Spain Travel Guide for Australians: Tips and Advice

Jul 4, 2024 | Travel Guides

Spain stands as a beacon of cultural heritage, inviting travellers from across the globe to explore its rich history, vibrant cities, and delectable cuisine. For Australians planning their next holiday, Spain offers a unique tapestry of experiences, from the bustling streets of Madrid and Barcelona to the serene beaches of Ibiza. The allure of Spanish tapas, flamenco dances, and architectural marvels make it an ideal destination for those seeking an adventure filled with diversity and charm. This journey into Spain’s heart is not just a travel opportunity but a gateway to creating memories that last a lifetime.

As we navigate through this Spain travel guide tailored for Australians, we will provide essential travel information to help you prepare for your journey, highlight the top cities that deserve a spot on your itinerary, and uncover must-see attractions that embody the spirit of Spain. Additionally, we’ll delve into local festivities and cultural experiences that allow travellers to immerse themselves fully in the Spanish lifestyle. Whether you’re drawn to the historic streets of Madrid, the artistic wonders of Barcelona, or the vibrant nightlife of Ibiza, this guide aims to equip you with the knowledge and tips needed to ensure your Spanish holiday is nothing short of spectacular.

Essential Travel Information for Australians

Visa and Passport Requirements

Australian citizens planning a trip to Spain will be pleased to know that they do not need a visa for short stays up to 90 days within a 180-day period, thanks to Spain being part of the Schengen Area. However, for those intending to stay longer or for purposes such as work or study, a long-term national visa is required. Travellers must ensure their passport is valid for at least three months beyond their period of stay and should have a legible entry stamp when entering the Schengen Area to avoid complications.

Health and Safety Guidelines

Spain is generally a safe destination, but travellers should take usual precautions, especially in crowded areas. It’s advisable to be updated with routine vaccinations and carry a basic first aid kit. Australians should invest in comprehensive travel insurance covering medical expenses, theft, and trip cancellations. Always carry insurance details and emergency contact numbers. For the latest health and travel advisories, consult the Smartraveller website and the Spanish Ministry of Health.

Currency and Financial Tips

The currency used in Spain is the Euro (€). It is recommended to withdraw money using ATMs in Spain for better exchange rates and avoid exchanging money at airports due to high fees. Carrying some cash is essential, as not all places may accept cards, especially in less touristy areas. To manage travel funds efficiently, consider using a travel debit card like Wise or Travelex for low-cost conversions and withdrawals. Always inform your bank of your travel plans to avoid transaction issues abroad.


Top Cities to Visit in Spain

Barcelona, Madrid, and Seville stand out as must-visit cities on any travel itinerary to Spain, each offering its unique blend of history, culture, and vibrant lifestyle.


Barcelona exudes a unique charm with its blend of Gothic and modernist architecture, largely influenced by Antoni Gaudí. His iconic creations, including the unfinished Sagrada Familia and the whimsical Park Güell, are essential visits. The city’s vibrant atmosphere is palpable at Las Ramblas, a bustling street alive with activity both day and night. For football enthusiasts, a visit to Camp Nou, home to FC Barcelona, is unmissable. Barcelona’s culinary scene offers a taste of traditional Catalan dishes and innovative dining experiences, such as at the theatrical tapas restaurant Tickets.


As the capital of Spain, Madrid offers a rich tapestry of cultural experiences ranging from the historic Royal Palace to the world-class Prado Museum. The city is known for its lively public spaces like the Retiro Park and the bustling La Latina district, famous for authentic tapas. The Madrileños’ zest for life is evident in their vibrant nightlife, making Madrid a city that never sleeps. Cultural immersion continues with visits to the Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums, showcasing extensive art collections.


Seville, the heart of Andalusia, is renowned for its stunning Moorish architecture and as the birthplace of flamenco. The city’s historical and architectural heritage includes the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and the breathtaking Alcázar castle. The old quarter, Barrio Santa Cruz, offers a picturesque stroll through narrow streets and hidden plazas. Experiencing a live flamenco show in Seville captures the essence of Andalusian culture. Culinary delights in Seville include traditional dishes like gazpacho and tapas, with opportunities to dine in historical settings like the El Rinconcillo, the oldest tapas bar in the city.

