- Spain is well known as a fiery, feisty and passionate country and it inspires great passion in those who visit it. The many visitors who come here each year fall in love with the diverse, grand and sweeping landscapes, from the high, snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada to the sun baked plains of Andalucia, from the rugged and wild Atlantic coast to the sunny, sandy coves and balmy bays of the Mediterranean shores. They are inspired by many works or art and enjoy the many reminders of the country’s long and fascinating history. They enjoy flamenco, fiestas and feasts of traditional cuisine and many of them choose to return here, year after year.
This western European country is located on the Iberian Peninsula, where modern humans first arrived around 35,000 years ago. A number of different civilisations have settled here over the years and left their own legacies on the land and its people. Across Spain, different cultures have sprung up and created diverse groups of people with different ways, beliefs and traditions, even different languages. Modern Spain is less one entity and is more easily understood if you think of it as a collection of seventeen autonomous regions, each with their own distinct character and each with many points of interest to enjoy.
Spain has a diverse range of landscapes which, of course, means that there are plenty of natural attractions to enjoy. If mountains are your thing then you must visit the Sierra Nevada Range, which contains the highest peaks on the mainland of the country. Enjoy also the Picos de Europa, the Pyrenees, the Cantabrian Mountains, Sistema Central, Sistema Ibérica and more. If you want to delve deeper into the Spanish ecosystems then you can enjoy many protected areas of landscape around the country including fifteen National Parks on the mainland and islands and many more natural parks.
Many people, however, come here for one thing and one thing only – to relax on Spain’s beautiful coastlines. The Costa Brava was the first place for mass tourism here and yet it is now turning its back on its earlier image and plugging its more natural attractions instead. South beyond Barcelona and Tarragona you will find the Costa Daurada and the Delta de L’Ebre, wetlands and river estuaries. South from here is the Costa del Azahar, the more famous Costa Blanca, the Costa Calida, the Costa de Almeria and the Costa Tropical before you reach the amazing and immensely popular Costa del Sol and its neighbouring stretch to the west, the Costa de la Luz. While to the North and north-west you will find more stretches of coastline which include the well known Costa Verde.
Cultural and Historic Attractions:
Madrid is Spain’s capital and has a number of amazing historic and cultural attractions including a number of excellent museums and galleries, the Royal Palace of Madrid, the Plaza Mayor, Plaza de Cibeles, Almudena Cathedral and much more besides. Barcelona is another of Spain’s major cities and has, along with several beaches, the Sagrada Familia, the Gothic Quarter, Casa Batlló, Barcelona Cathedral and, close to the city, Montserrat, a natural and historic attraction in one.
One of Spain’s most prominent historic sites is the Alhambra in Granada. The Plaza de Espaňa in the centre of the historic city of Seville and also the Royal Alcázar and Cathedral found there. The Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela and the Burgos Cathedral are also amongst Spain’s many sacred historic sites. There are many more important sites across Spain’s diverse regions each reflecting a small part of this country’s fascinating past.
Food and Drink:
Spanish cuisine is famed around the world, though of course really the food here varies considerable with all the other customs and traditions from one part of the country to another. Each region has its own specialities and ways of preparing food and these can vary dramatically from one place to the next. One of the joys of food in Spain is that you can sample a wide range of different dishes, wherever in the country you choose to go. Tapas is a typical way of serving food and it is also very common to find that the main meal is eaten between 2pm and 4pm. Eating is a leisurely thing in Spain and you will find people take time to eat and drink, making conversation over a meal and not rushing it. However, to find ‘real’ Spanish food rather than the international ‘chips with everything’ sort of meals then you are best to move away from the main resorts and mass tourism centres and head out to explore the less visited regions of the country. The Spanish like to eat, drink and have a good time and as you would expect, the nightlife in cities and coastal resorts can be exciting through some might say a little too wild in places.
