Which country is cheaper, Ireland or Spain?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
Should I visit Spain or Ireland? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which country has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.
We'll start with a quick overview, and below we will go into all of the details.
|Culture & History|
|Scuba Diving & Snorkeling|
Spain is a gorgeous, friendly, and diverse country. The famous beauty of this place is one of the main draws. And you can't forget about the history and culture, nightlife, food, and scuba diving and snorkeling.
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.
Ireland is a green, historic, and cultural country. You'll find world class beauty here as well. Other popular activities here include history and culture, nightlife, food, and water sports.
Ireland is a unique country with a deep historic culture, a beautiful countryside with rolling green hills, exciting cities, and friendly people. You'll find good food, interesting natural landscapes such as the Giant's Causeway, terrific hikes through the countryside, surfing at the beach, and cultural experiences in the cities.
Below we will examine the differences and similarities between Spain and Ireland. With this information, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.
For an educational experience, head to a museum or a notable sight in either Spain or Ireland.
Spain offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. 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.
Barcelona: Architecture and history all contribute to the city's impressive sights and museums. Famous landmarks include the Basílica de la Sagrada Família, Casa Milà, and the Palace of Catalan Music.
Cadiz: As the oldest city in Europe, there are countless historic sights and monuments to see. Some of the most interesting historic sights include Catedral Nueva, the Arcos de los Blancos, Torre Tavira, and Museo de Cádiz.
Many visitors head to Ireland specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. Visitors will find a variety types of museums all across the country. History, science, art, and kid-friendly museums are everywhere, showcasing the culture, history, and life of the Irish people. A few of the best in Dublin are the Little Museum, the National Museum of Ireland with its multiple branches, the Irish Whiskey Museum, the Kilmainham Gaol, Dublinia, and the Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship and Famine Museum, among others. If you're visiting Galway, check out the Galway City Museum, Lynch's Castle, Monkey Business Children's Museum, or the Fisheries Watchtower Museum. Also, in Cork, the Cork City Gaol and the Crawford Art Gallery are visitor favorites, although there are many more.
Both Spain and Ireland offer similar levels of history and culture when visiting.
Spain has many famous historic and cultural sights and attractions worth visiting, and is one of the main reasons why poeple come here. 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.
For those interested in history, art, and culture, Ireland is not to be missed. Plenty of historical attractions are popular destinations for visitors, especially the castles, small historic towns, and huge monuments. At the Rock of Cashel, you can see the ruins of this historic and beautiful castle from the 12th century. Reginald’s Tower in Waterford is said to be the oldest building still standing in Ireland, and can be toured while also exploring the surrounding city. Glendalough is the home of a monastery and famous tower, as well as stunning natural landscapes. And at Newgrange, you can see this ancient 5000 year old megalithic cemetery. The Blarney Castle is home of the Blarney Stone, and is one of the most famous sites in the country. In Dublin, don't miss the Dublin Castle, the St. Patrick's Cathedral, or the Kilmainham Gaol, all of which showcase a selected period of Irish history. No matter which area of the country you visit, Ireland offers historic sights and attractions of all types for every age.
Spain is considered to have more larger cities than Ireland.
Travelers will also find plenty of sights and attractions in the big cities of Spain that attract lots of visitors. 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.
Ireland also has some big cities with many activities. Dublin and Cork are the largest cities in Ireland, followed by Limerick and Galway, but even these last two have small populations compared to other cities in Europe. In Dublin you can find plenty of restaurants, cafes, museums, universities, and historic sights. Outside of this city, it's hard to find the same urban vibe. The rest of the country has smaller cities and towns and plenty of rural areas with stunning landscapes, but lacks the large city environments.
You'll find a similar number of small towns and villages to explore in both Spain and Ireland.
Because Spain offers so many small towns with a variety of charming activities, it attracts plenty of visitors for a good reason. 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.
