EUROPE | SPAIN
Madrid, capital of Spain and one of the most popular destinations in Europe, is among those cities that attract the greatest number of visitors. Little wonder, what with its perfect combination of cultural, monumental and leisure attractions. What you cannot miss: Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor (where we find the Statue of Felipe XV), Gran Vía (one of the best-known streets, with all kinds of establishments), El Retiro (the most important park, with hundreds of spots to see), La Puerta de Alcalá (one of the most iconic monuments), the Plaza de Cibeles (located in the center of the city), the Royal Palace, the Almudena Cathedral or the ancient Egyptian Temple of Debod.
In addition, Madrid can proudly claim some of the most important museums in the world: the Prado Museum with works by Goya or Velázquez, the Reina Sofía Museum with works such as Picasso's Guernica and others by Dalí, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza, where highlights include paintings by Van Gogh and Monet.
What to Eat
This city brings together Spain's most typical dishes, with offerings such as paella, fish from the Galician coast, and Mediterranean or Basque cuisine, among others. But, during your stay, you simply must try some typical local dishes: callos a la madrileña (tripe, Madrid-style), cocido madrileño (a stew of chickpeas and meat), soldaditos de Paví (battered cod with red peppers), pastas del consejo (lemon pasta) and bartolillos (cream-filled sweets).
Where can you try all these tempting dishes? If you're not looking to spend a bundle on food, in the vicinity of Fuencarral Street and Gran Vía you'll find numerous restaurants and tapas bars at a good price. Some of the most recommended places are: La Bola, La Rútula and Casa Labra.
You can also visit some of its food markets, where you’ll find high-quality, fresh products from all kinds of cuisines, in a pleasant traditional atmosphere. Some of the best-known are the Mercado de San Miguel, the Mercado de la Paz and the Mercado de San Antón.
Where to Party
The capital is one of the best places in Europe to party, as it has different lively areas where you can have a good time with your friends.
The Malasaña neighborhood, located in the center of the city, is characterized by its bohemian, alternative atmosphere.
There is also Chueca, a small and fun cosmopolitan neighborhood where life revolves around the eponymous Plaza, where we find numerous venues with music and terraces where you can hang out when the good weather begins.
The Avenida Brasil area, near the Bernabéu Stadium, is one of the liveliest, but with more expensive venues.
Argüelles-Moncloa is where we find the youngest people, as university residences nearby mean lots of university students going out.
If your plan is to go to a disco, you’ll see that there are plenty on offer. Here are the ones most popular with young people at present: Teatro Kapital, Mau Mau, Club Graff, Teatro Barceló, Padana Riviera, Panda, Blackhaus, Toy Room, Vandido, Tiffanys and B12.
León is a Spanish city in the northwest of the autonomous community of Castilla y León, where you’ll find a thousand unique places to visit. As a tourist, you must not miss monuments such as the Cathedral of Santa María de Regla, one of the pilgrimage points on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route; Casa Botines, one of the three buildings by Antonio Gaudí; the Guzmanes Palace; the Convent of San Marcos, one of the masterpieces of the Renaissance; the Basilica of San Isidoro; and of course the city walls. Plus, if you’re an art lover, you must visit the Museum of Contemporary Art of Castilla y León (MUSAC), where you can enjoy more than 1,650 works from the 20th and 21st centuries.
What to Eat
The famous gastronomic star of this city is the tapa. Tapas in León are an art form, with many bars offering this culinary experience for free when you order something to drink. The two best areas with lots of bars everywhere are the Barrio Húmedo and the Barrio Romántico. Some of the most recommended are: Bar Flechazo, El Topo, El Rebote, Los Cazurros, Entrepechas.
In case you prefer to try some of the more typical dishes such as the León black pudding, the cecina, the Maragato stew (meat, chickpeas and soup), the Botillo del Bierzo (rib and pig tail) or the garlic cod … we recommend the following restaurants: Casa Mando or Restaurante Cocinados.
