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Spain - Traveling

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Entry requirements

Organizing your trip

Means of transport recommended in town

It is recommended to use taxis (plenty, well signposted and affordable). It is necessary to have sufficient knowledge of the city beforehand to use the mass transport. The cities usually have a very good bus network.
Maps of urban networks: Madrid metro map

Means of transport recommended in the rest of the country

Apart from the high-speed lines, it is better to avoid rail transport since it is slow and often behind schedule. Domestic airline services are aplenty but crowded and flight departure delays are frequent. The bus transit network is dense, reliable and affordable.
Airlines
Name Type Domestic flights International flights
Iberia Major yes Yes
Air Europa Major yes Yes
Spanair low cost yes Yes
Vueling low cost yes Yes

Traveling by yourself

Recommendation: The road network is excellent. The major cities are served by turnpikes (AP - autopistas de peaje) or free expressways (A-autovías). The police is very strict about respecting speed limits. Fines are very high and foreigners must pay immediately in cash. Impounding for wrong parking is systematic. It is compulsory to have a fluorescent vest inside the car (and not in the trunk) and also two hazard warning triangles.
Road maps: Road network map
Find an itinerary: Guia Repsol

Visiting

Different forms of tourism

Historical: There are many prehistoric sites (the Altamira caves). The eight centuries of Muslim invasion have left traces (the Alhambra). A number of castles, palaces, and medieval cities (Toledo).
Cultural: Spain is a country with strong Catholic culture, but also Muslim and Jewish culture, since these 3 religions have coexisted (Toledo).
Various sites registered in the world heritage sites of UNESCO.
Various museums to visit: Visit Greece.
Folklore and traditions present during the fairs or the various festivals.
A number of theatre and dance festivals, concerts, bullfights, etc. especially during summer.
Religious: Pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela
Numerous churches, monasteries, convents, mosques and synagogues to visit.
Thermal: A number of spas the tradition of which dates back to the Greek, Roman and Arab occupations.
Winter sports: Spain has around thirty winter sports resorts spread across the Pyrenees and the different mountain ranges of this mountainous country. The most popular is Baqueira-Beret in the Aran Valley (Catalonia), the southernmost is near Grenada.
Outdoor activities: Golf , big and small game hunting, river and sea fishing, sailing, scuba diving, horseback tourismparagliding, hang-gliding, rafting.
Theme parks: Port Aventura, Terra Mitica, Isla Magica.
Many water parks.
Shopping: All the big Spanish cities offer significant options: presence of outlets of all the major Spanish and international brands (especially Madrid and Barcelona). Large shops El Corte Ingles, business centers, etc. Various products and artistic souvenirs can be bought during the fairs or markets.
Tourism organizations: Ministry of Culture

Living conditions

Health and safety

Health precautions: No mandatory vaccination required for international travel. There is no specific health risk.
For further information on sanitary conditions: Information pages of the World Health Organization

Time difference and climate

Map of the time zone: Madrid (GMT+1 in winter, GMT+2 in summer)
Summer time period: Summer time from March to October.
Climate: Spain has a varied climate depending on the regions. It is mostly oceanic climate in the north, Mediterranean not to say dry climate in the south and a continental climate in the rest of the country. The seasons are more distinct in the heart of the country. Average temperatures in Madrid are 8°C in January and 27°C in June and in Barcelona 9°C in January and 20°C in June. The best time to visit Spain is from mid-May to mid-October.

Eating

Food specialties: Traditional Spanish cuisine has a country base with distinct regional specialties.

Fried squids, gazpacho and tapas.

Caldereta: Lamb stew: Shepherd's dish. It is an adaptable dish allowing all types of local ingredients like wine, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, red and green peppers and garlic to be added. In the old recipes of Extremadure, the cooking juice is thickened with dried bread-crumbs, lamb liver and almonds, mixed up with a meat stock to make a sort of dough.

Paëlla: typical saffron rice-based Spanish dish accompanied with seafood and meat or poultry.

Churros: In Spain, the churros are part of the popular tradition. The dough is generally molded in a decorating tube with a star-shaped nozzle to make arm-length strips. Once they are fried, they are stacked and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon in cascade. They are eaten with hot and thick chocolate (Spain has obtained a waiver from the EU to be able to continue making chocolate containing a thickening agent).
Drinks: The quality of the numerous Spanish wines is constantly improving.
The main labels of quality are: Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Priorat, Toro, Ribeiro, Rias Baixas, Albarino, etc. Catalogne prepares large quantities of a Champagne method sparkling wine labeled « cava ». The Andalusian cherries are known for their variety: fino, oloroso, amontillado, manzanilla, Pedro Ximenez. There are special spirits: anisette, Pacharan and fruit liqueur. Asturias produce cider and Pays Basque du Txacoli (white wine).
Dietary taboos:  Rabbit, horse meat and snails are eaten only in some regions of Spain. It is rare to eat raw shellfish.

Speaking

Getting some knowledge: Use the travlang website.
Free translation tools:
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