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Backpacking Spain

Spain offers everything a backpacker could ask for. Not only is there plenty of sunshine, a Mediterranean atmosphere, many heavenly beaches, and numerous culinary highlights, but the country also has a beautiful and varied landscape for you to discover. Have fun exploring our backpacking route through Spain!


Important Basics

Language ( Spanish, Castilian, Catalan, Galician, Basque, and Aranese )
EnglishSpanish
HelloHola
Goodbyeadiós
Thank youGracias
Yes
NoNo
Capital City

Madrid

Form of Government

Constitutional monarchy

Best Time to Visit

From May until mid-October; slight variations depending on the region

Fun Facts
  • December 28th is a popular day for playing pranks in Spain.
  • On Mallorca, around 82 tons of sand disappear due to tourism every year.
  • Because of the high temperatures, many Spanish people don’t eat dinner until quite late in the evening, usually at around 9:00 p.m.

Cities

Seville

The Andalusian capital offers not only majestic government buildings and pretty alleys with beautifully decorated old houses but also an exciting blend of traditional and modern architecture. You can experience both the Mediterranean flair as well as Arabic and more modern influences here. This interesting mix makes the fourth-largest city in Spain a very special destination with a lively atmosphere.

During your time in Seville, you definitely shouldn’t miss the Plaza de España and the former Jewish quarter, Santa Cruz. We also recommend visiting the Catedral de Santa María de la Sede, wandering through the charming old town, and exploring the royal palace Alcázar.

You have plenty of choice when it comes to hostels in Seville. Prices for a night in a 10-bed dorm are usually around €19.

Cádiz

The bus to Cádiz is about €12. The port city is one of the oldest ones in Europe and is surrounded by the sea – its only connection to the Andalusian mainland is a narrow stretch of land. The coast in the area with its long sandy beaches is stunningly beautiful.

We recommend just walking around the charming old town for a while. It’s the heart of the city, with its snow-white houses and labyrinthine alleys. Also worth seeing are the Catedral de la Santa Cruz de Cádiz and the Castillo de San Sebastián. You should also have some seafood in one of Cádiz’s traditional restaurants – it’s said to be the best in all of Andalusia.

Our final tip is to visit the Torre Tavira, because it offers a truly magnificent view of the island-like city and its scenic surroundings. You can spend the night at one of Cádiz’s hostels, where a stay in a 6-bed dorm is about €14.

Málaga

The bus (€20) will take you to your next stop, Málaga. This city is often only used as a stopover, but we honestly can’t see why. We recommend taking some time to discover Málaga’s historic city center with its Roman theater and the Castillo de Gibralfaro. The city is also the birthplace of the famous artist Pablo Picasso and home to the Museo Picasso Málaga. This is the perfect chance to learn more about Spanish culture without being crowded by other tourists. Please also take the opportunity to enjoy the sun in one of the city’s parks and to visit the historical palace Alcazaba, from where you’ll have a fantastic view of Málaga and the Costa del Sol.

You also shouldn’t miss out on an excursion to a via ferrata called Caminito del Rey. This spectacular walkway was built into the steep walls of the Gaitanes Gorge north of Málaga. The Caminito del Rey is almost 8 km long and its footbridges reach a height of up to 105 m. Take this chance to explore the spectacular landscape of the canyon, which was formed by the Guadalhorce River. A half-day excursion to the famous via ferrata costs about €25.

Once you’re back in Málaga, stay in one of the city’s hostels for around €19 per night.

Granada

The next stop on your trip is Granada. You can travel here by bus; tickets are only around €5. North of the Costa del Sol, Granada is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the area. It’s also famous for its turbulent history.

One of the city’s most important landmarks is Alhambra. The palace, built from red stone and in the Islamic architectural tradition, is situated on top of the hill Sabika and surrounded by picturesque gardens. It is one of the most beautiful Islamic structures in the world. The city’s oldest Muslim quarter is called Albaicín.

