The Top 5 FREE Travel Apps for your Spain holiday

Spain is a lively, colourful and often delightfully confusing country. It’s double the size of the UK and includes far-flung destinations like the Canary Islands and Ceuta (which is actually in Africa!). The beaches are famous, the cities are famous, the nightlife is famous.

There are, however, are wealth of less noted aspects that deserve your attention: autumn leaves in the vast mountain forests; a head-spinning history as the crossroads of European, African and Middle Eastern culture; stunning art and museums… Spain even has its own royals who are, if anything, more fascinating than anyone living in Buckingham Palace (look up the Duchess of Alba!).

Inevitably, when the travel cliches collide with travel secrets in a country that has five official languages you’re going to need advice on the fly. And the apps on your phone can give it to you.

 

  • Using Google Maps offline

Like most European countries, the most interesting parts of Spain’s cities and towns are the oldest bits. Built centuries before urban planning rules, the charm of these districts is their tangle of boulevards, squares, streets, alleys and, sometimes,  passageways so narrow you cannot believe they are officially a “public road”. If getting lost is half the fun, finding your way out is half the headache. Google Maps offline is your painkiller.

Nope, you don’t need an active internet connection for Google Maps to function. Instead, you can download maps for entire areas and save them to your phone’s memory. A city will take up about 1GB. When Google Maps finds your location in one of these saved areas, it just uses the saved map. It still pinpoints you (through various non-data-using ways) and can calculate directions too.

Price: Free

Platform: Apple, Android, Windows

 

  • izi.TRAVEL

It calls itself a ‘storytelling platform’, but really izi.TRAVEL is a worldwide source of free audio guides – often compiled by locals who are enthusiastic about their burb. As much fun as it is to just randomly wander around a new place, having some structure helps you get the most from your time. And that’s what we like most about izi.TRAVEL – getting your bearings while also learning your way around.

Some of the best guides are a 23-stop dusk-till-dawn walking and public transport ramble through Barcelona and Madrid’s “Ruta dels Àustries” which is a straightforward way to hit the cultural highlights of the capital before ending at the exact geographical centre of the entire country.

These are just two of the 100-plus free audio tours for Spain that the app hosts. The guides generally follow interesting routes and pack in a lot of history. While there are things like spy quests and treasure hunts in there, most of the guides are more informative than entertaining.

Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

Platform: Apple, Android, Windows

 

  • Hostelworld

Spain has an excellent backpacker hostel sector and it’s a place where it really pays to book in advance. This means you need a good source of info, because almost by definition you’ll be paying for your bed sight unseen.

Because it is so popular as a destination and some Spanish hostels have an offhand approach to standards, there is definitely a minority of places to avoid. And Hostelworld gives you all the goss – good and bad.

It has deep filtering and search capabilities, so whether you’re looking for something clean but cheap or a place that is just like a hotel, but more fun, you can drill down to find it, compare it and book it through this great directory. It’s also very comprehensive, and has more than 140 listings for Barcelona alone!

Price: Free

Platform: Apple, Android

 

  • Tripadvisor

Billing itself as the world’s largest travel site, Tripadvisor is like the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but for Earth and everything is rated by the crowd. Everything about TripAdvisor is big – the number of listings, the number of users, the number of reviews. It’s all super useful … up to a point. Because so many people are using it, the crowd-pleasing attractions tend to rise to the top.

Reducing travel experiences to a number that can be crunched by a website ranking function is handy, but also gives you the misapprehension that the ordering of attractions, hotels, etc really is as neat as they are presented. However, a good backpacking trip isn’t a neat thing. So, TripAdvisor keeps you out of trouble but doesn’t encourage the leaps of travel faith that make for great stories.

Every step you take informed by TripAdvisor is walked in someone else’s footsteps. But, for the easy answers for where to eat, where to stay and guidelines for what NOT to see and do wherever you are, TripAdvisor is a peach.

Price: Free

Platform: Apple, Android, Windows

 

  • Infomedusa

You’re going to Spain: you’re probably going to the beach. The Mediterranean sometimes feels like Ocean-lite. There are virtually no sharks, no waves and generally far fewer hazards than the actual ocean. However, the Med has one thing you might not be ready for: jellyfish! Over the past decade, swarms of the blobby stingers have been mobbing tourist beaches.

There are several kinds and while they are not the absurdly poisonous types found in Australian waters, an encounter with the worst of them, the mauve stinger jellyfish, can definitely ruin your outing.

Infomedusa can let you know whether there is a swarm near a range of 107 popular beaches up to three days in advance. Unfortunately, it is only available in Spanish as yet. It is simple enough to use regardless.

Price: Free

Platform: Apple and Android

Download and get out there

Now that you have our top 5 FREE apps for making your Spanish holiday so much easier, you better get downloading.  Because, your smartphone will be a lifesaver when you are on the road.

Every app you have saves you from spending your precious data balance on internet searches, therefore  leaving you more space to upload photos or keep in contact with friends or check out the latest rumours about something cool happening wherever you happen to be.

When planning your trip to Spain, check out our pre-paid SIM card for Spain and learn how to make the most of your pre-paid phone card. We hope you will enjoy your stay!

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