Spain is a wonderful country not just for those who like to sleep, eat, party, repeat but also for those who like to have a more active and adventurous time on their holidays. The rugged mountains are, of course, threaded with a range of hiking trails, some long-distance others perfect for a gentle amble. There is rock climbing, abseiling, mountain biking and caving in the higher ranges and in some of the valleys and gorges run rivers ripe for exploration by boat tour, kayak trip or rafting adventure. Have a go on ziplines or free-fall from the skies, rise above as you paraglide or hang-glide or take a helicopter ride over spectacular vistas. Try a range of watersports at a coastal resort, play on the beach or take to the waters for a swim or a snorkel. If you want to see beneath the waves then do a bit of diving to a natural or wreck site. No matter how hard you try you will never exhaust all your options for adventure in Spain.
So whatever sort of holiday you are looking for, consider Spain for next holiday and make it your passion too.
Holidays Spain FAQs
- While many destinations will not require you to have an vaccinations. However, if you are travelling to a more exotic location then you may well have to be vaccinated before you go. Be sure to visit with your doctor to arrange these as soon as possible, so you are fully covered before you go away.
- Vaccinations for cholera, diphtheria, polio and tetanus booster, hepatitis A, combined hepatitis A and B, and typhoid are free on the NHS in the UK. There may be a charge if you require or desire injections for hepatitis B, C or other meningitis vaccines, for Japanese encephalitis, rabies, tick-borne encephalitis, tuberculosis or yellow fever.
- You can find out more information about what vaccinations you may require and their cost (if there is one) on the NHS website. In some cases, you will need to begin the process of vaccination at least two months before you travel, so make sure you plan ahead and are prepared.
- One of the most important things to ask yourself before you arrange any travel is whether you have a valid passport. Remember that in some countries, you will have to have at least six months left on your passport to be admitted entry. Check carefully to make sure that there is sufficient time left on your passport and that it has not expired.
- You can renew your passport at any time. Remember that if there is still time left on your old one (up to nine months) it will be added onto your new one. While it is relatively hassle free to arrange a new passport – you can do it online or through the post office’s Check and Send Service – you should be sure to leave enough time. It can take a few weeks, especially during the busiest periods. A new passport will cost £72.50, or £82.25 using the Check and Send scheme.
- The short answer to this question is ‘yes’. While many people ‘wing it’ and don’t think that they will need travel insurance for a European trip, the fact of the matter is that it is vital to arrange adequate insurance to cover you if something bad happens. The EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) is not enough and will not cover you fully for accidents, illness or medical expenses while you are away.
- Money Pug can help you to find the right travel insurance for you. By using our handy and easy to use comparison service, you can make sure that you are covered. If you are not adequately insured for your travels, you could find yourself with unmanageable levels of debt. Costs can quickly mount and some travellers have found themselves thousands of pounds in debt after treatment abroad.
- When travelling, there is always a possibility that something might go wrong. From cancelled flights to having a medical/personal/criminal emergency, one in five of us won’t have a policy protecting ourselves or our valuable possessions from harm! Don’t risk it! While it can be nice to live in the fantasy that these things will never happen to you – the truth is that they could. It is important to be prepared.
- You may have already paid for your flights and hotel accommodation, perhaps you have even booked an all-inclusive package holiday. Regardless of what sort of holiday you have booked, however, you will still need to think about how you will pay for other things while you are away. How to pay while you are away is a big and sometimes complicated decision to make. Money Pug can help. With Money Pug, you can compare all the different options for funding your travel, from cash exchange, to traveller’s cheques, to debit and credit cards, and prepaid cards for use overseas.
- If you decide to take cash on your next holiday, a visit to Money Pug can help you find the currency you need, and the best deals on exchange rates, commission and fees. When exchanging cash, make sure you make Money Pug our first port of call, so you don’t end up being short changed when arranging cash for your travels.
- While you may wish to take cash on your holiday, there are downsides to this option. Cash is less secure than a credit card or prepaid card. If you are travelling somewhere that has easy access to ATMs then a card could be your best option – just be sure to choose the right one. You can compare these with Money Pug too – simply search out the relevant pages on this website to get started.
- A passport, travel insurance and money-related documents are not the only ones you may have to concern yourself with arranging before you go away. In addition to arranging the essential things described above, you should also be sure to know any visa requirements before you go. Make sure you are aware of the visa requirements for any country you are travelling to.
