A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Spain vs. France for Museums & Attractions, Food, Resorts, and Beaches

Should you visit Spain or France?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Spain and France can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

We'll start with a quick overview, and below we will go into all of the details.


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Both France and Spain are popular travel destinations in Western Europe. In general, Spain is a more affordable place to visit than France, with accommodation, food, and entertainment prices all costing significantly less. Each country has a lot to offer visitors with its own unique culture, cuisine, and atmosphere. Both countries are also relatively large with a diverse and varied landscape.

Travel between major cities in both France and Spain is relatively easy. There are train networks with high speed trains that connect most major cities. Each country also has its own unique coastline that is popular with tourists for a variety of reasons.

Both France and Spain have interesting histories, museums, and activities. Spain is a unique European because the Arabic influence is seen throughout. Spain is also a fun place to visit because of it's active nightlife scene and frequent festivals.

Spain

Santillana, Spain Santillana, Spain

Spain is a proud, gorgeous, and friendly country. The famous beauty of this place is one of the main draws. It's also known for mountains, shopping, museums, and theater.

From the popular coastlines to the rugged interior, Spain is full of history, natural beauty, vibrant people, amazing cities, unique cuisines, and gorgeous views. While Madrid is the capital, it's by no means the main attraction of a country full of beaches, ancient castles, and cultural diversity. Barcelona is the hub of the Catalan region with its own unique culture, and the southern areas have a deep historic relationship with Moorish culture, too. Visitors will also find epic hikes, world-class food, vineyards and wineries, epic nightlife, famous art, natural wildlife, multiple coastlines, cultural dances and music, friendly smiles, and affordable prices.

France

The Port of Cannes, France The Port of Cannes, France

France is a historic, beautiful, and cultural country. It's considered by many to be an absolutely beautiful destination, too. It's also popular because of the beaches, hiking, mountains, and shopping.

France is actually the most visited country in the world, and it's easy to see why. Offering amazing food, deep history, beautiful coastlines, wine regions, world-class cities, and small villages, this amazing and diverse country offers something for everyone.

Spain and France: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Great culture, history, and arts
  • Great resorts
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Beautiful national parks
  • Adventure!
  • Great road trips
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Cons
  • Less popular for Christmas markets
  • Less popular for skiing
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Great culture, history, and arts
  • Popular beach
  • Known for Christmas markets
  • Popular for skiing
  • Beautiful national parks
  • Adventure!
  • Great road trips
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Cons
  • Not as many resort options
  • Not as popular for scuba diving and snorkeling
  • Less hiking options


Chateaux of the Loire Valley, France Chateaux of the Loire Valley, France

How is Spain different from France?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Below we will examine the differences and similarities between Spain and France. With this information, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Spain or France?

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France

While you'll find a number of sights and museums in both Spain and France, those in France are generally more well known.

With plenty of landmarks, attractions, and museums, France has many famous sights for visitors. Some of the world's best museums can be found in the major cities. The Louvre in Paris can't be missed, as it offers a huge collection of art, historical artifacts, and cultural items that would take several days to peruse. But it's only one of many museums in the city of lights, as it's also possible to see other major art exhibits around town. Additionally, other major cities offer plenty of museum options as well. Especially Lyon which has several marionette puppet museums, a cinema museum, and the large Musee de Confluences which focuses on humanity.

Paris: One of the most world famous landmarks is the Eiffel Tower. The city is also home to the world renowned Louvre, Notre-Dame, and Palais Garnier Opera House. In addition to the many iconic sights, there are beautiful buildings and hidden gems throughout the city.

Lyon: There are many world class museums and historic landmarks in the city including Musée des Beaux Arts, Musée de la Civilisation Gallo-Romaine, and Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière.

Avignon: The town is filled with historical landmarks such as Palais des Papes, Pont Saint Bénézet, Musée du Petit Palais, and Basilique Métropolitaine Notre-Dame des Doms.

Versailles: The palace is filled with history and impressive items relating to the royal family. Within and near the palace you should make sure you see the Gardens of Versailles, Grand Trianon, the Hall of Mirrors, and the Royal Opera of Versailles.

Arles: It's a small town but it's filled with Roman ruins and remarkable landmarks. Popular sights include L'Amphithéâtre Romain, Les Alyscamps, Cloître Saint-Trophime, and Théâtre Antique.

See also How to Skip the Line at the Eiffel Tower in Paris (Advance Tickets).

Visitors can fill many days exploring the museums and attractions around Spain. The major cities of Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Granada, and others all have world-class museums that cover a variety of topics from history to art to science. Many of them are also family-friendly. In Barcelona, don't miss the Picasso museum dedicated to the famous artist. Casa Batllo is one of Gaudi's famous buildings and worth a tour along with Casa Vicens, too. MNAC is a great place to learn about the local Catalan art and history. And the Joan Miro museum is dedicated to the work and life of this famous artist. In Madrid, you can find plenty of historical places such as the Royal Palace and the National Archaeology Museum. If it's art you seek, make sure to visit the Prado, the Queen Sofia Arts Center, or the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, all of which have world-class art from Spain and Europe. In Valencia, kids will love the Oceanografic aquarium and the Bioparc zoo. In Seville, the Real Alcazar has fascinating architecture. and the Flemenco museum showcases Spain's most famous dance. This is just a small sample, as you'll find even more museums in Bilbao, Malaga, Granada, and other cities around the country, too.

Seville: This elegant city is filled with historic buildings and world famous architecture. From the iconic Catedral de Sevilla to the Real Alcázar and Plaza de España, there is an endless supply of world class sights around town.

Cordoba: The city is filled with monuments that reflect its past. The Great Mosque (La Mezquita) is one of the most iconic sights. You can also visit Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, Palacio de Viana, and Puente Romano.

Granada: Many visitors head to Granada specifically to visit the famed Alhambra. The palace and fortress complex will not disappoint. The gardens are beautifully maintained and the palace is filled with intricate details. It's easy to spend hours wandering around. In addition to The Alhambra, the Granada Cathedral is also impressive to visit. If you have kids or extra time to fill, head to Parque de las Ciencias, which is the city's Science Park.

Santiago de Compostela: The iconic Cathedral of Santiago has long attracted pilgrims and travelers from around Europe and the world. The spectacular sight includes a museum and the crypt and tomb of Saint James. Another interesting sight in town is the former hostel for pilgrims, the Hostal de los Reyes Católicos. Also make sure you visit Plaza del Obradoiro and the Galician Center of Contemporary Art.

See also Barcelona: The Ultimate Travel Planning Guide.


Is Spain or France Better for Culture, Arts, and History?

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France

While both cultures have their own history and culture, generally France offers more of this on a visit than Spain

For those interested in history, art, and culture, France is not to be missed. It's hard to find a country with more cultural and historical destinations. Starting with Paris, you'll find multiple museums, monuments, cathedrals, and other attractions that showcase the history and art of France as well as Europe as a whole. But Paris is not the only place, as other major cities such as Lyon and Marseille offer similar historical and artistic experiences in their museums, theatre productions, and architecture. Furthermore, even the small towns in the countryside have historic sights such as the numerous chateaus, castles, winery villages, and more.

Spain is a terrific destination to visit for history, arts, and culture, as it has many sights worth visiting. The blending of cultures in this region of Europe along with the accessibility of historic sights and cultural traditions make this country an obvious place to visit for history lovers. A long period of Spain's history was influenced by the Moors from the south, and you can see it in the architecture, art, cuisine, and music. Furthermore, the Catalan region in the east has it's own cultural differences. The Roman empire also left its mark, as did visitors from the rest of Europe and northern Africa. Some of the best historic places to see in Spain include the Alhambra palace and fortress in Granada, the huge cathedrals of Seville, Barcelona, and Madrid, El Escorial palace outside of Madrid, Montserrat Monastery near Barcelona, amongst others. Some of the best historical sites are actually the smaller castles and fortresses that are left from the long conflict between the Spanish and Moors that dot the countryside in the southern regions. Furthermore, Spain has made unique contributions of music, theater, and culture to the world stage. Flamenco dancing and Paso Double are just two of the musical art forms that are worth seeing on a smaller, intimate stage during a visit. And don't miss the world-class cuisine, too.

See also Barcelona: Activities, Tickets, and Things to Do, Things to Do in Madrid, and Cheap Tours and Activities in Granada, Spain.

Is Spain or France Better for Big City Activities?

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France

France offers more big cities to explore than Spain.

