Things to See in Spain
- Palacio Real- The Royal Palace in Madrid
- La Concha beach in San Sebastian
- Aqueduct of Segovia
- The hanging houses in Cuenca
- Alhambra in Granada
- The Old City of Salamanca
Things to Do in Spain
- Retrace the pilgrimage route through Camino de Santiago
- Explore the Caves of Drach on the island of Mallorca
- Experience a Flamenco dancing lesson
- Explore Romaneque and Gothic architecture
- Admire the flamingos at the Veta la Palma sustainable fishery
Cities to Visit in Spain
- Basque Country
Uniquely Spanish Festivals
If you haven’t heard of this, you’ll want to youtube it. It is the largest tomato fight in the world. It is held on the last Wednesday of August every year in the town of Bunol, near Valencia. This “fight” began in 1945, but why they are not quite sure. There is a couple of theories floating around, one being that the townspeople attacked their city council men during a festival, and other theory is a few people lobbed tomatoes at a carnival musician. However it began, it has become a huge event with over 40,000 people descending onto the little town of Bruno (9000 population). The festival has become so big that they now issue official tickets to partake in the festival. The estimate 40metric tons of tomato are crushed and then pelted at each other!
Running of the bulls
This is another popular event in Spain that most people hear about. It is a ritual practice that began in the 14th century. While the bulls were transported from the off-site corrals to the bullring, men would incite the bulls to run faster through the town center. Over time it was became quite the sight that many boys would start running with the bulls- showing off their bravado! The most popular running is the one held in Pamplona, which is held every year from July 6th – 14th. They run the bulls at the beginning of each day at 8am. To join you have to be older than 18, not intoxicated, and you may not excite the bulls or taunt them. There are many injuries, upwards of 300 people per year. The race ends at the bullring (stadium). It is definitely a spectacle to watch, but for obvious “gorging” reasons, we don’t recommend participating. There are many towns and cities that celebrate the running of the bulls, including countries that the Spanish colonized.
Getting around Spain
The easiest way to travel throughout Spain is by train if you are going from one major city centre to another. Spain’s national railway system, Renfe, offers high speed lines: High-speed Ave, Avant, Alvia, Altria. The rides are quick- Madrid to Barcelona is only 2 1/2 hours.
Discounted rail travel is possible under the Junior and Senior discount cards. The pass gives an additional 30% discount of regular fares. There is a one time fee for the card and well worth it if you fall into either age category.
Another way for many travellers to purchase tickets is through a Eurail Pass, which always you to “design” your travelling days. You can choose the number days within a month or two months, and include a number of European countries or only choose Spain exclusively. The prices vary and these passes must be purchased prior to entering the country- they can verify through passport so it’s better to be on the safe side.
Travelling by bus is also possible; it is less expensive and fairly comfortable although it takes much longer than by train. Over the years the bus service has reduced the routes and frequency because train travel is so convenient and fast. To find out rates and schedules the Movelia website has detailed information on many of the different companies. And you can purchase your ticket online, or at the bus station, but you can NOT purchase it on the bus at the time of departure.
Did you know…?
That Spain is known for the Flamenco dance. And although it originates in Spain, Japan has more dance academies than they do!
Did you ALSO know…?
The Spain has the one of the highest life expectancies in the world: 80 years old. Lots of warm weather, a zest for life, and unbelievably good tapas!
Best time of year to travel to Spain
Spain is known for being beautiful all year round and for its hot summers. Summers can be a scorcher in Madrid with temperatures rising as high 40C but averaging around 34C. Near the coast in cities like Barcelona, the temperatures are a little cooler, around 33C, but the humidity is a lot higher. Madrid is very dry and so is most of central Spain. Within in the cities and concrete, the days becoming increasingly hotter as the day progresses, which makes for a wonderfully warm evenings. Perfect for late night dinners on the patio.
During the summer months, August is the busiest time of year with most of Europe travelling within the EU. Finding flights during this month can be difficult too, so plan well in advance including booking your accommodations.
Spring and fall are the months that most travellers opt for, only because the crowds are less, there are more rooms available in hotels and B&B’s, and because the weather is warmer without being too hot.
Ready to plan your visit to Spain? Check out these popular guides and trips.