Since Ireland offers plenty of small towns and villages with a variety of activities, it attracts plenty of visitors, too. A few of the smaller towns in Ireland are some of the country's most popular travel destinations. Kilkenny has a nearby castle, abbey, a gorgeous cathedral, and a historic medieval area of town. Kinsale has a quaint harbor and colorful houses. Tralee on the southern coast has beautiful seaside views and stunning cliffs. And the ring of Kerry offers even more stunning coastal views and small towns such as Portmagee. Exploring the small towns of Ireland is an absolute requirement for any itinerary, as here you'll find the true local culture and history of the island.
Both Spain and Ireland offer theater options for visitors.
Spain offers a number of shows and performances. 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.
Visitors can also check out a show in Ireland. Local theaters with community productions can be found in many smaller cities. In Dublin, if you're looking for a show, check out the Abbey Theatre, the Gaiety Theatre, the Smock Alley Theatre, or the Olympia Theatre. Elsewhere in Ireland, make sure to visit the National Folk Theatre in Kerry (Siamsa Tíre), or the Druid Theatre in Galway.
There are opportunities to sample the local cuisine at great restaurants in both Spain and Ireland.
Dining out in Spain is an experience not to be missed. 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. Local favorites include roast suckling pig, Spanish omelette, and meat and chickpea stew.
Barcelona: With easy access to fresh produce, there are many food markets around town. You'll also find great fresh local dishes at the many restaurants. Make sure you try the paella, croquettes, and Jamon Iberico.
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.
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.
There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Ireland. Traditional Irish foods can be found at many restaurants around the country. One of the most popular dishes includes various forms of Irish stew that use meat, potatoes, and vegetables. Shepherd's Pie takes this stew and adds a layer of mashed potatoes to the top. Colcannon and Champ is a form of mashed potatoes that mixes in cabbage, onions, and sometimes bacon. If you're tired of potatoes, salmon in various recipes is also common and popular. Also try the black and white pudding, which is actually blood sausage and not dessert. Other popular dishes include vegetables cooked into stews with local herbs. Of course, the local beer is quite popular, too. And don't miss the more interesting forms of Irish soda bread as well.
Both Spain and Ireland are comparable when it comes to partying.
Spain offers plenty to do in the evening. 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.
Madrid: Many tourists and international students hang out in the Huertas area, while Malasaña has a bohemian, hipster vibe with small clubs that play indie music. Chueca is a fun area that's known for being gay-friendly with many good bars. Finally, you'll find that the area around Avenida de Brasil is where famous DJs often perform.
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.
With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Ireland. Dublin and Galway, as the two largest cities, are the obvious choices for nightlife. Dublin claims to be one of the party capitals of Europe, and offers a variety of venues from bars and pubs to undergrounds nightclubs, as well as theater, fine dining options, and relaxed bars and cafes where you can have a drink with friends. Galway has a similar scene with a mix of bars, pubs, and nightclubs, many with live music and plenty of dancing. In Cork, much of the nightlife scene is dominated by the student population of the area, as large universities are nearby. Check out SoHo and the other spots on the Grand Parade. Plenty of other towns and smaller cities offer an array of pubs, bars, and clubs, too.
Dublin: Temple Bar is where you'll find the greatest concentration of pubs and nightlife. The city is among the friendliest and most welcoming, and this is seen even in the vibe around town at night.
Spain tends to offer a wider variety of resorts than Ireland.
For the ultimate resort vacation, Spain is a great choice. 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.
Ireland has a few resort options worth checking out. Although the number of resorts is not large, the best resorts in Ireland tend to be the historic manor houses and castles that have been transformed into large, luxury hotels with plenty of comfortable amenities. Some of these are located on the coastline, while others are inland, and they all tend to be in more rural areas surrounded by beautiful countryside.
Generally, you'll find better scuba diving and snorkeling in Spain than Ireland.
Spain has a few good snorkeling spots. 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.