Visitors will also find so much to do in France, as the large cities offer many sights and attractions. With multiple large cities, anyone looking to explore museums, history, restaurants, and attractions will easily find it all in France. And Paris is just the beginning, as Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, and others offer charming streets filled with art, architecture, museums, nightlife, and more.

Spain has large cities with plenty of activites for visitors as well. Madrid and Barcelona are the two largest cities and most popular places to visit. Both have world-class museums, historical attractions, cathedrals, parks, shopping, restaurants and cafes, markets, and unique culture. Some of the other cities in Spain should not be overlooked either, as they also offer plenty of big city activities, museums, and culture. Valencia, Seville, Alicante, and Cadiz are also large and full of terrific activities.

Is Spain or France Better for Small Towns and Villages?

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France

You'll find a similar number of great small towns and villages to explore in both Spain and France.

Spain is also a fantastic country to explore small towns with plenty of charm and local activities. A few of the most popular small towns to visit include Ronda with its dramatic cliffs, Besalu and it's bridge and castle-like gate, Cudillero on the northern coast, and Morella with its castle. All around Spain visitors can find small towns that once contained fortified cities, fishing villages, monasteries, and more. Bunol, near Valencia, is the location of the famous annual tomato fight. And Pamplona is home to the running of the bulls every year. Benasque in the Pyrenees sits in a valley and offers plenty of outdoor activities. And don't miss the famous hanging houses of Cuenca. Frigiliana is full of white-washed Andalucian houses, along with other nearby towns worth visiting. Every region of Spain offers something unique and special, so make sure you add some of these places to your itinerary.

You'll find plenty of local activities in all of the small towns and villages in France. Travelers could easily spend their entire trip in the small towns in the French countryside. Many of the most charming small towns are in the wine regions of Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Loire Valley, Provence, and others. Visitors to these towns will find historic architecture surrounded by beautiful agricultural landscapes along with delicious food and friendly locals. Some have their own history dating back centuries, too.

Is Spain or France Better for Theater?

Spain
France

With more venues to choose from, France is more regarded as a theater destination.

France attracts a wide-range of world-class performances. In Paris, the opera and the ballet are very popular attractions. And if you're looking for something not as sophisticated, a number of review and musical shows provide fun options as well. Also, there's the theatre productions, too. Furthermore, you'll find many other great theatre productions all around France in the heart of Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Toulouse, Lille, Strasbourg, and more.

Paris: There are world class theaters as well as smaller local venues where you can enjoy a show.

With some theater and performance venues, you might want to see a show in Spain. In Madrid, you can see plays and musicals at the Theatro Real Theatre and from the National Classical Theatre Company or the National Drama Centre. The Spanish National Ballet and the National Dance Company provide terrific opportunities to see world-class dance productions. Also, you can see Flamenco shows at small, intimate venues around Madrid and other cities, too. For example, in Barcelona you should try to catch a Flemenco show at Tablao Flamenco Cordobes which is one of the best venues in the country. Also in Barcelona, the Gran Teatre del Liceu is a large historic venue with a gorgeous interior that hosts a variety of productions. And don't miss the Palace of Catalan Music where you can listed to music from the region. Many other cities host terrific theater productions from the local culture as well as touring shows.


Is the Food Better in Spain or France? Which Country Has the Best Restaurants?

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France

For a nice culinary experience, head to France, which is well known for it's local dishes and restaurants.

Many restaurants in France have been singled out for their culinary prowess. The food here is second to none. French food has earned its reputation over the centuries as being gourmet, elegant, delicious, diverse, and gluttonous. From the fine dining restaurants of Paris and Lyon to the farm-fresh cafes in the small towns, to the abundance of wine in Burgundy or Bordeaux, we promise that you won't go hungry. Every city is proud of the food they serve, and you'll find regional specials throughout the nation, too.

Paris: There are countless local restaurants, markets, and patisseries to explore. Make sure you try the steak tartare, pate, and macarons.

Marseille: It's famous for its bouillabaisse, which is a hearty seafood soup that was once affordable but is now quite pricey.

Lyon: Known as "the Gastronomic Capital of the World" this city stands above the rest when it comes to Michelin star restaurants (there are 17!), fresh ingredients, and unique local flavors. Favorite local dishes include pâté en croûte, rosette de Lyon, and saucisson brioché.

Toulouse: There are many unique regional recipes that make use of poultry, cold meats, and foie gras. Toulouse sausage, cassoulet, Poulet à la Toulousaine, and Foie gras d’oie are all popular local dishes.

Nice: The cuisine brings together fresh regional ingredients and mixes Provençal and Niçoise flavors. You'll find a lot of Italian influence as well. Fresh seafood is the thing to try while you're in town, but other local favorites include socca, Ratatouille, and Salade niçoise.

With its innovative style combined with traditional elements, Spain makes for a great culinary experience. Tapas are perhaps the most famous Spanish culinary export. These small sharable dishes started as something to snack on while drinking, and have transformed into a style of meal all their own. Typical tapas dishes include potatoes, sausages, stewed meats, calamari, olives, cheese, and more. But tapas are not the only local foods you should try. Chirizo is a special type of smoked sausage, and jamón Iberico is a smoked ham with tons of flavor. Calamares (rings of squid) are also popular around the costal areas, and are cooked with a variety methods. Anchovies and other seafood are popular, too. Paella is also famous. The name comes from the wide pan that the rice dish is served in, usually with seafood or meat and a variety of spices for flavoring. Finally, while in Spain, taste the local olives, bread, cheese, and fruit as they are all usually fresh and delicious.

Madrid: The city has a mix of flavors that come from all of Spain. There are amazing markets where you can grab a meal or snack. There are also many high quality restaurants around town where you're guaranteed a good meal. Local favorites include roast suckling pig, Spanish omelette, and meat and chickpea stew.

Valencia: The city is famous as the birthplace of paella, which is one of Spain's most famous dishes. Beyond the paella, there are a number of other amazing traditional dishes. Fideuà is similar to paella but made with noodles instead of rice. All i pebre is an eel and potato dish and clóchinas are tiny local mussels. For dessert make sure you try the flan de calabaza, which is pumpkin flavored. Many restaurants also have tapas that can be shared. Restaurants in the old town are charming and delicious, but out by the beaches the quality isn't as good.

San Sebastian: It is a famed culinary capital of not just Spain, but the entire world. The city has many Michelin-starred restaurants where you can experience modern or traditional recipes prepared by world class chefs. There are also pintxo bars, food markets, and gourmet food shops, that sell local ingredients and dishes. Much of the cuisine includes seafood, but you'll also find a local twist on traditional tapas. Dining is a true experience in this town.

Almeria: The food is focused on local, fresh ingredients with many traditional recipes that have been passed down for centuries. Popular dishes change with the seasons because they rely so heavily on local produce. Particularly during the winter months you'll find hearty stews like patatas en ajopollo and gurullos con conejo, which is prepared with rabbit. Sardines are also popular year round.

See also Food and Dining in Madrid, Delicious Tapas Tours in Madrid, and The Best Cheap Food Tours in Madrid.

Is Spain or France Better for Nightlife?

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France

Both Spain and France have great vibes after the sun sets.

Spain has a lively atmosphere and nightlife is popular here. Barcelona, Madrid, Granada, Seville, Malaga, Valencia, and many other beach resort towns all have active nightlife scenes, each with their own personality. Barcelona is very popular with all types of bars and dance clubs for locals and travelers alike. Sidecar, Opium, and Pacha are some of the most popular places, and many more can be found in Raval, El Born, and the Gothic Quarter. In Madrid, check out Kapital, Barbara Ann, or Ochoymedio. Along the coast, the nightlife varies from family-friendly restaurants and theaters to more active dance clubs, pubs, and bars for singles and younger couples.

Barcelona: The city offers an amazing nightlife at a much more affordable price than many places in Europe. There are beach parties, boat parties, and bars that stay packed late into the night. The city also hosts many street fiestas and music festivals.

Valencia: Dinner starts late, so you can expect the nightlife to pick up even later. During the summer there are all night terrace parties and year round you'll find nightclubs filled from evening to dawn. If all night raves aren't really your thing, you'll also find plenty of local bars where you can hang out with friends in a more relaxed setting. The nightlife scene really is varied enough that there's something for everyone.

Malaga: The city has some of the most active nightlife in Europe. There are plenty of opportunities to party in Malaga and you'll find the most vibrant nightlife in the Centro Historico.

