Spain is, without doubt, one of the most exciting and tourist friendly countries on Earth. Wonders such as the Alhambra, glorious beaches, incredible cities and great food make it a fine place to spend some time.
It is with good reason that it is consistently ranked as one of the most visited countries in the world. Having said that, if you want to enjoy bargain holidays in Spain then you need to make some smart moves.
Avoid the Resorts to Save Money
The southern coast of Spain, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands offer a strange mixture of places.
I lived in Majorca for a couple of years and really like the fact that there are places like Palma Nova aimed at Brits and S’Arenal catering for the German market. I would often go to Palma Nova for some fish and chips or to S’Arenal for a giant sausage or three. However, if you want bargain holidays in Spain you are best staying away from the busy resorts. In the case of Majorca, the capital of Palma is –to my eyes – far more interesting than the resorts and a lot cheaper as well. I would try eating where the locals eat, staying in hotels where there are few foreigners and shopping in the local bargain shops like El Corte Chino (whose name is based rather amusingly on the El Corte Ingles chain). The resorts are fine for a bit of fun but they will eat up your money fast.
Try the Menu del Dia for Cheap and Tasty Food
It took me a couple of months of living in Spain to discover the cheap delights of the menu del dia. This is a low cost fixed menu lunch. It is like the almuerzo in South America, although it usually includes wine instead of soup, which is fine by me. Apparently this type of menu goes back to the agricultural part of Spain, when every restaurant in the country was obliged to offer a cheap option for workers at lunch time. Some places even sell their menu del dia until late in the afternoon. The food is often fantastic and it is a far better option than eating off the menu. If you aren’t used to lunch being your main meal then it may take a bit of getting used to but it is worth it. It is also a good way of trying things you might not otherwise try. I had some suckling pig one day and sopa mallorquina another day, both of which I really enjoyed. You can also ask for some sparkling clear soda with your wine to make a refreshing tinto de verano drink on your bargain holidays in Spain.
For Bargain Holidays in Spain Go Self Catering
I lived in a hotel at first and it was pretty enjoyable. What’s not to like about not having to tidy your bed or cook anything? However, it is quite expensive to eat out every day and to not have a fridge where you can store drinks or snacks. The supermarkets here are great, so going self catering is a terrific option. I used to stock up on ham, cheese, bread and other delights at Mercadona or Eroski for very little money. The local products tend to be excellent value and you can spend very little on food in this way. Even if you are only going for a week or so I can recommend looking for an apartment to stay in for bargain holidays in Spain. If you like to drink some wine then the prices are also much lower in stores than in a bar. You will often see people drinking out in the open air here. I am not convinced that it is totally legal but the police don’t seem to have a problem with this in general.
Look for Free or Discounted Days at Museums and Art Galleries
There is a huge amount of culture and history to be explored in any part of Spain. The museums and art galleries in big cities such as Madrid and Barcelona are among the very best you will ever see anywhere on the planet. It can be expensive to visit them but the good news is that there are often free or discounted entry days you can take advantage of. Keep an eye out for these offers and you can save a lot of money while getting a healthy dose of culture.
Bargain Holidays in Spain – by Robert Bell
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