Where to Party
León is a perfect city to experience the night, both to take a stroll through its streets and to go out with friends. Weekends is when the atmosphere is really happening, with young people crowding the tapas areas where they can have a drink before going to the best pubs in the city to have a drink and listen to good music.
The wide range of pubs makes it possible to find a great variety of musical styles and atmospheres. The fashionable places among young people are: Santa Mónica, Gurugú, Insitu Nox, Molly Malone's or Vanity.
Valencia is one of the largest and most visited Spanish cities, due to the good weather most days of the year, combined with its history, its traditions and its beaches, all of which make it a very appealing place. What can you see if you come here? These are some of the tourist attractions that you can’t miss: Plaza de la Virgen, where you will find the Cathedral of Santa María; the Palace of the Generalitat and the Basilica of the Virgen de los Desamparados; El Barrio del Carmen; the Church of San Nicolás; the Serranos Towers; La Lonja de Seda, declared a World Heritage Site; the Palace of the Marqués de Dos Aguas; the Turia Garden that crosses the city, and so much more.
If you like museums, we recommend you visit the Fallero Museum and the City of Arts and Sciences, made up of several important buildings.
What to Eat
As for Valencian food, it’s classified as Mediterranean, with several traditional dishes such as: paella valenciana, esgarraet (salted cod, red pepper and olive oil), Olla Valenciana (stew), pumpkin fritters, fartons (a type of sweet bun) and the horchata de chufa, a sweet non-alcoholic drink.
Where can you try them? The most recommended places and restaurants to try them are the following: Rincon 33, Casa Carmela, Delicat, Casa Cesar El Delfín, Horchatería Panach and Horchatería de Santa Catalina.
Where to Party
The best areas to experience Valencia's nightlife are concentrated in the Barrio del Carmen, but that doesn’t mean that all options end there. Fun in this coastal city is nourished by its lively Mediterranean environment and its large university population.
The neighborhood of El Carmen is the most festive area and is located northwest of the old town. Its narrow streets are full of bars and nightclubs, especially concentrated on Calle de Caballeros. The best-known establishments are Radio City, Café Oasis and Café Negrito.
In the area of the Port of Valencia and the Malvarrosa beach, you will also come across numerous clubs scattered along the promenade. Especially in summer, the vibe is full-tilt. These are some of the ones most frequented by young people: Marina Beach Club, Luna Rossa and Akuarela Playa.
Barcelona is a city that has it all. You can visit the Sagrada Família; Casa Batlló, one of Gaudí's top creations (World Heritage Site); the Arc de Triomf; the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia; the Ramblas promenade; the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau; the Palau de la Música Catalana; the Basilica of Santa María del Mar; Park Güell (another World Heritage Site); the Ciutadella Park, and much more.
You can also stroll through its wonderful neighborhoods such as the Gothic Quarter, El Born, Gràcia, or simply enjoy a sunny day on the Barceloneta beach.
If you like to visit museums, we recommend some such as: the Picasso Museum, the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya or the Joan Miró Foundation.
What to Eat
The Catalan capital is full of attractions: its culture, its history, its leisure activities, and also its cuisine. Some of its most typical dishes are: pa amb tomàquet (bread, tomato, olive oil and salt); butifarra sausage; escalivada (bell pepper, eggplant, onion, potato, oil and black pepper), calçots (spring onions), black rice and for dessert, crema catalana.
Where to try them? These are some of the best places for you to enjoy them: El Jardí de L'Abadessa, Pork, Butipá, El Canalla, Can Travi and Julivert Meu.
Where to Party
Although there are several parts of the city where you can enjoy the night, there are some areas that stand out above the rest.
The Passeig Marítim de La Barceloneta and the Vila Olímpica is one of the best known and most attractive areas for visitors. The nightclubs in the Port Olímpic have terraces right on the beach, becoming a fashionable place in good weather.