Each of these cities not only enriches visitors with their historical landmarks and cultural offerings but also invites them to partake in the local lifestyle, making every moment of their stay memorable.

Must-See Attractions

La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia, a monumental Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, remains one of Spain’s most iconic landmarks. Conceived by the visionary architect Antoni Gaudí, this basilica’s construction began in 1882 and is anticipated to continue until at least 2026. Visitors are captivated by its intricate facades and the interior’s vast, tree-like columns that soar towards the ceiling, adorned with vibrant stained glass that casts ethereal light patterns. The basilica also houses the Crypt where Gaudí is buried, and a museum detailing the church’s history and its creator’s life.


In the heart of Granada lies the Alhambra, a stunning example of Moorish art and architecture. Established by the Nasrid dynasty in the 13th century, this palace complex showcases a blend of intricate Islamic art and lush gardens. Key highlights include the Alcazaba, the Generalife, and the Nasrid Palaces, each offering a unique glimpse into the past splendour of Muslim Spain. Visitors should book their tickets in advance to explore these areas, with early morning visits recommended for a more tranquil experience.

Plaza Mayor

Madrid’s Plaza Mayor, a grand square enclosed by historic red-painted buildings, offers a lively atmosphere and is a hub for both locals and tourists. Originally built in the early 17th century, the square has been the site of various historical events from markets to bullfights. Today, visitors can enjoy traditional Madrid snacks at surrounding cafés, capture photos of the central statue of King Philip III, or simply soak in the vibrant cultural scene. For an optimal visit, early morning or late afternoon provides a quieter setting to appreciate the square’s architectural beauty.

Local Festivities and Cultural Experiences

La Tomatina

La Tomatina, celebrated in the town of Buñol near Valencia, is renowned worldwide for its exuberant tomato-throwing festivities. Held on the last Wednesday of August, this event has participants engaging in a spirited tomato fight, a tradition that traces back to 1945. The festival begins when a water cannon is fired, and trucks deliver around 150 tonnes of overripe tomatoes for the crowd to use as ammunition. Participants are encouraged to squash the tomatoes before throwing to ensure safety. The chaotic joy of this festival is a sight to behold, and it wraps up when the second siren sounds, signalling the end of the tomato battle.

Semana Santa

Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is a profound religious celebration across Spain, marking the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The festivities are particularly spectacular in Andalusia, where the streets fill with processions featuring elaborate floats and costumed participants. These processions are organised by various religious brotherhoods and are known for their dramatic and emotional displays, including the singing of flamenco songs from balconies in Seville. The week’s events culminate in vibrant parades on Easter Sunday, celebrating the resurrection with much fanfare and jubilation.

Flamenco Dance Shows

Flamenco, an expressive traditional Spanish art form, combines singing, dancing, and guitar playing, offering a deeply cultural experience for visitors. Flamenco shows are a highlight for those seeking to immerse themselves in Spanish culture, showcasing the passionate and intricate performances characteristic of this art form. Recommendations for experiencing authentic flamenco include visiting well-known tablaos or attending live performances in cultural hubs such as Seville or Madrid, where the art form’s emotional depth and technical excellence are on full display.


Throughout this guide, we have endeavoured to showcase the vibrant tapestry of experiences that Spain offers to Australian travellers, from its historical cities and architectural wonders to its lively festivals and the rich, culinary delights. Spanning from the artistic streets of Barcelona to the historical depth of Seville, we aimed to arm you with the essential knowledge, practical tips, and insights needed to immerse yourself fully in the Spanish way of life. This journey through Spain’s heart has not just been about guiding you through its landscapes but also about encouraging you to create lasting memories against the backdrop of Spain’s rich cultural heritage.

In drawing our Spanish travel guide to a close, it’s important to reflect on the significance of these experiences and their potential impact on you as a traveller. Spain’s blend of tradition, innovation, and the sheer joie de vivre found in its local festivities and cultural practices underscore the value of exploring new horizons and embracing the diversity of global cultures. As you plan your journey, let the insights provided serve as a compass guiding you to explore, engage, and absorb the myriad offerings of Spain. Let this guide be the first step in a journey of discovery that extends beyond the brochure and into the heart of what makes Spain truly enchanting.

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