Most people don't go snorkeling in Ireland. Despite the colder weather, this country actually has some nice diving areas, as the water tends to be fairly clear. Not far from Cork or Donegal, it's possible to dive around some shipwrecks. The marine life is also abundant, as visitors can see dolphins, crabs, basking sharks, large species of fish such as mackerel, and many cold-water species not found in more tropical areas.
Most people pick Spain for its beaches over Ireland.
Travelers come from around the world to visit the beaches in Spain. 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.
Barcelona: The city features long sandy beaches where you can soak up the Mediterranean sun right in the heart of town. Popular beaches include Bogatell Beach, Barceloneta Beach, and Nova Icària.
Valencia: The city is surrounded by some of the best beaches in Spain. They're accessible but still largely undeveloped. They also have long stretches of sand and although they can get crowded during the summer months, they still have plenty of space. La Malvarrosa Beach is one of the most popular because of its proximity to the city. El Saler Beach is further out and popular with the locals and Port Saplaya is a colorful area with shopping and beaches.
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.
Ireland is a good spot to see the beach. With a huge amount of coastline, this island nation has plenty of beaches. Some are in protected coves, while others are more exposed and have large waves popular with surfers. Despite the colder temperatures, the beaches here can still be fun because the natural scenery is beautiful. Some of the beaches are in natural coves surrounded by cliffs, rocks, and epic views. Swimming is very possible and popular in the summer months with locals and visitors alike. A few of the most popular beach areas include Inchydoney Beach in County Cork, Dog's Bay near Galway, Strandhill near Sligo, Silver Strand in Country Donegal, and Portmarnock Beach near Dublin. However, there are many more to explore.
Both Spain and Ireland are good shopping destinations.
Many visitors go to Spain to go 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.
Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Ireland. While the larger cities and towns such as Dublin and Galway have more variety of shops such as clothing boutiques, souvenir shops, and local galleries, even the smallest towns have nice shopping options. Some of the more popular local arts and crafts for purchase include tweed fabrics in Donegal, Aran Wool clothing items, and hand-crafted pottery. In Dublin, visitors can find several large shopping malls such as Dundram Centre, and more shops in George's Street Arcade, Liberty Market, and Cow's Lane.
Visiting the Christmas markets is popular activity in both Ireland and Spain.
During the holidays, visitors often browse through the Christmas markets in Spain. 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.
Ireland has some Christmas markets for those that seek them out. The best Christmas markets can be found in Cork and Galway, although many other small towns offer fun festivities, too. Dublin offers a few different holiday markets around the city, such as at Dublin Castle and Guiness Storehouse.
Spain provides a better hiking experience than Ireland.
People visit Spain specifically for its hiking, as the natural beauty is well-known. 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.
Many people include a hike when visiting Ireland. The rolling mountains and beautiful green countryside provide stunning hikes in all parts of the country. From the cliffside walks with epic views to the peaks in the interior of the island, there's a trail for everyone. Some of the most popular routes include the treks around Glendalough where you'll see the Spinc cliffs, waterfalls, and distant views of the lake. If you're looking for a mountain to hike, Diamond Hill in County Galway, Carrauntoohil in Kerry, or Slieve Gullion all provide stunning views, physical challenges, and plenty of wilderness opportunities.
Both Spain and Ireland are good destinations for visiting national parks.
Many visitors go to Spain to see the national parks. 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.
Plenty of travelers enjoy the national parks of Ireland. The 6 national parks here offer stunning beauty and a variety of sights and attractions both within the parks and nearby. Five of the parks are along the western coast, and it might be best if you had your own vehicle to see some of all of them. Killarney National Park is part of the Ring of Kerry and was the first park. You can find historic manor houses, the largest mountain in the country, and a variety of wildlife. Wicklow Mountains National Park is on the eastern side, and in the area you'll find Powerscourt Gardens, Glendalough with its famous round tower, and the beautiful Glenmacnass Waterfall. In all of the parks, you'll find hiking trails, epic views, camping, castles, gardens, local wildlife, and other activities such as bird watching, horseback riding, and more.