- While British citizens can currently travel to the EU without a visa, this may change post-Brexit. You will need to arrange an ESTA for travel to the United States. The visa requirements for other countries vary, and the type of visa you will require will differ depending on how long you plan to stay in a country, and whether you are visiting for work or on holiday. Make sure you know, and have all the relevant documents in place before you go.
- In addition to thinking about the paperwork required to visit various countries, you may also need to make sure that you have the relevant documents to allow you to drive during your stay. If you plan to hire a vehicle during your trip then you will, of course, have to make sure that you have a valid driver’s license and insurance documents with you. A vignette is required if you will be driving in certain European countries. Make sure that you are aware of the road rules and regulations for the country you are visiting before you go.
- Always inform your bank about your travel plans if you are intending to use a credit or debit card while you are away. If the bank flags up unusual spending in an unusual place then it may stop authorising payments and cancel your card. This can be a real hassle and you may have to phone your bank in order to confirm who you are and get your card re-authorised, and this can take some time.
- Not all banks need to be told that you are travelling, but customers of the Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale Bank, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds and Nationwide are all advised to contact their bank prior to travel and generally speaking, whoever you bank with, it is a good idea to inform them before you leave of your destination and intentions.
- While the main focus will obviously be on the flights, and how you will travel the majority of the way to your destination, it is also important to take some time to think about how you will get to your departure airport, and, if it is not already covered by your accommodation/ holiday provider, how you will travel from the arrival airport to your ultimate holiday destination.
- If you will be driving yourself to the airport then you will need to look into airport parking. This can be expensive, though can be less so if you are sure to book long-term parking in advance. Alternatively, you may be able to get a friend or relative to drive you, or could consider taking a taxi, or a public transport option.
- When you reach your destination, if you are an independent traveller you will need to think about getting to your accommodation from the airport. You may be able to get a private taxi/ Uber or airport shuttle. An option that is often a lot cheaper is to take a bus or a train. The options will depend on where you have travelled to and how far it is to your destination.
Before you pack for your holiday and leave for your flight, it is, of course, essential to check online to see what your baggage allowance is for the airline with which you are travelling. Different airlines have different baggage allowances, which can vary quite considerably. If you are travelling with a low-cost airline like Ryanair, the allowance is obviously a lot lower than if you are travelling with, for example, British Airways. Check what weight is allowed for hold luggage and also check the maximum size/ dimension of cabin baggage/ hand luggage. Be careful not to over-pack. Don’t try to bring everything except the kitchen sink and pack what you have sensibly to make the most of the space available.
In addition to knowing what size of cabin bags are allowed, and how many you can bring onboard your particular flight, you should also make sure you are also aware of what you can and cannot place within hand luggage. For example, you should be very careful not to carry any fluids in a container carrying more than 100ml. Whatever small bottles you do have should be packed in a resealable, clear plastic bag. Arranging this before you reach the airport can save some time. It can be expensive to buy toiletries and other items at the airport shops, so consider arranging these ahead of time – decanting toiletries from larger bottles at home can save you money. You could also consider hanging onto hotel items from your last trip.
- In addition to booking flights (and later checking in for those flight), you may also wish to consider arranging a few other details for your flights. For example, you may wish to pay to arrange specific seats (this can be worth the expense for a long flight, especially if you want a little extra legroom). You may also wish to order a vegetarian or vegan meal, or tell the airline about any other dietary requirements.
- Finally, think about how you will entertain yourself or your family during your journey. However you are travelling, it is a good idea to make sure that you have items with you to keep yourselves amused. Think about books, magazines, music or other audio that you might like to have with you during your travels.
- These are just some of the things that it can be helpful to ask yourself before you travel. Taking care of all these things will help make sure that your trip goes smoothly and you have a wonderful holiday, wherever and whenever you decide to go.
If a package holiday seems to good to be true – sometimes it might be. While Money Pug works hard to ensure that all the holidays it compares are top notch, other companies may not be so scrupulous. Whenever you are considering a package holiday, it is important to do your research. Don’t just believe the information in a brochure or advertisement – check out reviews and discover what real people have found to be true when taking these holidays before you commit to a purchasing decision.
