Language: The official language is Spanish (Castilian). Other languages spoken in the first language in Spain include Euskera (in Basque Country, north eastern Spain), Catalan (in eastern Spain, with variations spoken in Valencia and the Balearics) and Galician (in the north west)
Time Zone: Central European Standard Time = GMT+1, Central European Summer Time = GMT+2
Tipping: The law requires menu prices to include a service charge; tipping is a matter of choice. Most people leave some small change if they're satisfied, usually around 10%
Eternal sunshine and endless stretches of golden beaches are certainly all part of the appeal of holidays to Spain which is why 1000s upon 1000s of people head to this sun-kissed destination. If the idea of experiencing siestas and fiestas (think La Tomatina and the Pamplona Bull Run) like nowhere else in the world is your cup of Sangria, look no further than a coach holiday to Spain this year.
Spain is as diverse as they come from the sun-blessed beaches adorning the Costa del Sol's sunshine coast to the architectural splendour of Gaudi in Barcelona, the stunning alpine landscapes of The Pyrenees to the rugged beauty of The Balearics. Add to that the highest concentration of Blue Flag beaches in the Med (Costa Brava), and a coach holiday to Spain is likely to make you want to return quicker than you can click a pair of castanets.
There are very few places in the world where futuristic buildings stand next to ancient Roman cathedrals but you'll find them here in Spain. If you enjoy discovering the culture of a destination, you'll want to visit the medieval towns of Catalonia or Valencia. You'll also enjoy a visit to Bilbao including the Guggenheim Museum and Euskalduna Palace.
Alicante is the place to be if you're looking for a mild but pleasant climate combined with sandy beaches that appear to go on forever. This fine city is thoroughly Spanish with its wide esplanades and seafront promenades but there is also an air of Africa about it. Head into Alicante's centre and you'll find it brimming over with baroque buildings which are testament to the city's past as a major seaport.
No coach holiday to Spain would be the same without visiting the nation's capital Madrid, home to the Royal Family and the cultural riches of the Golden Triangle. Travel deep into the Medieval Quarter and you'll come across a multitude of labyrinthine streets to explore and grand boulevards to admire.
Whatever you are looking for when on a holiday to Spain, one things for certain, with the beautiful scenery and warm temperatures, it'll be love at first sight!
Coach holidays to Spain typically include; return flights or coach travel, transportation whilst in the resort, accommodation in good standard hotels, meals and a variety of included or optional excursions so you can really get a taste of what life is like in this fabulous sunshine paradise.
To help you have an enjoyable holiday in Spain, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health and Travel Insurance
Local Laws and Customs
Health and Travel Insurance
When visiting Spain, you should make sure you have a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before travelling. The EHIC is not a substitute for medical and travel insurance, however you will be entitled to state provided medical treatment should it may become necessary during your trip. Any treatment provided will be on the same terms as that for Spanish nationals. Should you need treatment be sure to produce your EHIC prior to receiving it. If you cannot produce the EHIC at the time of receiving care, the hospital might ask for payment up front. The EHIC will not cover repatriation, on-going medical treatments or non-urgent medical treatment. Private hospitals will not accept the EHIC and will ask for payment for your treatment or for you to provide evidence of adequate travel/medical insurance. It is advisable to make sure you have enough funds available should the need arise to pay for medical treatment or repatriation should you fall ill.
The majority of visits to Spain are trouble-free but it is wise to be alert to the reality of street crime, especially thieves who are very good at using distraction techniques in order to get what they want from you. They often work in teams of two or more and tend to target tourists carrying passports and money. Do not carry all of your valuables in one place at the same time and ensure that you keep a photocopy of your passport safe and separate from where the actual passport is kept.
Some people have passports stolen whilst passing through airports therefore take extra care to look after your documents and personal belongings when checking in or collecting luggage at the airport, and whilst arranging car hire.
In some cities and resorts, thieves who pose as Police Officers might approach tourists and will ask to see their wallets for identification purposes. Should this happen to you, try to establish whether the Officer is genuine and if so, show some form of identification. Genuine Police Officers will not ask to see purses or wallets.
Should an emergency arise call 112. To report any crime, including stolen property or passports, visit the closest Guardia Civil Station or Policia Nacional to make a Police report. If your belongings have been stolen, you must keep the Police report for insurance purposes. If your passport has been lost or stolen, you will need to go to the nearest British Consulate with the completed Police report to allow you to apply for an emergency travel document and also so you can apply for a replacement passport on your return to the UK. Ensure you receive a 'Police report' (una denuncia) not a 'sworn declaration' (una declaración judicial), as the latter might not be accepted as evidence by your insurance company or when you apply for your new passport.
Personal attacks, which include sexual assaults, are very rare but do occur and are often carried out by other visiting British nationals. Be aware of the possible use of date rape drugs such as 'GHB' and liquid ecstasy. Always buy your own drinks and always keep sight of them to make sure they are not spiked. If you drink, remember that alcoholic beverages served in bars and restaurants are often stronger than those served in the UK. Try to avoid splitting up from friends and don't go off with strangers.