Palma de Mallorca: Head to Magaluf and Palma for the most popular places.

Marbella: European tourists flock to the town for its beaches and resorts. The town has a glamorous nightlife scene with exclusive clubs and ritzy cocktail bars, particularly in Puerto Banus and along the Golden Mile.

See also Barcelona Nightlife, The Best Nightlife in Madrid, and Party Hostels in Barcelona.

The people in France know how to have a good time. While Paris is the obvious choice for its bars, clubs, theatre, and shows, the rest of France offers plenty of nightlife, too. The other major cities each have their own vibe, especially along the southern coastal destinations of Marseille, Nice, and Biarritz where beach-goers turn towards nightclubs at sundown. Even some of the smaller cities in the wine regions offer then own nightlife experiences after a day of tastings.

Paris: Head to Pigalle or the Latin Quarter for some of the city's best nightlife. There are all-night parties, cabarets, and exclusive night clubs that you can experience.

Marseille: Much of the city's nightlife is centered around being outdoors. Whether you're on the beach or hanging out at a rooftop bar, Marseille is a magical place.

Nice: The city has some of the best nightlife on the Cote d'Azur. You'll find a number of nightclubs along the seaside as well a bars and pubs in the Old Town. Some of the best clubs are along Promenade des Anglais.

Saint-Tropez: It is a place to see and be seen, so if you're looking for A-list celebrities, glamourous yacht parties, and ritzy dance clubs, then this is your place. While the nightlife scene is filled with extravagance, there are still laid back clubs where you can sip a cocktail in style. The best season to come and party is during the summer months, but you'll still find plenty to do throughout the year.

See also Paris Party Hostels.

Is Spain or France Better for Resorts?

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France

With generally more resort options, Spain attracts a high number of vacationers.

Vacationers flock to Spain for its luxury resorts. A holiday trip to Spain for many means a trip to one of the beach resorts along the southern coast, or in Ibiza or Majorca. Marbella, Cadiz, Valencia, Sitges, Alicante, and even Barcelona are all popular destinations with a variety of luxury hotels and resorts. Many are very family-friendly, and some are all-inclusive. Generically, the resorts offer terrific beaches and many are close to nearby towns, as well as some historical and cultural attractions. But no matter where you choose to go, the beach resorts in Spain are world-class and draw plenty of visitors every year. Also, keep in mind that Spain offers a handful of ski resorts open in the winter months, as well as some relaxing inland retreats outside of major cities and historical areas.

Almeria: Stretched along the coastline you'll find many high end resorts with pools and nice atmospheres. There are all inclusive resorts as well as family-friendly and romantic options to choose from.

Marbella: From luxury to family-friendly, this area has plenty of resorts to choose from. Popular resorts in the area include Marbella Club Hotel, Puente Romano Marbella, and Don Carlos Resort and Spa.

France has a handful of resorts to choose from. The beach areas on the southern and western coastline are home to numerous resorts, especially once you get away from the historic towns and move a bit further along the coast. Plenty more ski resorts can be found in the mountains, too, and are especially busy during the winter months. Numerous destinations in the interior of France also offer resort-like amenities, such as the options near Disneyland Paris or some of the historic castles which have been renovated into hotels.

Nice: The city has boutique hotels as well high end luxury resorts. Popular options include Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Méditerranée, Hôtel Suisse, and AC Hotel by Marriott.

Cannes: The city is filled with luxury resorts and elegant hotels. Among the best are Hôtel Martinez, Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic, and Five Seas Hotel.

Chamonix-Mont-Blanc: The region has 5 ski resorts (Grands Montets, Les Houches, Le Tour/Balme, La Flegere and Le Brevent), making it an excellent ski destination.

Saint-Tropez: Luxury and extravagance is what this resort town is all about. If you have the money to spend, you'll have no trouble finding a glamourous villa or luxury hotel where you can relax, party, or soak up the French Riviera sun.

Is Spain or France Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Spain
France

Generally, you'll find better scuba diving and snorkeling in Spain than France.

Grab a mask and fins and explore the underwater scenery in Spain. While the southern coast of the mainland provides plenty of great dive spots with clear waters and a good selection of marine life, the crown jewels of diving are in the Canary Islands, and the Balearic Islands. Here you'll find even better opportunities to see marine wildlife in more ideal conditions. You can see barracuda, octopus, moray, a variety of large fish species, and more. Also, diving in the Canary islands can be done year-round, where as in the Mediterranean, only during the warmer months. If you're looking for a quicker trip, it's also possible to dive or snorkel off the Costa Brava coastline near Barcelona where a variety of interesting species can be found in the usually clear waters.

Marbella: There are more than 100 dive sights and endless snorkeling opportunities in the area. There are deep offshore reefs that you can explore as well as shallower wrecks and caves.

France has a few snorkeling spots. The southern coastline, known as the French Riviera, is a nice place for snorkeling and scuba diving because of the clear waters and warm weather. Generally speaking, the diving here is easily accessible and generally affordable if you're right off the coast. Nice has some good locations such as Le Tombant Des Americains, and Marseille is close to Calanques National Park which encompasses a large area of protected coastline and the Riou Archipelago, a group of small islands with reefs and abundant marine life. Not far from St. Tropez you can find Port-Cros National Park which was specifically created as a marine sanctuary. There are some wrecks in this area, too. Corsica also offers a number of great spots for diving and snorkeling, many of which are right off of the beaches.

Saint-Tropez: The Gulf of Saint Tropez is one of the best places to snorkel and scuba dive along the French Riviera. There are wreck dives including the most famous, The Rubis, a submarine that is surrounded by marine life. Although you're not allowed to enter the vessel, there is still plenty to see. There are also plenty of dive spots that feature rock formations, schools of fish, and lobsters.


Is Spain or France Better for Beaches?

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France

Both Spain and France are considered to be great beach destinations.

Spain is considered to be a world-class beach destination. The beaches in Spain are world-class, popular, and extensive. With a huge stretch of coastline on the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, as well as famous islands such as Ibiza and Mallorca. The coastline of Andalusia and Valencia are perhaps the most visited, as tourists from all of Europe, and all of the world, come here for holiday beach vacations in Spain. Good food, sunny warm weather, wide sandy beaches, and family-friendly amenities are found up and down the coast. Some areas are more party-oriented, while others offer a calm, relaxing vibe, or family-friendly activities. Some of the best and most popular beach destinations in southern Spain include Tossa de Mar in Costa Brava, Puerto Banus near Marbella, Bogatell in Barcelona, Almunecar in Costa Tropical, and the beaches of Cadiz, amongst others. You can't go wrong with any of them.

Palma de Mallorca: The island is lined with sandy beaches and rocky coves, which have contributed to it becoming one of Europe's most popular beach destinations.

Almeria: Outside of town you'll find kilometers of stunning coastline and beaches. There are pristine natural beaches that still feel undiscovered with beautiful long stretches of sand. One of the biggest resort areas is Roquetas de Mar.

Marbella: The area boasts some of the best beaches in Europe. They are hubs of activity with lots of energy, and there are more than 18 miles of sandy beach in the area. Popular options include Guadalmina Beach, San Pedro de Alcántara Beach, and Nueva Andalucía Beach.

France offers stunning beaches that attract visitors from around the world. The southern, Mediterranean coast of France offers plenty of beaches with gorgeous sand, blue water, warm weather, and historical towns. Whether you stay in a larger town with restaurants, hotels, history, and nightlife, or move further along to the quieter spots, you'll enjoy plenty of clear skies with equally clear water and that special French Riviera feeling. Some of the most popular beach destinations in this part of France include Nice, Saint-Tropez, Cannes, and Marseille. Along the Atlantic coast, you'll find even more diversity. The northern coastline is a bit colder and historic, while in the south you can find even more warm-weather beach vacation towns such as Biarritz and the surrounding resort towns close to Spain.

Is the Shopping Better in Spain or France?

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France

While Spain and France are both popular shopping destinations, overall France is considered to be better.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in France. Paris quickly comes to mind as one of the best shopping cities in the world, as it offers multiple neighborhoods each with their own vibe and personality. But other major cities, as well as the resort areas on the coast, showcase diverse and trendy boutiques where everyone can find something they like.

Paris: Some of the best areas for shopping are Boulevard Haussmann and the Grands Boulevards, the Marais, and Avenue Montaigne and the Champs-Elysées. The city is iconic for its fashion scene and world class shopping venues.