You can get some peace of mind by making sure that you only ever select a holiday that is regulated and ATOL protected. This will ensure that if anything goes wrong, you will have some legal protection under the 1992 Package Travel Regulations. You will be able to find plenty of ATOL protected holiday options by searching on Money Pug’s website.
It can be easy to be lured in by the advertising, but it is always a good idea to check that the information given on a hotel or resort in one location online or in a brochure matches with the information found elsewhere. Make sure you do your research so you do not get any nasty surprises when you reach your destination.
Before you commit to a package holiday, it is important to make sure that the option you are considering really does offer everything you want. Make sure that you take a good look at the flights, transfers, accommodation, and, for an all-inclusive stay, what else is included in the package. Think carefully about what you need and want from your holiday and also, of course, what will be desired and required by any travelling companions/ family you may have with you.
So, you’ve found a holiday that you really like the look of and are almost ready to press the button and get the show on the road. Wait just a moment – are you sure this really is the best alternative available to you? There are so many package holidays out there – you don’t want to kick yourself when you find out that you could have got something more for your money. This is where a comparison site like Money Pug can really come in handy. By comparing a range of different holidays, you can make sure you really are getting the best bang for your buck.
Before you actually commit and sign on the dotted line, as it were, it is important to make sure you are aware of all the booking terms and conditions. Always make sure that you read all the small print before you commit to any purchase – especially a big one like a holiday abroad.
Flights are usually an integral part of a package holiday. It can be good to get everything sorted in one go. That said, it is important to ask certain questions about the flights for your package holiday. Asking the following questions should help you to determine what exactly you are getting for the money and whether that is suitable for you:
Is it a direct flight?
A straightforward question, but an important one. Make sure you know where you are flying from and to, and whether you will need to take more than one flight to reach your destination. If there is a layover, how long will that be? How will the logistics of transferring from one flight to another work? Indirect flights with one or more stops can often be cheaper, but will take a lot longer and can make for a more stressful journey. Whatever you choose, make sure that you are fully informed and choose it with your eyes wide open.
Which airport and terminal am I flying from?
It may sound obvious, but make sure that you know which airport and terminal you will be flying from. Consider how you will get there and how easy the whole experience will be for you before you commit to a particular package holiday.
Which airline am I flying with?
Again, it may sound obvious, but you should also make sure that you know which airline you are going to be flying with. Which airline it is will have a big bearing on how much space you will have for your baggage and for yourself on the flights, as well as how comfortable and easy the whole experience will be. Reading reviews of particular airlines can help you decide whether flying with them is the right choice for you.
What is the baggage allowance on the flight?
Different airlines will have different policies when it comes to how heavy your hold luggage can be. If you are not someone who finds it easy to pack light then you may struggle to come in under the allowance for lower cost airlines. Make sure you check up to find out how heavy your suitcase can be, and what fees might be payable for excess luggage if you think you might need to pay for it.
What can I take in the cabin with me?
Airlines will also differ when it comes to what you are allowed to take into the cabin with you during the flight. Cabin bags will have to be under a certain size, and some airlines are much more restrictive about how many bags you can have and how small these have to be. Make sure you are aware of the restrictions before you fly. Oversized cabin bags may well be removed from you and placed in the hold, which could be a pain if you were expecting to have access to things during the flight.
How long before my flight should I check in?
Check in is usually open for bag drop from around two hours before your flight, though you may be recommended to arrive three hours before your flight for international long-haul flights. Earlier, online check in is also sometimes possible, so it is a good idea to check out your options and be aware of what is possible before you go.
What happens if I miss my flight?
This is another important question to ask before you commit to a package holiday. If you miss your flight, will you still be able to take the rest of the holiday and return flight as planned? Of course, whenever you are travelling you should make sure that you have the right travel insurance in place. But again, reading the small print on a package holiday is crucial if you do not want to be caught out.
How much legroom will I have on the flight?
Once you know which airline you would be flying on, it is a good idea to check out some other elements to see whether you will be able to have a comfortable and pleasant flight. Legroom varies considerably on different airlines. Especially if you are tall, you may wish to check to see how much legroom you will have on the flights of the package holiday you are considering. Sometimes, you may have the option to pre-book certain seats with extra legroom for an additional fee. If this is something you would want to consider then check that you can do this before booking your holiday.