Aribau Street, very close to Passeig de Gràcia, is one of the most exclusive areas to go out at night. Here you can find bars, clubs and great restaurants where you can go for dinner.
María Cubí and Santaló Streets are part of Barcelona's Upper Zone and are characterized by their large number of music bars, drinks and pubs that are in both.
The Eixample neighborhood is the largest and most central in this city, ideal for going for tapas and then having a drink with friends.
In the event that you want to extend the night a little longer, we leave you with a list of the most recommended clubs frequented by young people: Shoko, Bling Bling, Teatre Principal and Opium Barcelona.
Seville, the capital of Andalusia, is a city full of colour, art and a great vibe. What can you see here? We leave you the following list of essentials not to miss: the Real Alcázar palace; the Cathedral of Seville, one of the largest in the world, with its Giralda belltower; the Archivo de Indias; the Torre del Oro on the left bank of the Guadalquivir; the Plaza de España next to María Luisa Park; the Triana neighborhood; the Metropol Parasol; the Santa Cruz neighborhood in the historic center; the Plaza de San Francisco; the Casa de Pilatos; and the Macarena Basilica.
Another thing you can do during your stay is to visit some of the most important museums: the Museum of Fine Arts of Seville; the Archaeological Museum; the Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions; and the Museum of Flamenco Dance.
What to Eat
Seville's cuisine is a reflection of the mixture of all the cultures that have been interspersed throughout history. This mélange can be appreciated in their dishes, which reflect their influence in the form of marinades, products and culinary techniques. Some of the most typical dishes are: seasoned dogfish, fried fish, gazpacho, eggs à la flamenca, Seville stew or “mostachones” from Utrera.
Where to taste them? Below, we leave you with the most recommended restaurants in Seville so that you don't miss out: Abacería del Postigo, Bar Triana, El Burladero, Bodega Palo Santo, Sol y Sombra, and Casa Morales.
Where to Party
Young people from Seville like to start the night in the Old Town, a habitual meeting point. In the area of La Alfalfa, you’ll find a totally collegiate nightlife in some bars such as La Robotica or Sopa de Ganso.
If you go to the Guadalquivir area, you’ll find numerous bars with terraces where you can enjoy the fab weather outdoors. Some of the most frequented are: Terraza Sojo, Muelle Nueva York, Terraza Manhattan, Líbano or Chile Bar.
Once you have started the Sevillian night in its bars, at a certain time if you want to extend the night, the party continues in its clubs: Antique Theatro, Abril Sevilla, Tokyo, Alfonso and Occo Club.
Bilbao is a city located in the north of Spain, in the Basque Country, and known for many tourist attractions that you simply must not miss during your stay: the Cathedral of Santiago, the Arriaga Theater, La Ribera market, the Plaza Nueva, the Artxanda Lookout, the Church of San Antón, Plaza Unamuno, Bilbao’s Gran Vía, Doña Casilda Park…
And if you love to visit museums, we recommend some of the best in the city: the Guggenheim, of course, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Bullfighting Museum, the Archaeological Museum or the Basque Museum.
What to Eat
Due to its location, Bilbao's cuisine combines seafood typical of the Cantabrian Sea with the most typical land products from the interior, such as vegetables. Some of its traditional dishes are: cod “pil pil,” marmitako (stew), hake cocochas, Bilbao-style eels, purrusalda (soup), pantxineta (puff pastry with pastry cream) or goxua (cake).
Where can you try them? We recommend some of the best restaurants to savor these local delights: Casa Rufo, Bikandi Etxea, La Pizarra or Batzoki Rekalde.
Pintxos (think local food in miniature) are another well-known part of the food scene: cod, hake, cuttlefish, idiazábal cheese, and so forth. It is a different way of enjoying the most typical flavors of Bilbao. These are some of the best-known pintxo bars: Bar Plaza Unamuno, Geltoki, Irrintzi, Txiriboga, El Molino, Ledesma, Periflúo or El Glovo.