There has recently been an increase in burglaries in areas with holiday accommodation and also in residential areas of major cities. Ensure your holiday accommodation has adequate security features in place and make sure you lock all windows and doors at night or when you leave. If you are visiting a property and are unsure about the security of the accommodation be sure to speak to your tour operator or the property owner. Ensure you are aware of the contact details of the emergency services and where the nearest Police station is located.
When driving in Spain, be wary of approaches by fake plain clothed Police Officers travelling in unmarked cars. In all Spanish traffic-related matters, Police Officers will be wearing a uniform but it is worth noting that this is not the case for plain clothed Officers, however all will carry an official ID. Unmarked Police cars have a flashing sign on the rear car window which reads Policía or Guardia Civil and will normally have blue flashing lights in addition to this. Genuine Police Officers will not ask to see your bag, wallet or purse and will only ever ask to see your documents. If you are at all unsure, you should only talk through the car window and contact the Police on 112 or the Civil Guard on 062 - to ask them to confirm the number plate of the vehicle is that of an official Police vehicle.
Always be aware of 'highway pirates' they target foreign cars and hire cars, especially those that are towing caravans. Some might (forcefully) try to stop you by claiming that you have damaged their car or that there is something wrong with your car. If you do decide to stop and check the condition of your/their vehicles, always stop in a public area which is well lit, like a service station, and be wary of anyone who offers to help.
Only use licensed taxis or those that are officially registered.
Local Laws and Customs
In Spanish law, anyone under 18 is defined as a minor. Any unaccompanied minor that comes to the attention of the Spanish authorities (for any reason, but in particular in connection to a criminal incident or when they are in hospital) are judged to be vulnerable and could be taken into a Minors Centre until a parent or guardian is found.
You must always be able to provide ID (your passport) if requested to by a Police Officer. The Police do have the right to hold you at a local Police station until your identity can be confirmed.
Possession of any quantity of drugs can lead to an arrest and detention. Possession of larger quantities will almost certainly result in prosecution and a prison sentence if found guilty. Some regional governments have banned consumption of alcohol in the streets. There are also strict controls on drinking and sexual activity in public, including beaches. Fines can range from between €30-€1,500.
In Barcelona, it is illegal to be in the street wearing just a bikini or swimming trunks/shorts. Being bare-chested has also been banned. The only exception to this is when you are on the seafront promenade, the beach or the adjacent streets.
For security purposes, some public authorities don't allow the niqab or burka to be worn inside their buildings. If you visit Town Councils wearing either of these, you may be asked to take it off whilst in the building.
Hotels must adhere to a legal duty which states they must register the passport details of tourists upon check-in. Wait for the hotel staff to registered your passport details or to take a photocopy. Do not leave it at reception to collect later.
If your passport states you are a British Citizen or if it states you are a British Subject with Right of Abode in the UK, you do not need a visa to enter Spain. If you are another type of British nationality, you should always check your entry requirements with the nearest Spanish Embassy or Consulate. When visiting for up to 3 months, your passport must be valid for the planned duration of your stay. You do not require a period of validity beyond this.
Any other nationality looking to visit Spain must contact the local embassy to check visa requirements.
For further information about visiting Spain you can visit the tourist board website at spain.info
Spain isn't just a hot spot for sun seekers from the UK, steeped in heritage and history the cities are well worth exploring and discovering. Here is just a selection of the places you can visit during your holiday:
Explore this city by wandering through the narrow alleys, be sure to stop and browse in the boutique shops and tapas bars whilst in the Gothic Quarter. Whilst in Barcelona, you cannot miss the Parc Guell and the Church of Sagrada Familia, designed by the visionary architect Antoni Gaudi. You can also catch the cross-harbour cable car to the old port district of Barceloneta.
A coastal town located in the south east of the country, Benidorm, has thousands of holiday makers flocking to catch some sun here every year. The town is very popular with families as it has three beautiful beaches that are perfect for lazing about and watching the world go by such as Playa del Mal Pas, Playa de Levante and Playa de Poniente.
The Capital City of Spain, Madrid is located in the heart of the country. To see this city from a different angle, take the Teleferico Madrid Cable Car – it travels 2.5km over Casa de Campo and Parque del Oeste. If heights are not your cup of tea, explore the Real Palacio de El Pardo instead. The Palace is partially opened to the public where you can see the gaudy interior and some beautiful tapestries.
Located in the northern part of Spain, Rioja is an area steeped in Spanish heritage and tradition. Be sure to visit the winery and museum of the Museo del Vino Dinastia Vivanco. If you prefer to admire classic Spanish architecture, visit San Millan Yuso Monastry, where you can enjoy a guided tour that will explain the local heritage. Please note that there may be a long wait for English speaking guide so be prepared!