What food and drink will I get on the flight?
Another element to consider when trying to decide if a certain holiday with flights on a particular airline is right for you is what refreshments will be available on the flights. Will you be served a meal? Will drinks be complementary? If you have particular dietary requirements (are vegetarian or vegan for example), will you be able to arrange to be catered for on the flights in question?
Can I take my own food and drink onboard?
Usually, you will also be able to take your own food and drink on board, as long as you purchase it after passing through security at the airport. However, it is a good idea to check what you are and are not allowed to carry with you into the cabin on the flights on the holiday you are considering.
Can I use an e-cigarette on the plane?
No. You will not be able to use an e-cigarette in the plane. These and their fluid must be carried in your hand luggage. You will also not be able to use the e-cigarette in most areas of most airports, so if you are addicted to nicotine, you may have to consider a different solution if you are taking a long flight. It is also important to note if you are going to Thailand, that e-cigarettes are completely illegal there and you could get into serious trouble for contravening the law.
Once you have established whether the flights of a package holiday will be right for you, you should also look into the transfers from the airport to your accommodation. Be sure to ask:
Are transfers included in the price of the package holiday?
Make sure that you are aware of what exactly is included in the package holiday. If transfers are not included, you will have to make sure that you know how you will get from A to B and what it will cost you to do so.
How long will the resort transfer take?
Another important detail to uncover is how long it will take to get from the airport to wherever it is that you are staying. The last thing you want is to suddenly discover, after a long flight, that it will still take an hour or more to reach your destination. For warned is for armed. Make sure you understand exactly what your journey will be like, from beginning to end.
How will I find my transfer at the airport?
Will people meet you at the gate, or will you meet a shuttle or private driver somewhere else in the airport? Make sure you understand who will be there to meet you at the airport, how you will be able to identify them, and where they will be waiting, so you don’t end up with a stressful search at the arrival airport.
So, by now you should be clear on all the details of how you are going to get there and back again on your package holiday. But there are still a lot more things that you will need to know. It is important to be fully informed about exactly what you are purchasing when it comes to the accommodation and other elements of your package holiday. Be sure to ask:
Is this an all-inclusive holiday?
As you compare package holidays, it is vital to know whether or not the option you are considering is all inclusive. Some package holidays include only flights, transfers and accommodation, while others can come with lots of other things included in the price. Make sure you are aware of exactly what you are paying for, and what other charges you might be in for once you reach your destination.
What is included?
An all-inclusive holiday will usually include:
- Food (3 meals a day, and snacks and ice creams)
- Evening entertainment
- Use of hotel facilities
- Kids clubs & activities
- Non-motorised water sports
- Excursions (Sometimes these are included in the cost of an all-inclusive cruise, but sometimes they are not, so it is important to check the details.)
Be sure that you are fully aware of exactly what is and is not included in the price of your package holiday.
Can I pre-book restaurant tables, kids clubs, excursions or activities before arrival?
Tables in resort restaurants cannot usually be booked ahead of time but are usually arranged via reception. Check with hotel staff when you check in to find out when and how you can book. Clubs, excursions and activities, however, often can be booked online before your holiday. It is a good idea to check with the holiday provider to find out exactly what is possible in this regard. Sometimes, booking early is essential to avoid missing out.
We all like to think that everything will always go according to plan. But unfortunately, things can sometimes go awry, no matter how carefully we prepare and plan. Before booking a package holiday it is a good idea to look into whether it will be possible to change hotels while you are away, or to alter your return flight plans. Will it be an option to alter your holiday in any way, or will there be costs/ penalties?
Another thing to consider when booking your holiday is how easy and efficient the customer service will be. How easy will it be to make a complaint while away, and does the company in question have a good track record when it comes to answering complains and solving problems for its customers? While we hope you do not have to complain, going with a reputable travel company can help you make sure you have a more pleasant experience, even if something does go wrong.
The above questions should have led you to have a good understanding of what exactly is on offer with a particular package holiday option, and should help you to determine whether that holiday is right for you. Of course, once you have a good idea of what you want, comparing with Money Pug can help you find that package holiday of your dreams for the very best price.