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Cheap Flights to Spain

South Africans are much-loved in Spain, since the soccer-mad country won the World Cup in 2012. To book a cheap flight from SA to Spain:

  1. Use the flight price comparison tool on the left to identify and book the cheapest airfare.

  2. Use SouthAfrica.TO discount vouchers to further reduce your flight prices. If you've got none, then start building them up with your flight to Spain - simply email us a writeup of your flight, and we'll send you a travel voucher to reduce the cost of your next one.

There are no direct flights from SA to Spain (Iberia Airlines quit the route), but you can fly 1-stop on the following routes:

Getting mistaken for All Blacks in Spain

My first flight was to Canada in 1963 as we were immigrating to Toronto with our good friends, Carol & Mike. This entailed quite a few propeller plane trips - Bulawayo (in then Rhodesia) to Johannesburg. Johannesburg to Barcelona, Spain, then to Luxembourg, then London for a few days and finally Toronto! It was such a BIG deal if anyone was undertaking a trip of this magnitude in those days, that the newspaper did an article on us that included a picture. I vividly remember the huge cathedral in Barcelona, which was obscured by scaffolding, for renovations. I was amazed to learn that they are STILL working on the cathedral after all this time! The language barrier in Spain was quite something to be reckoned with! As our husbands were both very tall and muscular, the Spanish guys at one of their pubs, insisted that they must be 'All Blacks' rugby players, wanting to travel incognito. To appease them, our husbands just went along with it. Needless to say, they got the royal treatment, and all their beers were on the house! Not being drinkers, Carol & I decided to do some shopping, as the stores were open at night. Our husbands escorted us to the main street (before returning to the pub) and suggested that we meet 3 hours later under the corner street sign marked 'Petones,' and off they went. At the specified time Carol & I started walking to 'Petones' only to discover that every corner had a sign marked 'Petones'! We stood on a corner that looked like the correct corner for 90 minutes, and our husband's were "no shows." Eventually we hailed a taxi to take us back to our hotel. The guys literally rolled in several hours later. We never got to the bottom of whether the 'Petones' error was intentional or unintentional! We later discovered that 'Petones' (not sure of spelling) meant a Pedestrian crossing! Luxembourg was drab and unexciting, but London was everything, and more than we could ever have imagined. Tammy & Lee.

Cape Town to Spain

Cape Town - Barcelona

Emirates (via Dubai)

BA (via London)

Turkish Airlines (via Istanbul)

 

KLM (via Amsterdam)

 

 

Cape Town - Madrid

Emirates (via Dubai)

BA (via London)

Turkish Airlines (via Istanbul)

 

KLM (via Amsterdam)

 

 

Cape Town - Malaga

BA (via London)

 

 

Durban to Spain

Durban - Barcelona

Emirates Durban (via Dubai)

Durban - Madrid

Emirates Durban (via Dubai)

Johannesburg to Spain

Johannesburg - Barcelona

Emirates JNB (via Dubai)

BA (via London)

Turkish Airlines (via Istanbul)

 

Air France (via Paris)

Lufthansa (via Frankfurt)

Swiss (via Zurich)

 

KLM (via Amsterdam)

Egyptair (via Cairo)

 

Johannesburg - Madrid

Emirates (via Dubai)

BA (via London)

Turkish Airlines (via Istanbul)

 

Air France (via Paris)

Lufthansa (via Frankfurt)

Swiss (via Zurich)

 

KLM (via Amsterdam)

Qatar Airways (via Doha)

Egyptair (via Cairo)

Johannesburg - Palma de Mallorca

Swiss (via Zurich)

 

 

Johannesburg - Malaga

BA (via London)

Swiss (via Zurich)

 

 

Pilgrimage to Spain

2012-06-12. The Catholic worshiping community in Eldorado Park were to travel to Malaga in Spain, joining thousands of Catholic pilgrims on World Youth Day, and people in the congregation were given the opportunity to be part of this wonderful celebration - but they had to contribute R16 000. My parents saw this as a once in a lifetime opportunity and decided to sign me up as one of the pilgrims that would be going on the trip. It was not easy raising funds for the occasion so the church organised fundraisers such as car washes, curry evenings etc. My parents baked and sold scones to contribute to the outstanding funds we had to raise in order to pay for my plane ticket and visa. I am eternally grateful to my parents for their support and determination they would not give up or lose hope - it really meant the world to me.

It was now time for us to embark on our journey and no words could explain the excitement I felt, it was really overwhelming - the thought of being away from my family for three weeks was scary but the thought of independence made it all better and the fact that my parents put all their faith and trust in me made me the happiest female on the earth.

