If you're planning to travel to Spain or Latin America, here are a few useful tips.
Some say the best way to travel in Europe is on the trains! Rail Europe 4A is a joint venture of the French National Railways (SNCF) and the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), is the leader in European Rail distribution worldwide. Rail Europe offers Eurail passes, point to point tickets and high speed trains like the TGV and Eurostar (the channel tunnel train).
With fantastic shops, lively nightlife, unique architecture and a perfect position on the Mediterranean, Barcelona really is the city with everything. Take a walk in Park Güell, Gaudi’s enchanting outdoor masterpiece before visiting the stunning cathedral, the Sagrada Familia. It’s a great starting point for your European adventure with many onward train connections both in Spain, and internationally.
Explore the lush highlands surrounding the northwestern city of Santiago de Compostela (7h00 by train from Madrid) – legend has it the mountains are inhabited by witches. Or if it’s beaches you’re after visit Malaga in the South of Spain (2h 20 by AVE train from Madrid), known as the unofficial capital of the Costa del Sol.
The buzzing capital Madrid is perfect for shopping – from the luxurious designer boutiques of the Salamanca district, to the quirky Fuencarral market and street style of Preciados street.
Eat & Drink
Apparently tapas were invented in Seville, so make sure you try some in one of over a thousand tapas bars on offer. If it’s game dishes you’re after visit Toledo, just 30 minutes by train from Madrid, and go for the stewed red-legged partridge, or the local favourite perdiz roja estofada.
Visit San Sebastian in the Basque Country up in the north of Spain, it’s a stylish and image-conscious city – great for people watching. The small city has a beautiful beach, making it possible to sunbathe and swim next to major historical buildings and churches.
Exchange homes and save on accommodation costs
HomeForExchange.com is a marketplace for non-commercial exchanging of houses, campers, rv's or even yachts. Offer your home for exchange and save on accommodation costs. Home exchange is an alternative for renting a holiday property and is gaining popularity rapidly.
Most tourists stop by in London on the way around France/Europe. The London Pass is a sightseeing card which gives holders free entry to over 55 sights and tourist attractions in London. Customers simply pay the one off price for The London Pass of their choice (there are 4 durations to choose from) and can then enter as many of the tourist attractions included on the pass that they wish to, without paying. Some of the most popular attractions which can be visited free with the London Pass are the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, St Paul's Cathedral, Windsor Castle, London Zoo, the London Aquarium and Shakespeare's Globe.
Paris Sightseeing Pass
If you're stopping by Paris, the equivalent is Paris Sightseeing Pass, a sightseeing card which gives holders free entry to over 60 sights and tourist attractions in Paris. Customers can enter as many of the tourist attractions included on the pass that they wish to, without paying, plus travel for free on the Paris Metro system. Attractions which can be visited free with the Paris Sightseeing Pass are the Louvre Museum, the Arc de Triomphe, a Seine river cruise, an open top bus sightseeing tour, the Grevin Wax Museum and the Palace of Versailles.
If you prefer to cruise around Europe or the Pacific Islands, check out Cruise Direct for online deals.
Of course, while you're in France, you may also wish to spend some time to learn French in France.
Course timetables and enrolment
- Knowing some Spanish is essential, as Spanish is spoken not only in Spain but also in most of the Americas, from California to Cape Horn!
- The Spanish-speaking countries are exciting places: the cities offer a round-the-clock buzz, while the great outdoors has huge potential for adventurous outdoor activities.
- Within the Spanish-speaking world, there is an enormous range of exciting places to visit: in Mexico and Central America, the cities of the Maya and the Aztecs, and resorts such as Acapulco and Cancún; in South America, the cities of the Aztecs (including Machu Picchu), the colourful Andean cultures of Peru and Bolivia, the strikingly varied landscapes of Chile and Argentina, and the cosmopolitan excitement of Buenos Aires. Although some English is spoken, getting around is much easier with a little Spanish.
- Spain itself is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, famous not only for its Mediterranean beaches, but also for its stylish cities, its well-preserved small towns, and, in the south, its unique Moorish heritage. Not to mention Ibiza, with the hottest nightclub scene in Europe, if not the world!
- The Spanish language has been the vehicle of great writers, from both Spain and Latin America. Both areas have also been the home of world-renowned artists and, more recently, film-makers.
- New Zealand is increasingly looking to South America for trade links, especially Chile, the most prosperous of the South American states, and the one closest to New Zealand. Spanish speakers will be in demand in the future.
- Young Kiwis can go and work in Argentina, Chile or Uruguay for one year under a working holiday scheme. A knowledge of the Spanish language would obviously make a huge difference to anyone’s job prospects.