Lille: The city is filled with shopping opportunities. Almost any store you could want is in or around the old town and the two main shopping centers in town are McArthur Glen and A l'Usine. Also by the train station is a shopping mall.

Aix-en-Provence: It has some of the best shopping in France outside of Paris. There are many shopping streets where you can pick up trendy fashions or boutique local finds. Head to Rue Marius Reynard, Les Allées Provençales, or Rue Clemenceau for some of the best shopping.

Cannes: With its many affluent visitors, the shopping scene in town is filled with luxury brands and posh boutiques. Perfume and porcelain are both popular things to buy in the area.

Saint-Tropez: Surrounded by luxury, shopping is a must in this glamourous resort town. There are international luxury brands as well as local designer boutiques. Whether you're looking for yachting clothes, cigars, jewelry, or perfume, this is one of the best shopping destinations along the Cote d'Azur. Art is a particularly popular item to purchase while you're in town.

Spain is a great destination for shopping. In Barcelona, visitors can find plenty of great areas with fashion boutiques, local arts and crafts, and souvenirs. Check out Portal De L'Angel in the Gothic Quarter, Paseo de Gràcia with its high-end stores, Avenida Diagonal for its diversity of shops, and the famous Boqueria Market where you'll find fresh food and other surprises. In Madrid, don't miss Gran Via, Calle Preciados, Calle de Fuencarral, or the historic El Rastro flea market where you can find plenty of hidden gems. Elsewhere in Spain, most beach resort areas have shopping streets, and the larger towns such as Valencia, Malaga, and Marbella have multiple shopping neighborhoods. In Granada and Seville, it's also possible to find those special local arts and craft shops for the perfect gift or souvenir.

Madrid: Gran Vía is a main thoroughfare in Madrid that is also popular for shopping. Calle Fuencarral is where you'll find the fashion shops and Calle Preciados is a fun pedestrian area to explore.

Barcelona: Head to Portal De L'Angel, Rambla de Catalunya, or Passeig De Gracia for some of the city's best shopping districts.

Marbella: This area attracts vacationers from around Europe and the shopping is some of the best in Europe.

Is Spain or France Better for Christmas Markets?

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France

While Spain and France both have Christmas markets, overall France has more to offer.

France has a lively atmosphere around its Christmas markets. It would be hard to visit all of the destinations hosting markets in France, as there are so many. Strasbourg is home to the Christkindelsmarik, the oldest Christmas Market in Europe, and it sprawls through many of the winding streets and alleyways of the city. Reims also has a terrific market worth visiting, as it is one of the largest in northern France. You'll find food, drinks, gifts, ice skating, and Santa's Grotto. Colmar is another town hosting five different markets which all blend together into one large festive atmosphere. Other popular towns with markets include Lille, Dijon, Sarlat, Annecy, Metz, Mulhouse, and others.

Spain is a good spot to see some Christmas markets. Despite weather that's warmer than most of Europe, this country still has strong Christmas traditions and therefore the major cities showcase decorations in public places along with Christmas festivals, markets, and shows during the holiday season. Malaga is on the southern coast, but still boats some terrific lights and decorations for the holidays. Madrid and Barcelona also have festivals and large public displays of lights along with some outdoor markets and performances. Seville, Granada, Bilbao, and other cities do the same. So, if you're in Spain for the holidays, don't miss the festivities.

Is Spain or France Better for Skiing?

Spain
France

Even though France and Spain provide opportunities for snow skiing, most people consider France to be more popular.

France draws a large crowd in the winter for its impressive snow skiing opportunities. The French Alps are quite popular for skiing and snowboarding during the winter months. Some of of the more popular places include Chamonix, Tignes, Val-d'Isere, La Clusaz, and others nearby. Experienced skiers and snowboarders will be quite pleased with the amenities and variety of ski runs in this region of France, as the Alps are second to none when it comes to skiing.

Chamonix-Mont-Blanc: It is one of the most famous and best ski areas in the world. There are 5 ski resorts in the area (Grands Montets, Les Houches, Le Tour/Balme, La Flegere and Le Brevent) and many options for expert skiers. You can take the Aiguille du Midi cable car from the middle of town to the top of the 3840 meter peak.

Locals like to visit Spain to take advantage of their winter sports. For many, it's surprising to hear that the interior mountains of Spain have a variety of ski areas. While they are not as high-quality as those in the Alps, they are still good and offer plenty of runs, and usually at a much lower price. Some of the best include Formigal and Candanchu in the Pyrenees, Pradollano near Granada in the Sierra Nevada range, and San Isidro near Leon. If you're in the area in the winter months, they are worth a visit.


Is Spain or France Better for Hiking?

Spain
France

Spain is generally considered to be a better destination for hiking.

Spain is well-known for its hiking and trekking. The Camino de Santiago is Spain's most famous hiking route. Also known as the Way of St. James, this historic 500 mile-long pilgrimage route stretches across the entire width of Spain and also has numerous secondary paths. Hikers come from around the world to trek the entire length or just a small portion of the trail which ends at the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in the northwest. Additionally, you'll find plenty of other hiking opportunities in the Pyrenees mountains, the various national parks, or even in the Canary islands or Mallorca. Also, the Caminito del Rey has amazing trails along cliffs near Malaga. From Barcelona, it's easy to reach the base of Montserrat, where you can hike up to the monastery instead of taking the cable car, or hike on the higher up trails as well. Sierra Nevada national park, near Granada, also offers plenty of hiking trails that are close to a major city. And in the Costa Brava region up the coast from Barcelona, even more gorgeous trails have great views of the landscapes and Mediterranean Sea. Generally, no matter where you visit in this country, you can find some great trails.

Santiago de Compostela: This small city is the culmination point for the famed Camino de Santiago. The 780 kilometer route is followed by pilgrims and travelers who seek enlightenment or adventure. Hikers travel both independently or as part of organized tours.

Tenerife: The island's volcanic landscapes mean that there are dramatic and breathtaking hikes throughout the island. Some of the best hikes are found in the Anaga Rural Park, Teide National Park, and the Teno Mountains.

France offers some nice hiking trails. A diverse set of hiking options is available for travelers here, as you'll find great trails from the Alps to the Pyrenees to the hills in the wine regions to the beautiful coastlines. In the summer months, the Alps and Pyrenees are especially welcoming to hikers, as these winter ski areas become warm and active with visitors. Also, when exploring the wine regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, or the Loire Valley, don't forget to take a break from wine and history to admire the beautiful landscapes on foot.

Chamonix-Mont-Blanc: Filled with panoramic views and breathtaking natural scenes, the hiking is among the best in the world. Some of the best hikes in the area include Plan de l'Aiguille - Montenvers Train Mer de Glace, Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve Hiking, and any of the "Glacier Views" Hikes.

Is Spain or France Better for its National Parks?

Spain
France

Travelers can find good number of great national parks in both Spain and France.

Spain has a range of national park areas worth visiting. With sixteen national parks and a variety of other natural parks and wilderness protection areas, visitors are offered a diverse set of natural destinations to explore. Some are in the mountains, some at the coast, and others are found in unique ecosystems. Some of the most popular include Cabañeros in the mountains of Toledo, Guadarrama near Madrid, and Illas Atlánticas de Galicia near A Coruna on the northern coast. Several national parks are found on the Canary Islands and make the trip there even more interesting if you have the time. In many of Spain's national parks, you'll find hiking, camping, horseback riding, adventure sports, and beautiful views.

France is a great destination for touring the national parks. Visitors looking to escape to the wilderness can find plenty of parks to see, especially in the rugged mountainous regions. A few of the best include Pyrenees national park and Vanoise national park, both of which are known for their hiking and beautiful mountain scenery. Elsewhere in France, Le Perche natural regional park in Normandy and Armorique natural regional park in Brittany offer beautiful natural landscapes with a touch of history.

Is Spain or France Better for Adventure Travel?

Spain
France

While France and Spain both offer adventure travel experiences, overall Spain is considered to have more options for visitors.

The adventure travel options in Spain attract many visitors. From the mountains to the coastline, visitors can experience bungee jumping, mountain biking, paragliding, zip-lines, ropes courses, rock climbing, canyoning, whitewater rafting, and more. The coast also offers surfing, kite surfing, wind surfing, scuba diving, and boating. It's possible to find these activities all around the country, usually in the countryside not far from major cities.