The day of departure arrived and my parents accompanied me to the airport. Everything felt so real that my emotions took over because it was time to leave and it was the first time in my entire life that I would be on a plane. The time came for us to say our goodbyes & board the plane. When I went through customs it was shocking that I had to remove my earrings and belts, anything that would make the metal detector go off. As soon as that was over I walked towards the window to view the plane we would be travelling on for 18 hours and it was huge - that was the first time I’d seen a plane up close and as we boarded and were seated I was excited to see that the plane had a television - seeing that we aren’t allowed to use cell phones on the plane the television came in handy for watching movies and listening to music. British airways won my vote with their splendid service, we were treated like royalty by the airhostesses - their services were splendid.

We had connecting flight so we landed at the airport in Paris - the stores had all types of sweets and sweet foods - nothing like what we have in South Africa. We had to freshen up in the bathrooms then wait four hours for our flight - most of us slept while waiting. After a short flight we landed at an airport in Spain and from there we travelled to Malaga in buses. The trip was more or less seven hours and on the way we made a stop at a garage and were allowed out for thirty minutes. As soon as I got off the buss the sun was so scorching hot it burnt my skin and gave me a rash. I have never heard of or seen something like that before. Now I knew what bread in a toaster feels like. To keep functioning properly we had to drink a lot of water to keep hydrated.

We were back on the road singing and dancing all the way while the others slept the whole way through, finally we arrived at the nun’s convent where we would be spending the rest of the week. We headed to the showers and after that set up our sleeping spaces. There was one empty room we all had to share so it was decided that the girls had to sleep on the right and the guys on the left and some of us slept outside on the patio under the supervision of the pastor due to the fact that the room was hot and stuffy. When morning arrived we had to take five minute showers to be ready in time for breakfast and coffee at 8am. Every day for breakfast we had croissants, coffee, yogurt, fruit and two bottles of water to keep hydrated. The table below shows our daily schedule:

Morning mass

Speech at the arena

Lunch

Afternoon mass

Tour the different areas

Lectures about Catholic churches

Evening mass/celebration and prayer

We walked to each destination and it was really tiring but what added fun to the trips was the fact that the sun only sets at about 10pm, so we always got back to the convent way after 10pm and on the way to the convent I realised that people sit outside with their kids at that time relaxing in the evening breeze.

I had never been to church that much in my entire life. The week came to an end and it was time for us to go to Madrid to join other Christian pilgrims from across the world. We all stayed together in a gymnasium which was divided into different sections for each group to have a place to sleep. The South Africans, Chinese and Canadians were placed next to one another.

The next morning we all received back packs with religious books (mostly in Spanish), maps in case anyone got lost, a bottle of non alcoholic beer, a rope necklace with a cross on it and a rosary. Thereafter we moved on to the Catholic Maters house where the Italians were staying - this was to have a short prayer service, after which we were given the opportunity to go do some shopping and on the way there one of my fellow pilgrims sprained her knee so our first stop had to be the chemist. It was not easy to get help because we could not understand the language the pharmacist spoke and she did not understand English so I tried to explain to her using expression and surprisingly she understood and gave us a cream to apply and then a band aid, I was extremely  proud of myself because I found a way to help someone. After that we decided to go ahead with gift shopping and it was the most fun I’ve ever had. It soon was time to go back for lunch but we decided to stay behind seeing that Mc Donald’s was around the corner it truly was a great reminder of home.

It was now time to go back and prepare for mass. I have never seen such breathtaking churches in South Africa before - it reminded me of my parents because they would’ve loved to be there. The next day was time to get out our bikinis, we were going to spend the day at the beach it was a lovely experience but when I saw a couple of nude people it was a shocker because I did not expect to see people flaunt their bodies in such a way. I also saw an elderly couple practically nude and it bothered me because it was like looking at my grandparents - other than that disturbing scene I totally enjoyed myself to the fullest. The water was surprisingly shallow as you walk further into the water you do not feel any sand in-between your toes instead there are pebble stones which go into the water for quite a distance. After the wonderful day there was no better way to end the day but with a blessed church service.

On day three in Madrid we spent the day at a Christian concert in an open arena singing and dancing to the Lord's music. Thereafter we travelled to a festival which made me so happy because I have never been to a festival and the kids were dressed beautifully - there were also a few gay people who had extravagant female outfits on and put on performance it was an awesome experience and the best part was the twirled colourful ice lolly I think I had about seven of them.

The next day pilgrims from across the world gathered and waited for hours for the Pope to arrive, and when he arrived it was a special moment for me because I never thought I’d ever meet the Pope. It was touching and life changing at the same time. People from the top of the buildings threw buckets of water down to cool us off because the sun was very hot. For the next two days we had to join the Brazilian and Canadian pilgrims at a school to get to know more about one another and the places where we live.

