The easiest way to get around most parts of Spain is by bus. Most major routes are point to point, and very high frequency. There is a different operator for each route, but usually just one operator per route. At the bus station, each operator has its own ticket. The staff at any of them is usually happy to tell you who operates which route. The following two are major bus companies serving much of the country:
which also included Continental Auto
operates the Alosa, Tusza, Vitrasa & Auto Res lines
All the major cities in Spain are served by taxis, which are a convenient, if somewhat expensive way to get around. That being said, taxis in Spain are more reasonably priced than those in say, the United Kingdom or Japan. Most taxi drivers do not speak English or any other foreign languages, so it would be necessary to have the names and/or addresses of your destinations written in Spanish to show your taxi driver. Likewise, get your hotel's business card to show your taxi driver in case you get lost.
RENFEis the Spanish national rail carrier. Long-distance trains always get in time, but be aware that short-distance trains called Cercanías can bear long delays, from ten to twenty minutes, and especially in the Barcelona area, where delays up to 30 minutes are not uncommon. To be safe, always take the train before the one you need.
Trains and facilities are clean, services are fast and reliable and prices are on par with those found elsewhere in Western Europe, but there is one catch. Since absolutely all long-distance trains require a reservation not only the high-speed AVEs! and are booked out long before, especially in the tourist season, getting around Spain by train is rather difficult and planning ahead is essential. If you turn up at the Madrid-Atocha station expecting to buy a same-day AVE ticket to Barcelona or to the costas, you'll be disappointed. On the other hand, passengers in Spain ride in style, everyone seated and no people standing in the aisle. This is in sharp contrast with most other European countries, where compulsory reservations are either non-existent or only required for the highest category of trains.
FEVENarrow-gauge, slow, but scenic trains around the northern coast of Spain are operated by another company, FEVE. These trains are a completely separate ecosystem. They require different tickets and are not covered by Rail Passes! The FEVE company was formally merged with RENFE on January 1, 2013, but it'll take some more time until the factual merger completes.
If you'd like to travel by trains, you have the following choices:
Buy tickets in advance through the RENFE website. They can be significantly cheaper when bought a long time ahead. Fortunately, the RENFE website has seen some major improvements in the recent years, especially its English version, which used to be severely limited. A RENFE ticket can only be bought for a specified train and date. Best price can be achieved by buying approx. one month in advance of course, discounted tickets are non-refundable. Beware though, that you cannot buy a separate seat reservation without a ticket if you're travelling on a rail pass on the Renfe website. That can be bought easily in Spain at a railway station, but by the time you get into Spain, the train will likely be booked out. It is technically possible to buy Spanish seat reservations including domestic routest everywhere in Europe, at any train station selling international tickets, since the railway companies are interconnected, but it's not easy. Imagine explaining to a ticket selling person in, say, Germany or Poland that you want to buy a reservation for a train in Spain! That being said, it is nonetheless possible. Always give the train number very important!, exact date, departure and arrival points. With these information, buying a reservation abroad should succeed. Alternately, you can buy a seat reservation on the RailDude website. It is a bit more expensive €10 for a 2nd class reservation, but you'll avoid haggling with railway staff and it is your best option if you're outside Europe.
Travel only by local trains Cercanías - suburban trains, or Media Distancia - medium distance trains. Sadly, quite a lot of the Media Distancia trains are subject to compulsory reservations, too. Always check for each connection whether you require a reservation or not. There are e.g. only 7 daily trains between Santiago de Compostela and A Coruña a relatively short way which don't require a reservation. All other trains on that route 29 more trains require a reservation, either being Media Distancia or Larga Distancia long-distance services. Anyway, the main difference is that the Media Distancia trains do not tend to be booked out weeks before so it is usually possible to buy a reservation minutes before your desired departure.
CAVEAT: Several tourists have reported that the RENFE website didn't accept their foreign-issued credit or debit cards. If this happens to you, you can contact your bank, but don't expect a solution. Use a PayPal account instead.
These facts turn travelling by train in Spain into a nightmare for rail pass holders, and into at least a mild nuisance for other travellers. Even young Spaniards don't travel long distances by train very often. They usually ride a bus when they're on a tight budget or have to travel on a short notice or fly when they can book in advance. Flights within Spain are not much more expensive than trains and are well worth looking into, because of the time you save. Just keep in mind that the AVE high-speed train service between Madrid and Barcelona is actually faster than taking a plane, when you factor in all airport transfers and security checks! On the other hand, trains are more comfortable and allow you to take plenty of luggage.
