However much foreign currency you take to Spain, you’ll not be short of places to spend it, given that Spain offers bars and restaurants galore, stylish shops and culture by the bucketload. Like many other European countries, the official currency of Spain is the Euro (EUR) and has been since 2002, replacing the peseta. You’ll also be able to use your credit card at the vast majority of places, and ATMs almost always accept foreign cards.
Dining out in Spain
Spanish cuisine has never been more popular, and with good reason. The beauty of Spanish tapas is that you can try plenty of small dishes at one sitting and they’re usually very reasonably priced – so whether it’s just two of you or a big family, you can enjoy a real feast for not much money.
Expect to pay £3-£4 for little taster dishes of albondigas (spicy meatballs), chipirones (fried baby squid), or boquerones (fresh anchovies marinated in vinegar and oil). Spain is famed for its ham, too, with jamón ibérico the finest example. It’s made from free-range pigs that roam forests and munch on acorns. A decent plateful will cost £15-£20, but trust us, it’s worth it. It’s sweet, silky and unlike any other ham you’ve ever tried.
If you’d rather go for a conventional three-course meal, prices in Spain for a meal for two at a mid-range restaurant will be around £30. Whatever you go for, you’ll be delighted by the quality of Spanish food – they are rightly proud of their meat and fish, and their fruit and vegetables enjoy plenty of sunshine to ensure perfect ripeness too. And don’t forget to end your meal with some churros – £3 will get you a handful of decadent sugar-coated fried pastries served with a thick chocolate sauce!
The price of drinks
You’ll find a wide selection of drinks in Spain, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. For soft drinks, a 330ml bottle of water will cost around £1, and around £1.50 for a can of Coke or Pepsi, but it’s more economical to buy water in big 1.5-litre bottles – expect to pay just 50p each for them. It’s also worth remembering that tap water throughout Spain is perfectly safe to drink.
A 500ml draught beer (cerveza) will cost around £1.80 (imported beers about 50p more), but if wine is more to your taste, you’re definitely in the right place. Spanish wine is good value across the price spectrum, and whether your taste is for a fruity, full-bodied red Rioja or a zingy, refreshing white Verdejo, you’ll be spoiled for choice. A restaurant’s house wine can be as cheap as £5 a bottle, although most wine lists will have bottles costing much more.
The Spanish are rightly proud of their brandies, and they are well worth trying. They vary in strength and sweetness, however, so you have the perfect excuse to sample a few – and they start at just £3-£5 a glass! And don’t forget about Cava, Spain’s answer to Champagne (and Prosecco) – a bottle of fizz will cost from as little as £4 (£10 and upwards in a restaurant).
Out and about
There is so much to do in Spain, whether you wish to sit on a beach and soak up the sun or be a culture vulture and dive into the plethora of museums and galleries. Most museums will have days when it is free to enter, but as an example, Madrid’s Prado Museum costs £13 for general admission; Barcelona’s Picasso Museum is £10 for a ticket; while the Alhambra in Grenada costs £12. Sports lovers can visit Barcelona’s iconic Nou Camp stadium for £22 – it’s the same price to take a tour of Real Madrid’s Bernabeu Stadium, too.
How much spending money should I take to Spain?
How much money to take to Spain varies enormously on what you plan to do, but you should bank on about £30-£40 per person per day (£200-£250 per week) of spending money to cover meals, trips out and all the many attractions Spain has to offer. If you’re travelling All Inclusive, that makes working out how much money to bring easier, as meals and drinks will already be included, so you’ll only be paying for any extra activities you decide to do.
Tipping in Spain
Unlike many other countries, tipping is not common in Spain. However, if you’ve had particularly good service in a restaurant, adding 5-10% will be appreciated (service charges are not added to your bill as they often are in the UK). Similarly, a few coins left for bar staff is a nice touch, too.
In hotels, it’s considered the done thing to offer porters a euro or two for carrying your bags, likewise leaving a few euros for the maid at the end of your stay. Tipping taxi drivers is not obligatory, but again, if they offer good service, a tip will definitely be appreciated!
*Prices correct at the time blog was published and are subject to availability. T&C’s apply.