Backpacking in Spain
Backpacking through Spain is associated with a high degree of dependency and addiction. Travelling through the country many have been stuck forever and ever Travelling through Spain means encountering ancient buildings and ultra-modern metropolises. Thousand-year-old Moorish influences mate harmoniously with traditional Iberian cultures. And these are not homogeneous at all. Ask a Basque what he has to do with a Catalan? Nothing! Absolutely nothing. Not even the language. Not to mention culture.
But especially for backpackers, it’s this stark difference that makes the salt in the soup. You are following in the footsteps of the somewhat simple Don Quixote, who fights against windmills and much more with his faithful and clever buddy Sancho Pansa. Maybe you also dream of a beautiful Spanish Dulcinella or a beautiful Spanish Don. But if the happiness of love is not to your liking, it doesn’t matter, because there is a lot to discover.
Spanish culture has made world history and is still present around the globe from the Philippines to Latin America. Set out to explore a country that boasts a diverse geography and an exciting culture. Seductive culinary delights in the form of incomparable fish and meat dishes, full-bodied red wines and liqueurs, in addition to the local table tradition you will get to know. You won’t have to take part in a bullfight. Even the majority of Spaniards are now against it. There are other ways to enjoy yourself.
Bars and discos in the big cities and on the Balearic Islands, as you have never seen them before in such dimensions and ambiences, invite you to rock and dance. But also the adventurers get their money’s worth on a Spain backpacker trip. Climbing 4000 m to the Teide summit or surfing at the dream beaches of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean are only a small selection of adventure possibilities.
You don’t need to plan a huge budget for a Spain backpacker trip. Depending on season and location a little more or less than in Germany. In Spain you travel safely and inexpensively. Look out for the offers that you can book in the form of Spain passports long before you start your journey. You don’t have to worry about the entry and the money supply. With a simple valid passport and a valid credit card you can go anywhere.
Discover typical lemon and orange groves in the southern regions or rest in the shade of ancient olive trees. If you wish, you can bathe on the busiest or lonliest beaches. You could depart for complete culinary tours or just hit the road through the country. Madrid and Barcelona are not only famous for their football clubs. In both cities you can stay for weeks without getting bored. Ibiza, Pamplona, Mallorca, Tenerife, the Sierra Nevada (yes, you can also ski in Spain) are only a few destinations from the huge offer.
Culture in Spain
The young Spaniards are not much different from you either. The old traditions apply little to them. Especially not when they grew up in modern cities. In the countryside it looks a little different. Nevertheless, Spain is considered a cultural paradise, where architectural masterpieces from different eras await you.
El Greco, Dali, bullfights, tomato fights, Miguel de Cervantes, Federico Garcia Lorca, the Spanish carnival, the Alhambra, Flamenco, Tapas, Sangria, Guggenheim Bilbao, these are catchwords from the old Spanish cultural scene. Those who are at the right place in Spain at the right time on their backpacking tour will get to know the real Spain at fiestas like Arde Lucus, Fallas in Valencia, San Fermines in Pamplona, at the Fiesta de San Isidro or the Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos.
You can party for days and weeks at a time. Don’t mess with the proud Spaniards, who are considered very patriotic. Taking a siesta in the hot lunchtime is still considered a tradition. Especially in the countryside, nothing moves between 14 and 16 o’clock in summer except the cicadas.
More Backpacker Information about Spain
Spain is not cheap, but also not expensive. As Germans you are used to the Spanish prices from home. With 40-60 Euro a day you can get around. More about Backpacking Costs in Spain
In Spain, a variety of cultural and geographical highlights await you, which you can discover on trips and hikes. Depending on the region and travel time, take the right backpacker clothes with you. More about Backpacking Routes in Spain
Spain is not one of the most expensive tourist countries. Your trip will be even more expensive if you go to the tourist beaches during the main travel season. More about backpacking and accommodation in Spain
Spain is a gourmet country. Look forward to a gourmet festival. More about eating and drinking in Spain
During your backpacker tour through Spain there are also some insider tips to discover. Off the beaten track are some real travel jewels. More about Backpacking Tips, Highlights and Insider Tips in Spain
As a German citizen you don’t have to worry about entering Spain. What else you need to know as a backpacker for your tour through Spain can be found under Visa & Vaccinations
Where to start when it comes to listing the best destinations and the most interesting tours in Spain. There are simply too many. But the good thing is. There are some for every backpacker taste. Whether beach or mountains. Whether inland or volcanoes. Whether culture or gourmet and so on… But we will concentrate on the most exciting cities and regions.