France has some adventurous travel experiences that often attract visitors. Across this diverse country, you can find plenty of adventurous activities if you're looking for a break from the history, wine, and food that brings in most travelers. Horseback riding, hiking, canyoning, rock climbing, rafting, and snow skiing are popular activities in the mountain regions, especially around the Alps in the east. Skydiving and bungee jumping are also popular in the countryside. Water sports, surfing, and kayaking are popular along the coastline as well.

Is Spain or France Better for Visiting the Mountains?

Spain
France

Overall, France is considered to offer more mountain activities and attractions to visitors.

France is a popular place to visit because of its beautiful mountain scenery. The two main mountain ranges are the Alps in the southeast and the Pyrenees in the southwest. Furthermore, you'll find more hilly areas with great scenery along the southern coast and also near the German border on the east. While the Alps are the highest, the Pyrenees and other regions still offer plenty of amazing views as well as activities such as hiking, horseback riding, and adventure sports.

Spain has some beautiful mountain areas that attract visitors. The Pyrenees are the largest mountain chain in the country, making a divide between Spain and France. Here you'll find epic views, hiking, camping, wildlife viewing, mountain biking, ski resorts, and more. Elsewhere in Spain you can find plenty of other mountains, as the inland is quite varied. The Sierra Nevada mountains in the south are some of the most beautiful, and are also easily accessible. Across northern Andalusia, you can find even more mountains north of Seville and Cordoba, with several national parks and wilderness areas. In all of these places you'll find natural beauty, wildlife, horseback riding, hiking, camping, and even paragliding. And don't miss the Canary Islands, where you'll find even more great activities. Tenerife is the largest island and offers gorgeous mountain views, native wildlife, and an exotic, tropical atmosphere. Spain absolutely has some gorgeous mountains worth visiting.


Is Spain or France Better for Watersports?

Spain
France

While France and Spain both have plenty of watersports, overall Spain is considered to be better for travelers seeking these activities.

The watersports in Spain attract many visitors. With a huge length of coastline both on the southern Mediterranean shore and the northern Atlantic shore, water sports in all forms can be found here. Surfing is very popular on both coasts, as wake boarding, kite surfing, and wind surfing. It's also easy to rent kayaks or canoes both on the coastline or in the rivers and lakes of the interior. Scuba diving and snorkeling are popular along the coast, as well as in the Canary Islands and around Ibiza and Majorca. The beaches and clear waters of these island paradises attract plenty of water bound tourists for a good reason. If you're interested in doing more at the beach than just laying on the sand, Spain is the place for you.

France has some watersports activities that attract many visitors. With a very long stretch of coastline on both the Atlantic and Mediterranean, as well as a huge array of rivers and lakes, there's no shortage of watersports here. Surfing is popular along both coasts, and not just where the water is clear and blue. Snorkeling and scuba diving are popular, as is kayaking, canoeing, and boating on the ocean, sea, and rivers.

Is Spain or France Better for Outdoor Activities?

Spain
France

While France and Spain both have plenty of outdoor activities, overall Spain is considered to be better for travelers seeking outdoor adventures.

The outdoor activities and experiences of Spain attract many visitors. Popular outdoor activities here include camping, hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, mountain biking, and more. Canyoning is popular, especially in the Pyrenees. The Sierra de Guara is one of the most popular spots for this, located outside of Zaragoza. Or, try rock climbing in Andalucía where you'll find a variety of spots not far from Malaga, Cordoba, and Granada. For those looking for a hike, trails are everywhere and not just in the national parks. Of course, there's always the famous Camino de Santiago if you're looking for an adventure.

France has some outdoor activities that attract visitors. The countryside that normally draws a crowd to see the vineyards and castles also offers plenty of other activities for visitors. From hiking through the beautiful landscapes to horseback riding to rafting and kayaking, there's something for everyone here. Many of these activities are also kid-friendly, and it's easy to find a day tour or rent equipment on your own for whatever you choose.

Is Spain or France Better for a Road Trip?

Spain
France

Spain and France both have plenty of great places to explore on a road trip.

Taking a road trip through Spain is very good way to see the countryside and smaller destinations. The roads in Spain are efficient, quick, and well-maintained, making it easy to get around. If you don't have a car, it's also easy and often affordable to rent or hire one at the airport upon arrival. Many visitors take a road trip along the coastlines. The northern coastline in particular is very scenic with epic views and small towns The southern coastline is lined with beaches, more small towns, and larger cities. The Catalan coast north of Barcelona is especially beautiful with small towns, cliffs along the sea, and historical sites. The interior shouldn't be missed either, as you'll find national parks, castles and fortresses, and beautiful cities such as Granada, Ronda, Seville, and Toledo. And since Spain is not too large, the drives won't be too long between destinations.

See also Andalusia Road Trip.

France is an extremely popular destination for those that want to take a road trip. As the roads and highways here can take you anywhere fairly quickly, many visitors to France will hire a car and leave the major cities to venture into the countryside. The wine regions of Burgundy, the Loire Valley, Bordeaux, and Alsace are popular destinations, as you can see the vineyards, chateaus, castles, and historic towns intermixed with beautiful mountains, rivers, and the French countryside.

Is Spain or France Better for Families?

Spain
France

Both Spain and France are great to visit with kids.

Spain is an extremely popular country to visit for families. Beach vacations are one of the first things that come to mind for a family holiday or vacation to Spain. The Mediterranean coast has multiple beach resort towns such as those in Valencia or around Malaga and Marbella. Even Costa Brava and the areas around Barcelona are popular beach spots, too. But don't assume that the beaches are the only thing to see for families, as the big cities and mountains have plenty of activities as well. Madrid has kids tours of the Prado museum, the Mercado de San Miguel, a great zoo, the Warner Brothers Park, a railway museum, and a fantastic natural sciences museum. Barcelona offers the CosmoCaixa science museum, Montjuic and it's fun gondolas, the chocolate museum, a terrific aquarium, and plenty of interesting architecture. Kids also love all of the old castles and fortresses that dot the countryside, especially the Alhambra, the Castillo de Peñíscola, and the Royal Palace of Olite. Furthermore, plenty of cities have a mix of cultural and historical sites combined with modern family attractions such as amusement parks, water parks, and natural park areas. The mountains also have national parks with wide open spaces which are great for family hikes, bike rides, camping, and road trips. You can't go wrong with a family trip to Spain, as there's just so much to do.

Tenerife: The island has many great waterparks for kids, with one of the best being Siam Park. Other family-friendly destinations include Aqualand, Loro Parque, Jungle Park, and Monkey Park. There are whale watching trips, outdoor adventures, and kid-friendly beaches as well.

See also The Ultimate Guide to Madrid.

With a huge array of activities for kids, France is very family-friendly. Plenty of activities for families and kids can be found in almost every corner of the country. The coastal areas in the south draw families for the beaches and resorts, while the mountains bring families for outdoor activities mixed with history and culture. The larger cities offer plenty of fun as well in the form of museums, theme parks, great food, and large parks.

Paris: Check out Jardin du Luxembourg, or one of the city's many playgrounds. Also grab a treat at one of the city's many patisseries. And of course, there's Disneyland Paris.

Saint-Tropez: With great beaches, several amusement parks, waterparks, and even Marineland, there are an endless supply of activities for kids. There's also a zoo and nature reserve for wildlife enthusiasts. For adventure lovers, there are a number of different watersports to try and if the weather isn't cooperating, there are a few good museums and other indoor activities as well.


Is Spain or France Better for Couples?

Spain
France

Both Spain and France are great destinations for a couple's getaway.

Spain is a great country for couples, as it has plenty to offer. In addition to the historical centers of Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, and Valencia which contain plenty of romantic attractions, couples and honeymooners also love Majorca and Ibiza for it's epic beaches, the southern coast of Spain for the beach resorts, and Costa Brava for its charming small towns with fantastic cuisine. Honeymooners could stay in one spot for a week, or spend their entire trip touring the highlights. Or, if you're just looking for a quick weekend getaway, any of the major cities or smaller towns offers plenty of charming activities. Andalucía is a popular destination because it combines the beaches with historic towns, mountain retreats, and fantastic food. The Asturias region on the northern coast is popular for many of the same reasons. No matter where you visit, it's easy to combine all of the best features of Spain into one terrific and romantic trip.

Marbella: The area has luxury resorts, nice beaches, water sports, golf, and water activities that are perfect for a honeymoon or a romantic weekend or a honeymoon.