Wherever you are in Spain, from your private yacht you can enjoy gorgeous scenery and distance yourself from the inevitable crowds of tourists that flock to these destinations. May is a particularly pleasant time to charter in the regions of Costa Brava, Costa Blanca and the Balearic Islands as the weather is good and the crowds have yet to descend. The summer months of July and August are the hottest and tend to have lighter winds. There is no low season for the Canary Islands, as the weather resembles springtime all year round.If you would like to bareboat anywhere in Spain, including the Balearic or Canary Islands, a US Coast Guard License is the only acceptable certification needed by Americans to bareboat. For everyone else, a RYA Yacht Master Certification or International Certificate of Competence will normally do.Although a skipper may be required, a hostess/chef may or may not be necessary. Dining out is strong part of Spanish custom and tradition. If you are planning on docking in a port and exploring fabulous bars and restaurants a hostess/cook may just be useful for serving drinks and making beds. Extra crew can take up valuable room on a tight ship.
Yacht and boats rentals in Spain (http://www.maritimvs.com), - Costa Brava, Costa Central, Costa Daurada, Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera.
Luxury yachts in Spain (http://alquilerdeyateseni...), - Yacht charter and sailing, one of the worlds largest acht charter companies, can take care of all charter requirements, from bareboat to crewed in Spain. Operating from nine offices worldwide USA, Spain, UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Caribbean, Honk Kong and Dubai
Spain is heaven for cycling, judging by how many cyclists you can see in the cities. Cycling lanes are available in mid-sized and large cities.It must be taken into account that Spain is the second most mountainous country in Europe, and the mountains and hills are from coast to coast. For example, Madrid is between 600 and 700 metres above sea, so if you travel through it by bicycle you have to be in a good shape.
In major cities like Madrid or Barcelona and in mid-sized ones like San Sebastian, moving around by car is both expensive and nerve-wracking. Fines for improper parking are uncompromising €85 and up.
Having a driving map is essential - many streets are one-way; left turns are more rare than rights and are unpredictable.
Getting around by car makes sense if you plan to move from one city to another every other day, ideally if you don't plan to park overnight in large cities. It also doesn't hurt that the scenery is beautiful and well worth a drive.
There are two types of highway in Spain: autopistas, or motorways, and autovías, which are more akin to expressways. Most autopistas are toll roads while autovías are generally free of charge. (http://bkpk.me/road-trip-...) Speed limits range from 50 km/h in towns to 90 km/h on rural roads, 100 km/h on roads and 120 km/h on autopistas and autovías.
Intersections of two highways typically have a roundabout under the higher one--so you can both choose any turn and to start driving in an opposite direction there.
Green light for cars about to turn is frequently on at the same time as green light for pedestrians: every time you turn, check if the pedestrians' path you cross doesn't also have green light for them.
Between cities, profesional drivers bus drivers for example are required to have some rest every 2 hours they drive--there's a fine if you don't follow.
Filling procedure for gas stations varies from brand to brand. At Agip, you first fill the tank yourself, and then pay inside the shop. Gasoline is relatively inexpensive compared to other countries in the EU and Japan, but still more expensive than in the U.S.
Spain isn't a good country for hitchhiking. Sometimes you can wait many hours. Try to speak with people at gas stations, parking lots etc. They are scared and suspicious, but when you show them that they shouldn't be afraid, they gladly accept you and mostly also show their generosity.In the South of Spain, in and around the Alpujarras, hitchhiking is very common and it is also very easy to get a ride. As long as you can speak a bit of spanish and don't look too dirty/frightening, you should be able to get a ride moderately easily.
If you plan to move around large cities or explore further afield you will find many companies that offer car hire at affordable prices because of the high competition between car rental agencies, consider renting a car with GPS navigation--it will be even easier to drive than having an automobile map.
Consider having full-coverage insurance instead of franchise: other drivers are not always careful parking near other cars, especially when parking space on a street is limited.
Spanish drivers can be unpredictable and some of the roads on the Southern area of Malaga and the Costa Del Sol are notoriously dangerous.
Therefore you will want a car with a fully comprehensive insurance package with includes a collision damage waiver CDW and a vehicle theft waiver, as well as liability cover. Many of the car hire companies offer an insurance option where you can choose to reduce your vehicle excess. This means that if you are in an accident you would not be financially liable for the whole excess fee.
Child seats are also available with all vehicles so that any children in your party can travel safely and in comfort.
Air conditioning is a must in the hot Spanish summer months. Nevertheless you should make sure to take water with you at all times.
If you break down while on holiday you will want a car hire company that gives you the free roadside assistance of trained mechanics. Cars often overheat in Spain while the tires are vulnerable on the hot roads.
Avis accepts payment in US dollars when you pay by a credit card. If you need to pay when you return rented car, payment is made from deposit you provided by credit card in the beginning--so you don't pay extra money upon return, waiting for weeks for deposit to be unblocked.link Sixt in Spain is one of the biggest car rental companies in Spain where you will be able to get a rent a car no matter what city you are in Spain.