Route 1: The classic (15-20 days)
- 3 Days Capital Madrid – Culture and Nightlife Around the Clock
- 3 days secret capital Barcelona, see under Madrid. Action around the clock.
- 2 days Bilbao – worth seeing the Guggenheim Museum
- 2 days 4000 years old visit Cadiz
- 2 days Cordoba with the mosque
- 10 days to explore the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea from the Costa Blanca to the Costa Brava to the Costa del Sol
- Possibly an island vacation with plan. There are enough on the Balearic and Canary Islands.
Route 2: Backpacker Intensive Trip (up to 40 days and more)
- 3 Days Capital Madrid – Culture and Nightlife Around the Clock
- 3 days Secret capital Barcelona see under Madrid. Action around the clock.
- 2 days Bilbao – worth seeing the Guggenheim Museum
- 2 days 4000 years old visit Cadiz
- 2 days Cordoba with the mosque
- One week each on Gran Canaria, Formentera, Gomera, Ibiza, Mallorca, Tenerife and other islands
- 2 – 3 days red wine tour in La Rioja
- 3 days of adventure in the Sierra Nevada – if you don’t want to hike, you can go skiing.
- 3 Days Moorish Culture in Granada – Highlight the Alhambra
- 2 days to visit the world’s largest cathedral in Seville, among other places
- 2 days Fiesta in Valencia
- 2 days cultural program and party in Zaragoza
- 2 days beaches of Almeria
- 3 days Pyrenees
- 4 day tour through the villages of Asturias
- 2 Days Cies Islands
- 3 days Malaga and Marbella
Travel times in Spain
There are no optimal travel times for Spain. Unless you want to enjoy pure heat on your backpacking tour, you have to go there in summer. But also all other seasons have their charms. Even in winter you will find a warm place. On the Canary Islands, far out in the Atlantic, it never gets cold anyway.
The most pleasant, i.e. neither too cold nor too hot, is in the regions of Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country. Those who like it colder and rougher have to go to the Pyrenees to Navarre, Aragón and Catalonia. There it can become fresh then also in the summer. In summer, it gets really brutally hot in the interior of the country, around the capital. No less brutal are the temperatures in the south of Spain, in the autonomous region of Andalusia.
You won’t have to worry so much about the budget in Spain if you’re used to prices in Germany. Except in the expensive scene quarters of the big cities and in the tourist traps at the coasts and on the islands you usually get away cheaper than at home. Depending on the standard, you can calculate 30 – 50 Euro per day without any entrance fees and tours. It goes as already so often said also cheaper but we talk about the cut.
An overnight stay costs you in a dorm around 10 -20 Euro. For the catering you set the same prices as in Germany. Instead of the Rostwurstbude you can have some tasty tapas in the pubs. Beer and soft drinks cost the same. If you take a bus in the city, the ticket costs around 1.5 euros. Monthly tickets are much cheaper with 40 euros. A taxi starts with a price of around 3 euros, after which you can add one euro per kilometre driven.
Bus driving in Spain
The cheapest tickets are certainly the long-distance bus tickets. The trip can take some time, but with luck a bus ticket from Madrid to Barcelona costs around 10 euros. And for the few hours the comfort in the buses is enough. goeuro.de is a site where you can keep your backpackers costs for the bus transport low. The best thing to do is to compare prices for all transport options at rome2rio.com. Although not always exactly correct, but you have an overview.
Domestic fares in Spain
It may well be that domestic fares in Spain are cheaper than train tickets. However, you won’t always reach your destination faster and with all the costs for arriving and departing to the airport plus the taxis, you won’t always get away cheaper. A flight from Madrid to Barcelona depending on the season can cost 35 euros more or less. The best way to book flights is to use the well-known flight search portals in the German language.