Take your time strolling along the hilly lanes, marvel at the oriental buildings, and visit one of the traditional bathhouses. If you like being outdoors, we highly recommend spending a day in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. They’re only a short bus ride from Granada, and you can explore the impressive landscape while hiking along some beautiful trails. Back in Granada, find a bed for the night in one of the city’s hostels. A night in a 4-bed dorm is usually around €13 per person.

Alicante

Your journey continues to Alicante. The bus ride from Granada is about €15. With 2,800 hours of sunshine a year, Alicante is a paradise for those of us who simply love a beach holiday. Its snow-white beaches are the place to relax, splash around in the crystal clear water, and discover the colorful coral reefs of the Costa Blanca.

Take the opportunity to stroll through the historic district of Santa Cruz and admire the pretty white houses with their blue shutters, intricate paintings, and colorful flowers. We also recommend visiting the El Barrio quarter, where you’ll find numerous restaurants, cozy cafés, and hip bars, as well as the city’s picturesque harbor.

The most famous attraction of Alicante is the Castillo de Santa Bárbara. Although the climb to the viewing platform is quite steep in places, it is still definitely worth it. You’ll be rewarded with a magnificent view of the city – especially at sunset. A night in a 10-bed dorm in Alicante costs around €17.

Valencia

A quick bus ride will take you to Valencia for around €8. This port city on the southeast coast of Spain is not only known for its nearby orange groves but also for its extraordinary architectural beauty. In the heart of the town lies the lively market hall Mercato Central, where you can buy local foods, souvenirs, textiles, and many other things.

Valencia is also the birthplace of paella, so you should definitely try the Spanish national dish here, as it’s fresh, cheap, and available in many different variations. One of the city’s most popular attractions is the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences. You’ll also find the Oceanogràfic, the largest aquarium in Europe, here. This state-of-the-art facility was built in the shape of a water lily and accommodates over 500 marine species, a huge dolphinarium, and various open-air exhibitions. A day ticket to the Oceanogràfic is €30 per person.

Of course, Valencia also offers fantastic beaches, quiet parks, cozy cafés, hip rooftop bars, and trendy nightclubs. Accommodation is also fairly affordable here, with €12 for a night in a 10-bed dorm.

Barcelona

The bus ticket from Valencia to Barcelona is about €15. The Catalan capital is hard to beat in terms of sightseeing, and you could easily spend several weeks here. The city is famous for its many buildings by the architect Antoni Gaudí. Among them are the unfinished Sagrada Família, the Casa Milà, and the Casa Battló. It’s also possible to visit Gaudí’s house, which is located in the Parc Güell.

Barcelona’s Gothic quarter is also very popular, due to its countless bodegas, cathedrals, parks, shops, and bars. The best place for shopping is the lively street La Rambla in the city center.

As Barcelona’s sights are spread all over the city, the best way to see them all is with a hop-on hop-off bus tour. The double-decker buses will take you to all of the major attractions, including Port Olimpic, Camp Nou, and Avinguda Diagonal. They also offer audio guides in many different languages. The buses leave every 6–15 minutes and allow you to get on and off as often as you like. This way, you can fit your sightseeing trip around your other plans without any problems. A day ticket costs about €30. A lot of the accommodations in Barcelona might seem a bit pricey at first, but a night in a 6-bed dorm is still only around €32.

Girona

The final stop on your trip is Girona. You can get here by bus as well. Tickets are usually around €5. The city is in the hinterland of the Costa Brava, but it’s just as beautiful as the famous coast itself. With its medieval old town, Girona is a highlight for anyone interested in Spanish culture. Among its most popular sights are the Girona Cathedral, the Plaza de la Independència, and the city wall, from where you have a great view of Girona.

If you want to get to know the “real” Catalonia, you can visit some of the scenic villages around Girona, such as Pals or Castelló d'Empúries. The party destination Lloret de Mar is also not far from Girona, so if you’ve been waiting to have the typical Spanish party vacation experience, here’s your chance.

There are a couple of different hostels in Girona. A night in a 6-bed dorm is usually around €21 in any of them.


