Tips for expat bikers
Beautiful scenery, warm weather and good roads make Spain a paradise for motorcycle enthusiasts. This is great news for every expat who wants to explore his new home on two wheels.
What to do if you get in a road accident
Hopefully your new life in Spain will be traffic accident free. But as with most things in life, it is better to be safe than sorry and be prepared.
The paradise for fishermen
Spain is a paradise for fishermen with its 2,000km of coastline and over 75,000km of rivers and thousands of lakes and reservoirs. The most common freshwater fish include various types of barbel, black bass, bogue, bream, carp, mullet, perch, pike, sturgeon, tench and trout.
How to buy a new or used car in Spain
New cars are more expensive in Spain than in some other EU countries (although cheaper than in the UK) and up to double the cost of cars in the US. This also results in higher used car prices. However, although cars may be more expensive to buy, they depreciate more slowly than in most other European countries, so the extra you pay when buying a car is usually gained when you sell it.
Top road trips
From the Romans to the Moors, Spain has held host to many peoples through the ages, and each has left their own cultural and architectural marks on a country already boasting a varied and natural beauty.
A helpful guide
If you are planning to import your car into Spain, there are a number of steps to follow in order to make your car roadworthy. The law states that you must register your vehicle in Spain with Spanish license plates within 6 months of bringing it into the country.
Are you aware of new driving licence law changes?
Warning: 200 Euro fine for not renewing your driving licence. To ensure your driving remains safe and smooth, you must be aware of the new law that came into the effect on Monday 19th of January 2015. The Spanish DGT have stated that the deadline to comply with this new regulation is 1st January 2016.
Experiences Living and Traveling In Spain
Out of all my explorations throughout Spain, one stands out against all the rest as an amazing experience where – somehow, magically – every event unfolded with absolute spontaneity and perfection. It was as if the very momentum of the universe had temporarily aligned itself behind my and my traveling companion's every thought, word, and action – granting us the unforgettable gift of one golden weekend in Barcelona.
The important details
If you've been won over by the excellent Spanish climate, bought a house, and expect to take your car with you to Spain, here's a step-by-step guide as to what you need to do to register your vehicle and insure it.
Everything you need to know
Golf courses in Spain are a great way for you to relax while practising your swing. However, if you want to play worry-free, we recommend taking out a golf insurance policy. Here are some of the best golf courses in Spain and all the essential info.
Where to go skiing in Spain
esquí) is a popular sport in Spain, where it’s growing faster than in any other European country. Spain is the second most mountainous country in Europe after Switzerland and has over 30 ski resorts in 14 provinces, where the season extends from December to April or May.
Popularity of tennis
Racket sports are popular in Spain, particularly tennis. Tennis’ popularity has grown tremendously in the last few decades and there are now thousands of courts at tennis and country clubs, hotels, urbanisations, and municipal and private sports centres.
What you should know
Those who find hiking a bit tame may like to try mountaineering, rock-climbing or caving, all of which are popular in Spain. Sport climbing, where climbs are previously ‘equipped’ with bolts, is predominant in Spain and is the safest form.
General information and useful tips
caza) is extremely popular in Spain, which has some 35m hectares of hunting land, including national parks, national hunting reserves, national preserves, and numerous private game reserves.
Where to go golfing in Spain
Golf is one of the fastest growing sports in Spain and is becoming increasingly popular with the Spanish, although it’s still regarded by many as an elite game for rich businessmen, foreign tourists and the elderly in many parts of Spain.
General information and useful tip
Spain is one of the foremost cycling countries in Europe, where cycling is a serious sport and a relaxing pastime. Bicycles (
bicicletas) are inexpensive in Spain, where you can buy a men’s 21-speed mountain bicycle (
bicicleta de montaña) from a supermarket.
The outstanding country
Spain is an outstanding country for all aerial sports, including light-aircraft flying, gliding, hang-gliding, paragliding, parachuting, sky-diving, ballooning and microlighting.
Sport facilities and information
ports facilities in Spain vary considerably depending on the town or area and are usually excellent in major cities and resort areas, although sparse in rural areas.
city, rural and long-distance buses
There are excellent bus (
autobús) services in all major cities and towns and comprehensive long-distance coach (
autocar) services between major cities. Buses are the cheapest and most common form of public transport in Spain and most coastal towns and rural villages are accessible only by bus.
General information and tips
Spain is a Mecca for watersports enthusiasts, which is hardly surprising considering its immense coastline, many islands, numerous lakes and reservoirs, and thousands of kilometres of rivers and canals.
Rail network, train standards and tickets
The Spanish rail network is operated by the state-owned company Red Nacional de los Ferrocarriles Españoles (RENFE). The RENFE network takes in all major cities, although it doesn’t run to many small towns, and is supplemented by a few suburban networks such as the
Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya city lines in Barcelona and private narrow-gauge railways.
Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia
There are underground railway systems (
metros) in Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia, where public transport tickets and passes permit travel on all modes of public transport, including
metro, bus and suburban train services.