Rail travel in Spain
When it comes to transport, you have to take advantage of the Spain or RAIL passports. Well known is the interrail.eu. This is valid for 3, 4, 6 or 8 travel days within 1 month. Or check out the ticket prices at rail.cc. As always, the prices vary depending on the season in different areas of the country. So on average you have to calculate for single tickets Madrid-Barcelona about 40 Euro or from Madrid-Sevilla about 60 Euro or from Madrid-Malaga about 40 Euro. In addition, of course, there are the prices for the different classes.
If you are looking for accommodation in Spain on your backpacker tour, then you should have little problems finding it. Spain is one of the most visited tourist countries in the world and there is no lack of accommodation. Unfortunately it can become however also despite the gigantic offer in the main season particularly at the coasts and on the islands narrowly with the search for the suitable overnight accomodation. Nevertheless, as far as the variety of the offers is concerned, there are almost no limits.
From the simplest hostel to the most fashionable 5 star club and beyond, the country offers backpacking accommodation for every budget. You can even spend the night in castles, provided your budget allows it. Nearly 100 historic monuments have been converted into elegant 3, 4 and 5 star hotels over the past decades. Pure luxury in old walls is the order of the day.
Who does not have the necessary money for it, looks around for a bed in the nationaltypical Paradores or looks for accommodations in country houses and bio hotels. However, there are currently still few 100 percent eco-hotels. And if they are, they cost a fortune. But Spain is also becoming greener, even in the Low Bugdet area. In different Spanish national parks like the Picos de Europa one or the other accommodation business has already partly switched to eco.
Other accommodations, which are sometimes quite affordable out of season, are beds in Andalusian manor houses in the mountains or you look around in the off season for a bed in historic Catalan country houses, where you still get a real local lifestyle offered alternatives are country hotels, which are structured much like traditional regional farms. Some of them are located in the Sierra Nevada, which are also starting points for trekking tours.
If you want to stay overnight in a still functioning monastery, then Spain has possibilities. About 200 Spanish monasteries with still practicing nuns or monks accept guests. However, partying is not exactly part of the house rules. But for that the spiritual aspect is in the foreground. And the accommodations are also inexpensive. A simple bed in a Hostel Dorm costs on average according to the Hostelportal Hostelwold in different Spanish cities as follows:
- €25.50 Barcelona
- €18.98 Madrid
- €24.39 Seville
- €19.64 Granada
- €19.82 Valencia
- €28.05 Malaga
- €22.36 San Sebastian
- €22.84 Bilbao
- €18.75 Cordoba
- €29.00 Ibiza
Camping in Spain
Spain is an absolute camping country. There are campsites in every category from the simplest campsite to 5 star campsites with motorhomes and chalets. Most of them can be found around the coasts. But you can also camp backpacking in the national parks and mountain regions. You should refrain from camping in the wild.
On your backpacker tour through Spain, a multifaceted country awaits you, where you can satisfy your cultural or adventurous hunger as you wish. The gourmets among you will also get their money’s worth. You can follow the wine routes and also do some of the most exciting trekking trips. The Spaniards are real party-makers. Even outside the high season the whole night is rocked in the Spanish metropolises. Did you know that you can also ski in Spain? Spain’s highest mountains are much higher than the Zugspitze.
Backpacker Highlights in Spain
If you are travelling in Spain in summer, then you should mark the many holidays and holidays in the individual cities and regions on the calendar and adjust your tours accordingly. You will experience the local culture in all its glory at the Spanish festivals. One of the absolute highlights are the holidays in Pamplona. But you should avoid the bullfight. If the arenas are empty, it is no longer profitable for the organizers. La Tomatina is the backpacker festival at all. On the last Wednesday in August you can let off steam in food battles. How long the festival will last in view of the worldwide food shortage is written in the stars.
Galicia is the land of trekking fans. Mountaineers find their challenge in Los Mallos near Aragon and Siurana near Barcelona. Just like Barcelona is a backpacker Mecca at all. After a few days you don’t want to leave anymore. If you want to backpack, trek and pilgrimage, then walk the famous pilgrim path to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. The Camino del Norte is breathtaking.