See also Hostels for Solo Travellers, Female Travellers, & Couples in Madrid, Hostels & Campgrounds in Ibiza for Solo Travellers, Couples, and Groups, and Hostels in Pamplona for Backpackers, Solo Travellers, and Couples.

France is fantastic couple's destination with fun and romantic activities. So many destinations in this large country are perfect for couples looking to get away on a romantic trip, or even a honeymoon. Paris is the obvious choice, as the city of lights oozes romance with fine restaurants, historic architecture, theatre productions, and hidden alleyways. But other destinations are terrific for couples as well, such as the coast, the mountains, the wine regions, and the small towns.

Paris: A city filled with romance, you really can't find a more ideal destination for a European honeymoon or a couple's getaway.

Nice: The old town is filled with romance and charm. You can also take a walk along the Promenade Des Anglais or soak up the romantic countryside that surrounds the town.

Reims: This romantic area is perfect for couples who enjoy wine and history. There is beautiful architecture as well as wine tours and breathtaking hot air balloon rides. Visiting the Champagne Houses is a must for any couple visiting the area.

La Rochelle: This beautiful coastal town is seeped in history. There are beautiful squares, romantic parks, and cobblestone streets that you can wander down. It's also nice to take a coastal walk before grabbing dinner at a local seafood restaurant.

Cannes: It's grand hotels and luxury beach clubs make this a perfect romantic destination. There are world class restaurants, a vibrant nightlife scene, and many romantic spots around town that make for a memorable honeymoon or couple's getaway.

See also Hostels for Female Travellers and Couples in Paris.

Is Spain or France Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Spain
France

Most people consider Spain to be better for backpackers than France.

Backpackers come from all over to visit Spain. Affordable prices, easy transportation, and a wide array of budget accommodation make this country extremely popular for backpackers and budget travelers. Barcelona, Madrid, the costal cities, and small towns all have plenty of hostels, pensions, and guest houses. Barcelona is also known for its nightlife, attracting younger travelers on a budget, and plenty of places cater to them with low-cost accommodations with a party vibe. Also, a huge number of museums and cultural attractions have low-cost or free entry tickets, or provide discounts for anyone under 25. Affordable food is also found everywhere, whether at local restaurants, street vendors, or markets. Transportation is also easy, cheap, and efficient, and serves the entire country. Overall, prices in most spots in Spain tend to be a little more affordable than in the rest of Europe.

Barcelona: There are many hostels around town, each with its own personality. Many of the hostels also organize activities or dinners for guests so it's easy to meet other travelers. Backpackers will also appreciate the young vibe and late night party venues that keep the city fun and entertaining.

Malaga: From an endless supply of hostels to plenty of opportunities to meet other backpackers, this is a very backpacker friendly area.

See also The Best Hostels in Seville, Party Hostels in Barcelona, and Partying at Hostels in Madrid.

Plenty of backpackers visit France. It's easy to find budget accommodation in most cities and towns, although the overall in this Western European country tend to be high. But the sheer diversity of sights and destinations means that budget travelers or backpackers can find low cost food, activities, and accommodations in most places around the country.

Paris: It's a big city, so it's easy to get lost in the chaos, but there are many hostels and other backpacker hangouts around town.

See also Cheap Activities and Tours in Lyon, France, The Best Hostels in Paris from $20, and Lyon's Best Hostels.

Is Spain or France Better for Students?

Spain
France

While Spain and France are both good for students, overall France is genreally more popular.

Students come from all over to stay in France. With multiple large universities, this country hosts many students every year as both tourists and study-abroad participants. From the large cities to the small towns, it's easy to get around as a student, especially since many hostels and museums offer discounts for anyone under 26. Also, the nightlife is terrific in many of the major cities such as Paris, Lyon, and Nice.

Paris: The city is one of the most popular destinations for international and study abroad students.

Lyon: It is a very livable city with many fun cultural activities for students. There are many different entertainment options during the day, and during the evening there are plenty of places to hang out.

Montpellier: Montpellier is a popular university town that is home to many trendy university students. It's also where you'll find the youngest population of any city in France.

See also Free Things to do in Paris.

Spain is popular with students. Other than Barcelona and Madrid, the most popular cities for students include Granada, Seville, Valencia, and Bilbao. Here, you'll find large universities surrounded by student-friendly neighborhoods. Nightlife, bars, affordable restaurants, and fun activities can be found in all of these cities which cater to budget travelers and locals alike. Spain is a popular destination overall for study-abroad students and younger travelers.

Madrid: With several great universities, this city is popular with international and study abroad students. The city also has a diverse population and an active nightlife that appeals to students.

Barcelona: This is a popular study abroad destination and you'll find international students from around the world. It's a beautiful city with plenty to see and do. It's also a lively city, but do expect the price tag to be higher than other Spanish cities.

Valencia: The city is young and vibrant with a lot of culture and beautiful neighborhoods. It's also well connected to the rest of Spain with a convenient central train station.

Seville: It's a top destination for international students who appreciate the many great educational institutions, beautiful year-round weather, and many festivals and evening activities.

Cordoba: It's a top study abroad destination for international students. The university is excellent and the city is easy to navigate. It's a cultural city with a great student-friendly atmosphere.

See also Hostels in Bilbao, Spain for Groups, Students, or Solo Travellers.

Is Spain or France Easier for Transportation? Which is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Spain
France

Visitors will be able to get around equally well in both Spain and France.

Spain has a great public transit system. High speed trains as well as local trains take visitors and residents around all of the cities in Spain fairly quickly. Once in a city, the local transit systems are excellent at reaching most places quickly. And if you choose to drive, you'll find a quality and efficient highway system, too. Buses can fill in the spots where trains don't go, and sometimes buses are a cheaper alternative to trains or flights between cities as well. The most popular airport connections are found in Madrid and Barcelona.

Is it easy to travel around Spain?

  • It's very easy and convenient to travel by train.
  • It's quite common to travel by bus.
  • Traveling on cruise ships and excursions is extremely popular.
  • It's quite common to get around if you join an organized tour.
  • Traveling by car is very common and fairly easy.
  • It's possible to travel by airplane.

Public transit in France is top-notch. The French rail system is a terrific way to move around the country quickly and easily. Most small towns are connected to the larger cities by rail, and the larger cities are connected with high-speed rail, too. The airports are also modern and efficient, and offer connections to everywhere in the world. The roads are also great for driving, too.

See also How to Visit the Loire Valley from Paris.

Is it easy to travel around France?

  • Traveling by train is extremely popular.
  • It's possible to travel by bus.
  • It's quite common to travel by car.
  • Travel by airplane is possible.


Is Spain or France more Comfortable for a Trip?

Spain and France are both modern and comfortable places to visit.

Spain is a very comfortable and luxurious destination with plenty of hotels, restaurants, and activities. Luxury beach vacations and historical attractions in famous cities usually come to mind when people think of Spain. Rightly so, because this country is modern and offers a wide array of comfortable modes of travel and vacationing. It's easy to find budget-friendly accommodation, but even at the lowest prices, guests can still expect to find modern and comfortable amenities. The roads, trains, and public transit are also clean, safe, and can get visitors anywhere. The tourist infrastructure here is extensive, and anyone can travel comfortably here no matter their budget or price range.

Generally, France is considered to be a comfortable and luxurious place to visit. If you're looking to explore in comfort and luxury, then you'll have no trouble here. As the most visited country in the world, travelers will find a huge number of modern and luxurious hotels, along with great public transport, plenty of taxis and tour companies, and an amazing selection of restaurants and cafes. Even if you're traveling on a budget, the level of comfort and amenities in France is very high.

Is Spain or France more Touristy?

Generally, France is considered to be more touristy than Spain.

France is a destination which hosts a huge number of visitors. Since it's the most visited country in the world, no one should be surprised with the number of tourists around major sights and attractions, especially in the more popular areas. Paris, Lyon, the southern coastline, the wine regions, and the French Alps are all quite busy with tourists year-round. So, when visiting, you won't be alone. However, it's also not too hard to escape the crowds as this country is fairly large.

