10 essential tips for travelling from Ireland to Spain this Summer 2023
Updated: Jul 6
Live the summer of your life... Or start experiencing it every year!
0 - Introduction
1 - Flights
2 - Travel Documents
3 - Currency
4 - Language
5 - Weather and Clothing
6 - Electrical outlets
7 - Transportation
8 - Health and Safety
9 - Local Customs and Etiquette
10 - Enjoy the experience
Directly brought to you by our native Spanish team, we bring you a quick summary of the essential tips you need to know before travelling to Spain this summer as well as some pro tips for saving a lot of money or having the greatest experience. Let's go!
Welcome to the essential travel guide for journeying from Ireland to Spain! Whether you're planning a sun-soaked beach vacation in Barcelona or an exploration of Madrid's vibrant culture, this guide is here to provide you with essential tips and advice for a smooth and enjoyable trip.
We've got you covered from flight options and travel documents to currency exchange, language considerations, weather preparation, transportation options, health and safety precautions, local customs, and more. So buckle up and get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure from the Emerald Isle to the land of Flamenco, tapas, and architectural wonders.
Check for direct flights from Ireland to Spain, as they are more convenient and time-saving.
Major Irish airports like Dublin, Shannon, and Cork have regular flights to popular Spanish cities such as Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga, and Alicante.
Landing directly in one of those mentioned airports can be done in less than 2 to 3 hours, helping you enjoy your trip from the moment you land on Spanish territory and saving money from doing flight scales.
PRO TIP: "When looking for flights, use your browser's incognito mode and prevent accepting cookies, as flights can increase their price over time due to users' activity on the website."
It might be obvious but we all know that one person who always forgets to bring them!
Ensure you have a valid passport with at least six months of remaining validity. Ireland and Spain are both part of the European Union, so Irish citizens can travel to Spain using just their passport.
Non-Irish citizens should check visa requirements and ensure they have the necessary documents.
PRO TIP: "It is heavily recommended to save some photos in the phone storage and an online backup service for emergencies."
Spain uses the Euro (€) as its currency.
You can exchange currency in Ireland or withdraw Euros from ATMs in Spain.
Also, remember to bring some cash when travelling to Spain, although almost every place has the option to pay by card, some other traditional places may have a hard time providing electronic payment methods.
It is always good to have some cash in your pockets for a quick need.
PRO TIP: "Inform your bank of your travel plans to avoid any issues with your cards."
While many people in Spain speak English, particularly in tourist areas, it's beneficial to learn a few basic Spanish phrases to enhance your travel experience and connect with the locals. Spanish is the official language in Spain, and even a small effort to communicate in the local language can go a long way in terms of cultural immersion.
Consider learning common greetings such as:
- "Hola" (Hello)
- "Buenos días" (Good morning)
- "Buenas tardes" (Good afternoon)
- "Buenas noches" (Good evening/night).
Polite phrases are also essential:
- "Por favor" (Please)
- "Gracias" (Thank you)
- "De nada" (You're welcome)
- "Disculpe" (Excuse me)
- "¿Me permite? (Do you mind?)
Being able to ask for directions or assistance is extremely important.
- "¿Dónde está...?" (Where is...?)
- "¿Cómo llego a...?" (How do I get to...?)
- "¿Me puede ayudar?" (Can you help me?).
Restaurants and cafes are an integral part of Spanish culture, so it's helpful to know basic dining phrases as they will make your dining experience smoother.
- "Una mesa para dos, por favor" (A table for two, please)
- "La cuenta, por favor" (The bill, please)
- "Quisiera...por favor" (I would like...please)
Additionally, familiarize yourself with numbers, as they are crucial for ordering, shopping, and understanding prices.
- Knowing phrases for asking about the price, such as "¿Cuánto cuesta?" (How much does it cost?), can be handy while shopping.
If you encounter difficulties understanding or expressing yourself, don't hesitate to use translation apps or carry a pocket-sized phrasebook. The locals appreciate the effort, and it can lead to more meaningful interactions and memorable experiences during your time in Spain.
Remember that learning a few basic phrases shows respect for the local culture and can make your trip more enjoyable. Even if you don't become fluent overnight, the willingness to try will be greatly appreciated by the Spanish people you encounter on your journey.
PRO TIP: "Keep a list in your phone's notepad with common expressions in case you need one of them."
Weather and Clothing
Spain has a varied climate, so check the weather forecast for your specific destination and pack accordingly. The North and the South have completely different temperatures.
In general, Spain has warmer weather than Ireland, so bring lightweight and breathable clothing. Don't forget essentials like sunscreen (really important), a hat, and comfortable walking shoes.
Sometimes, depending on the duration of the trip, it may be a good idea to bring some clothes and buy a few ones in Spanish shops. That way you wear exactly what you feel is the best for your Spanish experience.
PRO TIP: "Coming from Ireland the clothes pricing may look cheap to you!"
