One of our favorite shoulder-season destinations, Spain is a treat of culture kicks from Barcelona to Madrid, and beach time in the Balaerics and fun-loving Costa del Sol.

Sunlit, quiet alley with outdoor cafe seating next to charming buildings with bicycle parked against a tree in Sevilla, Spain.

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Spain travel tips

One thing’s for sure: Spain travel will keep you enchanted from siesta to fiesta. The best Spain vacation spots to visit for first timers are Madrid and Barcelona. As the country’s capital, Madrid has everything you could want for a proper introduction to the country: the Prado (one of the largest museums in the world), packed tapas bars, a grand Royal Palace and plenty of parks and plazas to mingle among the locals. Barcelona is the cool coastal sister, with an enviable mix of art, architecture (no Barcelona vacation is complete without a visit to Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia), coastline and cosmopolitan flair. If your Spain tour allows for extra time, head south to Seville (home of the famous Flamenco dancers) and/or Marbella (a luxe seaside playground for celebs and jetsetters). When you’re ready to leave the mainland on your Spain vacation, the pulsing nightclubs of Ibiza call out to night owls, while Mallorca is a paradise of beach coves and medieval towns.

Spain’s heart dances to the beat of its vibrant culture: golden paella colored by delicate saffron, Flamenco dancers with fancy footwork, dazzling Mediterranean beaches, priceless artwork by Goya, Picasso, and Dalí and stunning architecture influenced by the Romans and Moors. When planning your Spain trip, consider what type of experience you want to have. Do you want a blend of art, architecture, culture and gastronomy? Do you want to spend your stay sunbathing in a beautiful coastal town? Or do you want a non-stop fiesta with no siestas? Once you decide on the experience you want to have, your Fora advisor can offer suggestions on the best way to make your Spain travel dreams come true.

We have great news for you: Spain travel can be experienced year-round thanks to its mild temps. As with many European destinations, summer is peak season. You’re likely to see an influx of crowds from June to August, especially to beach destinations like Marbella, Ibiza and Mallorca. Your best bet for visiting Spain’s beaches is to visit at the very beginning or tail end of the season. The beaches won’t be as crowded and the temperatures will be warm enough for sunbathing and swimming. If your Spain vacation is concentrated on Madrid and/or Barcelona, September through November and April through May are wonderful times to visit.

Our #1 tip to make Spain travelbudget-friendly is to travel during the shoulder season – autumn, winter or spring. Airfare and hotel prices tend to skyrocket during the summer, since so many people flock to Spain’s coastal beaches and islands (with good reason!). Your Fora advisor can make specific recommendations for destinations and hotels within your budget. They can also recommend Spain all-inclusive resorts that fit your travel style.

Your Fora advisor can alert you to Spain’s specific entry and exit requirements, and you can also check out official government websites for more information. You’ll also want to make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from your date of departure.