Seville

Seville

The Andalusian capital offers not only majestic government buildings and pretty alleys with beautifully decorated old houses but also an exciting blend of traditional and modern architecture. You can experience both the Mediterranean flair as well as Arabic and more modern influences here. This interesting mix makes the fourth-largest city in Spain a very special destination with a lively atmosphere.

During your time in Seville, you definitely shouldn’t miss the Plaza de España and the former Jewish quarter, Santa Cruz. We also recommend visiting the Catedral de Santa María de la Sede, wandering through the charming old town, and exploring the royal palace Alcázar.

You have plenty of choice when it comes to hostels in Seville. Prices for a night in a 10-bed dorm are usually around €19.

Cádiz

Cádiz

The bus to Cádiz is about €12. The port city is one of the oldest ones in Europe and is surrounded by the sea – its only connection to the Andalusian mainland is a narrow stretch of land. The coast in the area with its long sandy beaches is stunningly beautiful.

We recommend just walking around the charming old town for a while. It’s the heart of the city, with its snow-white houses and labyrinthine alleys. Also worth seeing are the Catedral de la Santa Cruz de Cádiz and the Castillo de San Sebastián. You should also have some seafood in one of Cádiz’s traditional restaurants – it’s said to be the best in all of Andalusia.

Our final tip is to visit the Torre Tavira, because it offers a truly magnificent view of the island-like city and its scenic surroundings. You can spend the night at one of Cádiz’s hostels, where a stay in a 6-bed dorm is about €14.

Málaga

Málaga

The bus (€20) will take you to your next stop, Málaga. This city is often only used as a stopover, but we honestly can’t see why. We recommend taking some time to discover Málaga’s historic city center with its Roman theater and the Castillo de Gibralfaro. The city is also the birthplace of the famous artist Pablo Picasso and home to the Museo Picasso Málaga. This is the perfect chance to learn more about Spanish culture without being crowded by other tourists. Please also take the opportunity to enjoy the sun in one of the city’s parks and to visit the historical palace Alcazaba, from where you’ll have a fantastic view of Málaga and the Costa del Sol.

You also shouldn’t miss out on an excursion to a via ferrata called Caminito del Rey. This spectacular walkway was built into the steep walls of the Gaitanes Gorge north of Málaga. The Caminito del Rey is almost 8 km long and its footbridges reach a height of up to 105 m. Take this chance to explore the spectacular landscape of the canyon, which was formed by the Guadalhorce River. A half-day excursion to the famous via ferrata costs about €25.

Once you’re back in Málaga, stay in one of the city’s hostels for around €19 per night.

Granada

Granada

The next stop on your trip is Granada. You can travel here by bus; tickets are only around €5. North of the Costa del Sol, Granada is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the area. It’s also famous for its turbulent history.

One of the city’s most important landmarks is Alhambra. The palace, built from red stone and in the Islamic architectural tradition, is situated on top of the hill Sabika and surrounded by picturesque gardens. It is one of the most beautiful Islamic structures in the world. The city’s oldest Muslim quarter is called Albaicín.

Take your time strolling along the hilly lanes, marvel at the oriental buildings, and visit one of the traditional bathhouses. If you like being outdoors, we highly recommend spending a day in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. They’re only a short bus ride from Granada, and you can explore the impressive landscape while hiking along some beautiful trails. Back in Granada, find a bed for the night in one of the city’s hostels. A night in a 4-bed dorm is usually around €13 per person.

Alicante

Alicante

Your journey continues to Alicante. The bus ride from Granada is about €15. With 2,800 hours of sunshine a year, Alicante is a paradise for those of us who simply love a beach holiday. Its snow-white beaches are the place to relax, splash around in the crystal clear water, and discover the colorful coral reefs of the Costa Blanca.

Take the opportunity to stroll through the historic district of Santa Cruz and admire the pretty white houses with their blue shutters, intricate paintings, and colorful flowers. We also recommend visiting the El Barrio quarter, where you’ll find numerous restaurants, cozy cafés, and hip bars, as well as the city’s picturesque harbor.