The most beautiful lonely beaches await you on the west coast of Andalusia. You won’t find the tourist masses there. Hiking in the Pyrenees in picturesque and secluded gorges and valleys are other highlights you can do. If you have more time, you can tackle the various Canary Islands or the Balearic Islands.
Backpacker insider tips in Spain
By far not everything in Spain is touristic. There are still a few real backpacker insider tips. Beach fans who are looking for an extraordinary beach have to go to the only 70 m long Playa de los Cristales in Antromero south of Luanco, in Asturias. A bloody history is connected with the coast of death, the Costa de la Muerte, near Cabo de San Adrián. The landscape there is lonely, eerie and fascinating.
You will find the European capital of caves in Guadix. Caves without end. The region around the Río Urederra is suitable for meditation and hiking and has meanwhile been declared a protected area. Waterfalls of more than 100 m plunge into the gorge. You have a spectacular view from the small peninsula Gaztelugatxe near Bermeo and Baio.
Spain is a pleasure country and can refer in this regard to a long tradition and a large variety. This also has to do with the varied history, which was shaped for centuries by the Moors. Thus it came to an exciting mix from Arab and western influences. In addition there are the crass differences in the different regions.
In the mountain regions, cooking is different than on the sea and on the islands. Basically you can distinguish between several different local cuisines, which all inspire with their regional peculiarities, among them the Andalusian kitchen, the kitchen of the Basques, the Galician kitchen, the kitchen on the Canaries and the Balearic Islands, the Castilian kitchen and the Catalan kitchen. You can get ready for a gourmet festival on your backpacker tour.
Food in Spain
Spaniards don’t just eat paella, jamón and chorizo. Sure, you will find them in some form on many Spanish menus, but there is much more. While you will find more and more fish and seafood dishes towards the sea, the cuisine inland offers many meat specialities and dishes based on legumes, including strong stews. By the way, potatoes are considered a vegetable by the Spaniards. Bread in few variants is everywhere on the table.
Those who are looking forward to a sumptuous Spanish breakfast, the so-called desayuno, will be disappointed, as the Spaniards do not eat more than a coffee and a few biscuits or a toast with olive oil, partly with Knobi, in the morning. When the holidays are coming up, you can get your stomach full of churros in the morning.
More importance is attached to the different main meals at noon and above all in the evening. You have to get used to the meal time, if you are once invited by Spaniards. So from 13:30 to 15:30 the Spaniards dig in. Until they feel hungry again it can be 21:00 o’clock and later until 22:30 o’clock. You should definitely try Jamón Serrano, Iberian ham, paella from Valencia, Gazpacho Andaluz and the tapas you get in the pubs for beer and wine. You don’t know pureed dishes.
Drinking in Spain
They drink in Spain and that’s not too scarce. There are enough offers. At your backpacker you should definitely try the fine Spanish red wines from Rioja and other partly world-famous wine growing areas. Choose between Vino Blanco (white wine) or Vino Rojo (red wine) or try the Jerez. Also a strong alcohol-rich Spanish national drink. You must know the word Cerveza as a beer drinker, otherwise you won’t be able to order one. Those who want to get down with local liqueurs order Cañas. Sangría is also a killer. The Spaniards also make a good strong coffee. The prices are similar to Germany for the drinks.
Spain is a member of the EU. This means that as a German citizen, you are usually not allowed to encounter any problems if you want to travel the country. However, make sure that your travel documents are up to date in order to avoid problems. According to the German Foreign Office, you need the following entry documents in order to move freely in Spain. Entry is possible for German citizens with the following documents:
- Passport: Yes
- Provisional passport: Yes
- Identity card: Yes
- Temporary identity card: Yes, must be valid.
- Children’s passport: Yes
- Still valid child ID according to old model: Yes
Medical information & vaccinations
If you come to Spain by land, you won’t even be stopped at the border. If you fly directly to the islands from a yellow fever area, you may encounter problems. Make sure you have updated your usual vaccinations. Dengue fever is well known in Spain.