Spain sees a large number of visitors. While Madrid and Barcelona are the most popular cities to visit, the beach resort areas in Andalucía and Valencia can also get touristy, especially in the busy summer months. Additionally, other cities such as Toledo, the towns in Catalonia, Granada, and Seville attract many visitors. The summer months are the most busy, and you can expect larger crowds in these destinations as well as at major tourist sites. In some places, entrance queues for museums or attractions can get quite long. The most popular places to visit in Madrid include the Prado museum, the Royal Palace, the Crystal Palace in Retiro park, and sometimes the football museum at the Real Madrid football stadium. In Barcelona, you can expect crowds at the Sagrada Família cathedral, Park Güell, the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc at night when it's lit up, and in the streets of the Gothic Quarter. Despite the crowds, it's never too chaotic or unmanageable, and Spain is absolutely worth the trip in any case.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Family-Friendly Tours to Spain, The Best 10-Day Tours in Spain, The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in Spain, The Best 2-Week Tours in Spain, The Best 3-Week Tours in Spain, The Best Bicycle Tours in Spain, The Best Adventure Tours to Spain, The Best Sightseeing Tours in Spain, The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in Spain, The Best Luxury Tours to Spain, The Best Budget Tours to Spain, The Best Tours for Seniors to Spain, The Best Contiki Tours to Spain, The Best G Adventures Tours to Spain, The Best 3-Day Tours from Madrid, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Madrid, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Barcelona, The Best 10-Day Tours from Madrid, The Best 10-Day Tours from Barcelona, The Best 2-Week Tours from Madrid, The Best 2-Week Tours from Barcelona, The Best Family-Friendly Tours to France, The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in France, The Best Historical Tours in France, The Best 10-Day Tours in France, The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in France, The Best 2-Week Tours in France, The Best River Cruises in France, The Best Bicycle Tours in France, Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in France, The Best Coach Bus Tours in France, The Best Adventure Tours to France, The Best Sightseeing Tours in France, The Best Vineyard & Wine Tours in France, The Best Food and Culinary Tours in France, The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in France, The Best Luxury Tours to France, The Best Budget Tours to France, The Best Tours for Seniors to France, The Best Contiki Tours to France, The Best G Adventures Tours to France, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Paris, The Best 10-Day Tours from Paris, and The Best 2-Week Tours from Paris.


Seville Seville

Should I spend more time in France or Spain?

How long in Spain or France?

In either Spain or France, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. In our opinion, France has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in France than Spain. However, 7-21 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

Families should spend more time in France than Spain. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in France, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in France than Spain. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in France that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Spain than France if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Spain.


  • How many days should I spend in Spain or France?
    Spain 7-21 
    France 7-21

A weekend in Spain or France?

Spain is a great place to explore. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in France. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

Five days in Spain or France?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Spain. Adventure travel is very popular here, too. With so much to do, five days is probably not enough time to see everything. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

France is a fun place to experience. In France, many people enjoy the shopping, museums, and theater that this destination offers. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. Five days is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.


A week in Spain or France?

Many travelers enjoy the adventure travel, national parks, and history and culture when visiting the friendly destination of Spain. This country offers a variety of activities to choose from. It's also known for its adventure travel activities. If you have one week, this is a great place to go. This would be the perfect place to spend one week, as it has just the right amount of activities.

In France, many people enjoy the museums, theater, and adventure travel that this cultural destination offers. Plenty of people spend one week in the area when traveling. Most people come for the beaches. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is often enough time to do most activities.

Two weeks in Spain or France?

Many travelers enjoy the adventure travel, national parks, and history and culture when visiting the friendly destination of Spain. This country offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. If you have two weeks, this is a great place to go. With all of its activities, you can easily fill two weeks here.

In France, many people enjoy the museums, theater, and adventure travel that this historic destination offers. Plenty of people spend two weeks in the area when traveling. Most people come for the beaches. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. This would be the perfect place to spend two weeks, as it has just the right amount of activities.

Luanco, Spain Luanco, Spain

Which country is cheaper, France or Spain?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Spain is €151, while the average daily cost in France is €234. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each country. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Spain and France in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Spain 68
    France 152
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Spain 136
    France 304
Compare Hotels in Spain and France

Looking for a hotel in Spain or France? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Spain


Hotels in France


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Spain Hotel Prices and France Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Spain 27
    France 30
Typical Local Transportation prices in Spain

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Spain:


  • Taxi Ride
    26
  • 10 Trip Metro Ticket
    7.80
  • Airport Bus
    5.00
  • Bus Ride
    3.50
  • Taxi Ride
    6.80
  • Bus Ride
    1.25
  • 7 Trip Bus Pass
    5.00
  • Metro
    2.10

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Spain

Also for Spain, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Barcelona Airport to Barcelona City transfer : $33
  • Barcelona Airport to Cruise Port Private Transfer: $41
  • Barcelona City to Cruise Port Private Transfer: $31
  • Barcelona Group Departure Private Transfer: $124
  • Coasteering in South Mallorca with Transfers: $71
  • Madrid Airport MAD Round-Trip Transfer in Private Van: $175
  • Adeje: Guided Bike Tour to Masca with Transfers and Drinks: $100
  • Airport Transfer: Malaga to Malaga Airport AGP by Luxury Car: $74
  • Airport Transfer: Malaga to Malaga Airport AGP by Luxury Van: $65
  • Airport transfer Santiago de Compostela: $71
  • Airport transfer from Monte Gordo to Seville: $214
  • Albir: Alicante Airport (ALC) Private Transfer: $90

Typical Local Transportation prices in France

Some typical examples of transportation costs in France are as follows:


  • Metro
    6.40
  • Local Bus
    1.10
  • Metro Pass
    3.00
  • Airport Bus
    6.00
  • Train from Airport
    9.00
  • Parking
    1.40
  • Funiculaire
    5.20
  • Metro tickets
    6.80
  • Hop-on Hop-off Tourist Bus
    19
  • Train
    20

Hired Cars and Shuttles in France

Some specific examples of transportation prices in France:

  • transfert Nice aéroport /Fréjus /Saint Raphaël: $161
  • Villefranche-sur-Mer-Port de la Santé: Transfer to Nice: $292
  • Villefranche-sur-Mer-Port de la Santé: Transfer to Cannes: $399
  • Villefranche-sur-Mer - Port to Nice hotels- Arrival Transfer: $49
  • Villefranche-sur-Mer - Port de la Santé to Nice hotels- Arrival Private Transfer: $49
  • Villefranche-sur-Mer - Port de la Santé to Cannes - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $172
  • Villefranche-sur-Mer - Port de la Santé to Cannes - Arrival Private Transfer: $86
  • Villefranche Port to Nice Intl Airport (NCE) - Departure Transfer: $49
  • Villefranche Port to Cannes Mandelieu Airport Departure Transfer: $88
  • Villefranche Port Round Trip Transfer to Monaco: $159
  • Versailles: Skip-the-Line Day Tour & Transfer from Paris: $2,569
  • Versailles Round-Trip Transfers: Multiple Departures: $52

Is it cheaper to fly into Spain or Spain?

Prices for flights to both France and Spain change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Spain 40
    France 43
Typical Food prices in Spain

For Spain, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Hot Cocoa & Churro
    4.15
  • Sandwich
    1.70
  • Baguette & Horchata
    3.80
  • Coffee
    2.00
  • Lunch
    14
  • Fiesta Paella
    8.00
  • Soda
    2.50
  • Sangria
    2.50
  • Sandwich to go
    3.00
  • Bocadillo & Drink
    6.25
  • Lunch
    9.50
  • Ice Cream
    2.30

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Spain

For Spain, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Valencia: Cooking Class of traditional spanish food: $1.07
  • Valencia: Flamenco at Toro y La Luna with Drinks or Dinner: $19
  • Local cooking class in Cordoba. Hands on: Salmorejo: $21
  • Walking Tour + Flamenco + Tapas Dinner (choose options): $27
  • Barcelona: Flamenco at El Patio Andaluz with Optional Dinner: $27
  • Alicante: Secret Flavors Food Tour: $31
  • Mallorca: Hard Rock Cafe Entrance with Lunch or Dinner: $32
  • Torremolinos: Horse Show, Dinner Option, Drinks, & Flamenco: $32
  • Cordoba: Flamenco Show at Tablao El Jaleo & Optional Dinner: $32
  • Torremolinos: Flamenco show with Dinner and Unlimited Drinks: $32
  • Malaga: Hard Rock Cafe Entrance with Lunch or Dinner: $32
  • Valencia: Hard Rock Cafe Entrance with Lunch or Dinner: $32

Typical Food prices in France

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in France:


  • Slushee
    2.50
  • Strawberries
    4.00
  • Loaf of Bread
    3.20
  • Coffee
    2.75
  • Lunch
    5.50
  • Cookies
    1.34
  • Orangina
    2.50
  • Cooked Clams
    4.50
  • Ice Cream
    1.00
  • Ice Cream
    8.00
  • Breakfast
    7.00
  • Lunch
    20

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in France

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in France.