The most famous attraction of Alicante is the Castillo de Santa Bárbara. Although the climb to the viewing platform is quite steep in places, it is still definitely worth it. You’ll be rewarded with a magnificent view of the city – especially at sunset. A night in a 10-bed dorm in Alicante costs around €17.

Valencia

Valencia

A quick bus ride will take you to Valencia for around €8. This port city on the southeast coast of Spain is not only known for its nearby orange groves but also for its extraordinary architectural beauty. In the heart of the town lies the lively market hall Mercato Central, where you can buy local foods, souvenirs, textiles, and many other things.

Valencia is also the birthplace of paella, so you should definitely try the Spanish national dish here, as it’s fresh, cheap, and available in many different variations. One of the city’s most popular attractions is the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences. You’ll also find the Oceanogràfic, the largest aquarium in Europe, here. This state-of-the-art facility was built in the shape of a water lily and accommodates over 500 marine species, a huge dolphinarium, and various open-air exhibitions. A day ticket to the Oceanogràfic is €30 per person.

Of course, Valencia also offers fantastic beaches, quiet parks, cozy cafés, hip rooftop bars, and trendy nightclubs. Accommodation is also fairly affordable here, with €12 for a night in a 10-bed dorm.

Barcelona

Barcelona

The bus ticket from Valencia to Barcelona is about €15. The Catalan capital is hard to beat in terms of sightseeing, and you could easily spend several weeks here. The city is famous for its many buildings by the architect Antoni Gaudí. Among them are the unfinished Sagrada Família, the Casa Milà, and the Casa Battló. It’s also possible to visit Gaudí’s house, which is located in the Parc Güell.

Barcelona’s Gothic quarter is also very popular, due to its countless bodegas, cathedrals, parks, shops, and bars. The best place for shopping is the lively street La Rambla in the city center.

As Barcelona’s sights are spread all over the city, the best way to see them all is with a hop-on hop-off bus tour. The double-decker buses will take you to all of the major attractions, including Port Olimpic, Camp Nou, and Avinguda Diagonal. They also offer audio guides in many different languages. The buses leave every 6–15 minutes and allow you to get on and off as often as you like. This way, you can fit your sightseeing trip around your other plans without any problems. A day ticket costs about €30. A lot of the accommodations in Barcelona might seem a bit pricey at first, but a night in a 6-bed dorm is still only around €32.

Girona

Girona

The final stop on your trip is Girona. You can get here by bus as well. Tickets are usually around €5. The city is in the hinterland of the Costa Brava, but it’s just as beautiful as the famous coast itself. With its medieval old town, Girona is a highlight for anyone interested in Spanish culture. Among its most popular sights are the Girona Cathedral, the Plaza de la Independència, and the city wall, from where you have a great view of Girona.

If you want to get to know the “real” Catalonia, you can visit some of the scenic villages around Girona, such as Pals or Castelló d'Empúries. The party destination Lloret de Mar is also not far from Girona, so if you’ve been waiting to have the typical Spanish party vacation experience, here’s your chance.

There are a couple of different hostels in Girona. A night in a 6-bed dorm is usually around €21 in any of them.

Spain Route Map

Itinerary and Stops.