On the last day  there we  exchanged the t-shirts with Canadian  and Australian pilgrims as soon as we finished with that we moved up to the Maters house with our baggage to spend the evening there. The males and females slept in separate rooms and we spent a few hours downstairs with fun and games and joining us were Italian youngsters this just added to the overwhelming emotions passing through my system because now I had the opportunity to personally meet people from different parts of the world. The next day we had to leave and on the way out the Italian guys were such gentleman they helped the females carry their bags to the busses.

Once again we were on the bus singing and dancing on the way to the airport so that on we could be on the flight to Rome. It is weird how some people are afraid of turbulence while others enjoy it, I for one enjoyed the feeling of my stomach turning the terrible part was when my  ears blocked it was a terrible sharp pain in my head and ears.

On arrival everyone was overjoyed because now it was time to relax, pray and enjoy pasta. We were booked into four sleeper rooms so four people of the same gender stayed in one house. The owners had a strict no noise after 9pm policy- if you wanted to listen to music you had to go to the pool area where they also had jacuzzis. Seeing that it was our last week there the housemates and I decided to give our place a ‘homey feel’ by going to the shop in the complex to purchase coffee and other groceries we were really proud of ourselves because we made the best of our time together.

The community in which we stayed reminded me of home, it looked like more of a Durban type of area. Each day the pastor took us to a new place and we travelled a lot by bus. The second last place we visited was the St Peter Square. This is where the Pope lives, and as you walk in it looks like you have entered a heaven sent museum there are a lot of statues in and around the place a few of them are quite scary. I was surprised when I saw the bodies of the former Popes who have passed on, they used special wax to keep the bodies from deteriorating. It was only two bodies and it was in glass coffins. Down the stairs were also more bodies placed in stone tombs with photographs of the Popes placed in the tombs - they also had date of birth, date passed on and an obituary. I could not believe my eyes and could not understand why they do not bury them instead of keeping their bodies and till this day I still do not understand.
The day after that the Pope had mass for us - most of it was not in English but it was the best experience ever. We received the body and blood of Christ in the home of the Pope it really doesn’t get any better than that, we did not have enough time to go inside the Vatican city but my plan is to go back and relive that experience.

We spent the day walking through the town, where the buildings looked very old yet unique. While passing through the town we discovered the most amazing fountain they used it as a wishing well. The sight of the well would leave any person breathless.

From there we went to an ice-cream parlour they have the best ice–cream and in flavours I haven’t come across in South Africa. While  walking we stopped a place we only see on television  the Coloseum it looks exactly the same as it does on television. We spent the rest of the day roaming around the Coloseum there were many stalls selling Rosaries some in a container smelt like pot Pori but I found a special one with perfect colours it is used as a family Rosary.
Rosary I stumbled across crystal cubes with pictures of the St Peter Square and also the Coliseum which I fell in love with and had to buy it for my parents to keep on the room divider back home. After our shopping spree we realised that we only had a few more hours left on our own then we would be on our way back home to our families. I seriously had no emotion because I did not know how to feel, after the great memorable weeks of independence I would be back with my family whom I’ve missed dearly.

Those were the best three weeks of my life not only because I was in Spain and Rome but because I had time to myself and to see my own strengths and weaknesses. It has made me a better person, being independent helped me see that there is still a lot to be discovered in this world and that I should welcome all opportunities with open arms.

What NOT to do in Spain

Here's what not to do in Spain - don't walk the Caminito del Rey, a walkway pinned along the steep cliffs near El Chorro (warning - only click through link if you have a head for heights).

Here's what "northcave" had to say about El Caminito: "For the record, and no matter how tired you or how late you arrive in El Chorro; by no means should you stay at this place. Better to crawl into a bush and bivy!... the walkway begins at the mouth of the gorge with pretty much no other way in apart from by boat, but I wouldn't recommend it since they regularly release the dam up river which would leave you in a spot of bother with about 20 thousands tonnes of water baring down... The initial part of the walkway has crumbled off totally and so a climb to the start is mandatory... The path then looks sturdy enough from above but in fact it is 1 brick thick at most and, in parts, completely absent".  As you walk along, you pass a memorial to 3 gents that went over the edge & didn't come back to tell the tale.

Good news for thrill seekers is that the regional government in Spain has decided to restore the walkway.

Caminito del Rey in Spain

South African Embassy in Spain

  • Physical address: Edificio Lista, Calle de Claudio Coello 91-6, Cor of J Ortega Y Gasset, Madrid 

  • Email : madrid.embassy@dirco.gov.za

  • Phone number : +34-91-436-3780

Public Holidays in Spain

The states also have their own public holidays:

  • 1 January

  • 6 January (Epiphany)

  • Good Friday

  • 1 May

  • 15 August (assumption of the Virgin Mary)

  • 12 October (Fiesta Nacional de España)

  • 1 November (All Saints Day)

  • 6 December (constitution day)

  • 8 December (immaculate conception)

  • 25 December


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