Travelling in Spain.
Spain is divided into autonomías or autonomous regions, plus two independent cities. Some of the autonomías - notably the ones which have other official languages alongside Spanish - are regions with their own unique historical tradition. These include the Basque Country or Euskadi (Basque), Galicia (Galician), Catalonia or Catalunya, the Valencian region or País Valencià, and the Balearic Islands or Illes Balears (Catalan), but also Andalucía. Travelers to these parts of the Iberian Peninsula should respect their history and language. The Canary Islands lie off the coast of Morocco and are geographically part of Africa, as are
the two cities of Ceuta and Melilla.
Spain has hundreds of interesting cities, here are nine of the most popular:
* Madrid - The vibrant capital, with fantastic museums, great food and nightlife
* Barcelona - Spain's second city, full of modernist buildings and a vibrant cultural
life, nightclubs, and beaches.
* Bilbao - former industrial city, home to the Guggenheim Museum.
* Cadiz - oldest city in Western Europe, celebrates a famous carnival.
* Córdoba - The Grand Mosque ('Mezquita') of Cordoba is one of the world's finest
* Granada - stunning city in the south, surrounded by snow capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada, home of La Alhambra.
* Zaragoza - recently held a Expo and is the 5th largest city.
* Seville - a beautiful, verdant city, and home to the world's third largest cathedral.
* Valencia - paella was invented here, has a very nice beach.
Spain is a member of the Schengen Agreement. For EU and EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) citizens, an officially approved ID card (or a passport) is sufficient for entry. In no case will they need a visa for a stay of any length. Others will generally need a passport for entry.
There are no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented the treaty - the European Union (except Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom), Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. Likewise, a visa granted for any Schengen member is valid in all other countries that have signed and implemented the treaty. But be careful: Not all EU members have signed the Schengen treaty, and not all Schengen members are part of the European Union.
Spain's national carrier is Iberia.
The busiest airports are Madrid, A Coruña, Palma de Mallorca, Malaga, Murcia, Barcelona, Jerez de la Frontera, Seville, Valencia, Bilbao, Alicante, Santiago de Compostela, Vigo and Gran Canaria. All are listed on the official airport governing body website
Madrid and Bilbao have the most beautiful airports, designed by famous architects.
Low cost carriers operating to Spain include: Vueling , easyJet , Ryanair, Blue Air , and Jet2.com .
Warning: If you buy an e-ticket from Iberia over the internet with a credit card, you may have to show the original credit card upon check-in. If you fail to do so, you will have to purchase another ticket for the same fare, and the original ticket will be refunded many weeks or even months later.
* RENFE - Timetables and Prices
* FEVE - FEVE's web page
Train system in Spain is modern and reliable, most of the trains are brand new and the punctuality rate is one of the highest in Europe, the only problem is that not all the populated areas have a train station; sometimes small towns don't have one, in those cases you need to take a bus. Another issue with the Spanish Rail network is that the lines are disposed in a radial way so almost all the lines head to Madrid. That's why sometimes traveling from one city to another geographically close to it might take longer by train than by bus if they are not in the same line. Always check whether the bus or the train is more convenient.
Bus travel in Spain is increasingly an attractive option for people traveling on a tight budget. Thanks largely to European Union funding, Spain's road network has vastly improved over the past twenty years, so bus journeys don't take nearly as long as they used to.
There are lots of private bus companies offering routes to all major Spanish cities. If you want to travel around Spain by bus, the best idea is to go to your local bus station (Apart from Madrid and Barcelona, most towns and cities have just one) and see what is available.
Traveling by bus in Spain is usually reliable (except on peak holiday days when roads can be very crowded and you should expect long delays on popular routes), coaches are modern and comfortable. You can expect to pay about €8 per 100km.
Regular ferry services are run by P&O from Portsmouth to Bilbao (thrice a week) and from Plymouth and Southampton to Santander (once a week). This services should be booked well in advance, provided that many english tourist tend to book them as a fast way to get to Spain by car.
Moreover, Barcelona, and to a lesser extent, Valencia, are popular boat cruise destinations. From Barcelona, regular ferry services go to Genova and to Livorno, in Italy, and to Marseille in France.
Spain is a member of the European Union and the Schengen Agreement, which governs its visa policies. No visa is required for citizens of other EU member states, and those of nations with whom the European Union has special treaties. There are no border controls between Spain and other Schengen Agreement nations, making travel less complicated.