca built a palace corresponding stylistically to Mannerism, a mode still in its infancy in Italy. The exterior of the building uses a typical Renaissance combination of rustication on the lower level and ashlar on the upper. Even if accounts that place Machuca in the atelier of Michelangelo are accepted, at the time of the construction of the palace in 1527, the latter had yet to design the majority of his architectural works.
The Palacio de Generalife
The Palacio de Generalife was the summer palace and country estate of the Nasrid rulers of the Emirate of Granada in Al-Andalus, now beside the city of Granada in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain.
The Alcazaba was a building used for military purposes. The first Arab constructions date back to the Caliphate period, possibly built over some ruins of a Roman fortress. In the 11th century, the “ziríes” expanded the enclosure, when Granada was the capital city of one of the “Taifas” kingdoms. Even so, the main constructions date from the “nazarie” period (13th to 15th centuries). At this enclosure, there are also some Christian additions like the round “Cubo” Tower.
The Albaicín as it was known under Muslim rule, is a district of Granada, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. It retains the narrow winding streets of its Medieval Moorish past dating back to the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1984, along with the Alhambra. In the evening return back to Seville. Overnight at the Hotel.
Mezquita Catedral de Córdoba
Enter Cordoba’s most important monument, the Mezquita (aka the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba), a symbol of the many religious changes the city has undergone over the centuries. Originally a Catholic church, it was converted into an Islamic mosque in the Middle Ages, then back into a church after the Reconquista. With its otherworldly architecture, the Mezquita is considered one of the most accomplished Moorish monuments in the world. Notice the mix of stately Roman columns, Baroque and Renaissance frescoes and Moorish tiles and arches as you stroll the interior. whose streets stretch out like capillaries and emerge onto tucked-away courtyards buzzing with locals enjoying post-siesta tapas. Next, head over to the old Jewish quarter (Juderia), whose streets stretch out like capillaries and emerge onto tucked-away courtyards buzzing with locals enjoying post-siesta tapas. Listen as your guide points out the distinctly Moorish flair to these medieval alleys, reminiscent of the Jews’ prosperity under the Caliphate of Cordoba.
Cordoba Synagogue is one of the few synagogues existing today in Spain, built in 1315 in Mudéjar style. Before leaving Cordoba, walk down the tiny Calleja de las Flores alleyway, one of the most popular streets in the city. Look back to see Mezquita’s tower peaking between the corridor. The Calleja de las Flores is one of the most popular and tourist streets of the city of Córdoba. It is a narrow passageway with arches and stones that is finished in a square where the visitor finds a series of flowerpots with geranium and carnations.
The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See, better known as Seville Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Seville, Andalusia, Spain. It was registered in 1987 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, along with the adjoining Alcázar palace complex and the General Archive of the Indies.
Plaza de Espana Seville
The Spanish Steps in Seville or ‘Plaza de España’ is one of the most spectacular spaces in Seville, where the main building of the Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929 was built.
Tower of Gold
The Torre del Oro (Tower of Gold) is a dodecagonal military watchtower in Seville, southern Spain. It was erected by the Almohad Caliphate in order to control access to Seville via the Guadalquivir river. Constructed in the first third of the 13th century, the tower served as a prison during the Middle Ages.
The Castle of San Jorge
The Castle of San Jorge was a medieval fortress built on the west bank of the Guadalquivir river in the Spanish city of Seville. It was also used as headquarters and prison for the Spanish Inquisition. It was demolished in the 19th century and made into a food market.