You can find a fairly equal amount of wildlife viewing and wilderness activities in both Spain and Ireland.
Spain has a few wilderness activities for those that seek them out. Most notably, in some of the national parks and wilderness areas, visitors might catch a glimpse of wolves, ibex, deer, and the Eurasian brown bear. Wild boars are not uncommon either. Bird watching is also very popular, especially in Extremadura in western Spain where you can find a variety of unique and large species. Also, the Iberian Lynx can sometimes be spotted in Sierra de Andujar Natural Park in Andalusia.
Ireland is a good destination to visit the wilderness, as there are some fun wildlife experiences for visitors. In the national parks and protected wilderness areas, visitors can find local wildlife such as badgers, foxes, deer, pine marten, and stoats. On the coast, otters and seals are common, too. Bird watching is also popular, as many of the coastal areas and inland bogs are home to a variety of species. Visiting the parks with a knowledgeable guide can often lead to better viewing experiences.
Both Spain and Ireland offer adventure travel opportunities for visitors.
Spain is an extremely popular destination for those interested in adventure travel. 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.
Adventure travel experiences in Ireland are quite popular with travelers. Some of the most popular adventure activities here are sea kayaking, mountain biking, horseback riding, orienteering, hiking, caving, and more. Many of these activities are found in the countryside and coastal areas of the country, or around the 6 national parks. It's common for travelers to book a single-day tour to do some of these activities, as the guides or outfitter companies make it easy and accessible.
Both Spain and Ireland offer an similar amount of mountain activities for visitors.
Spain is a great destination for visiting the mountains. 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.
Ireland is a good destination to visit the mountains, as there are some fun activities. While not too high in elevation, the mountains in Ireland still offer great views, terrific hiking opportunities, and plenty of outdoor activities such as camping, horseback riding, and more. The highest peaks are found in the MacGillycuddy Reeks range in County Kerry, and visitors here will find plenty of natural beauty along with outdoor activities and hiking trails. Wicklow Mountains National Park and the surrounding area is another very popular destination as it also combines mountain views with historical sights, hiking, waterfalls, and more. Killarney National Park is another area worth visiting due to the beauty of the lakes and mountains.
You can find a fairly equal amount of watersports in both Spain and Ireland.
Spain is an extremely popular destination for those interested in watersports. 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.
Watersports and aquatic activities in Ireland are quite popular with travelers. With a huge stretch of coastline, many visitors here participate in a variety of activities despite the relatively cooler weather. As long as you have the proper equipment for the activity, there's no reason why you can't enjoy the stunning beauty of the water. Surfing is very popular on the beaches, as the waves can be consistent and strong in many areas. Kayaking both on the coast and inland is also a great way to see Ireland from a different angle. Stand-up paddle boarding is another good option for areas with calmer waters. And many of the bays and harbors have clear waters with unique marine life, which makes wild swimming, scuba diving, and snorkeling a fun activity after putting on a thick wetsuit. Wind surfing and kite surfing are also possible. As with many other activities, you'll find plenty of surf shops and tour providers that can take you to the right places with the right equipment.
You can find a fairly equal amount of outdoor activities in both Spain and Ireland.
Spain is an extremely popular destination for those interested in outdoor activities. 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.
Ireland is a popular place to visit because of its outdoor activities. As Ireland is a fairly sparsely populated country with wide open spaces and beautiful landscapes, visitors will find plenty of outdoor activities of all types. The national parks are a good place to start, as you'll find hiking, camping, horseback riding, climbing, and more. And along the lengthy coastline, visitors can experience kayaking, surfing, swimming, hiking along the cliffs, and perusing gardens and castles. Visiting farms and the other agricultural regions are also quite popular. There's no shortage of outdoor activities in Ireland, so make them part of your itinerary.
Both Spain and Ireland offer plenty of great road trip opportunities.
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.
