Spain is one of Europe’s most popular destinations and ease of transport makes it all the more attractive to travellers – it is estimated that around 50 million tourists come to the country every year. There are many ways to get into Spain whether by air, by land or by sea.
Spain has several international airports located in the major cities – Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, Sevilla, Valencia, Bilbao and Alicante among others. Most flights that are not from Europe fly in to either the Madrid Barajas Airport or Barcelona. As most major airlines also service routes to Spain, you can choose which one to take – some fly nonstop services to the country. You can also take the national carrier of Spain, Iberia Airlines (www.iberia.com).
Take note of the high and low seasons as well – in general holiday seasons around Christmas or Easter would mean higher airfare. You may be able to catch reasonable air ticket prices during November, or during the winter (from January to mid-March). Another thing to take advantage of would be the boom in budget airlines in and around Europe such as Ryanair, Blue Air, easyJet or Jet2.com.
If you are coming to Spain from anywhere in Europe, you can take any of the following options: by train, by bus or by car. If you plan to travel by train get the Eurail Pass (for non-Europeans) which is a very economical way to travel to different countries in Europe by train. There are trains getting in to Spain from France, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland and other European countries.
Check out the websites of RENFE (www.renfe.com) or FEVE (www.feve.es) for details on schedules and prices. For bus travel, you can go to the Eurolines website (www.eurolines.com) for timetables on buses from France or Portugal, or Busabout (www.busabout.com) which is an alternative way to see Europe with its hop-on-hop-off bus service.
On the other hand, if you plan to travel by car, be prepared for the long drive. If you are coming in from France there are 18 border stations between the two countries so it will all depend which part of Spain you are headed to. From Britain you need to take the Chunnel which is the underwater Channel Tunnel between Britain and France. If you are also driving a rented car, make sure that you are aware of the car rental companies’ conditions about taking the car across borders or transporting the car over water.
There are ferries plying routes from the UK, Italy, Algeria and Morocco. Brittany Ferries (www.brittany-ferries.com) services routes from Portsmouth in the UK to Bilbao and Santander. Aferry (www.aferry.co.uk) is another site to check for ferries from the UK to ports in Valencia, Barcelon and the Balearic Islands of Ibiza, Mallorca and Minorca.
Before traveling to Spain, make sure that your travel documents are updated and are all according to the entry requirement. For EU and EFTA nationals, a passport and an identity card should be presented upon entry. Most other nationalities will need a passport and a visa that is valid for the eyesntire duration of the stay in Spain.