Where to Party
Night falls and Bilbao is filled with lights that transform the landscape and invite you to stroll and enjoy the city in good company. If you feel like making a night of it with your friends, there are several places where you can have a drink in a very pleasant atmosphere.
Nightclubs, bars and pubs are scattered throughout the historic center, where you can find the one that best suits your tastes.
Indautxu, on the other hand, has some more expensive clubs with a more elegant and relaxed atmosphere than the bars in the center of Bilbao. The liveliest area is along Calle Licenciado Poza.
In the Mazarredo area, there are discos where young people go to dance when the rest of the city's bars close.
Some of the best-known are: Fever Club, Sala Moma, Budha Bilbao, DaVinci and Galeón Bilbao.
Spain is part of the European Union and the Schengen area, and whether you need documentation to visit us will depend on your nationality.
What documents are valid for your trip?
National Identity Document (DNI)
This will be the valid document if you were born and/or reside in one of the countries that make up the European Union. It is essential that it currently valid, since the procedures at destination are usually delayed as they have to be processed through the consular section of the Embassy of your country.
This document will help you travel to any country, wherever you’re from. Therefore, we recommend that European citizens always travel with it and that they have it as a reserve identity document, in the event of loss of the DNI. We advise you to always keep your ID and passport separately.
European Health Card
This document is essentially your health passport, as it allows you to receive public health care in any country of the European Union. Request it at your National Health Service, and keep in mind that its validity is usually two years. If you have private medical insurance, contact them so that they can inform you about the exact document you need and their coverage abroad.
Necessary to get around Spain by car or motorcycle, as well as being very useful if you plan to make a getaway beyond the destination city. In case you have to renew it, being outside your country, you must go to your Consulate.
In addition to these documents, if you intend to spend a season in Spain for academic reasons, also write down these recommendations:
Insurance for Erasmus studentsHighly recommended, as it incorporates medical and travel insurance coverage that the European health card does not usually include.
Letter of admissionFrom the Spanish university where you will do your Erasmus scholarship, essential during your stay in destination. Especially at the beginning of the course.
Learning AgreementIt is a document that shows all the subjects that you are going to take. If, on the other hand, you are going to do an internship in a company, you must have the Training Agreement, a document where the start and end dates will appear.
Upon arrival in SpainOnce you have your Iberia flight ticket, check the website of the arrival airport and check the transport options to get to the city. Depending on the destination where you will carry out your studies, you can choose Metro, bus, shared car and/or taxi. If it’s the first time you visit that city, book it in advance before leaving home, so that you’ll travel more relaxed and not waste any time when you arrive.
Currency and money managementAs Spain is in the Euro Zone, if your country of origin belongs to the European Union, it’s not necessary to make any currency exchange. It is important to keep in mind that the level of expense in Spain varies depending on the city you’re going to.
ClimateAlthough Spain is often associated with sun and heat, the reality is that it has four different climates: Mediterranean in the eastern and southern regions, continental in the central regions, oceanic in the northern regions, and subtropical in the Canary Islands. In general terms, rain is irregular throughout the year, and temperatures increase from north to south, with the month of January showing the lowest figures and August the highest..
Spanish timeLunch is usually served between 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm, and dinner around 9:00 pm and 10:00 pm.
GreetingsIn Spain, it’s common to give one kiss on each cheek when you are introduced to someone you don’t know, or when you meet with family or friends, especially if you haven't seen them for a long time. Men usually greet each other with a handshake.
MannersThe Spanish in general are characterized by being hospitable, open and totally cordial; they will make you feel at home.
FoodThere are two Spanish culinary peculiarities: to go for tapas and pinchos. It’s a great way to enjoy our cuisine as well as the people around you.
