Spain is one of the leading tourist destinations in the world. According to the Spanish Government, the country received almost 21 million visitors in the first four months of 2023 alone.
Inevitably, the influx of visitors it attracts each year will include some first-time travellers who want to experience what the country is known for. However, the popularity of Spain among tourists also makes it a bustling place that can be overwhelming and difficult to navigate for first-timers, especially if they’re alone.
Yet Spain is a country you’ll definitely want to conquer these challenges for as a solo traveller, even if it means preparing more for your trip than you usually do. Here’s why you should consider a solo holiday to Spain—and how you can pull it off without a hitch.
Why holiday in Spain?
Now, you might be thinking, if Spain can be overwhelming for first-timers, why make the trip? The answer is simple: holidays to Spain promise a considerable amount of variety for everyone who visits. If the museums and historical architecture in big cities like Madrid and Barcelona aren’t your style, you can sunbathe on the golden sands of Costa Brava or Ibiza. Meanwhile, adventure travellers can take a nature hike up the volcanic Canary Islands for a slice of paradise.
Indeed, all of the best things the country has to offer are easily accessible to first-timers and solo travellers looking to enjoy themselves. However you choose to explore, going on holiday in Spain is a sure way of indulging in some sun, good food, and rich culture that will leave you wanting more.
Tips for the first-time solo traveller
Build an itinerary based on your interests
As Spain has a wide network of places and activities to visit, deciding what to do is understandably a little daunting. Fortunately, you’re travelling on your own, so doing a little research can go a long way into finalising your itinerary. My article on “13 Unique Spain Experiences You Need to Try” highlights some of the must-do activities and places to see in the country to help you get started. This includes visiting the Sagrada Familia, dining at the world’s oldest restaurant, and visiting the only underwater art gallery on the continent. By using that starting point to pick some activities that align with your interests, you can make the planning phase of your trip less overwhelming.
Get a travel pass
Some popular areas such as Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, and Granada make navigation around the city easier by providing travel passes. This allows you to take unlimited trips on public transportation during your stay, making it a practical and inexpensive way to get around. All metro stations have machines to help you purchase a travel pass, but you can also get one online in advance. Besides travel convenience, some of these passes also provide free museum visits and can be used to claim free food and drinks, depending on the city. This is great for solo travellers, as you won’t have to worry about navigation and can even enjoy some complimentary meals, so be sure to research your options—operators like Renfe, for example, are offering free train rides until the end of 2023.
Check out these great souvenirs from Spain to see what to buy while you’re there.
Be familiar with the language
Even learning the basics of the local language can make your trip to Spain much richer. Since you’ll be able to communicate directly with locals, you’ll be able to navigate cities more easily and even pick up some rare tips on the best restaurants to eat at or hidden gems to explore. You’ll also be able to get help more easily, which will be helpful as a solo traveller who doesn’t know anyone locally and isn’t travelling with companions. So before embarking on your travels, why not join other Brits in using a language-learning app like Babbel? With lessons curated by language experts, it can effectively teach you basics like how to order food or how to ask a local to take your photo in front of a historical site.
Take note of emergency hotlines
With solo travelling, you should have all the local hotlines you may need in an emergency. In Spain, 112 is the main number used for general emergencies, similar to 999 in the UK. Other numbers to take note of include 091 for the police, 061 for health emergencies, and 080 for the fire department. Be sure to use them in case you run into any untoward circumstances and there are no other people to ask assistance from.
Spain is a worthy destination if you’re a solo traveller wanting to go somewhere new. Try the above tips to have the best experience possible!