Travel Destinations / Spain

CULTURE

The Spanish are renowned for their festivals, particularly Easter as most Spaniards are Christians. New Year celebrations, among other unique festivals tend to be quite extravagant, in accordance with medieval traditions.

Bull Fighting
Bull Fighting is a sport only practised in Spain and known to be the most dangerous in the world. The tradition was first said to be celebrated during the crowning of King Alfons VIII. The best time to visit Spain to watch bull fighting would be from the month of March to October.

Spanish Dance and Music
As in other parts of the world, Spain retains a rich diversity of music and dance genres. The country is synonymous for its Flamenco and Andalusian musical influences, including rock, pop, hip hop, and folk music. By the 18th Century, Spanish culture evolved its classical music culture which saw the rise of phenomenal musicians like Fernando Sor, Miguel Llobet, and Francisco Tarrega.
LANGUAGE
Also known as Castilian, Spanish is the official language of Spain. Spanish is also largely spoken in Latin America but there is a distinct difference of accent. Other languages spoken in Spain include Galician, Catalan, and Valentian, which are all official languages of its native regions, namely: Catalonia, Valencia, and Galicia.

RELIGION

Nearly 80 percent of the population of Spain are Christian, of which 77 percent belong to the Catholic denomination. While the country may be dominantly Christian, each religion is likely to have a place of worship within major cities.

FOOD

Spain is renowned for its exquisite cuisine which differs from region to region within the country. Some food worth trying while you’re visiting include: Pulpo a la gallega (a spicy octopus dish), Paella (seafood or chicken mixed with vegetables, beans and savoury rice), Leche Frita (fried milk dessert), Pisto (Spanish ratatouille), Gazpacho (specialty cold tomato soup), Croquettes (a small meat, poultry or fish ball coated in crispy bread crumbs).

HISTORIC SITES AND LANDMARKS

Spain is packed with a range of diverse sightsees from popular beaches and ancient landmarks, to the white villages of Andalusia, medieval castles in Madrid, and vibrant cities like Barcelona. There are also spectacular landscapes across the country, namely: the estuaries of Galacia, the deserts of Almeria, and the mountains of Sierra Nevada.

Must-sees include:

  • Palacio Real
  • Cuenca
  • Ibiza
  • Running of the Bulls
  • El Escorial
  • Mesquita of Cordoba
  • Alhambra
  • Aqueduct of Segovia
  • Sagranda Familia

SHOPPING

Shopping in Spain can be just as eventful as sightseeing. The country houses a range of uniquely artistic features that are not available for purchase in other parts of the world. Spain’s fashion consists of a blend of effortless Mediterranean style, and modern expressionism. Treat yourself to a vast selection of stores from speciality shops and markets, to department stores and international shopping malls.

MONEY

The currency is the Euro. One euro can be divided into 100 euro-cents. And overall, there are eight different coins (1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 euro-cents) and seven notes (5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros).
Credit card payments can easily be made via credit card in Spain as the system has been implemented for years. You will usually spot valid credit card icons on the front door of a department store. Credit cards payments require identification so be sure to carry your I.D along with you.

NB: Travellers’ cheques in USD and Euros can be cashed in Spanish banks.

TRANSPORT

As one of the largest countries in Europe, travelling within Spain requires much greater effort than travelling within other European countries. You can travel within Spain by bus, car, plane, and train. Travelling via car is highly recommended as this is the most convenient form of transport, whereas travelling by bus is the most cost effective.

HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

Ensure that have routine, up-to-date vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.

Nationality Requires Visa
South Africa
Yes
American
Yes
United Kingdom  No
European Union  No
New Zealand Yes
Australia Yes

South Africans must apply for a Spanish Schengen visa more than three months prior to travel, ensuring that their passports are valid and will remain valid by the time they leave Spain.

Since Spain is quite large, there are different weather conditions for different cities. The country experiences at least three climate variations; for example, the great central plateau is influenced by a climate with hot, dry summers and cold winters, whereas other regions may experience a Mediterranean climate, characterised by hot, dry summers and mild winters. Be sure to find out more about the weather specifically for the region of Spain you’re visiting. This will be effective for knowing what clothing to bring along with you.