  • Paris: Indian Food Tour With A Beer Or A Glass Of Champagne: $24
  • Hard Rock Cafe Paris with Set Menu for Lunch or Dinner : $33
  • Web-cooking workshop / French cuisine or French pastry: $35
  • Paris : Pastries and Tragedies, The food tour of Montmartre: $44
  • Authentic Indian Dinner in Paris : $49
  • Lyon Food Tour by bike: $50
  • Paris Capitaine Fracasse 3 Course Seine River Dinner Cruise: $51
  • No Diet Club - Best food tour in Toulouse !: $52
  • No Diet Club - Unique food tour in Lyon with many tastings !: $59
  • Bordeaux - sweet food tour of the old city: $59
  • Paris : Seine River Bistronomic Dinner Cruise: $59
  • NO DIET CLUB - Unique local food tour in Ajaccio (English/French): $60

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Spain 27
    France 31
Typical Entertainment prices in Spain

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Spain's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Picasso Walking Tour and Museum Pass
    42
  • Souvenir Gaudi Book
    8.55
  • Snorkel
    5.00
  • Flamenco Tour
    16
  • Entrance to Cathedral
    8.00
  • Garden Entrance Fee
    6.00
  • Admission to Museo Picasso
    6.00
  • Entrance to Castillos
    7.10
  • Concert
    31
  • Cadiz Sightseeing Tour
    15
  • Tower of Hercules
    3.00
  • Valle de los Caídos Monument
    6.00

Tours and Activities in Spain

For Spain, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Madrid: Old Town Guided Walking Tour: $1.07
  • Madrid Essential: Free Walking City Tour: $1.07
  • GROUP walking tour in Vigo: $1.09
  • Sagrada Familia Exterior Free Tour: Stories, Secrets & Symbolism: $1.09
  • Walking Tour in Pontevedra: $1.09
  • Group walking tour in Lugo: $1.10
  • Old Town of Santiago de Compostela Walking Tour: $1.10
  • Self-Guided Private City Tour in Barcelona's Best Kept Secrets: $1.11
  • Parte Vieja San Sebastian : Self-Guided Reading Walking Tour: $2.13
  • San Sebastian : Discovery Stroll and Reading Walking Tour: $2.13
  • Tour Retiro Park - Madrid self-guided tour app: $2.14
  • SEVILLE in one day: GPS-AutoGuided Audio Tour: $2.14

Typical Entertainment prices in France

Here are a few typical costs in France for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Louvre Entry for Two
    18
  • Castle Entrance Fee
    5.50
  • Admission to Pantheon
    5.00
  • Winery Tour (for 2)
    20
  • Catacombs (2)
    23
  • Lunch for 2
    45

Tours and Activities in France

Here are a few actual costs in France for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Île de la Cité: Guided Tour + Sainte-Chapelle Fast Track Entry: $75
  • "Bordeaux by bicycle: a 3-hour tour immersive experience": $34
  • 3 Hour La Rochelle Private Tour: $91
  • Audio-Guided Montparnasse Tower Tour with Priority Admission: $37
  • Day Tour- Normandy Omaha Beach - Cemetery - Cider Tasting: $286
  • Full Day Champagne Pommery Small Group Tour: $252
  • Guided Eiffel Tower Tour and Boat Cruise River Seine Sightseeing: $83
  • Guided Tour to Montmartre & Sacré-Cœur Chronicles: $53
  • Majestic Christmas tour in French Riviera: $237
  • Monaco, Monte-Carlo and Eze Village Small Group Half-Day Tour: $59
  • Paris Boat River Seine Cruise Sightseeing TICKETS: $22
  • Paris City Center Self-Guided Walking Tour : $11

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Spain 19
    France 19
Typical Alcohol prices in Spain

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Spain:


  • Beer
    5.00
  • A Sangria & a Beer
    6.50
  • Bottle of Wine
    5.00
  • Wine in Front of Cathedral
    4.00
  • Beer
    3.00
  • Bottle of Wine
    1.65
  • Beer
    1.20
  • Celebratory Shots
    5.00
  • Beer
    2.80
  • 1 Pint Beer
    2.00
  • Drinks and Tapas (for 2)
    13
  • Coffee
    3.10

Sample the Local Flavors in Spain

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Spain:

  • Pub Crawl Madrid Erasmus & International Meet and Party(New): $5.99
  • Madrid: Original Pub Crawl With VIP Club Entry: $9.63
  • Visit and wine tasting at BODEGA PIRINEOS: $11
  • Madrid Pub Crawl with VIP Club Entrance: $11
  • Barcelona Pub Crawl by King - Bar & Nightclub Hopping Tour: $13
  • Valencia: Guided Pub Crawl with Free Shots: $13
  • Visit winery and wine tasting: $14
  • Tenerife: Guided Tour at Casa del Vino & Wine Tasting: $14
  • Madrid: Guided Bar Crawl with Drinks and Nightclub Entry: $14
  • Madrid: Pub Crawl Madrid's Night time: $14
  • Barcelona Pub Crawl by KING-Best Party tour & 1 hour OpenBar: $16
  • Barcelona: Estrella Damm Brewery Guided Tour with Tasting: $16

Typical Alcohol prices in France

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in France are as follows:


  • Beer
    2.60
  • Sangria
    5.00
  • Drinks for 2
    6.80
  • Bottle of Wine
    15
  • Wine
    14

Sample the Local Flavors in France

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in France:

  • Lavender Field & Distillery Tour between Nimes & Arles: $6.21
  • Guided tour of Lavender Distillery between Provence & Camargue: $6.33
  • Nice Bar/Pub Crawl | 3 BEST bars + 1 Club With Free Drinks: $8.56
  • Wine tour and tasting at domain FL: $9.82
  • Bordeaux: Wine and Trade Museum Entry Ticket & Wine Tasting: $11
  • Aperitif at the winemaker with cellar visit and wine tasting in Alsace: $11
  • 2 Hour Sparkling Wine Tasting and visit in Beaune: $11
  • Vineyard Tour and Wine Tasting: $13
  • Cellar Visit & Bandol Wine Tasting (in French): $13
  • Original Paris Pub Crawl : $15
  • Paris: Châtelet to Grands Boulevards Guided Pub Crawl: $16
  • Burgundy: Domaine de Montmain Cellar Visit and Wine Tasting: $16


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Spain and France, we can see that France is more expensive. And not only is Spain much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Spain would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Spain and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in France would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in France than you might in Spain.

Ibiza, Spain Ibiza, Spain

Why is France more expensive than Spain?

In general, France has a stronger economy than Spain, and the higher cost of living translates into higher prices for visitors. This is particularly true in cities like Paris, where affordable accommodation can be hard to come by. Coastal France can also be quite expensive. Transportation is also more expensive in France than in Spain.

If you want to save a bit of money when you visit France, consider getting off the beaten path a bit where prices are often less. There are also a wide variety of accommodation types in cities like Paris, so if you're creative you might be able to find an affordable place to stay.

What are the most expensive and cheapest cities and regions in France and Spain?

The larger cities in France are typically the most expensive places to visit, particularly Paris which is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The city's popularity coupled with its already high cost of living makes affordable accommodation hard to come by. Coastal France is also an expensive area to visit as there is limited budget accommodation and many of the restaurants are quite expensive.

In Spain, the coastal areas are some of the most expensive areas to visit, particularly during the peak travel season when accommodation fills up and budget options are hard to come by. There is a wider diversity of options in cities like Barcelona, so there is more for budget travelers to choose from.

How can you save money while visiting France and Spain?

The best prices in both France and Spain are found during the off peak seasons. If you want to save some money, visit the area during the fall, winter, or spring, when prices are a bit less.

If you don't like where you're at, be willing to change. Keep your itinerary flexible and you'll likely find some interesting off the beaten path places to visit.

Instead of rushing from attraction to attraction, take some time to just explore the city you're in. Wander around the neighborhoods and find local parks or activities that you can enjoy for free.

Look into all of your transportation options. Buses are usually more affordable than trains.

Eat at local restaurants that are usually more affordable and offer higher quality food. Avoid the tourist traps if you want the best meal for a reasonable price.

Move slowly and spend longer in each place. This will help you enjoy the areas on a new level and also keep you transportation costs to a minimum.