How to packFirst, decide what kind of luggage you are going to travel with. Depending on the type of stay at your destination, you should assess whether it’s enough to travel with a carry-on bag or if you are going to need to check an additional bag. For longer stays, for example, if you are going to study, you will need a checked bag. For this reason, we remind you that the Iberia Joven Go Study fare offers an additional checked 23 kg (50 lb) suitcase, over and above those included in your ticket.
Check the size and maximum weight of luggage.Here you can review all the details for flights with Iberia.
Finally, make sure you take with you all the necessary items for your trip:
- Travel documents.
- Bank cards.
- Medication. Check to make sure that it’s legal in Spain; in case you need a prescription, add it to the essentials as well.
- Your laptop, especially if it’s going to be a long stay.
- Personal care products. Verify that they meet existing airport security limitations: to board the airplane, all containers in your hand luggage must be transparent and not exceed 100 ml. Here are all the details.
Centuries of tradition in Spain have allowed us to have one of the most prolific calendars as far as fairs and festivals are concerned: there are local, regional and also national ones. Ready to taste the magic? Here are some of the most typical:
End of February – beginning of March
The Fallas of Valencia
The Seville April Fair
Fiestas of San Isidro in Madrid
Eve of St. John
From June 20 to 24
Sanfermines in Pamplona
From July 6 to 14
La Tomatina in Buñol, Valencia
You want to study in Spain, but don't know which university you should opt for?
We’ll help you select one of the best there is, where you can carry out your student exchange program.
On the following list, you’ll find the 34 most outstanding universities in Spain, both for their academic excellence and the satisfaction of the students enrolled in them. In addition, they cover a wide variety of disciplines, so you can make your final decision according to your interests.
There are many different ways of getting around in Spain; depending on the city where you settle, the options may vary.
For your daily journeys within the city where you are, the best alternative is public transport. If you’re a student, you can pay a reduced fare.
Depending on where you stay in Spain, you may have the option to travel by metro. In addition to the capital, there are other cities that also have this means of transport: Barcelona, Valencia, Bilbao, and Seville.The price of a metro ticket is between 1.50 and 2 euros, but if you use it quite frequently, in some autonomous communities there is the option of requesting a card and recharging it with a bonus that can be monthly or annual. To recharge it you can do it several ways: at the station vending machines, in kiosks and tobacconists, or online.
In some cities, this card can also be used to access the city's urban bus network, which connects its cities and other smaller towns.
If you want to get around in a healthier and more ecological way, doing it by bike is a comfortable and useful option. Depending on the city, you can get this service through an application, a website or in person.
In the event that you want to travel from the north to the south of the country and from other countries in the world, the airplane is the safest means of transport. The busiest airports with the most connections are those found in Madrid (Adolfo Suárez-Barajas Airport), in Valencia (Valencia International Airport), in Bilbao (Bilbao International Airport), in León (León Airport), in Seville (Sevilla-San Pablo International Airport) and in Barcelona (Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport).
Are you looking for a place to stay? If you’re thinking of going to Spain to live for a few months or for a longer period, be sure to consult this section of the Iberia Guide, in which we show you the main options for staying in our country.
One of the most popular alternatives among students when it comes to staying somewhere in Spain is in a shared apartment.
También puedes acudir a las centrales de alquiler de vivienda (Mitwohnzentrale), donde hay una gran oferta de pisos amueblados durante un tiempo limitado. Tan solo tienes que buscar la web de la centrar de la ciudad donde vayas a vivir y en ella te aparecerán las ofertas de alquileres disponibles.
If you go for this option, there are some websites that list student apartments or rooms for rent: PisoCompartido, Idealista, Tucasa and Fotocasa.
Another alternative is the university residences. They are usually cheaper than renting an apartment (if it’s a public institution). Prices are around 500 euros per room per month depending on the city.
We recommend checking the website of the university where you are going to start your studies and seeing the existing possibilities. Most universities have a student residence.
In the event that you do not obtain a spot in a public residence, you can go to a private one, although they are somewhat more expensive. You can look for them through: RESA, student.com or Livensa Living.