Tag
Route/Station
Transport
Unterkunft
1. Home – Seville
Home – Seville
Flight
70
10-bed dorm
19
2. Seville
Seville
-
10-bed dorm
19
3. Seville – Cádiz
Seville – Cádiz
Bus
12
6-bed dorm
14
4. Cádiz
Cádiz
-
6-bed dorm
14
5. Cádiz – Málaga
Cádiz – Málaga
Bus
20
10-bed dorm
19
6. Málaga
Málaga
-
10-bed dorm
19
7. Málaga – Granada
Málaga – Granada
Bus
5
4-bed dorm
13
8. Granada
Granada
-
4-bed dorm
13
9. Granada – Alicante
Granada – Alicante
Bus
10-bed dorm
17
10. Alicante
Alicante
-
10-bed dorm
17
11. Alicante
Alicante
-
10-bed dorm
17
12. Alicante – Valencia
Alicante – Valencia
Bus
8
10-bed dorm
12
13. Valencia
Valencia
-
10-bed dorm
12
14. Valencia
Valencia
-
10-bed dorm
12
15. Valencia – Barcelona
Valencia – Barcelona
Bus
15
6-bed dorm
15
16. Barcelona
Barcelona
-
6-bed dorm
15
17. Barcelona
Barcelona
-
6-bed dorm
15
18. Barcelona
Barcelona
-
6-bed dorm
15
19. Barcelona - GironaBus
Barcelona - GironaBus
Bus
5
6-bed dorm
21
20. Girona
Girona
-
6-bed dorm
15
21. Girona – Home
Girona – Home
Flight
50
-

Total price.

Flights 120,00
Transportation 80,00
Tours 85,00
Accommodation 387,00
Total672,00

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Dos and Donts, Food & Drinks, Costs.

Breakfast:

Toast and sweet pastries: in Spain, breakfast is simple and usually consists of delicious pastries and some spicy toast. It’s often very sweet, as many Spaniards start the day with chocolate sauce and lots of sugar.

Soups:

Gazpacho: this is a cold vegetable soup made from cucumber, tomato, garlic, and pepper. It’s the perfect lunch on a hot day!

Main courses:

Paella: the national dish of Spain is the paella. The best place to have this rice dish is in Valencia.

Calamari: you can find these fried squid rings at most restaurants in Spain. They’re usually served as a starter or, along with some side dishes, as a main course.

Spanish tortilla: this omelette is made from eggs and potatoes and is often eaten with some bread.

Drinks:

Sangria: who hasn’t heard of sangria? This cocktail is very popular with backpackers everywhere, but of course there’s no better place to have it than in Spain.

Horchata: this is a lemonade from Valencia. It’s the perfect refreshment on hot days.

Spain

In Spain, payments are made in euros (€). You can see the prices for certain products as well as the cost of living below.

Cost of Living

Food

Free Time

Personal Hygiene

Dos

Sticking to the speed limit: on a road trip, you’re spending a lot of time on the road and might be tempted to speed a little bit. We have to warn you, however, that there are a lot of speed cameras in Spain, so you should really stick to the 120 km/h speed limit on highways here.

Exploring the inland: Spain is so much more than just its beaches. Don’t miss out on the inland and its beautiful landscapes – you’ll be surprised at how varied they can be!

Dressing up: it’s common in Spain to dress a little more elegantly during a walk through the city. So if you want to avoid standing out immediately, it might be a good idea to leave your usual vacation outfit at home.

Don'ts

Talking on the phone at a gas station: in Spain, it’s forbidden to make phone calls while you’re getting gas. Due to safety reasons, you should focus on filling your car’s tank and only use your phone once you’ve left the gas station.

Fixed mealtimes: Spanish mealtimes might differ a little from the ones you’re used to. People tend to eat fairly late here, and this is to some extent also expected from tourists – especially when a Spanish family invites you to their home!

Visiting only Barcelona and the Costa Brava: many tourists associate Spain solely with the Costa Brava’s party scene. But there is so much more to discover in Spain, and you should definitely take your time to get to know the whole country.

Visa, Visa, Passport & Vaccinations

Passport

Yes

Temporary passport

Yes

National ID

Yes

Temporary national ID

Yes

Child’s pass

Yes

Visa

(Not necessary)

Vaccine

Robert Koch Instituts

Additional Remarks.

Spain is part of the European Convention on the Regulation of the Movement of Persons between the Member States of the Council of Europe from December 13, 1957. EU travel documents other than temporary ID cards mustn’t have expired for more than a year. If you’re not an EU citizen, we recommend looking up the visa requirements for your home country as soon as you start planning your trip. Please also find out about the current entry regulations regarding COVID. You can find further information at your country’s Foreign Office.

The team at Backpacker Trail wishes you lots of fun and an unforgettable trip!

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