Ireland is an extremely popular destination for those that want to take a road trip. The numerous small towns, natural scenic spots, castles, agricultural areas, and other out-of-the-way places make Ireland a terrific place for a road trip. In fact, in many ways it's easier to get around this country by car than with public transit if you're planning to visit many of these smaller sights and attractions. Many visitors make a large loop around the country from Dublin, stopping off at cliffside viewpoints, beaches, castles, small towns, and national park areas with mountains and hiking. The Ring of Kerry is a very busy area for a road trip for obvious reasons - it combines natural beauty with historical towns. The Dingle peninsula is another popular drive for similar reasons. Rental cars are generally easy to hire in Dublin or Galway, so planning a road trip through Ireland is quite easy.
Kids will enjoy a visit to either Spain or Ireland.
As it has a large number of activities for kids, Spain is a very family-friendly destination. 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.
See also The Ultimate Guide to Madrid.
Ireland is one of the most popular family destinations. Long cliff walks, castles, stunning beaches, gardens, lighthouses, and terrific museums are all some of the best things to do with families in Ireland. In Dublin, you'll find the Imaginosity Childrens Museum, the Dublin Zoo, the Natural History Museum, and Dublin Castle to name a few. Not far from Dublin you can find more castles, the Medieval Museum in Waterford, and Viking history. On the west coast, don't miss the cliffs of Moher, with their epic views, or the ancient stones of the Burren. And the small towns of the Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula are fun for everyone, too.
Spain offers a wider variety of romantic activities for couples than Ireland.
Spain makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. 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.
Ireland is a nice destination for couples. The larger cities as well as the countryside offer plenty of romantic places such as Powerscourt Gardens, the famous and well-photographed Wicklow National Park, the many castles and manors around the island, and the fine dining restaurants and theaters of the cities. Many of the small towns are very picturesque and have plenty of activities for couples, not to mention the quaint bed and breakfasts and walking trails out into the countryside. Don't miss Ashford Castle, Adare Manor, or the Latin Quarter of Galway full of boutiques and cobblestone alleyways. Whether you're on a honeymoon in Ireland or just looking for a romantic weekend getaway, you'll find plenty of romantic opportunities here.
Both Spain and Ireland are popular destinations for backpackers.
Spain is a very popular country for backpackers and budget travelers. 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.
Madrid: The many hostels around town make it easy for backpackers to find affordable accommodation while also meeting other travelers.
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.
Malaga: From an endless supply of hostels to plenty of opportunities to meet other backpackers, this is a very backpacker friendly area.
Ireland is very popular with the backpacker crowd. Ireland can be a very affordable destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the large number of lower-cost accommodations, affordable public transportation, and variety of cheaper food options. Hostels are common, especially in the larger cities and towns, as are budget-friendly hotels. Also, many of the sights and attractions are outdoors which means that they are often free or have cheaper entrance fees. Many of Ireland's best attractions are the cliffside or wilderness hikes such as those at the Cliffs of Moher (around €10), Glendalough in Wicklow Mountains National Park, or the Howth Cliff Walk loop. For food, if you eat your meals at a pub or small sandwich shop, you can save plenty of money. Many pubs also have a set menu as an early dinner which is cheaper if you arrive before 6:00 p.m. The trains and buses are also very affordable, especially since the country is not so large that every destination is just a few hours away at the most.
Spain and Ireland are both good destinations for students and younger travelers.
Spain is a good country to visit for 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.
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.
Plenty of students visit Ireland. With a variety of affordable accommodation options and active student neighborhoods featuring nightlife, cafes, and activities, it's easy to see why Ireland offers a lot for students. Various universities around the country draw large number of students both from Ireland and around the world. Dublin, Galway, and Limerick all have multiple universities and active student scenes.
Both Spain and Ireland offer a very good transportation system.
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?
