Spain Travel Guide
The land of the siesta, daily life in Spain moves slowly and runs late.
Everyone here is just enjoying life.
Which is why traveling and backpacking Spain is so much fun.
Spain is a beautiful, interesting, and dynamic country with a lot of regional uniqueness and variety. Madrid and Barcelona are hip and energetic cities, Granada has a Moorish touch, Basque Country up north contrast itself to Southern living.
The Spaniards love visitors, hosting strangers, laughing at a good meal, and enjoying life. People aren’t in a rush here.
I’ve been visiting Spain for over a decade and have been throughout the country.
This budget and backpacking travel guide to Spain can help you figure out what to see, do, how to save money, stay safe, and everything in between!
1. Join the Running of the Bulls
Held in July in Pamplona, the Running of the Bulls attracts both the brave. While I’d never do the actual running, the multi-day celebration is still a good place to go drink sangria, eat good food, wear a red scarf, and celebrate the way only Spain can.
2. Lounge on the Costa Del Sol
Come hang out on the beach and enjoy the laid-back life for which Spain is famous. The sun coast in southern Spain is famous for its beautiful beaches, great nightlife (and tons of tourists). Malaga is one of the biggest places on the coast but I think there are better places further down.
3. Go to Valencia
Valencia is a pretty amazing town. Initially, I wasn’t attracted to Valencia for any reason in particular — I came for the tomato fight in the nearby town of Bunol, which attracts thousands of people each August, most of whom use Valencia as their home base. However, Valencia grew on me. It has great seafood, paella, history, and a good soccer team. I would go back in a second. It’s a wonderful city!
4. Walk The Camino
El Camino de Santiago, or The Way of Saint James, is a popular pilgrimage route stretching from the border of France all the way to Santiago de Compostela in North-Western Spain. Stretching 800km, this month-long walk takes a lot of dedication. Nevertheless, it’s a great way to see the country and some of the less-visited areas of Spain.
5. Wander through Seville
Seville is an amazing city with great churches, palaces, and historic sites. They also have good shopping here. I really like the Quarter here and the monument dedicated to the different regions of Spain. This is also a big student town.
6. Visit Gibraltar
Bordering Spain on the Iberian peninsula, Gibraltar is actually an overseas territory of the United Kingdom. Here you’ll encounter an interesting mix of cultures, with influences from Britain, Spain, and North Africa all colliding.
7. Hike in the Sierra Nevada
This mountain area is a great place for summer hiking, winter skiing, and exploring small towns. This area is one of the prettiest and most rugged in Spain and one of the better areas for outdoor activities in Spain. There are plenty of trails ranging in length and difficulty, as well as the possibility for guided tours.
8. Visit San Sebastián
The center of the Basque area of Spain, this place has a killer nightlife and beach. Moreover, the architecture makes it one of the most beautiful and unique cities in all of Spain.
9. Hike the Pyrenees
The majestic mountain chain that walls off France is laced with medieval villages, high mountain walking trails, and great skiing. It’s also the traditional start of The Camino.
10. Great Cathedral and Mosque
The Mezquita de Cordoba is by far the most exquisite example of the Muslim fabric in Spain. Its arches, jasper columns, marble floors, richly gilded prayer niches, and the awe-inspiring domed shrine of Byzantine mosaics take you back to when Córdoba was under Muslim influence.
11. Unwind in Salamanca
Salamanca seems to be in the middle of nowhere, but it’s got a huge amount of life to it. This is a university city, but it’s not huge, so you can expect a mix of small-town atmosphere, great nightlife, and many backpackers.
12. Visit the Guggenheim Museum
One of the most famous museums in the world, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao always has some interesting exhibits on modern art. Even if you’re not a modern art fan, you should stop by just to check it out. The architecture of this museum is something to marvel at. Frank Gehry, arguably one of the most famous living architects of today, designed it to have a very unique undulating style.
13. Explore Basque Country
Basque Country is an autonomous region in Spain, a place with its own unique culture and heritage. Located in the north-east corner of Spain, you’ll notice the difference as soon as you step foot in the region. If you’re into off-the-beaten-path locations, be sure to visit Basque Country.