Spain uses the Europlug (Type C) and the Schuko plug (Type F) for electrical outlets. If your devices have a different plug type, you may need a travel adapter.
Should be a good idea to bring a universal adapter in your handbag, or one of those mentioned before. However, if you forget to pack one in your bag or you are in a rush, there are plenty of shops where you can buy one. Even the airport sells them if you are in a hurry.
By any means DO NOT try plugging anything that doesn’t match the socket outlet entrance, exit, voltage… If in doubt, ask an expert about the situation.
PRO TIP: "Always keep a universal adapter in your bag"
Spain has an efficient transportation system. Research the available options such as trains, buses, and taxis to get around within the country. They are cheap!
If you plan to drive, ensure you have an international driving permit if necessary and familiarize yourself with local traffic rules.
There are a lot of rental options for cars, vans, motorbikes, electric scooters, bikes… This is a great option when planning on discovering stunning traditional places outside the big cities or cruising through the city from point A to point B.
PRO TIP: "You should plan your routes using Google Maps and other services before the trip"
Health and Safety
Obtain travel insurance to cover any medical emergencies or unexpected situations. It's advisable to have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if you are an Irish citizen, as it grants you access to necessary healthcare services in Spain. Also, check if any vaccinations are recommended for your trip.
As with any destination, it is advised to map the medical centres, hospitals, pharmacies and useful health resources near your accommodation in case you need them.
Related to the weather, and as mentioned before, don’t forget to bring or buy sunscreen, it will make your experience in Spain more pleasant by preventing sunburns.
PRO TIP: "Check the local health safety warnings before the trip"
Local Customs and Etiquette
Understanding and respecting local customs and etiquette is an important aspect of travelling to Spain. Here are some key points to keep in mind to ensure a culturally sensitive and enjoyable experience. Greetings, meal times, and tipping practices may differ from what you're accustomed to in Ireland.
Greetings: Spanish people generally greet each other with a handshake or two kisses on the cheek, starting with the left cheek. However, in more formal settings, a simple handshake is sufficient. Take cues from the locals and follow their lead when greeting.
Meal Times: Spaniards typically have their main meal, known as "la comida," in the afternoon, usually between 2 pm and 4 pm. Dinner, "la cena," is served much later, typically starting from 9 pm or even later in some regions. Embrace the local dining schedule and be prepared for restaurants to be less crowded during lunchtime.
Tipping: Tipping is customary in Spain (not mandatory), although it's not as extensive as in some other countries. If you want to tip the service provider they will be very thankful for your kind gesture. It's common to leave a small tip, usually rounding up the bill or adding a few extra euros. In upscale restaurants, a tip of around 5-10% is appreciated for exceptional service.
Respect for Siesta: The siesta, a short afternoon nap or rest period, is deeply rooted in Spanish culture. While it's not as prevalent in urban areas, smaller towns and rural regions may observe this tradition. Be mindful of quieter hours during siesta time, usually from approximately 2 pm to 5 pm, when some businesses may close for a break.
Dress Code: Spain tends to have a relatively casual dress code, but it's important to dress appropriately for specific occasions or religious sites. When visiting churches or religious landmarks, modest attire is expected, with shoulders and knees covered. In beach areas, beachwear is acceptable, but it's advisable to cover up when leaving the beach or strolling through town.
Politeness and Respect: Spanish culture places a strong emphasis on politeness and respect. Address people using their titles (such as "Señor" for men and "Señora" for married women) or use "Usted" (the formal "you") when speaking to strangers or in professional settings. Saying "por favor" (please) and "gracias" (thank you) goes a long way in showing appreciation.
Public Displays of Affection: Spaniards are generally comfortable with public displays of affection, such as holding hands or light kissing, particularly in more liberal areas. However, it's important to be mindful of the cultural context and adapt your behaviour accordingly.
By observing these customs and etiquette, you'll show respect for Spanish culture and seamlessly integrate into the local way of life. Embrace the warmth and hospitality of the Spanish people, and you'll likely forge memorable connections and have a more enriching travel experience.
PRO TIP: "If in doubt about anything mentioned before, politely ask a local. They will answer all your questions without hesitation."
If feeling sophisticated, check "The History of Spanish Gastronomy". We give a list of the top Spanish restaurant recommendations.
Enjoy the experience
Spain offers a rich cultural heritage, beautiful landscapes, and delicious cuisine. Research and plan your itinerary accordingly to make the most of your trip.
You can use social media, search on the internet, ask the locals, plan tours... There are many options to get information about Spain.
Be open to trying new experiences and embrace the Spanish way of life as we only live once!
Prepare to pursue your Spanish adventure this Summer starting with the “Spanish Summer Camp in Dublin” and our many other lessons.
Feel free to check our wide variety of Spanish Courses for Leaving Certification, DELE, Business and many other classes!
We are currently offering a trial private lesson in our school in Dublin!
CEO, Teacher & Founder at Dublin Institute of Spanish
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