Metros offer the quickest way to get around these cities, although they’re crowded during rush hours.
How and where to park your car in Spain
Spaniards are parking anarchists and are champions at the art of ‘creative’ parking. They will park on pedestrian crossings, corners, in front of entrances and exits, in fact, almost anywhere it’s illegal. Double parking is commonplace, although triple parking or completely blocking the road is frowned upon.
The Spanish way of driving
Like all Latins, a Spaniard’s personality often changes the moment he gets behind the wheel of a car, when even normally tolerant and patient people turn into suicidal maniacs. Many Spaniards are frustrated racing drivers and they rush around at breakneck speed in their haste to reach their destination.
Types of road, traffic signs and useful tip
The Spanish road network covers over 300,000km, of which around 8,000km are motorways. Although this is a smaller proportion than in most other northern European countries, there are plans to extend the motorway network to some 13,000km by the year 2008, including the completion of the long-awaited Cantabrian motorway and toll motorways such as Las Pedrizas-Torremolinos and Alicante-Villena.
The enforcement of driving rules in Spain
In towns, the municipal police (
policía municipal) are responsible for traffic control, while on Spain’s highways the ‘civil guard’ (
guardia civil de tráfico) undertake the task, patrolling in cars, motorcycles and helicopters.
What to consider when importing a car
When buying or importing a car, you should take into account the local service facilities, as not all cars can be easily serviced. All the main European manufacturers are well represented in Spain, but garages servicing North American and some Japanese cars can be difficult to find.
How to protect yourself
All European countries have a problem with car theft and thefts from cars, and Spain’s is among the worst (particularly thefts from cars).
Walking the streets of Spain
Pedestrian crossings are distinguished by black or red and white stripes on the road, but aren’t usually illuminated, e.g. by flashing or static lights. In towns, pedestrian crossings are usually combined with traffic lights.
Alcohol limits and penalties
In Spain, you’re no longer considered fit to drive when your blood/alcohol concentration exceeds 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood (or 30mg for drivers with less than two years’ experience and professional drivers).
What you need to consider when driving in Spain
Spanish road rules were extensively revised in 2004 in an attempt to improve safety and the following is a summary of the most important current regulations.
What do you have to pay for your car?
All Spanish-registered vehicle owners (including motorcycle owners) must pay an annual road tax. Like all Spanish taxes, road tax has increased in the last decade, although it’s still lower than in most other EU countries.
Technical inspections in Spain
All cars over four years old must have a regular technical inspection (
inspección técnica de vehículos/ITV) at an authorised test station. The test must be carried out every two years until the car is ten years old, after which time the test is annual.
Documents and process
When you import a car into Spain or buy a new or second-hand car, it must be registered at the traffic department in the province where you’re resident. If you import a car, you must obtain customs clearance and, if it’s imported from a country outside the EU, it may need to undergo a homologation inspection before it can be registered.
What to consider when selling a car in Spain
When selling a car in Spain, you must obtain and complete a transfer of ownership form (
notificación de transferencia de vehículos, usually simply called a
transferencia), available from your provincial traffic department. The form must be completed in duplicate; one copy is given to the buyer and the other sent to the traffic department.
What you should know about Spanish taxis
Taxi ranks (
paradas de taxi) are located outside railway stations, at airports, and at main intersections in towns and cities. In major cities you can hail a taxi in the street, but in small towns they’re available only at taxi ranks.
A favourite sport and pastime in Spain
Not surprisingly, swimming ( natación) is a favourite sport and pastime in Spain, with its glorious weather, 2,000km (1,240mi) of beaches ( playas), and a profusion of swimming pools ( piscinas).
The finest hiking areas in Europe
Spain has some of the finest hiking (excursiones) areas in Europe and few countries can offer its combination of good weather and spectacular, unspoilt countryside. Spain is unrivalled in Europe for its diversity of landscape, profusion of flora and fauna, and its variety of native animals and birds, many unique.
Flights, fares and airports
Most major international airlines provide scheduled services to Madrid and many also fly to Barcelona and other major cities such as Valencia. Inexpensive charter and budget flights to Spain are common from many European countries, particularly the UK and Germany.
The Best 50 Routes in the Community of Madrid
Madrid is known for its museums and 'marcha', so most people are surprised when they find out that just outside the city there is some spectacular countryside and beautiful mountains to discover. If you are a car-less city-dweller, there is an added bonus – public transport can get you there...
Following in the footsteps of shepherds
“Go for a walk with a donkey?” Telling a few people about this journey was met with smiles and laughter; then interest. When you explain that the idea is to experience what travelling used to be like and have an adventure, you spark people’s interest.
Discover el Teno
For many, Tenerife means low-cost tourism packed with Northern Europeans who have normally overindulged on both sun and alcohol. On the 'other' side of the island, the North-West, there is a beautiful under-developed corner well away from the crowds.
Ferry companies and services and in Spain
Regular car and international ferry services operate all year round between Spain and the UK and Morocco, and domestic ferries run between the mainland and the Balearics, the Canaries and Spain’s North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.