Visitors to Ireland can move around easily with public transportation. The train system in Ireland can take you almost anywhere you want to go, and fairly quickly and efficiently too. The bus system is also great, and can get you to many more destinations if the trains can't. The prices are affordable and the trains are safe and clean, just as anywhere else in Europe. The roads are also very good and it's easy to rent a car to get around the country. In fact, if you're planning to visit many of the smaller towns along the coastline, such as in the Ring of Kerry, having a car is necessary because of a lack of transit options. Some of the national parks are also difficult to visit without a car, too. Otherwise, every larger city and town is accessible with trains or buses.
Is it easy to travel around Ireland?
Spain and Ireland are both modern and comfortable places to visit.
Spain is extremely comfortable for travelers as it is a modern destination with plenty of amenities. 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.
Ireland is a very comfortable and luxurious destination with plenty of hotels, restaurants, and activities. Ireland is a modern and prosperous country with a high standard of living. So, as a traveler you can expect plenty of modern comforts no matter your price range, as even budget hotels will have clean, modern facilities and nice amenities. The public transportation network as well as the road are of high quality and are very efficient. Visitors will find plenty of infrastructure for tourists such as tours, taxis, hotel concierges, and more. And of course, plenty of luxury hotels and tour providers are also available if you seek a higher level of comfort.
Spain and Ireland are both quite touristy, seeing a large number of visitors every year.
Spain is very touristy. 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.
Ireland is somewhat touristy. Most visitors arrive in the summer months when the weather is warmer, but even then, the tourist crowds are not too bad. Even so, visiting in the shoulder season or in the winter will lead to a trip with less crowds. The most popular tourist attractions are the Cliffs of Moher, the Ring of Kerry, Glendalough, Powerscourt Gardens, The Rock of Cashel, Killarney and its surroundings, and the Blarney Castle. In Dublin, some neighborhoods can be quite busy such as Grafton Street, as well as the museums, Trinity College, and the Kilmainham Gaol. And while all of these places do see plenty of visitors, it's still manageable and accessible during the busy summer months.
Spain and Ireland both offer a nice selection of activities for visitors. Many people usually spend more of their time in Spain than Ireland.
The ideal length of time for a trip to Spain is 7-21 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Ireland is 5-14 days.
In Spain, you'll find theater, adventure travel, and national parks. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. Adventure travel is very popular here, too. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.
It's hard to know how much time to spend in Ireland. 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.
Spain is a great place to explore. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Since there is so much to do in the area, five days is probably not enough for all of it. Anyone can find something fun to do here.
Ireland is a fun place to experience. In Ireland, many people enjoy the history and culture, nightlife, and food that this destination offers. Lots of people come for the history and culture. This would be the perfect place to spend five days, as it has just the right amount of activities.
It's hard to know how much time to spend in Spain. In Spain, you'll find national parks, history and culture, and nightlife. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one week here.
In Ireland, many people enjoy the nightlife, food, and water sports that this historic destination offers. Plenty of people spend one week in the area when traveling. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Lots of people come for the history and culture. One week is often enough time to do most activities.
It's hard to know how much time to spend in Spain. In Spain, you'll find national parks, history and culture, and nightlife. Adventure travel is very popular here, too. Two weeks is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Spain has to offer.
In Ireland, many people enjoy the nightlife, food, and water sports that this cultural destination offers. Plenty of people spend two weeks in the area when traveling. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Lots of people come for the history and culture. This would be the perfect place to spend two weeks, as it has just the right amount of activities.
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Spain is €119, while the average daily cost in Ireland is €109. 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 Ireland in more detail.
Looking for a hotel in Spain or Ireland? 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.
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Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Spain:
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Spain:
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Ireland:
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Ireland:
Prices for flights to both Ireland 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.
Some typical examples of dining costs in Spain are as follows:
Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Spain.
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Ireland:
Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Ireland.
Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Spain are as follows:
Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Spain are as follows:
Here are a few typical costs in Ireland for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:
Here are a few actual costs in Ireland for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Spain:
Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Spain:
Also in Ireland, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:
When comparing the travel costs between Spain and Ireland, we can see that Spain is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Europe, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.
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