Lonely Planet Guide to Spain

Published: 05 September 2007

Once away from the holiday costas, you could only be in Spain. In the cities, narrow twisting old streets suddenly open out to views of daring modern architecture, while spit-and-sawdust bars serving wine from the barrel rub shoulders with blaring, glaring discos. 
Travel is easy, accommodation plentiful, the climate benign, the people relaxed, the beaches long and sandy, the food and drink easy to come by and full of regional variety. More than 50 million foreigners a year visit Spain, yet you can also travel for days and hear nothing but Spanish.

When To Go:

Spain can be enjoyable any time of year. The ideal months to visit are May, June and September (plus April and October in the south). At these times you can rely on good-to-excellent weather, yet avoid the extreme heat - and the main crush of Spanish and foreign tourists - of July and August. But there's decent weather in some parts of Spain virtually year round. Winter along the southern and southeastern Mediterranean coasts is mild, while in the height of summer you can retreat to the northwest, to beaches or high mountains anywhere to escape excessive heat. The best festivals are mostly concentrated between Semana Santa (the week leading up to Easter Sunday) and September to October.

Spain Fast Facts:

  • Full Name: Spain
  • Capital City: Madrid
  • Area: 505,000 sq km / 194,981 sq miles
  • Population: 42,700,000
  • Time Zone: GMT/UTC +1 ()
  • Daylight Saving Start: last Sunday in March
  • Daylight Saving End: last Sunday in September
  • Languages: Spanish (official), also known as Castellano; Catalan (other); Basque (other); Gallegan (other), also known as Galician and Gallego.
  • Religion: 85% Roman Catholic; 2% Jewish; 2% Muslim
  • Currency: euro (€)
  • Electricity: 220V 50 HzHz
  • Electric Plug Details: European plug with two circular metal pins
  • Country Dialing Code: 34