>Spain has so many fabulous cities and places to see, but how do you make the most of your time and money?
Check the low-cost airlines like easyjet and ryanair. If you’re travelling from the UK, it’s not a long flight to anywhere in Spain; comfort and luxury are not essential. If you can put up with the garish colours, you can get there for next to nothing. A word of warning though, check on a map where that airport described as ‘Barcelona’ actually is – sometimes poetic licence is employed!
Finding a Place to Stay
In the big cities, there is a wealth of low-cost accomodation. A great place to start your search is www.hostelworld.com. You can find beds for less than £10 a night, but it’s worth a look even if a hostel isn’t for you; there are options to search for hotels, guesthouses and apartments as well. If you’ve been staying in hostels for a while and fancy a night of luxury at your next stop, don’t forget about sites such as www.lastminute.com which offer deals on ‘secret hotels’. You don’t find out the name of the hotel until you’ve booked it, but this way, you can get four-star luxury at bargain prices.
The most obvious option for getting from one place to the next might be by rail, but don’t forget about Spain’s coach network, which is a popular form of transport there. It has the advantage of being a good deal cheaper than the trains, with plenty of regional and national connections, and while it might be slower than going by train, it is a wonderful way to see more of the country. These coaches are not rickety old things either; the ‘long haul’ ones often have plane-style TV screens, refreshments and comfy seats. You can book tickets at www.alsa.es in advance for even cheaper prices.
Eating and Drinking
For authentic Spanish fare without the tourist pricetag, explore some of the smaller, winding streets in a big city to find the locals’ haunts. Often small, dimly lit places, generally with one old man smoking at the bar, this is the traditional Spanish take on fast food, where you can get good tapas and bocadillas for very few euros.In Madrid, you can find plenty of these places in the network of streets behind the Plaza Mayor. An extra tip: sit at the bar, rather than at one of the tables. There’s often a 10% surcharge for eating at the tables!
Things to Do
There is a lot you can do absolutely free. Museums and galleries are often free. The Prado in Madrid is cheap (6 euros without concessions) but to avoid this, go in the evening between 6-8pm when it is free for everyone. Parc Guell, Gaudi’s playground in Barcelona, is free and offers some great views over the city.
|Parc Guell, Barcelona|
Spaniards love to party, so it is very likely that you will find yourself there in time for one fiesta or another. These can range from very traditional to completely mad and there’s always lots to get involved in for absolutely nothing.
|Carnaval in Oviedo|
When you’ve had enough of all the partying, soak up the Spanish sun at the beach, in the countryside or in one of the many open squares in the cities. You don’t even have to make a big effort to do all three of those things; whether you are in Seville, Valenica, Barcelona or Bilbao, you can enjoy the best of Spain’s natural beauty and city life all in one place!
|Views over Bilbao|
So there’s your whistlestop tour of Spain on a budget. Now, what’s stopping you?