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Travelling around Spain

By Plane
Spain has a large number of airports available for commercial use. The large number of budget airlines make flying a cheap alternative for train travel. Most smaller airports have connections to Madrid Barajas Airport and Barcelona El Prat Airport, which makes it easy to connect to airports in the rest of Europe or even further.

The major domestic carriers include Iberia, Air Europa, Binter and Spanair with connections in mainland Spain and to the Balearic and Canary Islands and even the North African exclaves of Melilla and Ceuta.

By Train
RENFE is Spain's national railway company. They operate all passenger trains on the network (except those in Basque country), which serves most larger cities. Unfortunately, the net has a radial architecture which often necessitates making considerable detours to get from A to B (this problem presents itself especially south of Madrid). For most typical tourist itineraries, this will not be a problem, though.

Trains are cheap, except for the fast AVE and Talgo train, and generally reliable both timewise and safetywise. Spain participates in EUrail and Interrail.

In the last couple of years the number of high speed connections has grown, and will continue to grow during the coming years. Most of these routes are serviced by AVE or Talgo trains. Madrid to Sevilla, Madrid to Barcelona and Cordoba to Malaga are the main high speed train lines and in 2010 Madrid will be connected to Valladolid and Valencia as well.

By Car
Spain has an excellent highway network and also an extensive network of secondary roads. You can bring your own car or rent one from most international companies at airports, resort areas or downtown offices in most cities. You have to be 21 years old and have a national driver's licence. Sufficient insurance (green card) is recommended.

By Bus
On many itineraries in Spain, going by bus will be more attractive (i.e., cheaper and quicker) than taking a train. Movelia bundles route information and ticket purchase for most national bus companies. Note that booking through their website involves a surcharge that you can usually avoid by contacting the company operating the line directly.

By Boat
Acciona Trasmediterránea is the main ferry operator in Spain. Routes include Algeciras to Ceuta (North African exclave), Malaga and Almeria to Melilla (North African exclave), Barcelona, Valencia and Alicante to the Balearic Islands, and Cadiz to the Canary Islands.
Other ferry operators include Balearia between Barcelona, Valencia and Denia and the Balearic islands of Menorca, Mallorca and Ibiza. Iscomar offers roughly the same connections as well.
Fred Olsen, togheter with Trasmediterránea, are the main operators between the Canary Islands of Lanzarote, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, El Hierro, La Palma and La Gomera.


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Spain Facts

46,661,950 (2009)


Official language:

Recognised regional languages:
Aranese, Basque, Catalan/Valencian and Galician


Euro (EUR) - Buy euros

Time zone:
CET (UTC+1) - Summer (UTC+1)

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