If you’re heading off on a solo adventure to Spain, it’s always worth planning ahead. Reading up on the country and its customs could prove vital once you’re on the road, and is always useful when you’re meeting locals. Learn a few useful phrases of Spanish, especially if you are planning on travelling off the beaten track. Not everyone in Spain speaks English, but Spaniards are very friendly and will always try to help you out if you ask.
Make sure you keep your valuables somewhere safe. However uncool they seem, consider a money belt and always keep your bag zipped and the opening towards your body. Some Spanish cities, such as Barcelona, are notorious for pickpockets so be especially careful in busy tourist areas like La Rambla and in the metro. Make sure you tell a friend or family member where you’re planning to be on any given day, and always check in with them when you arrive.
Hostels are a great way to get to know other travellers and provide a safe, busy atmosphere where you can easily blend in with the crowd or make some new friends. It’s worth booking your accommodation ahead of time to save you wandering the streets of a new and unfamiliar city looking for somewhere to stay. Check reviews from fellow travellers on sites like Hostelworld, and make sure to opt for hostels that are rated highly for their safety.
Spain’s transport system is generally very good and completely safe for solo travellers. Within cities, take the metro and local buses, they are modern, cheap and fast. You can usually buy day or weekly passes, which are a good idea if you are staying in one place for an extended period. For travelling around Spain, consider the country’s rail and bus network: high speed trains are a quick way to get between cities, while buses are comfortable and cheap (some even have personal TVs). For longer distances, opt for budget airlines, such as EasyJet, Ryanair and Spain’s own Vueling and Iberia Express.
Tours are a great option for getting to know a new place, and allow you to easily mingle with other people. Consider a food tour in one of the big cities to learn more about Spain’s tapas culture, or a more adventurous tour in Spain’s mountains to explore the country’s incredible wildlife.
The thought of dining alone is always a little bit awkward, but luckily Spain has lots of options that are perfect for the solo traveller. Food markets are a great way to sample lots of local specialities, and you can get talking to the stall holders who will clue you into some local tips and foodie favourites. In Madrid, Mercado San Miguel, Mercado Anton Martin and Mercado San Fernando are must-visits. Barcelona’s La Boqueria is a tourist favourite, and Valencia’s Central Market is a great place to explore. You can’t come to Spain and not sample tapas, and lots of tapas bars are stand up affairs, which makes it much more casual – ideal for the solo traveller. One top tip: don’t go out to eat too early. Most places don’t open until at least 8:30pm, and many Spaniards eat their dinner after 9pm.
Spain is home to some incredible scenery, from the Pyrenees and the Sierra Nevada to the volcanic landscapes of Tenerife. It’s not a good idea to wander off into the mountains alone; picking up some trekking buddies in hostels or through an organised tour ensures that you’ll have companions and a safer explore through Spain’s wonderful landscapes. For urban exploring, draw up a DIY walking tour, taking in the main sites of whichever city you’re visiting that day.